Almost the end

24 08 2013

Le Ride Stage 16 from Pontarlier to Belfort. The city of Pontarlier threw us an amazing send off party with local cyclists, politicians, and Olympic gold medalist Vincent Defrasne showing up. It was our shortest ride to date at 75 miles which left us time at the end of the day to be inspired watching Vincent’s big win.


Le Ride Stage 17 from Belfort to Strasbourg. We were excited today because our 100 mile jaunt looked all downhill on the profile . Unfortunately, the profile did not show the headwind all day. We had a great mid day break in Colmar looking for sites the riders went past in 1928. The landscape has changed to flat, farming areas and the architecture looks much more like Germany here.


Le Ride Stage 18 from Strasbourg to Metz. We ran into some men with guns and badges today. Thankfully, we have one of their kin traveling with us. An otherwise in uneventful day thru the corn fields of France.


Le Ride Stage 20, 170 miles from Charlesville to Dunkirk. Mother Nature decided to throw the kitchen sink at us with wind and rain, but we stayed strong and upright. No pictures of the day’s events so I figured I would share one from a few days ago. More cowbell!


Le Ride Stage 21 from Dunkirk (pictured) to Dieppe. We had some senioritis today and the enthusiasm was low. We crawled our way thru 100+ miles with a couple of naps on the side of the road.


Across the bottom and up the east side

24 08 2013

Le Ride Stage 11 from Perpignan to Marseille: the bad news, probably the least attractive day to be plodding along in 100 degree temperatures. The good news, at least it was one of the flatter stages allowing us to cover around 180 miles in 12-13 hours of ride time 


Le Ride stage 12 from Marseille to Nice. 5000 feet of climbing in the first 60 miles put a little sting in our legs, but we got reinvigorated by dipping our legs in the Mediterranean about half way thru the roughly 175 mile day. We made it a great end to the day with a nice swim in the clear blue waters off the cote d’azure. We rest today getting ready for 2, 200 mile days thru the alps.


Le Ride Stage 13 from Nice to Grenoble. We started at sea level in warm temperatures only to spend hours in the rain with near freezing temperatures when we reached the top at nearly 7000 feet. Somehow we managed to find a “bonus” climb that was not on the profile … the Col de Champs which was over 10 miles long with an average gradient of over 7%. Oops.


Le Ride Stage 14 from Grenoble to Evian. We arrived at the hotel at 2 am after 200 miles and 16000 feet of climbing including the epic Galibier (pictured). I am not sure how we made it as I was nodding off on the bike for the last half an hour and fell asleep immediately on the street when we got off the bike. I thought a lot about my late friend Eddie who loved riding and skiing these Alps.


Le Ride Stage 15 from Evian to Pontarlier. It is pretty scary when a 100 mile ride with 6000 feet of climbing is an “easy” day, but after the last 6 stages, this one felt like a walk in the park. We had to say au revoir to the mountains as we crested our final col, the category 1 Col du Faucile, but the reward was the view of Mont Blanc behind us (pictured).


Up, up and away!

7 08 2013


Le Ride Stage 9 From Hendaye to Luchon. This one is going to leave a mark. We began at 6:30 am and crested our final col (mountain) at 3:30 this morning. Over 200 miles covered as we rode the Cols de Tortes, d’Aubisque (in 104 degree temperatures)’ de Soular, Tourmalet (cresting in the dark after 11 pm), Aspin, and Peyresourde. Phil and I were both nodding off on the last climb. Overall feet of climbing was over 20,000 on our 1928 one speeds.  



Maybe I will catch up by the end!

5 08 2013
Le Ride Day 4, Dinan to Brest. We woke this morning feeling like we treated our bodies like rental cars for the last 3 days. Today we rode 133 miles due west with a 15 mph headwind due east for 130 miles. The “rolling” terrain added up to more than 6000 feet of climbing. 
Le Ride Day 5: Brest to Nannes. In a common theme, our planned 120 mile day with 3000 feet of climbing became 130+ miles and over 6000 feet of climbing. Totals so far … 5 days, over 600 miles and close to 20000 feet of climbing, and we haven’t reached the mountains yet. When the going gets tough, I remember I am spending hours looking at  beautiful views.
Le Ride Day 6: Vannes to Les Sables D’Olonne. 130+ miles. I am not sure the exact amount as our GPSs got water logged in a downpour and stopped. We left the crew behind and enjoyed light pressure on the pedals and little headwind to save our legs for our 180 mile day tomorrow.
We made it! Le Ride Day 7 from Le Sables d’Olonne to Bordeaux. We had to deal with headwinds for hours that were ripping large limbs from trees and uprooting others, but pulled through and got here around midnight. It is weird that over 170 miles did not feel horribly demanding physically (mentally, there are definitely highs and lows), Tomorrow we are off to Hendaye which will put our mileage over 1000 miles in 8 days.
Le Ride Day 8 from Bordeaux to Hendaye: it only took my body 20 miles to say “enough is enough”. I felt weary, hungry, and lacking motivation to push through more headwinds. So we stopped. And ate, and ate some more. I had a little conversation with body and convinced it to carry on. I slowly began to feel better and shortly after midnight, we finished 143 more miles. A much deserved rest day has begun before we head into the Pyrenees tomorrow.

