FACE AIDS Ride Against AIDS 2010 Blog

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Map of 2010 Route

Map of 2010 Route
You can view the day-to-day schedule, terrain, mileage, and checkpoints by clicking on the map!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 48: Goodbye Ohio, Hello Pennsylvania

On to another state. I ended up switching driving days, since my bike is out of commission, it'll work out in the long run. The day was sure to bring some obstacles, with over 50 steps and turns to get to Pittsburgh. Somehow, the group figured it out as usual, and we all ended up in Pittsburgh in one piece. The scenery is changing again, and I don't think anyone is complaining about leaving cornfields behind for awhile. There are tons of trees and the hills have appeared again.

I was able to get my tire fixed at a Trek shop in town - very lucky and legit. They were pretty shocked at the slash, so I'm glad I was able to get that fixed and know I wasn't overreacting. We did get to see some of the city as we drove around and I navigated through town. We have seen so many baseball stadiums and college campuses along the way. I think we've seen 4 or 5 baseball stadiums and countless campuses. I said I should have gone on this trip in high school when I was looking at schools for college!

We have some amazing hosts in PA, putting us up for 2 nights since we have yet another rest day. The hospitality is awesome and the conversation is great, as well as the entertainment of the family's 2 and 1/2 year old. We had an awesome dinner out on the patio and unbelievable dessert from a family friend who happens to be one of Pittsburgh's best rated pastry chefs. We were delighted to sample cupcakes and other treats from her shop, Vanilla. Definitely called it an early night, I don't know why I was so tired today...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 47: Back Tire Blowout

The day started off pretty well, amazing scenery, some rolling hills, and pretty cool weather. That all went downhill around mile 50 (of 65) when my back tire blew out. I have no idea what made that slash, I didn't even see anything that I accidentally ran over. Maybe just a final bump that broke the camel's back after all of the wear and tear.
So Claire picked us up, I am done riding til we can get that fixed, if I just replaced the tube, it would surely pop again. We got dropped off in downtown Youngstown at the Italian festival, where we met Shane, Sanford, Jason, and Zane for an interview with a local reporter and posed for some snapshots. The guys enjoyed the plethora of food options and gorged on some BBQ sandwiches and lemon shake-ups.

Then we all headed to the street corner to wait for Claire to retrieve us and bring us to our hotel for the night. I think over 1/2 of us ended up falling asleep. I didn't think I'd ever be that exhausted, that I would fall asleep on the sidewalk. That must have been a sight to see. I think I even got woken up by Shane's snoring.

Anyways, we got to our destination, I went for a run - getting back in the swing of that, and then chilled out for the night, watching JFK. I called a bike shop while we were hanging around the festival too, and they'll repair it at 10am tomorrow. So Zane switched driving days with me so I'll be able to take care of that and then catch up with them. Another day in the car...not fun, but really the only option.

Day 46: Driving Day #5

So the cleaning lady ended up finding the keys...behind the toaster. Hum, someone either didn't want us to leave Toledo or didn't want to leave Toledo themselves...just kidding, but seriously. Anyways, the group opted to just combine the two riding days into one, riding from Toledo to Cleveland today.

Unfortunately, that meant my driving day essentially turned into two driving days and I was in the car alllllllll day. But on the bright side, I did get to finish my book, The Accidental Billionaires, in between the checkpoints. We did still get to make a stop in Sandusky, so I was happy just passing though the town of TOMMY BOY.

We regrouped in Sandusky, the halfway point. Jason jumped in the van with me due to some bum knees, Mike and Claire trekked on, and the others opted for an afternoon at Cedar Point. We drove to our destination for the night, a Jesuit Retreat House. The property was amazing and the forests were beautiful. While I was reading in the van, 2 fawn pranced around about a foot away from me!

We talked with the groundskeeper, John, for awhile while we waited for Mike and Claire to finish the mileage, ending up around 110. When they arrived they quickly got ready for the Indians vs. Yankees game, in hopes they would catch A-Rod's 600th homerun.

So I shuttled everyone around, dropped them off, picked the others up, and then picked them up after the game again. Unfortunately A-Rod did not hit a homer and I was still stuck in the van. After a ridiculously long day of driving I crashed as soon as we got back to the retreat house, knowing another long day was ahead of us.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 45: Missing Keys

Well apparently the keys to our van have been misplaced. After literally an all out search, and nowhere else to possibly look for them, we were forced to call for the spare and camp out in Toledo for yet another day. Luckily, the trips the next 2 days are short enough that they can be combined without a problem, keeping us on schedule.

