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Another Great Adventure with Courtney & Natalie On a Quad!!
CANDISC is a bicycle tour hosted by North Dakota's Parks and Recreation department. The running of the 2010 event is our fourth consecutive participation with the first two ridden on a triplet with Courtney. The past two years we have enjoyed riding the Quad with both Courtney and Natalie.
Somewhere in eastern IA - the ball of fire! Too bad the picture does not do it justice!
Saturday July 31, 2010 DAY 0 - THE DRIVE AND ARRIVAL!
City to Garrison, ND
00.00 Miles, 00.00 Average, 0:00, 00.0 Max
|BACK SEAT DRIVERS!||THE GENIUS USING SMARTICLE PARTICLES!||JULIE AUDITIONING!|
We were running ahead of schedule compared to last year, for once. Maybe it's the new GPS staying in the red zone. Where's the radar detector? We'll blame it on the tailwind, something sorely needed for a 282,000 mile six cylinder 28 year old van to get down the road.
Huh? Who's disturbing my sleep?
Getting worked up over tomorrow's 79 mile ride, or should I say getting psyched up!?
Working late putting this together, or at least the very start of it.
It all seems to take an incredible amount of time recording these memories but at least they won't be lost forever. Seems like I said that before!
Sunday August 1, 2010 DAY 1
72.2 Miles, 4:14, 17.0 Average, 35.0 Max
have been easy to over-sleep in the darkness provided by the well curtained motel east window
and the fact that it gets light here at a much later time being this far north
and west as
compared to home.
As we went through our morning preparations we kept a watchful eye on the clock. We loaded everything back into the van after a final check of the weather via our internet connection.
As we drove towards the state park we noted many riders devouring the catered breakfast served in town. Only a few seemed to be riding towards town meaning that we were either way behind or everyone was on an earlier schedule this year.
We parked the van at Fort Stevenson State Park and managed to climb aboard the quad at 8:25.
In very short order my old nemesis, a right muscle hip pain, reared its ugly head. The muscle spasm prevents me from lifting the leg up towards the top of the pedal stroke. It is the result of all that darned sitting that goes with 900+ miles of driving. History has shown that if I continue riding with the hope of it working out, that the effort will finish me off to the point I am off of the bike for about 3 days.
The muscle was tightening up so quickly that I clipped out and continued to ride with one leg. Courtney was heard to say, "What the heck?!' It was a concern for all, to say the least. Reaching the town of Garrison and having breakfast was a made to order and strategically timed for my progressing condition. The muscle needed a chance to relax!
Breakfast was over before our arrival but they waved us in anyway saying they had been looking for us. They promised to cook us some food and their hospitality is not to be forgotten! The scrambled eggs laced with ham along with fresh fruit, orange juice, coffee, and muffins were awesome. Thanks!!
We returned to the motel and made final preparations which provided another break from riding so my hip could calm down further. As a joke, we tied a roll of t.p. on the top of the pack before heading out much to the chagrin of some. Incidentally, after an entire week of riding, not a single person remarked about the roll of t.p. adorning our pack!
Once out riding my hip would seize up anytime I would push very hard on the pedal so the one leg enjoyed a light free spin. After an hour all was doing much better and any concerns of being incapacitated for the ride were diminishing and soon to be forgotten. We turned north and enjoyed the cross tailwind. Yes, you read that one right. A tailwind with us on the quad on a bike tour is something to be treasured.
The weather was perfect with our start in the low 70's, the kind of temps that feel cool in the shade and warm in the sun. The bugs were bad this year with many flies of different sizes and varieties bombing us, and the bees were there too with an increased concentration of their presence certainly noted in the areas containing bee boxes. Duh! I was being hit in the face and arm by dragonflies and other flies. A bee bounced off my cheek, landed on my short covered left thigh and stung me. We were wondering if my white helmet was attracting them. Speaking of helmets, we try to match and somehow the newer white helmet was packed rather then the matching red white and blue one.
We blew the first sag and stopped at the second having only passed 7 slow riders, close to a record low for us. They offered us orange juice, muffins and water.
The stop and added nutrition helped us quite a bit. We were now catching a few other riders, which usually motivates and entertains the kids. Announcing that we are coming up on one causes them to peak around to verify the proximity. Coaxing them into picking up the speed with the light tailwind was easy. Announcing the mph spurs them on too. We are at 23, 24, 25, 26, 26.5, 27, pause, 27.5, really long pause, all the way to 32! We sailed by 3 other riders like they were sitting still. And, the girls kept the pace high for a good while never to return to doldrums of before. Rock and Roll!
Hilary, the park ranger, passed us pulling one of the porta-potties. We decided that drafting this vehicle was not a very good thing to be doing. Slosh, slosh!
A grain elevator on the edge of town was under demolition, a spectacle offered to be viewed by the town's people. Everyone was very hospitable. We checked out the main drag which contained a few businesses. The busiest was the local bar obviously, inundated with bike riders.
After setting up camp and showering, we hopped on two golf carts and were taken to town.
We found our luggage and camp gear quite easily given our late arrival. The locals had several golf carts to shuttle people around and provided an ATV with trailer to haul stuff to your campsite. We took advantage of the offering.
We ordered pizza at the local bar and the girls played pool. We were informed after 45 minutes that no one was allowed in the place under 21. Strange given it was on our 3rd CANDISC event that someone finally said something about it being a law, one that must have been mostly overlooked before.
.....pants on the ground, pants on the ground, PULL em up!
We've since learned that whether kids are allowed inside certain establishments is based on the food and alcohol sales ratio as to whether the business is considered to be a restaurant or drinking establishment. Even grill and bars fall under this guise even when having a sign calling themselves a restaurant!
We enjoyed our pizza and Cerveza on the patio outside of the business proper, which kept the proprietor happy and out of legal trouble.
Natalie found another bell to ring on the way back to the school. It was loud!
The girls sold bike pins while wearing wireless intercoms. It was fun for them adding a covert 'I spy' element to their sales efforts. It was a successful and fun night for them aside from a guy who ripped Natalie off taking many of her pins for little money after confusing her.
Playing Penguin Football!
The girls played penguin football for sometime burning off the pizza. The final motivating huddle was to get jammies on and teeth brushed. The fact the sun sets much later here than home makes that a really hard sell.
We tried sitting outside for a while but the mosquitoes found us despite the citronella bands and having the entire town sprayed very recently before our arrival. Trains came through town during the night which did not help one's sleep. And then there were the young guys all camped across the way that drove the ATV's and lifted the luggage for us all. They got very little sleep that night!
Monday August 2, 2010 DAY 2
57.8 miles, 4:00, 14.5 Average, 41.4 Max
62.7 total with extra miles, 1 mile less for Julie & Natalie
Awakened by the 'little one' in the wee hours for a potty call is the way the day started. It was 5:40 with no light in the sky. At home the horizon would have plenty of light at this time of year but that's a in different place for sure. She was ready to get up, and said so. Some bikes appeared to actually be leaving in the pitch black. Unbelievable. Why? IS the question. Others were starting to congregate in the school but food would not start to be served until the presumed 6AM. She was coaxed back to sleep after trudging through the moisture soaked grass. At least the mosquito attacks seemed to have abated.
It was time to look at the watch. Yep, 1 hour to go and we need that much time to get everything on the truck. Today it was to be a very wet load thanks to the heavy dew. Yuck. It means more work drying all the 'stuff' out later in the day.
Breakfast was to be served until 8AM. NOT! It was gone by 7:45, rolled up and put away. Off to the Cennex for ham and cheese biscuits, Arizona Tea, and a 660 calorie muffin for Courtney! What a fat bomb. It had the weight of a hardball!