Day 4: Dinan to Brest

5 08 2013

Day 4: Dinan to Brest

Road to Brest

Catching up

30 07 2013

Today is our first rest day after eight long days of riding. For the couple of people out there checking in, I am sorry that I am behind in writing.  It seems like most our days have started around 9 am with arrival to the next town between 10pm and midnight.  In between there is a lot of riding, but also too much time getting lost, looking at maps, and figuring out how to proceed.  We thought that navigation would be difficult, but not as paralyzing as it has been.  Luckily, we have had amazing scenery to dull the frustration.

Day 3 Cherbourg to Dinan.  Our 122 mile planned day became 140 miles due to continued navigational difficulties.  Our finish point of the day was the Aqueduct of Dinan which was the same bridge ridden across by the riders in 1928. I continue to be amazed by the beauty of France.   We have gradually been working our way south from the Normandy region to the Brittany region.


Fixing the broken

27 07 2013

We had a late start today as Phil had to find a welder to get his stem put back together.  The shortest day was scheduled today from Caen to Cherbourg.  I probably should have done a little research to get the heads up that we were heading through the Normandie region of France.  Luckily our camera man, Scott, is quite knowledgeable in the history of World War II, and he gave a great narrative of the area we went thru.   I was amazed at the number of American flags that we saw at memorials around the region.  As for the riding, it was relatively uneventful, but do to our late start, we did not get in until after 10 pm again.  Maybe next time.

You win some, you lose some, and sometimes, you just survive some

23 07 2013

Today we started Le Ride, our 3500 mile adventure around France, covering the same route as the 1928 Tour de France.  Challenge should have been the word du jour.  We started around 10 am at the exact location that they did in 1928.  What started as amazing as we rode down the cobbled Avenue des Champs Elysees and past the Arc de Triumph, quickly fell apart.  About two miles into the ride, Phil noticed that his handlebars were moving.  It turned out that his stem was cracking.  He decided to soldier on however.  Navigational issues were the theme of the day.  It took us nearly 5 hours just to make it 20 miles outside of Paris.  There was far more standing around in 95+ degree heat than riding.  From there it gradually improved although there continued to be many stops to check the integrity of Phil’s stem, reinforce it with whatever we had, and check maps.  I wanted to quit multiple times as I went thru a few big lows in energy and focus.  As day became night, we began to feel invigorated. We were able to cover the last 60 miles in a little over 3 hours.  We arrived at our hotel at 12:45 this morning, nearly 15 hours after we left Paris.

Baby Zahli

27 06 2012

A long overdue post. Two and a half weeks ago baby Zahli Louise graced us with her arrival.  After an uneventful pregnancy for Julie including swimming on the day that she went into labor, Zahli decided to make things a little difficult.  Julie’s intention was to give birth naturally.  Our plan was to wait as long as possible to go to the hospital in order to make this happen.  Although we were told to go to the hospital when her contractions were 5 minutes apart, we waited until they were 3.5 – 4 minutes apart for over an hour.  When we got to the hospital, Julie was only 3 cm dilated.  They decided to observe her for a couple of hours before making a decision to admit her or not.  After a couple of hours, nothing had progressed but since she was beyond her due date and in active labor they decided to let her stay.  We arrived at 11:30 pm on Thursday night.  We spent the night working thru the contractions.  We tried to use the breathing skills we learned in hypnobirthing classes.  We were an amazing team all night.  At about 6 in the morning, they came in for another measurement.  With all the pain that Julie had gone thru we were sure it was going to be good news.  Sadly she had only progressed to 4-5 cm.  They continued to observe, but since her water had not broken the plan was to have the doctor come in around noon to break it and get labor to progress.  After having her water broken, she progressed to only 6 cm.  After 2 hours there was no change, so they started pitocin to progress her labor.  At this point the pain magnified.  Julie was a tough customer, but it was so difficult to be there for her in so much pain.  After an hour of blood curdling screaming, Julie decided that she would have an epidural.  The problem was that the anesthesiologist had just gone into surgery and would not be available for ~45 minutes.  Julie went thru the roof with this news.  Somehow, with the help of one of the nurses, we got her thru the 45 minutes and she got the epidural.  She was finally able to rest, but sadly, after a couple of hours, she was still only at 6 cm.  After over 24 hours of labor and no significant change in 12 hours, the doctor suggested a c section.  This wasthe worst news we could hear.  It was the complete opposite of anything we had planned.  After some soul searching and discussion, we decided to go thru with it.  With an amazing team working, Zahli was delivered and quickly in my arms while Julie was stitched back up.  A healthy baby girl, 7 lbs, 1 oz.  We hope she does not act this ornery the rest of her life.


Baby Room

1 06 2012

My first thought when Julie suggested a theme for the baby room was, “I grew up with wood paneled walls and turned out ok.”  Like many discussions that have happened throughout this pregnancy, her 2 votes outweighed my 1.  We decided on an undersea theme and off we went.  As the baby room did not have doors the first chore was figuring out what to do for them.  Since the room was long and narrow, the best option would have been pocket doors.  Due to lack of time to tear things apart, we decided on barn doors. I found some examples online and off to Home Depot I went.  By some stroke of magic my creations worked.  In order to keep the under sea theme as intact as possible I got wide, flat doors so that when they were closed they would completely cover the moulding and could be painted to match the surroundings.  After a beginning in which I was not so enthusiastic about a room theme, I attacked the project with gusto and it is now coming together.  We still have many fish, shells, and other undersea items to add, but here is a preview of what has happened so far.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage