Sunday, November 22, 2009

Small Update & my new hobbie...Bicycle gymnastics

I have been working hard at getting everything put together to start purchasing and acquiring all the stuff I need for my trip. but every once in a while with all this work it is great to find out something about this world that I never knew but think that it is hilarious and beautiful that it exists. check this video out. Bicycle gymnastics.

http://www.wonderhowto.com/wonderment/two-girls-one-bike-watch-this-and-weep-all-bmx-ers-0113588/

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 14 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 1 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: ~
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 1520.84Miles

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Alright I admit it, I meant to leave on my ride up to Lowell about an hour earlier but I got involved in playing some board games and I ended up leaving at 6:30pm from Davis Sq. In this video is a simple tip if you happen to not have a front light for your bike, but get caught by the darkness that comes at night. Because I was trying to beat the setting of the sun my average speed is now 15.4 miles/hr which is sweet because riding up to northern MA is quite a hilly right. Enjoy me biking at night without a light.

I have added the miles that I have done between the last time I posted on this page, but I don't know how much time it took me so I am leaving that blank.

BIKE TRACKS: The creepy sounds of the Lowell cemetery.

video

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 22.5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 2.5 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: ~
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 1020.84Miles

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I'M BAAACK

Hello all,
It has been way to long since I last wrote anything but I am here to say that I am back from my summer adventures in movie land and have stories to tell and video to show. I have done a moderate amount of biking (I can always do more).

To let you into what has happened in my life and what caused me to disappear for so long, I now have two feature length films under my belt. In June when I got back from Hawaii I did the best buddies ride (of which I have video to show you, I am currently editing that) then that next day I went strait into pre-production for IRONSIDES which was filmed on Cape Cod and in the North shore. Then while filming that film I worked with one of my new best friends Jim Cummings who filmed IRONSIDES and was going to create his own film NO FLOODWALL HERE. He asked me if I wanted to come down to New Orleans and be the assistant director on his film. after thinking about it and how it would affect my bike ride (which is now pushed to next year) I decided that right now in my life the experience of making another feature film would benefit me greatly (which it has).

So will I disappear on you again? NO I have developed a new sense of self and capability and my bike ride is one of my priorities. I will continue to be doing other things but I have many stories to tell that I want all of you (my friends, family, and readers) to know.

What you should be expecting this next couple of weeks is LOTs of video from Hawaii and cape cod and New Orleans. I have also started biking again in Brookline which is my new place of residence once again.

Thank you all for still reading and I cant wait to have you apart of my adventures again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Holy Arches

No, I am not talking about McDonald's, sorry. What I am talking about is a holy ground for Hawaiians that I was told has a great swimming area. I tried getting to it earlier in my stay with Lara but we had poor directions. When I went with my parents the other day it sure was beautiful (video below).

I have been able to do several rides in Hawaii and have not been able to put up all of them on my blog. soon they will be up.

May 30th is coming up soon, which is my first century ride. For those of you who don't know I am doing a fundraiser for the Best Buddies foundation. This 100 mile ride is to raise money for a great organization that supports accomplishments and independent abilities of intellectually challenged kids and adults. I have raised $850 as of May 24th with your help and have $600 more to raise before June 5th. All that I need from you is to click on the link below and read about Best Buddies International and then click DONATE. This is a charitable donation that you can use on your tax return and every dollar you send gets me closer to my goal.

TO DONATE FOR THE BEST BUDDIES 100 MILE RIDE:
http://www.kintera.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=277768&u=277768-249715971&e=2328462426

video

AUDI BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE
$850 of $1450
TO DONATE CLICK HERE

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 10.5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 47 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 68 hrs 04 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 520.34Miles


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Hawaiian Voyage




Day 43 – 5/6/09

It has been a long time since my last post, lots of things have happened. Aside from raising money for the AUDI Best Buddies Challenge (which is coming may 30th (Donate Now)) I moved out of my apartment and have packed for a my trip to visit my parents in Hawaii! Its been crazy. I have left my bike with Jesse to ride and keep company and I have flown out to Hawaii to live with my parents for a month. Lara has come along for the ride (for two weeks). I fixed up a community bike at Pangaia (my parents organic farming community in Hawaii) and set off on my first ride on The Big Island (Hawaii). It was amazing. The jungle and the ocean surrounded me with great visual inspiration. I have some video posted of the ride (it is very bumpy because I have yet to get a mount. But there are some very nice shots of the jungle.) My half way point on my ride was the coast and it was amazing to sit there and breath in the air from the sea. I hope you enjoy the video and expect much more.

The Best Buddies Challenge is rapidly approaching (may 30th) and we can still raise some more money for this amazing cause. So please click on the link and donate any amount it will both help many intellectually disabled people and it will help me progress to my first century ride.

BIKE TRACK: The Jungle and the Ocean

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE
:
$720.00 of $1450
DONATE HERE

video

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 9.9 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 52 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 67 hrs 57 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 509.84Miles

Friday, April 24, 2009

18 Miles per Hour Average

Day 42 – 4/19/09

18 MILES PER HOUR was my average speed for my ride today. I found a very cool new website called Bikley.com where your community of bikers posts routes that they have ridden and have rated. I decided to follow one of the routes that took me down Boylston st. and up into the hills. It was nice because it tested my climbing strength and my driving ability. I would zoom down narrow roads going at 30 miles an hour (I don’t have a speedometer yet) and feeling fine. It was exciting and there were no cars on my side of the road so I was able to ride on the smooth parts of the road. I felt very connected to the road, like I was still driving my Subaru RS (man I miss that car...if only it was electric). I am hoping I can maintain this incline of average speed because that would be grizzate for my trip. (Don’t look now but I have almost hit 500 miles of training.)

BIKE TRACK: Blink-182 (Enema of the State)

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE:
$410.00 or $2750.00
DONATE HERE

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 9.2 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 35 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 67 hrs 5 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 499.34Miles

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Racing the Cars


Day 41 - 4/16/09

Doing quick rides are nice, but I am starting to realize that in order to feel like I have done any major riding I need to be gone for at least 3 hours. But with my schedule I only can do so much at a time, so today I did a 50 min ride to the JP ponds focusing on speed. I actually got to race some cars along a stretch of the ride. The bike path heading south on the east side of the pond runs right along the road. I wanted to see what kind of speed I had so I started racing cars. Some would hit the gas and blow by me no problem but there were a couple of cars that I was able to keep up with. I bet I hit 25 miles per hour as some point. It was fantastic and exhilarating. I can’t wait to have a camera strapped to my bike so I can take you all along for the ride.

