Tag Archives: travel

Three icy rides

We just wrapped up our annual Christmas trip to the upper midwest, and I finished it up with the three icy rides below:

Shell Lake Lake Ride
Air temp: -10F (10 below zero)
Distance: 7.8 miles (it was cold!!!)
This was my last ride in northwestern wisconsin, and it was also my last chance to really explore the frozen lake. It was plenty cold (-10F) cold enough to freeze your breath almost instantly. But unfortunately warmer temps and even light rain on Christmas left about an inch of water melted underneath a thin layer of top ice. I kept crashing through into the puddled water. No danger of crashing through into the lake b/c there was another layer of thick ice below that, but problematic enough with the temp -10F to shorten my ride. Still, for this Alabama boy – the novelty of riding a bike on a frozen lake never gets old!

Northwest Green Bay ride
Air temp: 15F(and very windy)
Distance: 61.4 miles (very flat)
This was my first ride in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area. I thoroughly enjoyed it although most of the ride was table-top flat. I could tell that if I had gone northwest away from the lake instead of towards the lake, it would have been a much hillier ride. But I really wanted to see Green Bay and see the ice flows and icebergs on the lake. I wasn’t disappointed – although my camera batteries were dead after only one picture. We drove out later to get a few pictures that I posted below.
La Porte, IN to New Buffalo, MI
Air temp: 10F (10 above zero)
Distance: 36.9 miles (it was cold!!!)
We spent New Year’s Eve with Kristine’s grandma in La Porte, IN which is just south of the Michigan border and southeast of Lake Michigan. I had a great mountain bike ride in the middle of a minor lake effect snowstorm. It was quite an experience and perfectly safe as the roads were snowy and not icy. Actually makes for pretty good traction on a mountain bike as long as you keep the tire pressure low.

And here are all the photos from the three rides…

Ride #1 – Shell Lake, WI – 12/29/09







Ride #2 – Northwestern Green Bay Area – 12/30/09



Ride #3 – La Porte, IN to New Buffalo, MI – 1/1/10





Biking across the country

Not exactly the same as biking all the way across the country, but I am getting to enjoy a number of spectacular rides during our trip out west to give a presentation at a conference, to visit friends and family, and to race the Cascade Cycling Classic. Here’s some highlights from our trip so far:

East Texas- on the first day of our trip, we drove from Alabama to Tyler, Texas to stay with friends of ours from Mercy Ships. This is also where I met my wife 8 years ago. I rode a 45 mile loop on roads that I used to ride that included passing through YWAM Tyler (Twin Oaks) and the Mercy Ships headquarters from a starting point in Van, Texas.

Mercy Ships Headquarters, near Tyler, Texas

Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad, New Mexico – on our third day, we headed to Carlsbad Caverns to watch the bats fly out at sunset, spend the night, and then explore the caverns the next day. In the morning, I got to ride from our hotel in the town of Carlsbad to the entrance of the caverns at the top of a small mountain. I had been wanting to do that climb since I first visited the caverns as a teenager. It was fun to finally do it, fly up it, and realize that it wasn’t such a hard climb after all!

Carlsbad Caverns Climb

Carlsbad Caverns Before the Bat Flight

Flagstaff, Arizona and the Grand Canyon – In Flagstaff, we stayed with Kristine’s cousins Kip and Beth. Kip and I got to go for an awesome ride where he guided me up Snowbowl, a six mile climb at the base of the mountains containing Arizona’s highest point. I turned on the gas for the last two miles and couldn’t believe how hard it was to breath for the last part of the climb rising well above 9000′ by the turnaround point — but it was still a good sign that I could maintain a low zone 5 pace for that entire two miles. We flew down the mountain and then headed towards the Grand Canyon. The road was wide, well paved, and surpisingly little traffic. After the gradual climb to the Nordic ski center, Kip turned around to head back to Flagstaff and I went on to the place where I had planned to rendezvous with Kristine and the kids before heading into the canyon. It was an awesome ride hanging out with Kip, doing an epic climb, and then absolutely flying towards the canyon with a tailwind and a long gradual 2000′ descent. The last five miles was really tough as the road changed direction just enough to have a hard sidewind and started to roll upwards. Also, the sun came out at that spot and I quickly drained the rest of my water finishing my bottle just as I sprinted to meet Kristine at the Flintstone campground.

Flagstaff, Arizona to the Grand Canyon via Snowbowl
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Las Vegas, Nevada – This was the next stop for us as I was presenting a research paper at a conference. We stayed at the conference hotel, and I was able to ride twice from the hotel to a very cool national conservation area called Red Rock Canyon just outside the city. I saw lots of other bikers, and the road was like none other that I have ridden – a 13 mile scenic loop on a one-way road with no oncoming traffic! So you could fly down and truly enjoy the descent after a tough 5 mile climb. The geography was breathtaking with exposed “red rocks” and towering canyon walls. On the highway bordering the conservation area, there was one spot where you could see the entire 13 mile road laid out before you on the mountainside.

Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon
Monte Carlo
Moon rising over Red Rock Canyon

Davis, California – I lived in Davis for six years while I got my Masters and PhD from UC Davis, but it has been four years since our last visit — so my rides over the past three days have brought back tons of memories. From a homebase with my college roomate and his family, I’ve gotten to do rides in three of the four directions leaving town. My kids enjoyed riding in the Arboretum and taking breaks to feed the ducks. I also rode the Tuesday/Thursday training route that leaves from Sutter Davis Hospital, and then today got to do a short ride all over town.

Analise feeding the ducks during a break from riding

Tomorrow it’s on to Oregon for the Cascade Cycling Classic. Fun riding and hopefully some great racing!