We hit the road about 8:25, as I recall, with 2 other riders that were pretty speedy making it difficult to pass them. They held their speed and seemed to stay within our grasp for about 10 miles and then dropped off a cliff somewhere never to be seen again. We either had an early morning blow up, I guess, or perhaps it was the unleaded coffee.
So here we were riding with what seemed to be a bit of a headwind with motivated riders cruising along slightly over 20 mph. The sky darkened to the north, a feature of the environment noted by EVERYONE on the bike. Rain stinks... Period... when on a tour and can make or break the day and the RIDE, too.
It started to sprinkle and the air was no longer clear directly in front of us, but it did not look too bad to the west and east. It was getting damp so the executive order of the moment was to pull over and cover up the kids before what seemed to be an imminent downpour that would chill them to the bone. Bringing a frozen specimen of a child back to life tain't no picnic, let me assure you. We've been there and done that, successfully too.
A man walking down the road offered us shelter in a shed, a new large building. We headed that way as the road was getting wetter, as were we. Checking the radar on my phone, which eventually hooked up, proved pointless as it showed nothing. The sun came out and we stripped down for the ride north.
All was good aside from damp roads and the headwind resultant of the front coming through. We were into it another 5 miles when the road became so wet we were throwing a rooster tail of water off of our tires. Riding on the less worn down center of the lane helped keep us dry and our speed up too.
The ride had been really flat up to this point when we spotted one of those signs with a truck standing on its nose. Finally, a butt break, where we can coast, change positions, get weight off of some parts, and add weight to others.
It was an awesome downhill spoiled by the headwind with regard to speed and a RR crossing at the bottom. One thing we never do is pound fast over a RR crossing with a quad and its 700Cx28mm tires. Big, Big bummer it was losing our speed at the bottom of such a nice downhill run. But there was a sag there, strategically placed for our needs and desires of getting off the bike for a bit.
We purchased some ham and cheese sandwiches and egg salad too. There was also Gatorade and Snickers bars that did not go unnoticed. After eating we had to climb back out of the hole we just fell into!
We turned west, and what a struggle it was. There was climbing too and one hill in particular was long and steep. Even though we were on the quad we stayed ahead of the singles we had just passed. Turning south wasn't any better as the slower than normal trudge was wearing. Our average was down from the crosswinds and we were getting tired.
The flies of all kinds, and bees too, were bombing us, swarming us, and circling us. Finally a ramp up of speed gave us some relief.
We came into town and found our motel but had our efforts at drying out all the 'stuff' from last night's dew foiled since a dark cloud that came to visit dumped on us lightly. It was all packed away wet again, loaded onto our trailer, and off we went to the motel.
After checking in and having not had lunch, we went back to the campground which was in a Pioneer Village. Food was not to be served for another 23 minutes and fearing the Pizza joint would be overrun, we chose to wait it out.
The girls sold bike pins and conveniently the guy that seemed to rip Natalie off on the sales the night previous sat down right behind me. Natalie pointed him out and I approached him asking if he purchased 20 from her the night before. That is all that was said and he started to explain saying he owed her money. He made good on it within 10 minutes too.
The girls sold a few more pins, but not as many as the night before. They were tired too which didn't help matters any.
Tomorrow is 92 miles according to the profile sheet. Either way, we are tired and my legs feel like toast. But that's nothing new 2 -3 days into a tour. The others also feel stuff too, for sure, since the time and efforts talk to you! But it's all good and fun particularly with it being one of those priceless shared team experiences.
Tuesday August 3, 2010 DAY 3
94.5 miles, 7:09, 13.5 Average, 33.8 Max
The clock showed 7:10AM, very early at least mentally. The third day on a tour is rather telling on many. As one rider put it, we were to meet later in the day, anything that could be kicked in my body, felt like it had been kicked. I'm not so sure we were too different. [It seems this rider disappeared to never be seen again the rest of the tour.]
The motel provided some basic cereal, milk, English muffins and peanut butter. Guess what the kids picked? Cocoa Puffs! Oh well, back to nutrition school.