We'll see what the day has to bring...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 44: Presentations and Publicity

With another rest day in Toledo, we caught up on some sleep again and took advantage of the pool and sunshine. Claire and I were able to spend some time getting pampered at the Beauty Bar courtesy of Mrs. Hegde - it was amazing.

At 4 o'clock we had a presentation at The Toledo AIDS Resource Center. We had a number of reporters and AIDS advocates who attended our talk. We gave a brief overview of the organization, its purpose and mission, and more extensive information about the ride. A majority of the time was spend doing a question and answer session, which was really a great time. It's always interesting to hear what people are wondering about the ride that we wouldn't necessarily think to mention just in passing.

The Toledo AIDS Resource Center is also doing some amazing things, including an AIDS Walk on August 29th. They are fighting the epidemic on our home turf, continually spreading awareness and educational information to people of all ages. If any one thing was to be passed on from their perspective, I think it's important to pass on this statement, "AIDS does not discriminate," meaning literally anyone can contract it. As much as the staff praised us for our efforts and commented on how much of an inspiration we were, they are a true inspiration dedicating much more than just a summer to the cause.
I also did another interview for a newspaper article. Mr. Weston Poor called with the Daily Nebraskan to do an article about our trip and our stay in Lincoln, NE. This is another great example of how people are willing to do anything to help. Mr. Poor is the nephew of one of the wonderful women we met at the Country Club we went to with our hosts, the Kennedy's. I talked with her for quite some time about biking and her own experiences with biking. She had mentioned she had a nephew who was a reporter looking for stories to cover. And it all came together. A huge thanks to all of those people.

We then enjoyed a nice tour of Toledo ending with an Italian dinner at Zia's. The ride will continue onto Sandusky, Ohio tomorrow, which reminds me of one thing, and one thing only...TOMMY BOY.

Day 43: BBQ

We were all able to enjoy a nice morning of sleeping in and hanging around the Hegde pool, in an attempt to even out our ever present tan lines. I also managed to squeeze in a little run, getting as close as a foot to a deer, pretty amazing.

Mrs. Hegde made some amazing Indian food for lunch as we continued to catch some much needed rest and relaxation.

The group hung around all day anticipating the BBQ that would ensue that night. The food and company was amazing, a gathering of all Shane's friends and their families. There was always someone to talk to, someone asking questions about the ride, and tons of new faces to meet. The excitement in peoples' voices and their enthusiasm when they're talking with you really fuels our motivation to keep going, knowing there is so much support behind us, whether we're aware of it or not.

Overall, it was a great day. It's great to meet the other riders' friends and families and to see them in their element.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 42: Goodbye Indiana, Hello Michigan, Goodbye Michigan, Hello OHIO

We were in 3 states today, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. Craziness. So I suppose Ohio is our 10th state (11th if you count our detour to South Dakota)! I actually saw a live turtle and frog today, not just ones stuck to the road. So that was refreshing. Overall it was a nice ride today scenery wise and weather wise. Passed through some interesting areas, including a golf cart friendly community and a bunch of Amish neighborhoods. There were horse and buggies and everything. They all waved which was nice, lots of nice, friendly faces waving as you pass by. Of course I waved back.

We also passed some really cool barns and farms. At our stop for lunch the decision was made somehow that we would go to Toledo, even though we decided it was a no-go last night. Personally I thought it was too late to make that call at 3:30 pm with over 85 miles to go, but we kept trucking. I kinda figured I wouldn't make it before dark keeping the pace I was at and still taking a few pictures, so I fell just shy of the total mileage, clocking in 125. It was a loooooong day, but it is nice being at a house, especially since it's Shane's house, and I can appreciate how nice it is to be home.

On another note, I finally got another picture of a state sign. They've been MIA the past few states and I've missed getting their pictures!!! That's one of the best parts!
So now we'll have 2 rest days in Toledo, relaxing with another rider's family and friends.

