Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Day 10 - L.A. Al pulls us along

Meet L.A. Al,…Alois Gaigl

Day – 10 Boise to Mountain Home ID

Ride Stats:

Distance: 51 miles

Time: 2:52 hours

Max Speed: 32.9 mph

Average Spd: 18.0 mph

Climb Chart:


The very best yet! If you haven’t figured it out yet, I don’t care for 48 degrees and rain. Although we only had rain the first few days, every other day except today so far has been quite chilly as we started out. This is the first day I haven’t either had on my winter jacket or wished I had it on. Fortunately we finished quite early (10:30 am) today because the start temperature was about 70 degrees and it is expected to rise to over 100 degrees this afternoon. No rain today. The song, “Oh give me a home …. Where the skies are not cloudy all day” certainly applied today. Winds were quartering headwinds from the North East at 10 mph.

Fall Out Report

The tri-motor is back in action! All three cylinders were kicking in today and it looked like they were having fun. I think everyone rode today that I know of.

How I Feel (1-10 scale)

After a few days hanging out with Cindy and our good friends Mike and Pam, along with a brief, non stressful ride today I think I am up to an “8” today on the feel good scale. I still have some hoarseness in my throat, but not as bad as it had been. The nice weather is helping.

Stuff that happened:

Sorry about my missing blogs. Between the visitors and the tough rides I am a little behind. I’ll try to keep up better. Day 4 and 5 were really something. I’ll try to download the climb charts later to give you a sense of what we did on those days. Also, some of the best photo's of the trip so far are on day 5-8 but I haven't had time to download them yet. If I get around to that I'll let you know in a future page. And Mom, I'm doing fine, thanks for worrying about me, sorry I got behind on the blog. I'll try to do better at keeping this up to date for you! Here is a few samples of the day 5 photos:

Me, Girard and John Hubert stretch in the grass at the end of the long day 4 ride, just before Mike and Pam Smith show up.

Day 5 riding with Mike Smith of Sun Valley ID. Strong rider with fresh legs. Hard for me to keep up with him.

Miriah and I at a rest stop before running into a heavy rain of May flies swarming. It was difficult to breath without inhaling lots of bugs.

Our wives meet us in Ontario OR. From left to right, Mike Smith, Pam Smith, Cindy Antolino, Ralph Antolino and Mariah.

Everyone seemed to have fun in Boise. I know I did. Rich took a tour of the town and was able to recite all sorts of interesting factoids about Boise when we met for dinner last night with the Smiths and Cindy. We dined at a very nice restaurant called “The Reef” which was decorated in Hawaiian motif and played Hawaii Five-Oh style music all during our meal. We broke training and had a drink. Rich had wine, I had a fabulous Mohito.

Last night Cindy had to spend three hours (most of it on hold) on our last evening together trying to reschedule the flight she had arranged for this morning with Northwestern. That was lots of fun for our last night together for the next 40 days. So this morning we said good bye at 6:20 am as she took off for the airport and I looked for breakfast.

The line at breakfast was horrendous. I went back to my room and made an emergency serving of my Quaker oats out of the hot water from the coffee maker. Then I packed up and loaded my things in the “box”. Once outside Gerard introduced me to a new rider, “Alois Gaigl” who said to just call him “Al”. Al has been in LA since 2003 doing test engineering for BMW. It sounds like a tough job. He is flown to various weather conditions (ice in Alaska, rain in Portland, etc.) all to test their new designs and features under various conditions. Al turns out to be a strong rider who plans to go cross country next year followed up by a cross Europe ride as he ends his five year tour of duty with BMW in the USA next year. He is a small wiry rider who I am sure will be strong on the climbs we have ahead of us.

As we start the ride we travel briefly along a beautiful stream with mountains in the background. Gerard, Al and I stop for the photo opp.

When we stop for this picture, I couldn't get my right foot off the peddle. I had to take the shoe off my foot. The cleat had come loose from the shoe and stayed in the peddle while the shoe turned. Lucky I didn't need to stop in a hurry and had the bridge to hang on to.

The ride itself is pretty much flat with a few inclines. I’m still struggling with the idea that we’ve had two days of “freeway” riding. Yes, you read that right, we are riding on the interstate divided highways. Apparently it is legal out here in the Wild West. The berm is a normal freeway width. We now have had a good look at lots and lots of steel belted radials up close and personal. Also, that little “no-doze” strip on the side of the freeway that wakes up drivers when they veer right of the white line has an entirely different effect on a bicyclist. One tip, don’t be caught sitting on your seat when you go over the strip or you will loose valuable parts of your body. Going over that strip shakes every bone and muscle in your body quite violently and your fingers go instantly numb from the shock and vibration. You don’t do it more than once on purpose.

Steve Bennett who caught Mike and I on day 5 and pulled us into the wind at an amazing 23 mph had his fifth flat tire today. The record for the ride is 25 and Steve is right on pace. Riding on the freeway berm makes getting debris through tires very very easy. Today I rode with Gerard and Al the entire ride. We started out leaving the hotel last and rode along at a good clip in a smooth pace line. At one point along the berm we hear a loud “pssssst” and it was from my bike. I immediately announce that “I’m going down” thinking of course that I had run over a nail, screw or steel belted radial and have a flat. When we pull over there is no flat or damage to my tire. We continue all confused by the noise.

Later we return to the room and do some cleaning of our machines and I discover the probable source of the noise. Check the photo below out. Apparently I picked up steel belted radial shrapnel with my front tire. It wraps itself around my front brake in an instant and I finish the ride out with those tiny wires tearing at my tire. It is a real testimonial to the Armadillo brand tires that I put on for this ride.

Girard, Al and I finish the ride by catching Steve Bennett and my airline pilot buddy John Hubert. They both left early and bolted quickly at the sag stop. We were gaining on them on the second half of the ride just as Steve obtained his fifth flat of the ride. We arrive first at the lovely Mountain Home Best Western where they greet us with great enthusiasm. We left around 8am and arrive at 10:30am. Much to my surprise the rooms are ready for us. I don’t think I have ever checked in to a hotel anywhere in the world where my room was ready before noon! The manager comes out to shake our hands and offer us water, apples Doritos’s and potatoes chips, all on the house! We stretch. I take a shower and a quick nap since our bags have not yet arrived. The ride itself was fun because it was quick and only 50 miles. However the scenery was the weakest we’ve seen yet. Rich put a picture of the Best Western in his blog as his evidence of the poor photo opps we’ve had today.

In the afternoon our leader, Mike Munk puts on a fantastic clinic on drive train maintenance. When you have been buying, maintaining, riding and talking with mechanics like I have for 40 years you think you know a few things or two. However, Mike really opened our eyes to how to more efficiently care for and maintain this very important part of the bicycle. A couple of tips for any of you bike nuts who are still reading this gibberish. 1) Spray w-d 40 on a towel and wipe the chain off as you spin it around. 2) Never lubricate your cogs. 3) Clean the cables under your bottom bracket but don’t oil them. 4) Floss daily: take a tee shirt edge and floss the cogs on your rear wheel. Keep them clean to shift smoothly but do not put lubrication on them. 5) lubricate the chain on the pins and not the outside of the chain. Wipe the lubrication off the chain to keep the outside of the chain as clean as possible. Lubrication doesn’t do any good on the outside of the chain; it will just attract dust and dirt, particularly out here in the Wild West. As a result of the clinic, Rich and I go back to our room after dinner and vigorously clean our steeds, Mariah and Peaches. Their drive trains have never been spiffier.

We work on our blogs, emails and try to get to bed early. It will be a long day tomorrow with breakfast at 5:30 am sharp. If you are late you don’t get fed. This group is full of chow hounds (not that I ever eat very much).


Russ Morgan said...

Is that potato dust clinging to your face? I would think it would come off when you shave.

bill jaspersohn said...

Hey Ralph,

All of us Vermonters really admire what you're doing! Hope the pedaling is easy and enjoyable the rest of the way out. Maybe we'll get a chance to see you when you reach the Northeast. Travel well. Best, Bill

Anonymous said...

Guter Beitrag, nur Absatz zwei muss ich widersprechen!