Monday, June 29, 2009

Ririe to Idaho Falls

This time it is actually Duff doing the reporting. I started out from the Mountain River Ranch RV Park right at 8 AM, and the weather was great--clear skies, relatively cool temperature, and once I turned west I had a nice morning tail wind. I covered the 20 miles in a fairly leisurely pace, and got to the Candlewood Suites building just before 11 AM. Along the way, the traffic in town was probably the scariest part of the ride so far. There just was not much room to get over to the side, and some drivers were not too good about granting me room. The last half-mile, I chose to get off and walk the bike on the sidewalk.

Let me tell you about a really nice place to stay in Idaho Falls, and I'm sure I'll have the same thing to say after my stay in Meridian on the 7th. Candlewood Suites has been partnering with Habitat for Humanity since 1996, and we are the major non-profit they support. They have taken wonderful care of Max and me, and have made us feel so welcome. Before I went off to meet the Idaho Falls director at the ReStore this afternoon at 2, the staff all gathered around the bike and we got a group photo together. Again, I can not say enough good things about Candlewood Suites, and I would gladly stay with them anytime in the future.

The meeting at 2 PM did not work out, so it looked like I would spend the day in my room just relaxing--what a wonderful notion! I was enjoying eating a giant sub sandwich while watching Band of Brothers on TV when Melody Burns invited me to join her for dinner out. Melody is my point of contact here in IF, and is the Executive Director of the local affiliate and the Director of the Idaho State Support Office. She found us a place where Max could come along, and it was a novel experience. The restaurant, The Celler, was very nice to us, and offered some really interesting items on the menu. Since Max could not be in the restaurant, then set up an outside table for us on the lawn beneath the trees, which made for a very nice dining setting. I anchored Max to my chair leg and he was pretty good. Much like a little kid who gets too tired and begins to "ping". I fed him ice cubes for a while, and then the server brought him some steak marinaded in balsamic vinegar and oil, and it was all chopped finely. Max ate well. He is now asleep at my feet while I'm typing this in the Candlewood office.

What started out as an easy, relatively slow day developed into a very full day. The conversation with Melody about Habitat stuff was very interesting, and on the way to the Candlewood, she showed me other buildings they are considering as they outgrow their ReStore location. Plus I got to see Snake River Landing and the massive sculpture in the roundabout. If you are this way any time soon, be sure to see both. Also, the Snake River is at a very high level, and is pretty spectacular when you realize how much lower it normally is.

Tomorrow we are off to Pocatello to work with the affiliate there. I plan to start about 7:30 AM since it is a full 50 mile day. According to the map and my limited experience with US 91, it should be mostly level and slightly downhill, but I'm learning to not be so sure.

Idaho Falls Habitat for Humanity Web Site:

"Reason to Ride for Idaho
He's off on another adventure to benefit Habitat for Humanity. This time he will be biking from Bear Lake all across Idaho over the next month South to North. Who is he you ask? May we present, Mr. Jim Duffield a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Visit the following link for his story:

Look for him riding in from Swan Valley with Max his companion and mascot dachshund on Monday, June 29th about 2 p.m. If you would like to ride in with Mr. Duffield showing your support of Habitat for Humanity, give him a ring on his cell phone at 360-420-6079."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Irwin to Ririe

28 Jun - Okay, so the calculations for distance were a bit off - instead of 28 miles, Duff & Max went 36. They had to go through a heavy construction area, so while cars were parked, awaiting their turn to proceed on one lane, Duff walked the bike and Max along the shoulder to the front of the line. He talked with folks in line as he walked past them, and passed out a few of his cards. The construction workers were very generous with cold bottles of water to make up what Max and Duff had already used. Instead of the expected 5 hours of biking/walking, it took Duff 8 hours, but they made it to Ririe, and are camping out in a pretty RV campground. Duff's feet are sore, his leg is feeling better, and he is still tired, and hungry. Duff talked the RV campground manager into picking up a pizza, was too tired & sore to walk another 2 miles to retrieve food, and he didn't feel like eating dehydrated rations. They are now about 20 miles away from Idaho Falls, so Duff will start early to get to the hotel to shower before going to the ReStore and another interview.