We arrived at the truck less than 5 minutes before the departure time. Hilary appeared well rested and had everything under control having the previous year's experience under her belt. She related that there was approximately 350 people this year on the ride, down a bit from the most recent years.
HILARY TOOK OUR PICTURE BEFORE WE ALL TOOK OFF THAT MORNING
Leaving town we had a big downhill but had two, yes two, RR tracks to contend with. What a waste of energy. And we had the following uphill that provided our warm-up. We recalled the big spike representing this hill at the beginning of the ride on our route profile sheet.
We were to head west most of the 92 mile day and the early morning weather check revealed west winds. We seemingly crawled down the road to the first sag, one we usually blow, but not today. It was a relief to get off the bike as the early miles and the drudgery were a bit tedious. Julie and I both thought, this is going to take all day unless a bit of motivation kicks in!
All but Courtney got a ham and cheese sandwich while she opted for a muffin. We also enjoyed the hard boiled eggs and they had soda pop too. The kids asked about Mountain Dew something they have been deprived of all their life. They shared a can and no doubt the caffeine woke them up a bit.
I told everyone how far we had to go and based on the rate of speed with the wind holding us back concluding with the time we would arrive at our current pace. That combined with the Mountain Dew must have done something for us as we left climbing hills faster than we had previously been going on the flat.
The sags seemed perfectly spaced for us with the wind conditions and at 32 or so miles we needed to get off again. More ham and cheese sandwiches and whatever else they had was in order.
The local Lutheran church sponsored this one held at the High School. It was a free will sag. We started to leave and discovered the rear tire was completely flat resultant of a sharp piece of rock. It had pierced the 'new' tire with a wide enough slit that it would damage a new tube, eventually.
We patched the tire, and the tube, and positioned the tube so its patch lined up with the now patched tire defect. Checking the musical tones between the front and rear tire we finally attained the right pressure with our measly hand pump. No foot pump was available at the sag.
NATALIE BEING A BIT CONCERNED
We missed the next sag thinking it was just a potty stop with 2 jugs of water. It would have been best to stop if we realized there was something else available there, but we had no way of knowing. We proceeded on and within 5 miles it became apparent that a rest was needed.
Trudging on we finally made it the next real sag, the "23 Hooters" sag and enjoyed more ham and cheese, the 2 last Cokes, Gatorade and other miscellaneous items.
We had a short run west before turning north but the turn was about 2 miles further than indicated on the map. We checked the route profile seeking some encouragement at the last sag and it showed the route gently rolling downhill to our destination.
We turned north with 23 miles to go to Crosby. The wind was less of a problem and the lightly rolling terrain provided coast and butt break points. We were in pretty good shape given the way the day started and the distance traveled. The awesome scenery and drier air than we are accustomed to helps!
MANY NEW OIL WELL OPERATIONS
FIREBALL FLAME BURNS OFF SECONDARY GAS
Off to the north the sky darkened and streaks of moisture laden air could be seen. We rode towards it and finally felt sprinkles, large sprinkles, that gradually dampened the road. The temperature dropped about 10 degrees and the wind turned into our face slowing us. Natalie remarked about getting cold and how large the rain drop was that hit her "elbow pit"!
The rain quit as we rolled into Crosby and headed straight to the motel asking our way from the locals. After checking in we rode back to the Pioneer Village (they seem to be in abundance in ND) and located our previously rain soaked bags. Many had arrived before us but a surprising number were searching through bags and setting up tents along with many yet to be claimed bags.
We loaded up the trailer, rode back to the motel and while all showered I toured the town for dinner options and refreshments. Everything we needed was right here with a restaurant, liquor store, pool tables and lodging.
Dinner took a while even with helping get menus, silverware, drinks, etc. but it was all good. The girls snacked from the salad bar and played pool, which kept them pleasantly occupied.
They managed to make it to bed during this full day by 10PM. Tomorrow is to be shorter but the weather plays a larger roll than any other factor, all things considered.