(Picture is of the rough draft for my trip)

BIKE TRACK: Chemical Brothers (Come With Us)

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE:
$410.00 or $2750.00
DONATE HERE

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 7.57 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 50 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 66 hrs 30 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 490.14 Miles

Don't be Afraid to Wander




Day 40 – 4/14/09

Although I do like ot have a destination in mind when I am riding I am not opposed to wandering because not all who wander are lost. Today’s ride changed so much from what I was originally planning. I set out to go to the coast in Quincy (south of Boston) and found myself in a secluded beach in Dorchester. Now all of you who know the Boston area know that Dorchester has a reputation as being the dumps. However, I have to say even though the buildings were not taken care of and the streets were littered with trash, I have never felt as much cultural energy in any other town that I have ridden through in the last 4 months. I met people from all different backgrounds. The town of West Roxbury and Dorchester were all-abuzz with kids running around, cars rushing by, and people talking to one another. People would shout out to me while I was riding up a hill encouraging me to go faster and harder. It put a smile on my face; it made me feel like I was being noticed. I was a part of those towns because I was there at that moment, and not just a passerby. If I did not wander from my travels I would not have been able to experience what I did. So be open to experiencing new things and don’t be afraid to wonder a bit, because you will be able to experience things you never have before

BIKE TRACK : Greenday (Best Of)

NEW EQUIPMENT:
Bike Pants – From City Sports
Bike Gloves – From City Sports
Bike Pump – From City Sports

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE:
$410.00 or $2750.00
DONATE HERE


TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 18.26 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 3 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 65 hrs 40 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 482.57Miles

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Then and Now





Day 39 – 4/13/09

I rode up Beacon St through Newton and by PIE. I wanted to see how I would feel this time riding up that hill near Boston College compared to the first time, many moons ago. I was able to ride very easily over the hill. As I was going down the other side I thought about how I am now closer to one of those bikers that I originally tried to keep up with on my Day 6 ride. I was able to keep my energy going for quite some time. Over the hill past the pie shop around Newton center, into West Newton, and back to home sweet home. It was nice to see a difference between then and now.

BIKE TRACK: Barenaked Ladies (Maroon)

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE
:
$410.00 of $2750.00
DONATE HERE
Before May 30th, 2009

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 14.5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 1 hr 30 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 62 hrs 40 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 464.31Miles

The Witching Town




Day 38 – 4/9/09

Having a destination in mind has helped motivate my rides. I love getting on the bike and just riding, but having a destination and knowing when I will get there just keeps me focused and on the bike for a longer time. Today that destination was Salem, MA. Jesse and I rode our bikes there for two reasons; 1 being to see the coast and 2 because Lara works there on Tuesdays and Thursdays (so exploring the Salem dungeon with her would be fun).

Doing our best to follow Google maps instructions we got most of the way there. It is almost a straight shot with a couple of tricky turns. One of the places we stopped to ask for directions was Rollin’s Barbershop (410 Lincoln Ave Saugus, MA 01906) in Saugus. I walked in to the front door and had found myself in the middle of a living room with a barber chair around the corner. There was a gentleman, Mr. Rollin I presumed, sitting on a couch watching the daily news. I asked him about where we were and he proceeded to tell me where we were and how we could get to Salem. I chatted with him about my bike trip and asked him if I could take a photo (the one displayed to your right). He was very kind and I could have talked with him for a while longer, but I realized that Jesse was outside probably questioning why I was gone for so long (I did need a hair cut). After saying goodbye we got on our bikes and road into the "witching town". I had been to Salem twice before but it was during Halloween so I really did not get to see Salem and experience the history of that town. It was classic, scary, and reminded me of a traditional coastal town that just happen to be one of the centers for witch mania. After seeing Lara in her play and tour, Jesse and I got some gelato (heterosexual life mates, I swear) and took our trip back to Boston.

Salem was great and it was Jesse’s longest ride so far with a total of 42.6 miles, so congrats to him. We will be going back because; what a destination to have!

BIKE TRACK: Maroon 5 (Maroon 5)

BEST BUDDIES CHALLENGE:
$410.00 of $2750.00
DONATE HERE
Before May 30th, 2009

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 42.6 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 6 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 61 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 449.81Miles

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I am the Product

Day 37 – 4/8/09
Today I got on my bike and rode out to Cambridge. This is always an interesting ride because, there are so many cars to deal with that part of the fun is trying to find different routes so you won't be on main roads. I went across the BU Bridge and followed that to Central Square where I met my friend Melissa at her work (RE/MAX). She introduced me to her boss Paul. Talking to Paul was great because it was all about marketing and business proposals, of which he knew lots about because he was the owner of the place).He asked me why I wasn’t doing this trip for a cause other than my doc (good question). It made me really have to think about it. For some reason I just feel as though it would take away from my personal experience. But is that selfish? I’m still trying to figure it out. Paul helped me think of myself as a product that I am trying to sell (a useful, smart, caring, human product). And at the same time I need to keep the human relation in my sales pitch because not having that would destroy my whole mission, right!? After chatting I got back on my bike and rode out to Porter Square and went to Sugar and Spice,(1933 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140) which has great yellow curry tofu.

On a different note (because a couple of people have been asking), I am going to start incorporating music that I am currently listening to just to give you some insight into my music life . I am looking for recommendations on music also. So here is the first “bike track”:

BIKE TRACK: Little Feat
(recommended by a gentleman who came into EUREKA)

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 10.4 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 1 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 56 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 407.21 Miles

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Great Birthday Present




Day 36 – 4/5/09

I don’t know if he meant it to be a birthday present but my friend Jesse Rizuko and myself went for a ride today…ALL DAY… and it was something that I wanted to do and love to do. So Jesse, Thank you very much. We biked starting at the science museum, which is near the start of the Charles River, and then we fallowed it to Weston, then ate some food in Waltham and road back to Boston. In total it was 36.5 miles and we started on our great adventure at 10:30am and was at the doorstep of Eureka Puzzles at 5pm.

The weather could not have been better. Jesse and myself were riding along and the clouds just disappeared and there was nothing between the open road and us. (unlike Monday, were I found the rain where ever I went.) We were able to stay on bike paths the entire time. These paths took us from one beautiful wetland to the next. Every once in awhile we would pop out and find ourselves in a small New England town. It was enjoyable and I think that almost every 10 minutes or so Jesse or I would say “god, Its so nice to be biking” or some variation on that.

I did run into some trouble on the last 3 miles of our trip. After launching myself off of a sidewalk my seat came loose and I had to ride standing up for the rest of the ride. I am about to get a multi tool so when things like that happen I can fix it right there but for me today I just had to work a different part of my legs.

I am still fundraising for the Best Buddies May 30th 100 mile ride. You don’t have to be in Boston to donate. I would appreciate anything you can give. So far we are $200 and counting out of $2750. We have been getting some good support from friends and family and I am about to go talk to some local companies to see if they want to get involved. So if you would like to donate please click on the link in the upper right of my blog or click HERE.