Alpine to Irwin, Idaho

27 June 09 - About four years ago, Duff thought about walking the state of Idaho, so now he can honestly say that he's biked and hiked Idaho. The good news is that today's ride is shorter, only 23 miles, and a rustic cabin awaits them. Too tired to get started from Alpine early, Duff & Max set out about noon. His feet ache, and he's still tired, but okay. Sleep and shower can do wonders. The road is another day of walking and riding, and with all the rain, the mosquitoes are out in force again. People have been very generous. On one of the hills (of walking), several people even stopped their cars to ask is he needed help, thinking that maybe his bike had malfunctioned. And, most drivers are pulling out to go around him, as the shoulders of the road are not very wide or in good quality. Max has been a real "trooper", playing with his toys, or sleeping, or just spread out in his trailer (probably wondering when is this going to end). This day was very hot, and Duff spritzed Max down with water, wetted a towel down for him to sleep on during the ride. Duff had brought along a small basting syringe to give Max water, because Max wouldn't drink out of a bowl. Today, he found out that he'll drink from the water bottles, like a hose, and of course, any dirty mud hole, or ditch. The "guys" arrived in Irwin about 5 p.m. Duff really had wanted to ride more in the morning when it was cooler, so tomorrow he'll start out about 8 a.m. Though he was looking forward to a cabin, the owner didn't want animals inside, so he gave Duff a discount, and allowed him to pitch a tent on a grassy area behind one of the cabins, and still have access to a shower and latrine. Duff's feet are still sore, he's exhausted, and has strained his right calf muscle. Thankfully, tomorrow's right is also in the 28 mile range.

Henry to Alpine

26 June 09 - Still exhausted, but eager now to get to Alpine (a motel room awaited them), Duff & Max started out for another day of steep hills both ascending and descending. Max experienced new things, but then at 8 months old, most anything can be new, right? He met his first cows, and started barking. The barking only brought more cows to check out what the noise was. They saw marmots, and other little high desert creatures. Horses checked out the two of them going by and decided to run along the fence line with them for a while. Thankfully, after the Wayan grade, Duff was able to coast a bit to a place called Freedom, where he first was able to call me before losing the connection again. Storms were still approaching, and there wasn't much shelter, but fortunately,the storm stayed away from them. Duff was so exhausted by the time he pulled into Alpine at 8 p.m., that he said he was starting to feel a little goofy. He picked up a hamburger, ate and crashed. Max also loved the hamburger, and loved being able to sleep on a bed instead of the floor. The motel room allowed Duff to spread out all of their damp belongings to dry. Another 50 miles completed, and two blisters on the soles of feet earned.

Montpelier to Henry

25 June 09 - Duff is doing fine! The delay for this blog is me-lost the paper with his password. So, to bring you up to date, I'm backtracking to the 25th. Duff & Max were ready to go by 8 a.m. in Montpelier. He didn't get on the road until almost 9 a.m. because he was waiting for the News Examiner (local paper) reporter to arrive. The weather was comfortable, sunny, and they took off without any problems..., that is, until the first hill appeared. He walked the uphill parts to Soda Springs, and every other hill that suddenly was a lot steeper than he remembered. Mosquitoes were out in force; even, Max was biting at them. Duff applied Bull Frog repellent on both of them to help with the mosquito attacks. Duff finally pulled into his Henry campsite at 5 p.m. with just enough time to pitch a tent, shower, and get something to eat. He was exhausted, because he'd just walked a quarter of the 50 miles. He arrived in camp just after the small cafe closed, and resorted to eating his dehydrated foods. Duff asked the owner of the campsite if he could buy a couple bottles of beer; since the owner didn't have a liquor license; there was none to sell. Word traveled quickly through the RV park, and soon, a fellow camper brought Duff a camp chair and 4 bottles of beer. A storm was approaching, and Duff was ready to sleep, so he and Max climbed into the tent, and the storm hit; strong winds, torrential downpours, and thunder & lightning persisted throughout much of the night. The tent held, so they did stay dry, but Max was restless, since he'd never experienced a storm like this. In the morning, with a lull in the storm, Duff prepared to depart about 8 a.m. Then another burst of rain and wind started. It was much too strong to ride, so Duff & Max hunkered down in the camp latrine until about 11 a.m. Much to his dismay, everything was soaked. He dried out Max's blanket so at least he'd start out on something dry, but the day looked like it promised more rain.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

