A happy hello to all of my faithful super-fans! (I think there are 5 of you subscribed to the blog). Firstly, and as always, thank you for your support of the ride. Now we are one week out from the start of the adventure and I thought I would take a couple of minutes to update you on the preparations.
As you will have seen in my e-mail earlier this week, we have gone past twice the original money goal and are on the brink of hitting the 125 donation mark as well. Hurrah! I also picked up my first “corporate” sponsor. For as long as I have lived in my house there has been this guy who runs through the neighborhood everyday and carries a bag to pick up any trash that he sees along the way. I had always been impressed both by his athletic dedication and his civic-mindedness. Over the years we had struck up a conversation and discovered among other things that we are both from Vermont and are both proud graduates of UVM where he was a top skier. Chris is now a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering at WPI who does very interesting work in materials science, especially in sports applications. It turns out his sons have been developing a business that creates sports nutrition products (think gels, and bars) that are based on a perfect source of natural carbs–maple syrup. He was kind enough to ask them to send me some of their products, which I will be taking with me on my ride. The company is called Untapped and after using the slope side waffles and maple syrup packs in my water bottles on training rides, I can attest that they are both yummy and helpful in fueling long distance rides. Although not really a weight-weenie like I was back when I did some racing, I still have to think about what is worth taking with me from a benefit/weight ratio and these guys are coming with me. Thank you Untapped and Chris!
Speaking of training and packing, those are things that I have been doing quite a bit these days. I have been out on my bike doing lots of 40-50 mile rides in the area. I have been biking central mass for 15 years but almost always manage to find a new corner to explore. He is where I had my lunch the other day at Asnacomet pond. Not too shabby.
For that ride I had packed everything just as I plan to have it on the road to give the setup a good shakedown. I did 50+ miles trying to approximate a normal day on the road. Even though my average mileage will be closer to 65, I figure that central Ma will be the hilliest terrain I will encounter on the ride so should equate more or less to more flatter miles in terms of length and energy expenditure. Each time I do one of these trial rides a couple of small details are clarified and a tweak my setup. Here of the bike fully packed.
And here is a shot of about 90% of the items that will be in the final packing cut laid out (missing are my Untapped products, passport, just a handful of sundries)
I am traveling fairly light. The total weight of things not bolted onto the bike is only about 25 lbs. A couple of weeks ago I hosted a biker who was traveling from MA to OR and he had everything and the kitchen sink on his bike, but of course 4500 miles including travel through sparsely populated parts of the country is a different animal. We connected through there warmshowers platform that I have been using to find accommodation as well. I have the first week and a half all figured out between friends and the network.
Also, although I had originally billed this as a ride from Boston to St. Cloud, I have decided to move the starting point just a bit. It is not so much about the distance, but more about the significance. Wednesday I plan to bike to Westborough, Ma to start in the town where Becky both grew up and is buried. That has more meaning than starting in Beantown.
Thanks for reading! The next episode will likely be the first day on the road.