Wednesday August 4, 2010 DAY 4
58.0 miles, 3:15, 19.6 Average, 30.6 Max
We awakened to a westerly wind which was a good thing given our route was mainly east with a very few miles of south. Oh goodie! A tailwind! Oh goodie! A short day! Our day was to be only 58 miles and it appeared to be one that would be relatively flat and with a tailwind, too. It is a day for some rewards!!
We loaded up 'BoB' and arrived at the school with 2 minutes to spare. All was loaded onto the already closed trailer that was at 99% capacity.
The local old time 'gas station' was open and had microwavable breakfast biscuits and croissants. Courtney always seems to opt for the muffins. At least this one was only 400 calories compared to yesterday's 660 fat bomb!
Our legs were sore and tired from yesterday's 7 hour effort into the wind but we managed to get into a rhythm and rolled consistently between 21 and 23.5 miles per hour, for miles. We pedaled right past the first sag but felt a strong need to get off the bike by the 34 mile point 2nd sag. The free will sag hosted PB&J, PowerAde, bananas, chocolate covered rice cages, and trail mix. We caught several people at this sag but most had left by the time we were ready to move on.
The trucks passing us on sections where there was no shoulder and a very rough rumble strip proved to be a bit scary. We had two trucks pass way too close with no margin for safety should something go wrong or should there be a rider with questionable handling skills. We flagged down the Sheriff's car diligently patrolling our route and shared what had happened. He made a U-turn, floored it and turned on his lights. We never did see the truck with an oversize load sign being pulled over.
We turned south and lost our wind advantage and had a gradual climb that dropped our average from 20.1 to 19.6 as we rolled into Bowbells.
All luggage was at the city park lining the curb. We were surprised at the number of bags yet to be claimed while the park looked to be full of tents already. They would be really crammed in on this evening.
We found a spot next to a hedgerow and swimming pool fence to setup camp. The pool was under renovation construction so the kids were out of luck on this one.
We walked to the school and enjoyed a very cold shower and did laundry.
Lunch was the next dilemma given they were burgers and brats. We looked for non red meat and high fat alternatives and found them lacking. Given there was no other choice, 3 brats were ordered and all was devoured. Usually there is food left over!
The kids went to fetch one for me and were told they were all sold out! Hmmm.. Time for some Mountain Dew! An hour later I headed to the tiny quick shop, bought a sandwich and came back with some ice.
The kids roamed the park, played on the various equipment, sold a few bike pins and generally relaxed.
We all had an enjoyable afternoon as we were able to get everything done with a couple of hours to spare thanks to this shorter day and the tailwind.
We learned that Jackie's Cafe was to open at 5 and made it there by 6. It was out of town and had a few people in there. It was to be 1 hour, and they were right. Courtney ordered a mini bbq chicken and it turned out to be fried with bbq sauce on top! Yuck!! The rest of us enjoyed petit portions of grilled chicken and lettuce with sprinkled cheese and dressing, not much of a salad. The prices were high and the experience paled compared to last nights, which was a good value.
After the kids put away the now dry laundry they coaxed Julie into another game of penguin football!
Thursday August 5, 2010 DAY 5
69.4 miles, 3:45, 19.3 Average, 46.6 Max
We were late getting rolling this morning (sound familiar!) and with loading our stuff onto the truck it was a bit after 8PM. Off in the distance we heard the truck start and sent the girls running across the park with their roller bags to make sure they knew we were still here. All was loaded up and off to the quickie shop for breakfast.
We rolled out onto the route at 9AM enjoying a reasonably good push from the northwesterly wind. We stopped at the first sag which was only 15 or so miles out and riding at over 20 mph it did not take us long to get there.
COURTNEY VERY HAPPY WITH HER NEW BUFFALO!
The lunch sag was hosted by a buffalo association that due to its placement that early on the route should have been our breakfast. We did not know they were having main staples otherwise we would probably have held off eating breakfast. But then wonders if they are able to hold down a fairly heavy meal while in the middle of a ride!