24 Jun 09 - Okay, so it's not really the 24th, but what do you expect when Duff is not the one doing this blog. I'm his wife, and I lost his password, so until I could talk with him (which isn't always possible), I have just been making notes. On 21 June, Duff, Max, & I started driving the route (in reverse) that the two of them would take riding north. We stopped at each place where he was to meet with an Idaho Habitat affiliate. It took about 3 days to arrive at the Idaho-Utah border, as well as check out the conditions of the road, and look for potential spots for him & Max to stay at night. When he's in the towns where the Habitat affiliates are, someone is helping him with accommodations. So, to get back to the 24th June.... We stopped in Montpelier, ID. We drove to the Idaho-Utah border (last little town was called Fish Haven), and Duff & Max started their journey at 3 p.m. The rode mostly on flat terrain, comfortable weather conditions, and little traffic. Their first trip of 26 miles took about 2 1/2 hours. Both did well, and they both slept well.

25 Jun 09 - Up and ready to go by 8:00 a.m., but needed to wait for the News Examiner reporter from Montpellier to show up for an interview. By 9 a.m., the "guys" were on the road. Their first day was a long one, despite starting in the morning, they didn't finish the 50 miles to a camping site called Henry until about 5 p.m. Duff had to walk about a quarter of the way, as the hills were steeper than he remembered, and the temperature was higher than the previous day. They arrived just after the small cafe closed, so they ate their rations (dehydrated meal & dog food). Duff asked if he could buy a couple bottles of beer from the owner of the cafe, but without beverage license, none was available. Thankfully, word passed quickly to the rest of the campers, and a fellow camper brought a camp chair and four bottles of beer. Duff got the tent set up, none too soon, as a horrendous thunder & lightning storm swooped into Southern Idaho (and Utah). Max & Duff survived the night. Max experienced a lot of firsts, including the thunder & lightning. They also got to share the experience of swarms of mosquitoes.

26 Jun 09 - Okay, the storm lingered a bit longer than Duff expected. In fact, there was just enough of a lull to allow him to start packing up to ride again. The heavy downpour did not abate until almost 11 a.m.; Duff & Max huddled in the campsite latrine waiting for the rain to stop. By the time Duff was able to get started, everything was soaked. Max actually dried out the quickest. Max met his first cow, and started barking, bring others to figure out what the noise was. Horses were also curious what the contraption was, and ran along the fenceline to keep up with Duff & Max. Max has been a real "trooper". Every once in a while, Duff heard him chewing on one of toys, but the rest of the time, he just rested quietly. Max is so happy when they see other people, and is staying pretty close to Duff. The "guys" finally made it to Alpine, where Duff had reserved a motel room. Hot shower felt great, had room to spread everything out to dry, Max got to share a hamburger, and sleep in the bed with Duff instead of on the floor. Feeling pretty fatigued, Duff & Max didn't set out on their ride until late morning.