Thank you so very much.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 36.5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 6 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 55 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 396.81 Miles

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My First Wall



Day 34 – 3/30/09

By the 40th mile marker I started to hallucinate. I had been on my bike for 4 hrs in the pouring rain and I for some reason kept going. Every hill I would hit seemed to get steeper and every car that would pass would get closer. I was on my way to Fitchburg, MA for my longest ride so far and didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The water would run down my glasses, I couldn’t feel the tips of my toes and my pants started warming themselves because they were so soaked through that my body energy would just heat the water trapped in the three layers I had on. By the time all the roads started to look the same I decided I would pull over to the side of the road. I stretched and took a deep breath. I had hit my first wall.

For 4 months now I have been quickly taking on challenges in biking, not feeling as though I needed to stop but wanted and could push further. I went from biking down beacon St to biking to Lowell (25 miles away) in a month. I have felt pretty invincible, until now. 40 miles is a fraction of the amount that I plan on doing in a day for my trip across the country but right now, 4 months into my training 40 miles combined with constant down pour, my mortality hits me right in the face. Now don’t get me wrong I am not giving up by any means, instead I am more motivated than ever to get my biking up to the speed that I want it to be. I like the challenge; it just so happened that I have learned more about my body’s capabilities. Right now 40 miles is my first wall. I have 5 months to get that wall to 100 miles, now that is a clear goal if I ever had any.

After taking in the fresh New England back country air I got back on my bike and pushed the final 3 miles. The last 500 meters were strait up a hill but I made it and was able to take a nice relaxing day with Lara and her mother.

At around 25 miles a small beacon of light shined on the side of route 117. It was Great Brook Farms Café (356 Main Street Bolton, MA 01740) that looked more like a winery café then some building out in the middle of MA. When I went in, it was beautiful. There was a group of older men chatting around a couple of tables as if they had been there their entire lives. There was a woman near the window being interviewed about being a female in a male dominated field (not sure what the field was but it was an interesting conversation to over hear) I walked up to the counter and a man was in the back preparing someone’s drink. He told me to grab a coffee if I wanted and he will be right with me. Bruce was his name and he was the owner. We ended up chatting about small business and how he wants to change this place into a destination to have your wedding at. I think he definitely can do it. He is also a motorcycle racer so we talked about that for a while. It is definitely a place that I will go back to, especially because they have BBQ sauce and boy am I a sucker for some good BBQ.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 43 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 4hr 45min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 49 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 360.31 Miles

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Summit of Brookline and Beyond


Day 33 – 3/29/09

Thinking about my trip across country does sometimes take me away from the exploration of what is around me locally. Today I biked the steepest hill in Brookline. The road is Summit st. and there is a reason why it is called summit. I have attempted to run up the road before with no luck. It is too long and also to steep for normal people to run it. I was biking around in circles through the back roads of Brookline when I took a right onto summit. Looking straight up I switched into my lower gears. I was going to concur this hill. I kept pedaling and several minutes, and about a gallon of sweat later I was on the top of the hill looking on to the City of Boston from a view that I never had seen before. What a sight. I took pictures but it was to dark so nothing came out. I was just impressed that I have lived around the corner from this location for 2 years and never did I look upon Boston like this. It was as if all the stars fell out of the sky and laid out like a giant quilt in front of me. I hope that people go out and find the unique places that are in their backyards.

We are off to a good start on fundraising for the Best Buddies 100 mile Ride. We are up to $170. I really appreciate everybody’s help. We have a ways to go to get to $2750. If everybody could email the below letter to at least 5 people then I think that we could make that goal and get me on my bike to Cape Cod. You can donate over the Internet. Every bit is appreciated.
------
On May 30, 2009, I, Mark Vashro, will ride my bike 100 miles in the Audi Best Buddies Hyannis Port Challenge in support of the 250 million people living with intellectual disabilities.

And here is why I need your help! In order to ride, I need to reach my fundraising goal of $2,750. Any amount you can give will ensure Best Buddies continues to provide critical services and job integration for people with intellectual disabilities. And, your donation is tax deductible!

I choose to ride for Best Buddies because 100% of the funds I raise will go directly to their programs. Which means any contribution you give for my challenge directly affects the lives of those living with intellectual disabilities. Best Buddies is a non-profit organization founded by Anthony Kennedy Shriver in 1989, dedicated to helping people with intellectual disabilities form friendships and find jobs in their community. The Audi Best Buddies Challenge events are a strong symbol of the lasting friendships and open community that Best Buddies fosters throughout their programs.

Here is how you can donate: You can donate easily and securely by clicking on my personal fundraising webpage link located below. Here you can read more about the Audi Best Buddies Challenge, see my fundraising goals, and read why it is more important than ever to support Best Buddies Programs.

I am so excited to participate in this ride! With each day, I train harder and longer. With each dollar you donate, you bring me one more mile closer to my goal. Thank you in advance for your generous support!

This is also one step closer to my Cross Country Bike trip and Documentary. If you are interested in supporting me in that also please visit (Bike Against the Wind) and/or (www.markvashro.com) thank you for all your time.

Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Best Buddies International

******************************************************************************
Some email systems do not support the use of links and therefore this link may not appear to work. If so, copy and paste the following into your browser:
http://www.kintera.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=277768&u=277768-249715971
******************************************************************************

Mark Vashro

Friday, March 27, 2009

Riding 100 Miles......Raising Money


After much research I have decided that I am going to be doing a Biking Fundraiser.

The Audi Best Buddies Challenge.

I will be riding 100 miles to the cape on May 30th. My minimum goal is $2,750. If you can sponsor me for any amount I would greatly appreciate it (seriously, $5.00 is just fine). It will go to a very good cause. It will be going to helping intellectually challenged people all over the world integrate into the professional world. For certain amounts donated, there are gifts for you.

I think that this is not only a great opportunity for me to ride my bike but do it for a good cause. I promise you that if we can collect this amount of money I will have the trip on video for your viewing enjoyment. So please, donate, send this link to your friends and family, and keep reading about the adventures.

