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Cross Country Challenge 2007 Journal
(Page 1)
San Francisco to Salt Lake City, UT
(Western States Tour)

current date and time 2008-05-09 | 17:36:17
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Number of Journal Entries online: 12
San Francisco, June 2, 2007 Day 0 Registration Day
Today was a busy day. Most of the morning was spent putting together bikes and greeting our new Cross Country Challenge riders. The bike building went very smoothly thanks to our mechanics, Gerard and Tom. They worked very hard and were able to ensure that the bicycles were all ready to start the voyage from coast to coast.

After bike assembly we had our orientation meeting were we explain the day to day routine we will be following on our voyage. The riders learned how to stop a van and how to signal that everything is fine among many other things. They also had the opportunity to introduce themselves and tell everyone else why they are doing this ride. I have to say that we have some pretty interesting people on the ride again this year. These forty people will know each other very well by the time their trip is over. Today was just preparation for their exciting voyage, tomorrow it begis for real!

posted 2007-06-04 | 20:07:57 | article number: 1

Day 1- Sunday June 3, 2007 San Francisco CA to Fairfield CA 83 miles
What an exciting day today has been. We left to hotel after breakfast and headed to the beach for the wheel dipping ceremony and group photos. Boy the water was cold but Gene, Jane, Erin and many others braved it and dipped their tires in the ocean to celebrate the beginning of their bike ride. After dipping their tires the riders headed up through the city streets of San Francisco, through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge. Tim and Jeff, among many others, stopped to take some pictures of the bridge which was cover in fog.

After the first sag stop the riders rode down into Sausalito and got some fantastic views of the Bay. Then onto the bike trail and into Corte Madeira where a street festival was taking places. I spotted Greg M. finishing off the lunch he had purchased from a vendor there. Apparently he was not the only one who ate there. It was fun walking our bikes through and seeing the booths set up and the whole town out having fun.

Shortly after the street fair we arrived at the second sag stop. After fueling up the riders headed up for the final climb of the day up American Canyon Road. By then the fog had lifted and most riders had a tailwind give them a boost up the hill into the hotel.

What a day!

posted 2007-06-04 | 20:26:48 | article number: 2

Day 2- Monday, June 4, 2007 Fairfield CA to Sacramento CA 57 miles
Our second day brought us from Fairfield to Sacramento. What a beautiful with tailwinds and sunshine. We rode through fields, a bike path and UC Davis. It was great seeing how bike friendly the campus was. Many of the riders stopped for lunch in Old Town Sacramento which was just a short way from the hotel.

As you may know, many of our rider�s raise money for charity while crossing the country. One of our riders, Robert Rodweller, is riding in support of Fisher House. Bob was invited to Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base and brought along some of his new cycling buddies. Erin, Arlene, Brian, Wayne and Bob had a great visit and a wonderful ride into Sacramento as well.

posted 2007-06-08 | 00:26:43 | article number: 3

Day 3 - Tuesday June 5, 2007 Sacramento CA to Auburn CA 52 miles
We spent the first half of today on a beautiful bicycle path from Sacramento up to Beal�s Point on Folsom Lake. There were many photo opportunities; among them were countless sightings of wild turkeys, a fish hatchery and Folsom Prison. The day was cooler than normal for this time of year but that�s okay it was perfect cycling weather!

After our sag stop on the lake, the riders began the climb up to Auburn. We are beginning to get into the foothills of the Sierra Nevada now and got a taste of what tomorrow will bring. Many of the riders ate in downtown Auburn before finishing the climb up to the hotel. Some of the riders needed to wash their clothes for the first time today. One was even surprised to find out that �It takes about 40 minutes for a load to be finished.� Who said you didn�t learn something new everyday on this ride!

posted 2007-06-08 | 00:30:50 | article number: 4

Day 4 - Wednesday June 6, 2007 Auburn CA to Truckee CA 76 miles
Although today was quite a challenge, the riders got through it together and made some unforgettable memories. We started out from Auburn in cool weather and sunny skies and climbed to the first sag stop. A few minutes after everyone left this sag stop a few snow flurries began to fall then it began to hail and snow, all this on June 6! Most of the riders took shelter in a gas station and a Burger King and waited for the storm to pass. As I swept the route looking for riders to let them know where to wait out the storm, the riders in the Burger King were buying socks and t-shirts to replace those that had gotten wet. After the biggest part of the storm had passed the riders set out together to conquer Donner Pass and, even with the �schizophrenic� weather (sunny, snow, sunny, snow), conquer it they did!

Needless to say the mood at dinner tonight was one of pride and togetherness that can only come with having accomplished something difficult as a team. Applause was heard for riders as they entered the dining room. Everyone was justified in feeling proud of their accomplishment. And most were making plans on how to conquer Mount Rose.....together.

Now one would think that after all this excitement and hard work everyone would be fast asleep shortly after dinner but we did have a group of riders who were able to seek out and find the local brew pub and pay it a visit.

posted 2007-06-09 | 19:50:10 | article number: 5

Day 5 - Thursday June 7, 2007 Truckee CA to Sparks Nevada 65 miles
Here we are in Sparks. What a climb and what views on the way up and down! We started out the day on a beautiful bike path running along the Truckee River. Once off the bike path several riders visited the �Fanny Bridge� which got its named from the view of people�s fannies as they bent over the bridge look at the gigantic trout in the river. We then found ourselves in Tahoe City riding along Lake Tahoe. We cycled by King�s Beach where several people stopped for pastries and coffee. After a small climb we finished cycling through our first state and entered our second state....Nevada.

After taking photos at the state line we began our climb up Mount Rose. Most people welcomed the observation area about halfway up both for its splendid view of Lake Tahoe and the few minutes� rest they were able to take while enjoying the scenery. The rest of the climb took us up to an elevation of over 8900 feet. What a fantastic feeling to see the sign at the top! And what fun to barely have to pedal for the next 16 miles. As one of our riders put it, �That�s a pretty good trade off. An eight mile climb for a sixteen mile downhill. Glad we weren�t coming the other way!�

posted 2007-06-09 | 20:41:11 | article number: 6

Day 6 - Friday June 8, 2007 Sparks NV to Lovelock NV 91 miles
�Lock your love in Lovelock� is the new theme of the town we rode into today. The phrase is on signs in all the businesses and hanging from the street lights. In the hotel several cyclists were caught purchasing these locks for their loved ones. The �tradition� is that you purchase a lock, it gets engraved with the name of your loved one and then it is locked onto a chain of locks the town has and the key is thrown away. The townspeople all seem to be enjoying this new tradition and some of our riders did as well.

Today was our first long stretch of interstate riding. At first the riders were a bit apprehensive about riding on the interstate. We explained to them that this was necessary because there really are no roads going where we needed to go except Route 80. By the end of the day most of the riders were asking if they �had to� come off the interstate onto the frontage road. They were having a great ride on the smooth shoulder of the road they had once dreaded! Another thing this trip is good for...getting over our fear of the unknown...usually it is not as bad as we think.

Tonight found some of our riders out on the town and singing Karaoke. I have promised to keep the names to myself but you know who you are. What happens in Lovelock stays in Lovelock but..... I hear there is video tape out there somewhere!

posted 2007-06-09 | 21:01:12 | article number: 7

Day 7 - Saturday June 9, 2007 Lovelock NV to Winnemucca NV 72 miles
Day seven already! One week and we have traveled almost 498 miles. Funny how the time seems to fly. Speaking of flying, our riders seemed to fly down the interstate today. After twenty-five miles on back roads we were back on the interstate again today. With the wind at their backs and a smooth shoulder to ride on some of the cyclists were riding faster than they could ever have imagined. After our climbs over the Sierra Nevada we were all glad to have this relatively flat easier day.

Everyone got in to Winnemucca early today. One person was even energetic enough to take a side trip to see the Rye Patch Reservoir. Some rode up through town and saw the sights. Others took the opportunity to do laundry or visit the bike shop. Tomorrow we will be going into Battle Mountain. On the elevation chart there is a great big bump. At first some riders though this meant that we would be climbing tomorrow but, after looking at the scale they were happy to find out that the big climb for the day would be about 400 feet! As it is a 55 miles day tomorrow we will be sleeping in...can�t get much better than this.

posted 2007-06-09 | 23:57:19 | article number: 8

Day 8 - Sunday June 10, 2007 Winnemucca NV to Battle Mountain NV 55 miles
Boy is it cool for being in the desert! We started out this morning with many of the riders wearing jackets. Hard to believe it is June in the desert. Today�s ride was relatively short but it was a bit windy. The cyclists had a sag stop at a rest area about 39 miles into the ride. Usually at this time of year the �mormon� crickets are out in force in this area but today the only wildlife we saw was a few cliff swallows that had made their nest under the overhang of the rest area�s buildings.