27 Jun 09 - Another rough day, 22 miles, but they're done for the day in a place called Irwin. Duff thought they might be able to get a cabin, but when the owner found out Max was along for the ride, he offered a nice grassy area instead of the cabin. Duff & Max are fine - probably more Max than Duff. Duff has earned some unfortunate blisters on the balls of both feet, and pulled a right calf muscle. He's tired, but feeling like he's done the hardest distance for now. He is ahead of schedule, so the next few days he'll be able to ride shorter distances, like 25 instead of 50. He wanted me to relate to you that about 4 years ago, he thought about hiking the State of Idaho, so he can honestly say he has now hiked & biked on this journey. You may know how Duff likes to talk?? Well, he has been talking with as many folks who even look their way. He is impressed with the generosity of the people he has met. Several cars stopped while he was pushing the bike up one of those long hills to see if he was okay, or if there was a bike malfunction. Others have given him discounts on lodging or food.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My Ride has officially begun!!!

I know I said the start date for Duff Bikes for Habitat was the 25th of June, but I jumped the gun and got started today. It was a great feeling to be finally biking for real.

The past three days Linda, Max, and I drove the route I had planned, but in reverse. That was obviously to get me to my start point, but also to allow me to see the route from ground level, and gain an appreciation for what I'm tackling. It was really worthwhile, and I actually changed my routing in a couple of cases where frontage roads were not good, so I'll ride the interstate in those cases. I also got to see some of the hills I'll need to climb, and while I'll give them all a good try, there are some I just know I'll be walking. Examples are the Lewiston Hill, White Bird Hill, and a couple we saw today. All in all, the route is fair and as safe as the other drivers and I make it.

Today we got to Montpelier, ID about 1:00 PM, and checked into our motel. I had already decided that if we got here early, I would start my ride today. Linda drove Max and me to the ID-UT border south of Fish Haven on the west shore of Bear Lake. We got the trailer attached, everything loaded, took some photos, and then launched. It was 26 miles to Montpelier, and most of it was fairly level. The sky was clear, temperature in the low 70s, and the wind was a 5 to 10 mph crosswind that sometimes became a quartering headwind. We made a couple of water stops, and got to the motel at 5:45 PM. According to the GPS (thank you sons and families), I was riding about 10 to 12 MPH.

Riding today allowed me to get about one-half day ahead of my original schedule, which will probably come in handy getting to Idaho Falls on schedule. That is my first affiliate to visit, and I know they have something planned for the afternoon after 2 PM. I'm hoping my ride today allows me to shorten some of the coming days as I bike toward Idaho Falls.

Tomorrow I intend to ride to Soda Springs, and then turn north to arrive at Henry. We talked to a person at the RV park there this morning, and we are welcome to camp out there Thursday night. I'll be out of cell phone range as we approach Henry, so Linda will not get an update on my actual progress until Friday evening when I arrive in Alpine, WY. I need to go through WY to get to Idaho Falls. So, if you want a "real" update, watch for Friday's posting.

Best wishes to all who read this, and I hope each of you makes a commitment to support your local Habitat affiliate wherever you are. I've had people ask me how to donate to an affiliate in Idaho, so here are some numbers to call to make a donation of cash, time, or materials.

Idaho Falls 208-528-0298
Pocatello/Gateway 208-233-9081
Twin Falls/Magic Valley 208-735-1233
Boise Valley 208-331-2916
Caldwell/Canyon County 208-459-3344
Lewiston/Clarkston 509-758-7396
Moscow/Palouse 208-883-8502
Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho 208-762-4532
Sandpoint/Panhandle 208-263-7001
Bonners Ferry/Boundary County 208-267-1601

Of course, if you want to donate to my own affiliate, Skagit HFH, call 360-428-9402. To donate to Habitat for Humanity International, call 800-422-4828. Thanks for your support.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Time to hit the road

It's Saturday morning early, and it's time to get on the road to Idaho to meet Linda and drive to my ride start point.  It's been a "good" hectic week, full of four days of paid work, plus meetings, plus a graduation, plus trying to get stuff set out to pack, so my sleep cycle can use some adjustment.  I've been to bed by 10 most nights, and up from 3:30 to 4:30 each morning.  While I know I'll be working hard on the ride, it will actually be less hectic than being home getting ready.  I know that Max will be glad I'm not in a class or a meeting.  He has been my shadow when I'm home, and now we'll be together constantly for 30 days.