We enjoyed a couple of really good down hills too hitting 46.6 mph!
The next sag was where we turned south and the cross tailwind did not seem to help but actually hinder compared to non wind days. A strong Canadian rider, whom we talked with later, came by working with someone else. We jumped on and they towed us for about 10 miles.
The pace was about 1/2 mph too high for us and eventually we dropped off but only after being pulled through the area we needed the most help.
Turning east again and then south with a short stint to the east, took us to our destination.
The Lion's Club greeted us and provided directions and information. Various groups and businesses hosted lunch serving up brats, taco bars, hamburgers, and pulled pork sandwiches thus providing a good selection. All the locals were very friendly and helpful and the community at large seemed to be behind CANDISC in many ways.
We enjoyed the pork sandwiches and set up the tents behind a church 2 blocks away.
Eventually we headed to the shower facilities located at a school 3 or 4 blocks away. The kids spotted a set of slides and climbed up the ladders without hesitation.
Friday August 6, 2010 DAY 6
66.4 miles, 4:32, 14.9 Average, 38.0 Max
My watch reset during the night having picked up the signal from CO. It was an hour off being on standard time so the daylight coming in the tent did not agree with the expected perception.
A friendly street vendor cooked up some egg and cheese sandwiches on her grill while the woman who owned the bar continued to show excitement and enthusiasm for the event. We were told that the preachers, bar people and others were all on board for CANDISC and it was highly evident by the great reception they provided for the riders. No doubt this town will win the CANDISC vote for the best hosting community. They have our vote!
We actually started amongst some of the last riders and were able to see people. We rode past Minot Air Force Base, and eventually into a portion of Minot. There was long descent in town that required us to burn the disc brake considerably with the road being rough and potential interference from intersections. We skipped all of the sags up to this point but found a quick shop at the bottom of the really steep hill. Natalie slipped on the slopped pavement trying to get around her sister to be first at something. She banged her knee on the pavement pretty good as she slid partially under a parked car. Not good.
We climbed out of what seemed like a basin. After a good bit we were somewhat desperately looking for a sag and after fighting the light wind and the constant but gradual climbs with an occasional stair step, we reached one after 23 miles. We were surprised to find only 'bad' water and a porta-potty.
The next real sag, upon inspection of the fine print on our map revealed a huge deviation from the nearly week long pattern. It showed the next sag to be another 10 miles down the road. Thankfully we had a couple of bruised bananas, a package of crackers and some water on board.
We rolled on and found the next real sag in only 4 miles placed far sooner than the map indicated!
Never mind, we were glad to see it!! We enjoyed the small sandwiches and Gatorade which carried us on in.
We camped in a baseball field out near the fence. Our gear was shuttled via kids driving 4 wheelers. There is a 50% chance of storms with large hail tonight so we'll see how the right field treats us!
The kids went swimming and they watched a show with toy horses doing tricks.
That evening the town had a singing group provide the entertainment.
Saturday August 7, 2010 DAY 7
46.2 miles, 2:37, 18.4 Average, 40.0 Max
We slept through some thunderstorms last night true to the 50% forecast.
The catered breakfast was nothing special but it got us on the road and we were well prepared for our 43 mile ride.
The sunflowers were facing the morning sun creating a picturesque scene. The terrain was lightly rolling with little to no wind so we made good time.
Sags were spaced close but we took advantage of leaving last and skipped every one of them.
Skipping the sags plus Julie's mindset of time-trialing 'the thing on in' and getting the kids onboard most of the time during the effort allowed us to arrive in Garrison in record time compared to the 3 previous years.
We headed out for Fargo, the night's destination, before 1PM. Upon arriving we enjoyed a meal at the local Mexican restaurant.
The girls were able to go swimming at the motel too!
The CANDISC event now under Hilary's direction continues to live up to its reputation. We have thoroughly enjoyed this reasonably priced family friendly ride and highly recommend it.
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