To Donate and find out more information click on this link HERE.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 3.5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 15min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 42 hrs 25 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 306.81 Miles

Thursday, March 26, 2009

More the Merrier



Day 31 – 3/26/09

Experiencing something new with another person is always exciting. I am so glad that many of my friends have started biking (some for the first time is YEARS, some EVER). My friend Jesse told me several months ago that he really wanted to bike with me. So after some searching we got him a bike and today, March 26th 2009, we set off on our first adventure. We traveled to the Jamaica ponds to get on the bike path so he could warm up and get used to the bike. He was great. I could not believe that he has not ridden a bike for years, because he was fallowing me and hitting the road almost better than I was when I first started up again. After circling the ponds a couple of times Jesse pointed out that the arboretum was near by. We looked at my bike map and set off on our route. Now call me crazy but I had no idea what an arboretum was and how beautiful and calming a place it is. For those of you as lost as myself, they are places where different trees from all over the world grow together in one location. You can read about the different trees and just walk (or in our case ride) on beautiful paths without the disturbances of cars, just you and nature. Jesse and I will be traveling on many more adventures in the future and I hope that others will join us. Because it is always nice to experience something new with another person and the more is to be merrier.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) :15.67 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 3hr 15min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 42 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 303.31 Miles

Riding With Friends

Day 30 – 3/23/09

My play, “Dark Play or Stories for Boys” Ended on a very good note. Through the entire 5-week run the thing that amazed me the most was the different types of people that would come to the shows every week. We had college students, high school students, longtime theatergoers, and first time theatergoers. It was really nice being able to talk to all of them and see all there different responses to the same play. Riding on my bike to the last show I road along the Cambridge side of the Charles River. It was a nice ride. I was able to watch the city of Boston go by as I passed through Charlestown and into Chelsea. It was overall a great ride except for the huge potholes on the back roads once I was in Chelsea. They swallowed my bike, but I survived to tell the story.
After the show I road to the cast party in Watertown. I wont say much but lets just say I am glad I have gotten good at climbing hills.

On Monday I was able to go on a ride with my friend Thomas Patrick Dunn (yes he’s Irish). It was great. I fallowed his lead south of Jamaica Plain. I learned a lot about the area. Such things as…There are so many flipping hills! Something that I did notice was that I was doing pretty well on hills but when it came to flats Tom would kick my ass. I was very interested in why he was going so much faster than me on flats? I had the road bike, I have been training my ass off, Whats Up? I was looking at his gears and he continually stays on the highest set of gears. So I thought maybe because he bikes so much on that high gear it builds up his muscles in such a way that he can go fast on flat ground. I asked him about it and he said that he is always trying to get from one place to another really fast. And most of the places he tries to go are not that far away and not really up a hill. So I think that that is what it was. His muscles have adapted to short sprints where I am training my body to go long distances at a constant speed. (Oh the cool things that our bodies do.)

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 36.62 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 4hr 15min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 38 hrs 55 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 287.64 Miles

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sentimentality of Whats to Come



Day 29 – 3/22/09

This entry is a pre-ride blog. I am going to be biking to my theatre (Apollinaire Theatre) in Chelsea and then to Watertown then to my home sweet home.

Tomorrow is the last show for my play “Dark Play or Stories for Boys” It has been a fantastic 5-week run and we have had so many great people come and see it. I am a bit sad to be stopping this show but I am also excited to see what will be happening next. I have loved working with all the people (cast and crew) it has been a great ride. I think by riding to and from the theatre will be a nice combination of the things that are going on in my life and then a good send off to the play (Don’t be a hater I am a sentimental person). I am excited to see the different view of arriving at the theatre from a bike instead of by car or bus. It just simply changes perspective and make me appreciate the environment a little bit more. The show will go very well tomorrow and will be a great cast party afterwards.

Its really nice writing a pre-ride entry because it gets me excited for what is to come. I am having fun planning my Cross-country trip and am excited for what is to come of this blog. I just want to let you all know that I have some pretty cool things in store for all of you that read this. Lets just say, I really like multi media.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fear the Wind


Day 28 – 3/19/09

I was talking about fears with Lara yesterday and one that she brought up was her fear of natural disasters. Which I am sure for many that is a fear. That is the sort of thing that you cannot control or prevent at all. The volcano eruption can only be watched and examined and guessed at when it will happen. The tornados can only be predicted by watching the weather. So this fear is a completely valid fear because of the lack of control, as opposed to fear of wood, Xylophobia…(if you are afraid of wood I am sorry to bring it up).

This subject made me think of the things that I will bike into as I travel across the country. I am sure that there will be lots of wind and ran and probably some snow, along with other things that I am going to have to work with as I come to it. Today the rain fell on my helmet as I was biking home and it made me interested in certain precautions that I should take. So I was looking up some information about wind and I ran into a great article. “Cycling into the Wind” it was on the BBC webpage. Here is the first paragraph and then you can click on the link to read the rest. It’s a well-written fun to read article.

“The headwind is the natural enemy of the cyclist. However, it will also be an unavoidable fact of your cycling life and you might as well learn to cope. Think of the wind as a bully - do you recall how a larger kid could simply put their hand on your forehead and keep you at arm's length while you punched away at the empty space between you with tears of frustration streaming down your cheeks? Cycling into the wind is often like that, but it needn't always be. Let's start with some basics.”
CLICK HERE FOR MORE

I think part of my prep for my trip is to get better at “surviving in the wild!” I will be posting more info on that as I run into it.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 3.4 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 14 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 34 hrs 4 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 251.02 Miles

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Push Yourself



Day 27 – 3/18/09




Sometime you just have to push your self. On my way back from Lowell I biked down to Bedford then took the minuteman trail all the way into Alewife T-stop. On the minuteman path a biker on a road bike passed me and I tried my best to keep up with him. Each time I found that I was falling behind I was able to keep pushing myself. It was nice to have a person that kept me focused on pushing harder (even if they didn’t know that they were helping me). I was able to keep up with the guy all the way to Lexington then he either pushed way ahead or turned off the path. I was proud.

My experience with my new bike has been fantastic. I have been able to go faster and push harder without getting tired of being on the bike. The ride is so smooth that I just never want to stop (which is good considering I am going to be going across the country).

As far as things I saw on my trip today, I got some help from some very nice women at the “Mobil On the Run” and I road by a pasture with some beautiful horses and I had some time so I stopped and petted the horses and fed them some grass. It was really nice to be interacting with animals. I don’t get allot of that in the city so to be able to pull off the side of the rode, grab some grass and have a horse eat from my hand, it really makes me feel as though humans are not the only things on this earth and we all are connected in some way. Once I hit Bedford I took a small road through some forest areas then periodically there were some high tech buildings tucked away in the back roads. I felt as though I had entered into the valley of Bio Chemical companies. I am not sure if the one I got a photo of is biochemical but this was the one that really intrigued me.

UPDATE:
I am going to be going to Hawaii (the big island) in May and will be doing many bike trips around there. I will be constantly updating the blog with photos of the beautiful island. I am currently hoping that I will be able to get a nicer camera so that I can get you all some better quality work.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 27.2 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 4 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 33 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 247.62 Miles

Minuteman Bike Path


Day 26 – 3/17/09

The Minuteman trail is a bike trail that runs from Arlington to Bedford. It takes bikers and walkers and skaters off of high traffic roads and puts them onto a beautiful, enjoyable pathway. I was able to finally use that path. I was heading to Lexington to get in a ride. Lara was going to pick me up there. I focused on trying to keep a higher mph and that was made easier because of the minuteman bike path. I averaged around 11 miles an hour. That is the best I have done so far.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 11.65 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 1 hr

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 29 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 220.42 Miles

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi(e) & Ride


Day 25 – 3.14.09

Today was the best day on my travels so far. Not only was the weather fantastic but I have my new bike and was able to get free really good pie. Can life get any better, I submit that it can NOT! (thank you Brian Regan)

After riding my new bike from the shop to my apartment I met up with my friends Dom and we headed down town to meet up with the Mass Bike association. It was great to meet around 18 other bikers. There were people there from all different skills of biking. Some were triathlon competitors, some were commuters, some were one the bike for the first time in a long time, and then there was me, the cross-country nut. I am really excited to get to know these people. Shane was the organizer of the trip and he introduced himself to everybody and we set off on a nice relaxing trip to Summerville. It was nice and we got free pie. (I did not realize this but today is officially pi(e) day March 14th or 3.14…, So it all makes sense now). Here are some pictures that I took and there are some in the photo album on the side bar from trips past (coming soon).

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 18.49 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 2 hr 30 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 28 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 208.77 Miles

The Dust has Settled and There is One Bike Standing


Day 24 – 3/12/09

The battle has come to an end and the last bike still standing is non other than the Surly Long Haul Trucker. It is a fantastic ride, sturdy as an Ox and rides so very well. It is so cool that it even has 2 extra wheel spokes on spare attached to the frame. In choosing it I have done a lot of research and have talked to bike shop owners and looked on the internet and the Long Haul Trucker has everything that I need and looks so fine doing it. I am going to be picking it up tomorrow in the morning before I do my Mass Bike Pi(e) ride in the afternoon. It will be a great first ride.

On another hand…My friend Eric Gulliver whom I worked with at Emerson College has a music video on Pitch fork that I think everybody needs to see. It is a beautiful piece that expresses so much. CLICK HERE for the video.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 12 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 90 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 26 hrs 20 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 190.28 Miles

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sponsors - Pangaia and Eureka





Day 23 – 3/11/09

To day I was planning on going to Harris Cyclery but they did not have the bike built yet so I went to my friend Jesse’s work in Porter Square. The ride took me down N Harvard st and right through Harvard Square, which is not fun. When I got to Porter I locked my bike up and hung out with Jesse we went to a great Thai restaurant called Sugar and Spice (1933 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA 02140) if you haven’t been there…GO! The yellow curry it great.

Update on the trip: I have received some sponsors I have been sponsored by an organic farm in Hawaii called Pangaia (www.pangaia.cc/index.html) to be able to buy my bike. My parents are apart of the community at Pangaia. I have also been sponsored by Eureka Puzzle and Games (1349 Beacon St. Brookline, MA 02446) for my bike jerseys. This is helping me take one step closer to my bike trip. Tomorrow I am going to go ride some bikes and see what bike I want. The two that I am going to look at is the Jamis Aurora, and Surly Long Haul Trucker. The battle will be fierce and there will be only one winner.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 9.09 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 90 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 24 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 178.28 Miles

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Checking In

Day 22 – 03/10/09

“Just double checking.” This is a phrase that can be taken as responsible or can it also be taken as a sign of weakness? When I pack my bike for my trip I plan on double and even triple checking to make sure that when I go off in to the wild of this crazy country that I have everything that I need. That to me is responsible. Or could that be that I doubt my packing skills so there for I am checking something that I should have gotten right in the first place?

I bring this up because today was a day of mistakes for me. Outside of my biking life I am dealing with lease problems about my current apartment and because I did not double check with the management company they think that I want to extend my lease for another year. So putting that into the mix, on my ride I completely took the wrong route to get to Harris Cyclery. I wanted to avoid the notorious Mt. Ida but with my excellent directional skills I started going around it than ran into it again. It was pretty funny because I was on the right track then I just decided to take a left for some reason and it put me between the highway and a vertical clime to get to Newtonville road, and although I love cars and trucks racing by me at 70 miles an hour I decided that the clime would be the path for me. I did get to go bombing down the other side, which almost made the mistake worth it, but man did I just want to get to the bike shop so I could do some more research for my trip.

I am nearing the time for me to buy my new bike so I have been doing many-much (it’s a word I swear) research and I have talked to many-a bike shop and read many-a websites, and I think that the Surly Long Haul Trucker is the bike for me. I am going to take the bike out for a test ride tomorrow but I have been narrowing it down and I think that for my trip and on my budget this bike is for me. It is a solid steel frame (so not as light as other bikes) it has many Braze-ons so I can attach my water bottles and racks to get a fully loaded bike. It has bar end shifters, which are going to be new for me, but I think the case for them is much better for the case against them. What they are are small levers on the end of the curved handlebars that move up and down. The reason for them is that if there were to be a crash and my shifters get damaged I can easily replace these for cheep. The other shifters are built into the brake levers so if one thing breaks the whole thing breaks, plus they are about $250 per shifter. And also one random fact is the fact that they are at the end of the bar you have to move your hands to shift them which keeps your body from being completely the same the entire time (that tidbit of info is from Elton from Harris). I have checked and double check to see if this bike is the one I want and after the test drive I think I will find out that I will not want any other.

So after a day of self-doubt I finish this entry with a thought about that phrase “just double checking.” There should be no judgment of character or responsibility for double-checking. Many things have been saved or changed; many destinations have been made because some one has double-checked. I hope every body is enjoying my blog and is excited for what is to come, I know that I am but I wanted to just double check with you…(ha.. wow that cheesy, that could be called a Vashroism)

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 12 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 90 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 23 hrs 20 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 169.19 Miles

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Esplanade... Finally!



Day 21 – 3/4/09

The Esplanade, for all of you people that don’t know, is a walkway that fallows the Boston side of the Charles River. It is one of the most beautiful places in Boston. There is so much life that is along that path. There are runners and walkers, people rollerblading, and bikers. The City is on one side and the water is on the other. Today was a great day for biking in general because it was sunny and warm (finally!) So I set out towards the esplanade and ended up biking all the way to the science museum and back. It was a smooth ride where I got to see lots of people and I also was able to do some training sprints and pace work. I would take a section of the path and try and go as fast as I could from one end to the other so I could work different parts of my leg muscles. Nothing bad happened on the trip it just was a pleasant ride with pleasant weather.

As far as news for the near future I have picked up another bike that I am going to be training on till I get my tour bike. It is a mountain bike (GT Talera all terrain). Will Lubelski who is a roommate of my friend Devon is letting me barrow it for the moment. It has two side saddlebags and rides very very well. I took a 2 min ride on it and one thing that I noticed was how far over the front tire the handlebars were. It affected my riding allot (in a good way). I really am thankful that all these people are being so helpful to me. It really is nice to have support for something that is a really big challenge. I am going to be taking the other bike that my friend Becca so greatfully let me use and (with Becca’s permission) I will be handing it off to my friend Jesse Rizuko who will be starting to bike with me.