The article and photos that the Skagit Valley Herald did on my ride came out in this past Thursday's paper.  The photos show my bike and trailer arrangement, and Max was a real ham for the camera.  If you want to check out the article, you can go to "" and look for the news from 18 Jun 09.  I'm also going to try to get it posted on "" where all the rest of my news has been so far.

The car is halfway packed, and the rest is ready to load.  I plan to do a dry run with all my gear in the bike trailer when I'm in Coeur d'Alene waiting for Linda to arrive from her sister's in Canada. While I'm confident I'll have the weight below the maximum recommended, the bulk or "cube" of the load may have Max riding pretty high in the trailer.  It is impossible for me to carry all the food supplies for both of us--even with dehydrated rations--so I've arranged for four of the ID affiliates to stash a sack of supplies from which I'll replenish when I get to each of those points.  The idea is to have what I need without carrying extra stuff.  For example, since it is going to be late June and all of July, I need to count on good weather for the most part.  I'm taking a rain jacket and one long-sleeved polypro shirt--everything else is short sleeves and shorts (actually convertible pants).  I'll be living in shorts and T-shirts for most of the month.  If the weather gets too cool, I'll have to pick up something along the way.

All the ID HFH affiliates are doing a great job of arranging support for me and planning an event to justify local media covering my ride through their area.  Each has arranged a place for me to stay, plus one of our Skagit HFH Board members "volunteered" her mom's place in Council, ID.  All in all, I expect to sleep outside using my tent maybe 11 times.  If I get tired of sleeping on the ground, it may be less than that.  I find that the ground gets harder the older I get.

OK, that's enough.  My next postings will be from Idaho, and after the 24th, Linda will be posting them for me each evening.  I'll be taking photos along the way, but probably won't be able to include them until I get home, and can add them to this blog after the ride.  Wish me luck and I hope you enjoy following my progress.

"Recreation: Mount Vernon cyclist has a reason to ride (Skagit Herald)
June 18, 2009 - 04:50 PM
by Vince Richardson

