Where is Lance?

Follow Al on his cross country bike tour!

If you want to see the itinerary, click here.

To learn more about the tour, click here.

Excerpts from last year's tour

2009-04-21

I put together excerpts from last year's tour and sent them out. The excerpts that follow are some of my favorite responses:

Anna
Dad... this is not a good idea.

Dave Morris
Your F**ked

Deet
nu? so this sounds like fun to you?

Pam Guenzel
Gosh, Al, is it too late for me to sign up?—Pam

Katie Newman
Dad-
I think we are all very concerned for your health and safety.
Although I laughed out loud many times while reading this, that's because it was not happening to anyone I knew. We'll cross our fingers for better conditions, and that the weather may knock some sanity into you at some point.
Love you







Day 2
We had some terrific crosswinds with blowing and drifting sand in this area near Palm Springs along I10.

Day 3
We traveled on I-10 for most of the day with a 11 mile climb out of Indio
DOT trucks were even out with snowplows - plowing the sand drifts off the highway. The crosswinds were very gusty and tricky, not knowing when they were coming. Some riders were blown off the road. Two were taken to the hospital. Another rider was picked up by the wind, turned around, and left heading in the opposite direction leaning against a shrub but was otherwise unharmed
Before we were into Palm Springs proper, I stopped for a call of nature. When I hiked back up the embankment to the road shoulder, my bike was lifted by the wind until I was hanging on to the handlebar with the entire bike streaming horizontal. As the wind intensified, i feared that I would lose the bike, my first thought was to lay the bike down, I actually lay down on my back with the bike in my lap for about a minute until the gusts abated.
At one point, my computer registered 122F.

Day 4
I won't even begin to tell you how many riders have been injured from crashing, or getting dehydrated, or more. BTW, the guy that crashed in the wind yesterday has a fractured lumbar vertebra, among other things, and 3 people went to the ER today.

Day 5
95F temp, Keeping our heads, neck scarves (for sun protection), and shirts wetted down. It was a long day as I was on the road, from 7:15 this morning until 6:45 this evening (including breaks).

Day 6
I would say that yesterday was almost my toughest day - maybe just slightly behind our first desert day. The climb up Yarnel Hill ( actually a mountain) was the easiest part of the day. The rest of the day was spent on false flats and moderate grades but we had very gusty headwinds.

Day 7
We found out this morning that two more people had to leave the tour.
Fortunately Noreen is OK to go on, but will need a couple of days rest. She broke her helmet in the fall, but no concussion. Her hip will take some time to heal.... but she is one tough woman and is ready to go on! I think she already went to the bike store on the way back from the hospital and got a new helmet.

Day 8 Rest day

Day 9
The descent started at mile number 26.3 into the trip, and what a descent it was. I have never been so afraid on a bike. It was very steep, with a lot of switchbacks and banked curves. We still had the wind in our faces when it was not blocked by the mountain itself. I did get a chance to look at the views this time, because I was so afraid of being out of control on the bike hurtling down the mountainside that I stopped for breaks to cool off the bike brakes and get my head together. I have blisters on my thumbs from hanging on the brakes!

Day 12
The blowing dust/sand was so thick at times that we had to stop and wait for our path to clear. Gusts were in the 50 mph range.

Day 13
The small group that I was with hadn't gone more than three miles out of Grants this morning when we were hit by a gusty rain/sleet/snow squall. The sleet was biting our faces and our hands were so cold that we could barely operate our brake/shift levers. The temp had dropped to 41F.

Day 14
The last ten miles into Santa Fe was a downpour. As long as I kept moving, I stayed relatively warm, however, I was soaked. I had plenty of cold rain throughout the day

Day 17
Today was a hard day - 109 miles with 4200 feet of climbing and gusty head & cross winds most of the day.

Day 18
I had to muster everything that I had to reach the first sag stop at 31 miles and only averaged 10 mph. We also had steady headwinds that grew stronger as the day went on. By the time that I reached the first sag stop, other riders were dropping like flies - feeling terrible with no energy and with vomiting and diarrhea. We were told at the sag stop that three riders hadn't started that morning and were in the hospital getting IV's and that the doctor suspected a low grade of food poisoning. We had eaten family style at a Pizza Hut the evening before. It seemed that most of the ill riders had eaten certain foods - that were cooler than they should have been.

Day 19
Due to the food poisoning and brutal headwinds only eight out of 39 riders made it in without being sagged, yesterday. The last rider came in around 8pm after almost 13 hours on the road.

Day 21
Picture the Wizard of Oz type winds, from the side, blowing thick, gritting sand gusting up to 50mph. About 10-12 riders got into the sag van

Day 22
So basically, it HAILED AND BLEW LIKE A MOTHER. It was horrible, we were not dressed for hail, then it rained and SNOWED
A comical highlight today was when Brendan was hit in the back of the helmet by a dead chicken thrown by a passing trucker and knocked off his bike.

Day 23
The weather started early in our 67 mile ride. It began to rain some, then harder, and by the time I had reached the 22.4 it was a full-on ice storm.
Then the most difficult time of the ride occurred for me; a 3 mile downhill in the freezing rain.
I had my fingers in my mouth, behind my knees, and between my legs to try to prevent frostbite.
The front end of my bike was shaking-not the wheel, my entire upper body was in rigors.
I wanted to call for a sag, but I knew that I would have to dial the phone with my tongue, because I could not move my hands or fingers. I actually couldn't even use the brakes to stop to get my phone out of the plastic bag.
The rain abated, and I climbed for what seemed like forever. Seeing some riders off and on from time to time.
There was also a great descent into Madrid.
But with about 20miles to go, it started to rain again, in earnest.
I was moving well, but there were still some hills to be climbed before town.
It was pouring, and I was afraid to stop and get cold, so I didn't eat for the last 15 miles........and
paid dearly.
I got to the hotel, got into the lobby and in a whisper, asked Zack to take my bike.
I then suffered the worst hypoglycemic episode of my life,

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