Another event that is coming up on Saturday March 14th is a bike ride with Mass Bike (www.massbike.org/) it is going to be a fun ride where we will start at the Boston Common and go to Petsi Pie in Somerville (www.petsipies.com/). If anybody would like to come, click HERE and contact Shane at shane@massbike.org. Please join a couple of my other friends and myself on a new pie adventure (I say new because I have gone on other pie adventures if you look at my previous posts).

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 10.61 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 60 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 21 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 157.19 Miles

My Local Bike Shop




Day 20 - 3/3/09

Have you ever felt a feeling of completeness? Something felt when you find your one true love, a really good friend, your perfect house. A sense of everything is right in the world. Well I experienced that feeling when I stepped into Harris Cyclery and had an hour and a half talk with A.J. I have found my local bike shop! Harris Cyclery (1353 Washington St. (Route 16) West Newton, MA 02465)

My trip to the store was not going to be a very long one, it was about 5 miles away but what I didn’t realize was the route that I chose was strait up a lovely little hill called Mt. Ida. The roads went from fairly flat to 50-degree incline (or something like that). Needless to say I was huffing and puffing (this time there was no glue ☺). I reached the top of the hill and realized that I could have easily just took the next road over and it would have taken me conveniently around this bump in my trip…oh well, what goes up must come down, and I flew down the other side of Mt. Ida like it was my job.

Arriving at Harris Cyclery was nice. I walked in and the shop was covered with bikes… they all looked beautiful and I wanted to ride them all. The bikes went from reclining bikes that you lay down on and the pedals are in front of you to high performance race bikes to Bike Fridays. There were two people in the back working on bikes and there was one guy at the register. Not 30 seconds into my exploring the shop I hear a voice “hey man, can I help you out” (not exact quote, I hope he wont sew). It was my soon to be bike mentor A.J. (that’s right A.J. our relationship has jump to the next level… intimidated yet?) I told him that I have this crazy idea where I plan on getting on a bike and peddling that machine 3,700 miles to San Diego for 2 months and I need as much information as I can get. After him telling me that I am some kind of crazy (thank you) he proceeds to tell me all about bicycles. From the frame building to the handlebars to the shorts that you need to wear but don’t want to be caught in at a bar. He showed me the shops tour bikes that were in my budget. They were the Jamis Aurora Touring bike and the Surly Long Haul Trucker. There were others that he showed me, such as the Bike Friday (the Folding Bikes) and the Waterford but those were either not my taste or way out of my price range (although I really do want a Bike Friday when I am able to afford another bike). I took notes on everything he said and became more and more excited with every new bit of information I received. I was a student again and this class is my favorite. A.J. and I exchanged information and Not only am I going to be buying a bike from this place but A.J. suggested that I could get some training on bike maintenance from him also…this was exactly what I wanted.

After my stay at the bike shop I left in a daze and a Boston Bike map (which shows all the routes that are safe for bikers) my mind was full of information and I was re energized about my trip. I started biking back to my place (the not so hilly way) and decided to stop at this wonderful pizza shop called SWEET TOMATOES (1279 Washington St. W. Newton, MA 0465). It is a great little place on the corner of a block. It was a clean modern hangout with great pizza ranging from traditional to a white three cheese pizza (which was fantastic). I got my two slices and took my time to study my new map and see what adventures await me. I was complete. My stomach was being filled, I have taken another step in my bike adventure and the day was beautiful. I wouldn’t say that I could die now but my mind was clear and everything was right with the world (and still is).

Note about Pictures. they are coming I have lost my cord to connect my camera to my computer...so they are coming.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 12 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 90 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 20 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 146.58 Miles

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Cards, New Cameras, New Bike!


Day 19(2) – 2/24/09 + 2/25/09

The weather was great then the one-day I was able to actually go biking snowfalls like that’s its job. Well I have to say it does make me sad that getting on my bike is dangerous, but I can’t be too sad because these last couple of days have been very productive for the planning stages of my trip. I have received my business cards so it is easier to tell people about my blog (www.vistaprint.com) and I have received some funding to buy a new bike! This trip is really coming around. I have been looking at bikes of all different brands. The ones that have peeked my interest so far has been Fuji bikes (www.fujibikes.com), and Bike Fridays (www.bikefriday.com) and there are many more that I haven’t checked out yet. The fuji bike is probably no what I am going to go with, I just like the look and the name but I think fuji focuses on race bikes more and I don’t need a race bike. Bike Fridays are a very interesting type of bike. I was told about them by my mom (Kathy) because when she biked across the country for her 50th (that’s right she did it!), one of the women that she was riding with is now continuing to bike all around the world using a Bike Friday. It is a folding bike that has a high amount of gears so it can counteract the size of the wheels and then the case that the bike folds up into, after getting off the plan in, I don’t know…New Zealand, you can just use it as a trailer to store your travel goods. This bike really interests me, it’s the right price $999, it is specifically designed for what I want to do, it would be very useful in the future after my trip across the country, but there is just something that bothers me about the size of the wheels. I feel as though no matter how many gears you add, the amount of energy you exert will still be greater than if you had larger wheels. I could be wrong but it just doesn’t feel right. I looked at some reviews and they said that the bike is fantastic and the only down side is that when going up hills the speed is slower and also the amount of shock that gets absorbed by the wheels is significantly less than a larger wheel type. There is a bike shop not far away from my apartment called Harris Cyclery (www.HarrisCyclery.com) this shop has several Bike Fridays so I was going to go check it out and see what I’m missing out on. I am going to continue to keep looking and researching for the best bike for me and then I will get it…ride it, and well obsess over it.

So along with this exiting news of finances for my bike I have been doing some research on cameras and storage devices. I went to Boston camera (which is a rental place) and asked around about lipstick camera…which are called that because they look like a tube of lipstick….I was told to check out Rule (S/P) in Watertown because they could definitely advise me on more details about what I am going to want to get the picture that I want. I plan on having 3 cameras. I would have one lipstick on my bike, one in my parents RV (to capture their day to day activity), and one HD camera that I can use to capture locations that I stop at. I would store these to a hard drive and upload them to a server so Cody my friend/producer can start editing the footage together so we can release the documentary in sections as I travel. This style of creation will allow for people to interact with me through the Internet and in person and be directly involved in the documentary and my trip.

I keep looking outside while I am writing this and saying to my self I can get on my bike in that amazing wind and small pellets of snow…. I probably shouldn’t though. Well I will just continue to plan my trip and keep you all up to date on my next adventures.

P.S. There is a Facebook fan page names “Against the Wind” please join it and help support me and the documentary. Thank you all.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 5 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 25 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 19 hrs 20 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 134.58 Miles

Friday, February 27, 2009

Forecast: Very Windy with a Chance of…KICK ASS

Day 18 – 2/23/09

I have become an addict. I am willing to admit this because…well I am addicted to bicycling. I am glad I have come to this realization because I think I would have to be addicted to be able to bike 3,000 miles in one trip. This last weekend I have biked a total of 55.82 miles. I am going to be taking a break today just to let my muscles heal but man am I itching to do a longer ride.

My trip started in Brookline like all of them have been so far. I went over the route that I chose on Google maps. I checked the forecast for the day and to my surprise (sarcasm) it was very heavy winds. This did not discourage me it actually exited me. I have wanted a challenge, because so far my rides (even the one on Saturday) have been pretty straightforward and simple. So I wanted to have to deal with the elements and really work for my goal.

I finally decided to invest in some glasses for the sun and the wind, so I went to City Sports and purchased TIFOSI Slip model glasses. They have interchangeable lenses and they are really comfortable. They were $50, which was a good price considering I was expecting to pay around $100. I was planning on doing some more research before I bought glasses but I needed them that day and they have a 30 day return policy so if they didn’t work or I find something better I could exchange them. The different lenses are, sunglasses, yellow glasses (for snow or low light), clear (for night), and some blue/orange lenses that I am unsure what they are for but look really cool.

I set off on my adventure to Lowell. I was estimating around a 4 hour ride, with wind and some pretty cold temperatures. What I ended up with was a 4 hour 45 minute ride, a lot of wind and two frozen feet. It was so worth it though, because when I pulled up to my destination (Lara’s Apartment) I felt as though I had worked my ass off, that I had taken on a big task and achieved that task without complaints. I had road my bike for almost 5 hours in one day and I was still not tired of riding. The only part of my body that took any damage were my feet (which for some reason I cannot keep warm for the life of me) I had lost feeling in them about ¾ of the way through my ride because of the wind and the occasional puddle splash.

The trip went through, Allston, Watertown, Waverl(e)y, Belmont, Lexington, Bedford, Billerica, North Billerica, and finally Lowell. I got to race through the first part because I had already gone to Lexington so I knew the route. Once I passed Lexington it was constant up hill climes all the way to Lowell. The sun had set and I was pushing through. Some times the wind would hit me and push my bike and myself to the side, it was an amazing experience. There was so much history that I past that I am sure I could keep biking up and down that same route and continue to find new and interesting things.

While I was riding this time I continued to feel an excitement and an attachment to bicycling. I became more and more comfortable with my abilities on my bike and I loved feeling the air on my face and having the freedom that a bike allowed me to have such as squeezing through small spaces, stopping where ever I would like, and to really feel the road and the environment around me.

The minuteman trail goes right through Lexington and when the ice melts away I plan to ride the 10 mile path and take in all the history it has to offer.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 25.9 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 4hr 45 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 18 hrs 55 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 129.58 Miles

Emotional Biking and My 100 Mile Goal

Day 17 – 2/22/09

Having a semi long-term goal has really helped me organize my life and stay motivated to continue to do more. This bike ride has given me the focus that I need to keep from wallowing in my own sadness and misery…(dramatic I know).

On Sunday I woke up early in the morning feeling a bit down. Not about anything in specific, just not a chipper as I have been lately. I think I was worrying about financial things (which I do way to much, which I shouldn’t do) anyways… I get out of bed thinking to myself that I really don’t want to put on all my cloths, the many layers of sweatshirts and pants to go ride around Brookline. So I sat there in bed with the sheets half on me and half on the floor, my hair doing its thing, going in every direction, and I took some deep breaths. I don’t like suppressing my feelings so I was trying to just not let them overwhelm me. After a couple breaths I put my head in my hands and thought about what getting on the bike means to me. The Big Picture: Training for my trip across country, it is exercise (which is always good), and it’s a constant challenge that I hope to concur. The Small Picture: It will help me work with my emotions, it will wake me up, and it will push me over 100 miles worth of training (which is the goal that I set for today)! After that little check in I stood up, started putting on my cloths, grabbed my bike and headed out.

The trip was short, just to the JP ponds and back. I really only needed 6.02 miles to get to 100 so I figured that would be good enough. While I was peddling I found my self being very aggressive with the bike, taking my turns sharper, every stroke of the peddle was a bit more defined rather than the constant smooth circle that it usually was. The emotions that I had inside were coming out through my technique. This didn’t bother me; it just was a different experience than what I am used to. Once I got to the JP loop I was bolting around the path, passing people left and right jumping over tree roots and sidewalk imperfections. As I was coming around the pond for a second time this couple and their kid started shouting at me, “This isn’t the bike path!, This is NOT the bike path!” They were frustrated with me; I could hear it in their voices. I felt a surge of anger which was pushing me to just say “screw it” and keep on riding but I knew that that was not what I wanted to do, so I slowed down, turned around (which I don’t think they were expecting) and asked them where the bike path was. After a second of their astonishment that I cared where I was biking they pointed about 20 feet away at another path. I said thank you and headed to the bike path. This incident for some reason cleansed me of my frustrations and anger and sadness. I got on the bike path and my feet were rotating the wheels in a constant motion and I was paying attention to everything all-around me instead of just the immediate 10 feet. Being forced to look at my actions strait in the face and say “I don’t like what they do to me”, gave me the control to focus and enjoy the rest of the ride.

After the trip I worked at Eureka for a couple of hours and then had my Oscar party. The Oscars were fantastic and Slumdog millionaire as I and the rest of the world predicted swept the academy. Some very close friends were there and some new people that I now consider friends were there and I was happy. I had achieved my goal of 100 miles (103.68 to be exact) and I was with good people and good entertainment (go Hugh Jackman sing that song!). Paying attention to the bigger picture, the bigger goal of my bike ride and documentary allows me to stay focused and attentive to the life that is happening around me at this moment. Because after all this trip is for me to reconnect with my country, my family, and my self, and I cant do that if I am only looking 10 feet ahead.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 8.72 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 55 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 14 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 103.68 Miles

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Adventure to Candy Castle

Day 16 – 2/21/09

Asking the question, where should I ride? Has yet to bring in any crazy locations but I did get a random one from my friend Cody Fitch. I asked him my travel question and he said I should go to Lexington, MA. I asked him why and he responded, “you asked me and I found a place near by.” Well Cody has always been strait forward and I thank him for that.