Jim Duffield pulls his dog Max along a training route in Mount Vernon. Duffield will pedal the length of Idaho beginning June 25.
MOUNT VERNON — Trekking long distances for a cause is nothing new for Jim Duffield.
In 2006, the Mount Vernon man walked 410 miles, from Anacortes to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The trek raised money for Habitat for Humanity affiliates along the route.
Duffield will be on wheels for his latest endeavor to raise money and awareness for Habitat for Humanity.
He will pedal his Bacchetta recumbent bike the length of Idaho — the state where he grew up — from south to north. That’s 1,100 miles.
Duffield will pull a Burley Tail Wagon Trailer loaded with gear and his wirehaired dachshund, Max.
He’ll begin his quest June 25 on the west shore of Bear Lake on the Idaho-Utah border. If all goes as planned, he’ll ride into Porthill, Idaho, on the Canadian border on July 22. He plans to average 40 miles per day, and finish riding each day by 2 p.m.
“I need to be off the road by that time in order to get out of the heat,” Duffield said.
Along the way, Duffield will work with 10 Habitat for Humanity affiliates, participating in public appearances, making presentations and having “man-on-the-street” interactions in order to share information about Habitat for Humanity’s mission and to encourage new volunteers.
Follow his journey as it unfolds at For information about the journey, go to and click on the Duff Bikes for Habitat link.
“I have contacted each affiliate,” said Duffield, “and asked them what would work the best in regards to getting publicity. In Buhl, Max and myself will be riding on a float in a parade. I’ve told the affiliates that I’ll do just about anything they need — as long as it’s legal.”
He will camp, and stay at local affiliates’ homes and hotels while on the trek. The week before he leaves, he and his wife will drive the route in reverse. They will stash supplies at four affiliates.
Duffield understands that with the ecomony the way it is people may not be able to donate money. However, he said donating services or goods can fill voids.
“People can donate their time, expertise or help facilitate an event,” he said. “Work on a job site, a committee or donate materials.”
Along the route, Duffield will talk about Habitat for Humanity ReStores, one of which is in the works in Mount Vernon.
ReStores, according to Habitat’s Web site: “are retail outlets where quality, used and surplus building materials are sold at a fraction of normal prices. Proceeds from ReStores help local affiliates fund the construction of Habitat houses within the community. Many affiliates across the United States and Canada operate successful ReStores—some of which raise enough funds to build an additional 10 or more houses per year.”
As Duffield said, “If you can’t donate money, then maybe someone can donate a window or something.”
In Boise, Duffield will ride in the Tour de ReStore, where bicyclists will pedal from a ReStore in Boise to one in Caldwell.
“Then in Coeur d’Alene,” explained Duffield, “they are building their ReStore’s anniversary around my arrival.”
Going from walking to pedaling hasn’t been an easy transition for Duffield.
Getting used to his recumbent bike has taken some time. In particular, the clips he uses to fasten himself to the bike’s pedals.
“I am learning to ride with my feet clipped in,” he said with a semi-smile. “It’s taken a lot of practice. It’s just weird. I just have to remember to twist my foot to get it out. I am still struggling with sharp turns. That’s the hardest part right now. So far, I’ve only scared myself a couple of times. I haven’t had a major crash yet.
“Riding a recumbent bike, heck, lots of people take them on long bike rides. That’s nothing new. What’s new is I am an old guy on a recumbent bike pulling a dog. That’s my shtick.”
Duffield is slowly learning the nuances of the bike, such as not grasping the handlebars too tight and handling the rather short wheel base.
“It is so comfortable,” he admitted. “It’s sort of like sitting in an easy chair. It has 27 gears that I am trying to learn how to use appropriately. I also have a GPS unit attached to the handlebars, and I plan on carrying my IPod so I can listen to music.”
Duffield is looking forward to seeing his home state at a much slower pace than he’s used to.
“This is about as slow as you can see it,” he said. “It’s going to be a good pace. Plus, I think folks are really going to be excited about it.”
That pace may slow to a crawl near two mountain passes. White Bird Hill lies between White Bird and Grangeville on U.S. 95 and climbs 3,000 feet in 7.2 miles. To get from Lewiston to Moscow, Duffield will climb 2,000 feet on sweeping switchbacks as he travels up Lewiston Hill.
“My tires will cover every inch of the route,” said Duffield. “My butt will probably not be in the seat the whole time. I’m not too proud to walk and I realize there will be sections were I will have to walk. I’ll walk where I have to.
“I know there are going to be places where I am going to struggle. But they are going to be beautiful. Idaho is a beautiful state.”
Then there’s always concerns for safety.
“Running off the road,” said Duffield, “and getting mugged. Those are two big concerns of mine. I will be able to get help along the way, but you have to trust that things are going to go well. The nice thing about Idaho is that you can ride your bike on the interstate.”
And the weather?
Duffield said June is a good month to get started. It shouldn’t be too hot, too cold or too windy.
“I hate riding in the wind,” he said. “That can be a real struggle.”
As far as Max is concerned, Duffield believes his pooch will aid his efforts to educate people about Habitat for Humanity.
“He loves it,” Duffield said of his dog. “He’s going to be my buddy out on the road.”
Wirehaired dachshunds are outgoing toward new folks. They love the outdoors and boast an intense curiosity.
“He just loves people,” Duffield said of the puppy he’s had for about six months. “He wants to meet everyone and he thinks everyone wants to meet him. He’s going to make a great traveling companion and be a great icebreaker. People don’t know a lot about Habitat for Humanity. I hope to really be able to spread the word.”
Max will lay on Duffield’s supplies and on a moist chamois in order to stay cool.
“I plan on stopping every hour for water and I’ll make sure Max gets some as well,” he said. “I will be constantly checking on him.
“The trailer has a 75-pound capacity. Thirty pounds of that will be Max.”
If things don’t go as planned, Max will get a reprieve in southern Idaho where Duffield’s wife will take the dog. While Max may get a ride home, the same can’t be said for his owner.
“If I’m not doing well,” said Duffield with a laugh, “I have to keep going. I won’t have the same luxury as Max. I have a schedule to keep. I have no option but to keep on riding.”
So, why no walk this time around?
“That would have taken me three months,” said Dufflield. “I walked for a month last time and my feet hurt. They hurt a lot.
“I am looking forward to getting started. At the same time, I don’t want to make a fool out of myself. As long as I can stay healthy, I’ll be fine. It’s a long haul, but I have a month. I’ll make it.”
It is indeed a long haul for a noble cause.
Vince Richardson can be reached at 360-416-2181 or by e-mail at
Ways to donate to Habitat for Humanity:
1. Cash/check/credit card donations can be used and are tax deductible.
2. Consider donating a day or more of your time on a Habitat job site.
3. Every Habitat affiliate could use help with volunteers serving on committees. Call your local affiliate and serve as much as you can.
4. If your local Habitat affiliate has a “ReStore” — selling discounted building materials, appliances, furniture, etc. — donate things the affiliate can sell to provide capital to build houses. That donation is tax deductible.
Donate to Skagit Habitat, to Habitat International, or to your local Habitat affiliate. For more information on how to donate, please visit the Skagit Habitat for Humanity Web site at and click on the link for “Duff Bikes for Habitat.” Or just call the local affiliate and say you want to help.
For those with kids and grandchildren, Jim Duffield offers this idea to get children involved in learning about community service and caring for others: use the ride as an educational event. Get a map of Idaho and have the kids keep track of his daily progress. They will learn some geography and see how long it takes to ride 1,100 miles.
Ask the children if they could donate to Habitat, say a penny a mile, and let them experience firsthand the joy of helping someone else. While visiting Duffield’s blog (, one can add comments about his entries or offer words of encouragement. "

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to get ready without a bike

Linda left for her road trip to Canada (a family history convention) on Friday, and I had her take the bike to our daughter Jennifer's in Coeur d'Alene, ID.  We have the bike rack on only one car, and I wanted Linda to have that car.  So, I'm left to get ready without my bike until this coming weekend.  As it works out, I would not have had time to do any long rides, and at this point, one or two training rides will not make that much difference.

I've been organizing my gear, and getting everything as ready as I can.  Once I leave here, I need to have everything set.  That includes allocating food for each leg; portioning out Max's food in baggies; etc.  I'm going to leave drop bags of resupply stuff at four affiliates along the way so I won't have to carry additional weight the length of Idaho.  The Idaho affiliates are being spectacularly supportive, and I really appreciate their help and creativity.  As I do the ride and report in my blog, I think you'll appreciate how each affiliate has planned to make the most of my ride in drawing attention to their local efforts.  I'm impressed by what I've heard so far.

Before I leave to meet Linda in ID, I'm going to devote one posting in this blog to let people know how to donate money and/or time to a local affiliate, especially the ones in Idaho.  Several people have already asked how to do that, so I'll let you all know.  That will probably happen on Thursday or Friday.  So far, I know that three donors have helped, and I'm hoping there are many more.  Remember, a donation of your time is really valuable, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

First interview and photos

My plan for today was to spend the morning doing coordination for the Ride, and then do a photo shoot and interview, and finish up with a ride with Max. I got a lot accomplished in the AM, and have filled in some holes. In the afternoon, Max and I met a photographer (Steve) and a reporter (Vince) from the Skagit Valley Herald for input on an article on my ride. Max was a real ham for the photos, so there should be some good ones from which to choose. We rode past the photographer a few times for "action" photos, and then I spent a half hour providing Vince with information for his article. (Vince is the same reporter who did the article on my Hike three years ago, and coincidentally, spent lots of years in Idaho.) The article should be out in the Herald, both in print and on their website, next Thursday in the Recreation or Outdoors section. I'll try to attach a copy to the Skagit Habitat website for easy access.