Day 41: Goodbye Illinois, Hello Indiana

It started seriously storming around midnight last night and kept storming through a good chunk of the day. We were headed to South Bend, IN, our 8th state. But once again the storms forced us into the van and off the bikes. I said Matt Sheehan must be bad luck, both times we have stayed with him we've had storms, but of course I was just kidding. Matt is hosting us again, as he goes to Notre Dame Law School. So we eventually got to South Bend after trying to wait out the storms, but to no avail.

It eventually cleared up, but didn't leave us with enough time to make up all the miles, so we all took a bike tour around the town and around campus. I ended up watching a Lacrosse game on the practice football field for awhile until I met up with Matt, who gave me a real tour of campus and of the Law Buildings.

Touchdown Jesus.
I also went for a run to let off some steam from a frustrating day and to get a workout in. I think I'm going to start my running schedule back up since our days are generally getting shorter mileage wise and we have more rest days built in for the East Coast. I also need to start my training for the Chicago Marathon, which is in a little less than 3 months!

After we were all cleaned up, we headed to an Irish Pub type restaurant called Fiddler's Hearth. It had great food and live entertainment, so that keep us entertained for the night. The idea of going to Toledo tomorrow was tossed out there, but we decided against it considering it was somewhere in the range of 150+ miles.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 40: CUBS WIN

Today we went to the Cubs game, and they actually won. I was born and raised a Cubs fan, anything else was pretty much unacceptable in my family. The atmosphere is great though, and the games are always a good time, win or lose. I'm pretty sure Mike was in culture shock by how many people were filing off the EL at the Addison stop and the masses of people swarming Wrigleyville. It is a very, very cool experience (in my opinion). Luckily we had seats in the shade and didn't roast in the sun all day.

The EL Stop.
It's Harry Caray again!
The game started off with a home run with 2 more to follow in the next few innings. It was a Cubs vs. Cardinals game, big rivalry so lots of red and blue attire mixed together in the stadium today. Ernie Banks sang the 7th inning stretch too, so that was pretty sweet.

My brother Grant and I.

After the game, we hiked down to The Wiener Circle, a famous hot dog place. It's famous for its late night rowdiness and purposefully rude service. And I think it has a great Chicago style hot dog as well. Then we caught the train back and conked out for the ride home. Another great and exhausting day.
Definitely dragged my feet packing back up when we got back home.

Day 39: The Windy City

Today the group trekked into The Windy City, Chicago. We did a ton of sightseeing and touristy things, jamming a bunch of attractions into one day. We started off at Navy Pier, checking out Lake Michigan and all the sail boats, as well as the millions of kiosks. Then we made our way to Michigan Avenue, "The Magnificant Mile." This is essentially a mile of some of the most well known and best shopping around. We chose to hit up Niketown and were surprised to find a new line entitled 6.0 and it's BMX team of promoters doing an appearance. Kinda crazy in there. And now they have the Nike ID, make your own shoes, in the store!

Of course we needed to fuel our bodies as usual, so we devoured a few of Chicago's Gino's East Deep Dish Pizzas. SOOOO GOOOOOD. Then we headed over to Millennium Park to visit the legendary Bean sculpture and the interacting face buildings, among a bunch of other installations.

After some downtime people watching, we wandered over to the Sears Tower (now Willis Tower). They have a Skydeck where you can see the whole city from the 103rd floor. They also recently build The Ledge, a few clear jutouts you can walk out on and view the area from a different perspective. The whole thing is really well done and has a bunch of history and Chicago facts along the way. You can spend a lot of time up there.

Holy Cow, its Harry Caray
The tower is 262 Jordans tall.
After the Skydeck, everyone kinda went their own way for the night, visiting family and friends from the Chicago area. So Mike and I jumped on the EL and the subway to catch up with some of my teammates and roommates in Wicker Park. I was soooo happy and excited to see everyone. Shout out to Shlee (and a big thanks for the bagels and cereal!), Slevs, Jenny, Kerry, Melon, Fish, Heather, TH, and Nicoletti. Sorry that probably doesn't really mean much to most of you, but their company is one of the best things in the world, especially when you throw desserts in there.

Great, jam packed day. And once again, I'm probably more tired after a rest day. But we keep on trucking.