The riders were staying in two different hotels tonight due to the fact that most of the hotel rooms were already taken by the workers building a new power plant in the area. Every did great on remembering what hotel they were staying at and nobody followed another person to the wrong hotel.

Just as we were finishing up mechanics hours a big dust storm hit town. It was only a few blocks to dinner but we ended up shuttling some riders in the van the dust was so bad. Thankfully we were not out riding in that!

posted 2007-06-15 | 00:09:49 | article number: 9

Day 9 - Monday June 11, 2007 Battle Mountain NV to Elko NV 72 miles
We spent the first part of today on a frontage road alongside some railroad tracks. It was really neat to see the trains going by and try to count the endless amount of wagons on each one. Sometimes, if you wave to the conductor, you can get them to toot their whistle. After the first sag stop we were back on Route 80 climbing Emigrant Pass. This was a long climb but our riders rode up like champions. For their efforts they were rewarded with a downhill that lasted almost 10 miles....practically right into the next sag stop.

In order to avoid having to go through a dark narrow tunnel through a mountain on Route 80, we detoured into a beautiful little canyon. The Carlin Canyon detour is 5 miles of car free roads along a river. It is so peaceful that some of the cyclists said they did not want to leave it. The only thing that coaxed some to leave was the promise of the first DQ of the ride in Elko on the way in. That DQ did a brisk business today as I am sure others will do in days to follow!

posted 2007-06-15 | 00:27:41 | article number: 10

Day 10 - Tuesday Elko Nv to Wendover NV 108 miles
Today was the first century of the trip and the first century ride ever for five of our riders. Erin, Arlene, Tim, Jeff and Stu were up to the challenge. Happily they had somewhat of a tailwind for parts of the ride. There were a few climbs which made for an interesting day especially since the summit of each climb seemed to transform the scenery ahead. About 2 miles before the end of the day there was a little climb that ended right before entering Wendover. From the top of this hill one can see the salt flats stretching on for miles.

Everyone was glad to be in to get rested up in order to awaken bright and early tomorrow to do it all again and then some. Tonight�s hotel was a bit different. We stayed at the Rainbow Casino and Hotel which really is quite colorful. A few of the cyclists tried their luck at the machines and tables and I, for one, won $14.00! Tomorrow will be another long day (117 miles) but then the cyclists will get a well deserved rest day!

posted 2007-06-15 | 23:45:40 | article number: 11

Day 11 - Wednesday June 18, 2007 Wendover NV to Salt Lake City Utah 117+ miles
We spent about 100 miles today riding through the salt flats of Utah. We left the state of Nevada just after leaving the hotel and headed into Utah, the third state of this thirteen state ride. The riders were looking forward to their first day off the bike but they still had 117 miles before that would happen. The day started out cool but got warmer as the day progressed. Many of the riders stopped at a store in Delle, Utah and cooled down with some ice cream sprawled out in front of the store in the shade. Still, after this refreshing stop, the riders had another 50 or so miles to go. It was getting warmer and windier but once again our cyclists helped each other and made it in safely and happily.

We had route rap at dinner at the hotel and it was bittersweet. We said goodbye to 7 of our riders today, Tim, Paul, Bruce, Doyle, Morgan, Greg and Peter they will be missed by all. After these riders were given a chance to say goodbye, an initiation ceremony was held for the riders who had just completed their first century yesterday. Now everyone on the ride is in the �Century Club�. Congratulations!!!

Tomorrow the riders will have a well deserved day of rest; we will get three new riders and prepare for our next portion of this amazing journey.

posted 2007-06-18 | 00:12:22 | article number: 12

On to Page 2 Salt Lake City to Pueblo, CO (Rocky Mountain Tour)
On to Page 3 Pueblo to St. Joseph, MO (Tour de Plains Tour)
On to Page 4 St. Joseph, MO to Indianapolis, IN (Heartland Tour)
On to Page 5 Indianapolis, IN to Erie, PA (Country Mileage Tour)
On to Page 6 Erie, PA to Portsmouth, NH (Eastern States Tour)

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