After we were done at the Herald, I took Max for an 8.5 mile ride. I wanted mainly to check the adjustments we did yesterday to the shifting and the brakes, and to see how Max did in the mid-70s heat. The mechanical changes seem to work fine, and I did not have the slippage in gears 5, 6, and 7 I had before--Dale from Angle Lake Cyclery did a simple adjustment to the cable tension. The brakes work well and do not squeak now. Max did fine, but he does get hot when he is in the direct sun. I have some ideas on how to screen him and/or cool him, and will employ those on the ride.

I'd like to claim I'm "tapering" my training now, but the simple fact is that I need to do logistical and coordination things, and I don't have much time to ride. Today may have been my last training ride before Linda moves the 'bent to Coeur d'Alene, ID on Friday. I'll see the 'bent again in a week, and will do one more ride with Max in CDA on Father's Day, and after that, the next ride is for real in southern Idaho. If I had another six months of training under my belt, it would certainly make me more ready--but I don't. So, I'm going to do the best I can each day, and I will keep my schedule unless I'm injured or my bike breaks down. It will be a "gut check" many days, but once I'm on the road, this will be my sole job and I can do it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On the road and no blog for 8 days

I just checked to see when I posted my last blog, and it was on the 31st of May. Since that time, I've been plenty busy and did ride a couple of times. The 1st of June was spent on an all-day retreat with the Home Trust of Skagit. The 2nd was spent getting ready to drive to CA. I did a very short ride of 30 minutes on the 3rd to check out my clipped pedals and shoes. I've been told by everybody to expect to fall several times using the clips, but my obvious goal is to fall as few times as possible. I did OK the first day and only ALMOST fell once. I've decided that I need to make a bold, committed move when I begin so that I have enough momentum going to get the second foot in the clip; anything less than committed will probably result in a fall. Since I would be riding with my son, Robb, on the weekend, I wanted to be sure I could at least get into the clips. Mission accomplished on that.

Thursday the 4th and Friday the 5th were spent driving to the Bay Area to see our sons and families, and to attend a birthday party for grandson Will. On Saturday, Linda and I got to see granddaughter Maggie, and Will swim in a meet--great fun and I'm glad we could be there. After a trip with Max, and Robb and Liz' two dogs to the dog park, Robb suggested we do our 14-mile ride then rather than try to fit it in on Sunday. So off we went. I was nervous riding with someone else who is a better rider than me, and started too fast on a steady, but slight, uphill slope with the wind in our face. I had to stop several times, and walked two tougher hills (for me) before we got to our turnaround point. At that point, I was not going to bike back, and we called Linda to fetch me. I was disappointed I did not ride better, and now Robb is concerned for my safety and my ability to keep my announced schedule. He'll just have to trust me to bring it off. So long as I stay healthy and uninjured, I'm confident I can still average 40 miles a day.

Sunday we attended Will's class birthday party, and then vegged out at the house. This morning we got back on the road at 7:30 AM and made it to Roseburg, OR before stopping for the night. Tomorrow we'll make a stop at Angle Lake Cyclery to get the recumbent adjusted before I begin my ride, and then we're home.

Since the 31st, I've heard from more Habitat affiliates on their coordination efforts to capitalize on my ride, and the plan is coming together. I've also made an appointment to meet with a reporter for the Skagit Valley Herald on Wednesday at 2 PM so he can get a photo of Max and me, plus do an interview for our local paper. Vince Richardson did the article on my Hike three years ago, and is glad to do this follow up story.