On another note, a 2nd HUGE THANKS goes to Mr. Tom Parisi of the Batavia Sun for doing an awesome update article, which convientiently came out yesterday when we rolled into Batavia. Click here to check it out! (Another front page spot!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 38: Home Sweet Home

SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD TO BE HOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know if I've ever biked faster than today. I was so excited. We were going through Yorkville, Oswego, I know these places! The ride was a good one, up 6 to 71 to 25. My dad, the birthday man, met up with me for the last leg into town. We cruised around on the prairie path back to our house clocking in 65 more miles.

I had a surprise visitor waiting as well, my grandma! And lots more visitors throughout the night. Some of my best friends, Morgan, Frank, and Garrett came over for some BBQ and bonfire fun, as well as one of my roommates Jenny! We also had some other family over as well. A huge thanks to my parents, brothers, friends, and family for all their support and help!

We took Mike's bike to the shop for a new chain, and I gave him a little tour of Batavia. The rest of the group was occupied for about 4 hours trying to pick up Zane, who for some reason decided to bike to/ended up at the Sears Tower (Willis Tower). So that was interesting.

After dinner, most of the bunch headed to the famous Chicago Premium Outlet mall, while the rest of us enjoyed a magic show courtesy of Mike. If I've never mentioned it before, Mike is a legitimate magician. No joke. He pretty much blew everyone's minds and had everyone laughing for quite some time.

It was an amazing night and we have lots more to come with our rest days in Chicago. Sightseeing tomorrow and maybe some Chicago Deep Dish Pizza!

Day 37: Goodbye Iowa, Hello Illinois

Before heading out of the Quad Cities we had to make a pit stop at the John Deere Pavilion, which also helped us wait out the storms again. Matt kept reminding me that this was actually in Illinois now, not Iowa. But I think the bunch enjoyed trying out the equipment, especially Jason, the New York City boy. This was just one of the monstrosities that the pavilion had to offer. It fit all 7 of us in the bucket.

With the storms passed and the day looking promising, we started our trek to Peru, IL. The day ended up at 80 miles, ending the the wonderful Slevin house. The Slevins were so helpful and so many people helped us out when we were in town. The church made us dinner and breakfast and was very welcoming. We then stayed at the PADS Shelter, which is closed for the summer, but was specially opened for us. A huge thanks to them for all their planning and work for us!

The ride was awesome and it was so weird at the same time. It was weird starting to pass through familiar towns, or at least towns that I had heard of before. I am getting sooooo close to home.

Love the land of Lincoln. Good to be in my state again. Didn't really expect to be this excited!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Day 36: Confined by the Storm

Still stuck in Iowa City 3 hours after our initial departure, without hopes of the rain and lighting clearing up, we racked up the bikes and headed to Bettendorf, Iowa. The gloomy day forced us off the roads for the first time due to poor weather. After a number of close calls, skidding, sliding, and a wipe out the executive decision was made to call it a day.

Once we got to Bettendorf, the weather cleared up enough to eventually get on the road to go on an exploration ride (although we still got raining on during our tour). We are staying with the Sheehan Family tonight and I am so excited to get to spend time with Matt, a teammate and close friend. He gave us a tour of downtown Davenport, Bettendorf, and the Mississippi River. We almost made it to Credit Island...my favorite cross country course...NOT. It's always like 100 degrees for that race and ends with everyone feeling like death. So weird being in familiar places.

Matt inquired how we keep ourselves occupied on such long days and through the miles and miles on the bike. We pretty much summed up how we keep ourselves entertained with a little stunt by Shane. A plunge into the Mississippi...

Mrs. and Mr. Sheehan had a ton of amazing snacks and treats for us to replenish our calories after our 31 mile day. Then we had a true Iowa style dinner at The Machine Shed. To help digest our full stomachs, we started up some games of HORSE and knock out. After working up another sweat, we headed to Whitey's for some awesome ice cream.

I loved the day and night of friendly familiar faces and awesome conversation. It's good to be back around home!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 35: Catch Up

Today was a catch up day for everything. Sleep, work, applications, thank you's...you name it, it got done today. So nice to actually have a rest day not filled to the brim with plans. Most of our rest days have been even more tiring than our biking days because we're running around to all the sites, squeezing everything in one day (not that I'm complaining about that either, but it's exhausting). But since I have been to Iowa City before and we did walk around a bit last night, I felt okay with just relaxing for once and getting some "to do" items out of the way.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 34: Heat Rash

Today was quite a long day. It was insanely hot again and my legs freaked out. I have been getting small heat rashes most days, but today, for some reason, it spread and covered both of my legs. Gross. Of course I was cautious, I think I drank literally 8 liters of water today and some Gatorade, plus I threw in a few rest stops. To give you a little context, it was so hot today my bag of chocolate chips melted...in the car...which had AC.

As if 120 miles wasn't long enough for the day, Sanford and I both missed a turn and ended up adding almost 10 miles just for good luck. So I ended the day with the longest distance of the trip yet at 128 miles. WOAH. Also had my 3rd flat tire, but this time there was a culprit other than wear and tear...a staple. Bummer.

I also passed Skydive Iowa and saw someone landing their jump...SO JEALOUS! Otherwise, lots of green still and lots of fields.

We're staying with some of my friends again!!! So happy we have the chance to stop and stay with them. We are all pretty beat after about an 11 hour day on the bike, so tomorrow's newly formed rest day will be spent exploring Iowa City and definitely relaxing (and sleeping in).

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 33: Halfway Point

Today was another driving day for me, boo. But I was definitely needed today with some more heat issues and popped tires. We stayed with some amazing hosts in Des Moines, Iowa and had a great time BBQing and hanging out on the patio.

I also was lucky to see another friend, Chelsea Webb, who works at the awesome Science Center in downtown Des Moines.

We also checked out the capital building...

Spent lots of time planning the route for tomorrow and came to a general consensus that we did not really need to spend a day in Victor, so we'll combine the next two days and head straight to Iowa City. Ambitious? Definitely. Possible? No doubt. (We'll just be on the bike alllllll day).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 32: Goodbye Nebraska, Hello Iowa

Today was "cold" compared to yesterday, but that's not saying much. It was still in the upper 80's, but was actually enjoyable. We also crossed into Iowa this morning, entering our 6th state. I never knew Iowa had so many hills though, today was like a rollercoaster. But at least we got to go downhill after each uphill. I started playing a game to see how far my momentum and speed from the downhill could get me up the next hill just from shifting gears and playing around with my position on the bike. Kept me entertained for the 65 mile ride.

The colors of the fields is much better to look at in Iowa than it had been the past few days in Nebraska. It's pretty weird being in a state I'm somewhat familiar with though. Up until this point, every time we were in a different state it was new, my first visit to that state.

We ended up staying in Atlantic, Iowa just a few miles from Anita. Atlantic's claim to fame is that Atlantic is the Coca-Cola Capital of Iowa, with a bottling factory in town.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 31: Heat Advisory

Flat tire #2 today, but this time it was a speedy repair with one practice round under my belt. The wind was actually working in our favor today, and we cruised for the first 30 miles of the 67, which were completely flat. Around mile 30 though, we started to hit lots of roooooolling hills. I think that's what we have to look forward to for the next chunk of the ride. Today we also got to deal with some insane heat and humidity. I believe we passed a sign that read 105 degrees. Apparently today and tomorrow are to be the hottest days of the summer in Nebraska...figures. We also had the chance to experience some of Nebraska's crazy storms, with the tornado sirens and all. Shane even got stuck in the basement of a church for awhile, don't ask me how he got there to begin with.

Before the storm hit though, we had the chance to visit Creighton University, some of Omaha's downtown area, and The Old Market. It's nice to have a city to wander around in after a ride. There were a ton of cool shops and restaurants to look at to occupy our downtime. Tonight we have a new genre of hosts, a group of college girls living around campus for the summer. It's equally as fun to be hosted by peers as it is by alums. We're extremely grateful either way!

Day 30: Welcome to the Humidity

As soon as we walked out of the door in the morning, it hit us. Today was our first day with pretty much any humidity...felt like home. We toughed out another day into the wind, reaching our home-stay 97 miles later in Lincoln, NE.

At least there were flowers today scattered amongst the fields...
I do always love to see the rows in the fields though, they're so perfect.

We had great hosts and after a few days without a family to meet and greet us after our ride, we really, really appreciated their open arms and hospitality. They also treated us with a trip to the country club pool, which was like heaven after the hot, humid ride. We were paraded around like trophies, which gave us the opportunity to meet a number of great people and talk about the ride. After our session at the pool, we had another fabulous meal with one of my favorites...sweet corn on the cob. YUM.

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