Lexington ended up being a great place to bike to. My adventures took me to a place called Candy Castle (1853 Massachusetts Ave Lexington, MA 02420) where all your dreams come true. It is a local candy store that makes its own fudge and sells candy from runtz to saltwater taffy, to the sour powder you can fill straws with. It was a very nice place to visit and the girl that I met working there (Hayley) recommended that I get a chocolate truffle with caramel in the center. (fantastic choice Hayley). After arriving at Lexington I was starving and the gentleman that owned the Candy Castle told me that the restaurant that was uniquely Lexington was MARIOS (1733 Massachusetts Ave Lexington, MA 02420). It was fantastic. I missed it on the way into town because it is a small door and a small window. The restaurant inside is everything you think a place called Mario’s would be. The red checkered table cloths, dimly lit, with the smell of sausage and garlic filling the air. I walked in at about 1:30 and the place was packed so I knew I was in the right spot. There were people from all different walks of life. There was the dad with his suns that asked questions about everything, the mother and daughter that never said a word to each other, the elderly couple that have been coming to this place for years, and the motorcyclists that are there to eat their pasta and chat till they feel the urge to move on to there next location. I felt right at home. The menu was simple. What pasta, sub, or pizza do you want? Meat, cheese, or plain? I got an eggplant sub with red sauce and cheese. It was delish! The cheese oozed out of the sub each time I bit into it and the red sauce, which must have been a family secret because of the seasoning, was just out of this world. It complemented everything and did not overpower anything.

After my satisfying meal I went back to Candy Castle to pick up those chocolate caramels and headed back to Brookline. The trip took me 3 hours and was well worth the ride. I am going to be traveling through here for my trip to Lowell and I will be happy to see Lexington once more.

(Pictures will be coming I am just having some trouble transferring my photos to my computer)

P.S. There is a face book group now that everybody should become fans of. type in "Against the wind" in the search menu and it should come up or you can go to my profile and find it from there.

Thank you.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 21.2 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 3hr 5 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 13 hrs 15 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 94.96 Miles

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Feeling at Home on the Bike

Day 15 – 02/18/09

I just came up with my new phrase for training days like these. The uphill hustle. Cheesy I know, but that is what is seems like. On days like today when I don’t have very much time but want to get in a ride that I can call a work out, I have started just going biking strait for the hills. So the small amount of time that I am on the bike my legs are in over drive and getting a nice burn. My trip was to my friend Devon’s house, just off of Washington St. It was a nice ride, I was twisting and turning up the hill and then my cell phone alarm started going off and I really didn’t want to stop riding because I was so close to the top of the hill. But unfortunately I had to turn around and go back to my apartment. The time went by so fast…its nice having that feeling. That feeling that I don’t want to get off my bike, that I feel at home on it, that I feel as though I can ride for hours. I know when I did my 1.5 hour ride to Stoneham I felt as though I could continue to ride for hours more. Having this feeling has put into my head the idea of riding to Lowell. This ride should take me around 3 hours and I am going to be doing it on Monday the 23rd of February. This will be great. It is the first day that I have completely off (no rehearsals or work, just a day with my self and my bike!). I think that it will be a nice comfortable ride with plenty of things to see and do. Plus I will end up in Lowell with Lara, which is always nice. For the planning of the trip I have been watching the weather. So far it seems as though it will be a bit windy (hooray) and the temperature will be around 30-40 degrees (not bad if I do say so my self). I am going to be checking out the maps for the next couple of days so I can make sure to stay off highways and be able to have a safe enjoyable ride.
Saturday I am going to go on a medium length ride to….I don’t know where. I will figure it out when I get up that morning. I am sure that it will have lots of good things to see and write about.

All right so I would like to start opening my rides up to other’s ideas. So if you have an idea of a place that you would like me to ride to or have a suggestion on a type of destination that you think would be interesting to hear about, just make a comment on this blog and I will do that ride (if humanly possible). I want all sorts of ideas so let me have them. This is something that I want to incorporate in to my ride across the country also because I want you to let me know about places that you have been or would like to hear about all across the country and I will see if I can do them.

I have 26.24 miles to go before the end of Sunday and my 100 mile dead line.

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 2.23 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 20 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 10 hrs 10 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 73.76 Miles

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Assuming Pie = Pi


Day 14 – 2/17/09

“I’m going to make a pie!” Says the little kid with red and yellow blocks. “What kind of pie?” I asked. “The Greek letter pi!” the little kid says with a serious look on his face.

I had this conversation today during my layover on my bike ride. Of course the kid would make the Greek letter pi, isn’t that what every 4 year old means when he/she say Pie/pi? How silly of me to assume….

My ride today was quick and easy, to Allston and back to my apartment. I have gotten in the groove of riding on Harvard St. I just needed to build up some confidence and get my bike into the lane that I want to be in. (the intersection of Harvard and Brighten still gets me a bit though) I have had a conversation with another cross country biker veteran. His name is Sean (or Shawn) he talked to me about his ride across the northern part of the country with his friends working on AIDs awareness. He gave me some great tips on who to contact while traveling. He said that I should contact alumni from my college because they are probably scattered across the country and are usually willing and able to house someone for the night. I really had not thought about that but hey that’s why I am doing my research. I also got a great story from Sean. While he was in Wyoming he and his buddies had run out of water so they decided to go to this small town that they found on the map. When they arrived the town turned out to be a single bar that only had whisky! So as far as their problem water there was not a fix but hey they eventually got a coke out of it (which helped allot).
When I was riding back, after making my favorite pi, I was thinking about how people assume so much. Like my assumption with Oliver (the 4 year old) and things about everyday life. Assuming that one family’s rules for their house, are the same as yours, is a common one that I have run into. I grew up with a pretty open door policy with friends coming over. People would come over to watch movies, play games at really any time and it was great! Everybody was always welcome to get food or drinks from the fridge and they could have as much as they wanted. Now I’m not saying that when I go over to somebody’s house I just rummage through their cupboards looking for anything I want and taking it, I just simply expect when people come over to my place they know that they can take what ever they want and not have to worry about inconveniencing me. I have always felt as though people wont take advantage of that, but for some reason people do, I guess (I really haven’t met anyone that does do that but I hear they are out there) When ever I hear the word assume that silly phrase always runs through my head “assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME”. I guess I thought it was a funny way of learning how to spell the word, but I think that, to assume the worse out of people or things is what really applies to that phrase. I simply assume that people are trust worthy and that they mean no harm. Whether that makes me naïve, I don’t really care, it has worked well for me so far in my life. Now in the case of the assumption of the Pie vs. Pi, I don’t think there really was any negative assumption going on, but what assuming did cause was a narrow-minded thought process. Assuming that the only pie that Oliver could be talking about was a cherry pie, limited my possibility of thinking outside the box and seeing all the variations that could be there. I think that I simply need to assume that there are always going to be different ways of thinking about everything no matter which way you slice the pi.

P.S. Yes the color planks used to create pi were symmetrical also....what a kid, right?

TOTAL DISTANCE FOR DAY (TDD) : 3.4 miles
TOTAL TIME FOR THE DAY (TTD) : 15 min

TOTAL TIME TRAINING: 9 hrs 50 min
TOTAL DISTANCE TRAVELED: 71.53 Miles