Le Tour De Shore 2017

The morning started early, like really early, like why did I even bother going to bed early.

Advertisements

The morning started early, like really early, like why did I even bother going to bed early. I was both excited and nervous. Today was the day for Le Tour De Shore 2017 ride! Today would also be the first time I would be taking a commuter train into Chicago. Being my first time, and wanting to make sure I would get a spot on the train, I decided to be there an hour early. Turns out I wasn’t the only early bird as other LTDS riders were already there!

The train ride went very smoothly, I chatted a bit with a fellow rider but about halfway through I think my nerves started to get to me. I found myself oddly silent and watching the minutes tick by. I had a lot on my mind. My biggest worry was about getting through the day, as I hadn’t put in the training miles like I had wanted to. My longest ride to date had only been 30 miles, and I was about to do 65. It felt daunting to say the least.

With a clickety-clack the train moved quickly down the track, and it soon arrived at Millennial Station in downtown Chicago. I took a deep breath as I felt the train come to a stop, and I said a little prayer for strength and safety. I quickly grabbed my bike and when I unloaded I looked for anyone that could be possibly doing the ride and started to follow them. I had no clue how to actually get out of the station but the advice I was given was to just follow the crowd. The advice turned out to be very good and after a short trek through the underground station and a small portering of my bike up some steps(which is not an easy feat when you have a big yellow bucket, and 4 water bottles attached to the bike) I found myself standing on the streets of Chicago.

It was sprinkling slightly, not enough to worry about but just enough to be annoying. Continuing to follow the crowds, we zigzagged across the streets until we made it to the McDonald Cycle Center in Millennium Park. It was here that I met up with someone whom had found my blog earlier in the year when researching this very ride! I had mentioned that I was planning on riding at about 10-12mph for this ride, and if that fit with her speed she was welcome to ride with me. I hadn’t heard back, so at this point I was figuring on having to ride alone(which I really wasn’t looking forward to having to do). As luck would have it though, this speed worked for her as well, and she had no one to ride with either. So on a drizzly Friday morning at 7:29am we set off on an epic ride.

To be honest much of this next part is a blur, and that is a good thing. The miles just melted away as we pedaled along the coast line of lake Michigan. As we chatted with each other about our lives, the weather slowly started to clear up and by the time we reached the first sag stop the rain had stopped. This was a sag stop that I was looking forward to arriving at! This was the PANCAKE STOP! WOOT! At the helm was Chris Cakes from ChrisCakesIndiana.com, and he would actually flip the pancakes out for you to catch! A fun experience and the showmanship was impressive(flipping up to 3 pancakes at once).

After a quick bite to eat, we soon hit the road. I knew some of this next part pretty well, as it was near where the WHAM RIDE takes place. In fact, I should apologize to my riding partner at this point, because I probably mentioned the WHAM ride about a half million times. I just get excited about things sometimes. At this point we were no longer on the closed trails of the lake shore, and instead were riding in the streets. I personally hate riding in the road, but at least I wasn’t alone. There was no bike lane here and the “side” was filled with parked cars. So I decided to take the lane, for both safety from the parked cars(and doors that might fly open), and for safety from cars trying to pass to close. Going down this particular stretch of road, which had 3 lanes. One going one direction, one going the other, and the center open for turns. I had at least two cars come up behind me, honk, and yell at me to get off the F’ing road. This while the middle lane was completely open and with them having the ability to simply go around me without even needing to slow down. I just don’t get people like this! It wasn’t like I was blocking them and going 5 mph for miles on end. It took them 5 seconds to go around me. Personally, I think every person that does crap like that, needs to be forced to ride a bike on those same roads, but I digress.

We soon reach the trail again, and are going along at a decent pace, enjoying the day as the weather was cleared up. When up ahead we notice about 30-40 other cyclists stopped in the path. I’ll give you 3 guesses on what was going on. If you guessed that we all had missed a turn, you would be correct. We were I think a mile or so off course, so not to bad. But nobody could figure out exactly where to go, because the on line map didn’t match up with the cue sheet(a trail was under construction). It turned out that while doing some construction, they had actually ground away and tore up the road marking for the turn. Ugh. We turned around and attempted to find our way back, when we saw some more LTDS cyclist heading the wrong direction we made sure to let them know as well. We ended up eventually running into some other folks who were lost, and we ultimately found our way back to the trail(thanks to a helpful construction worker).

It was about this time I realized something that I had forgotten to bring, my damn gloves. My hands were beginning to get torn up a by my sticky handlebar tape. No matter where I put my hands I just couldn’t find a comfortable position. This would turn into a worse problem as time went on, leaving me wondering at one point if I wanted to drop $25 to buy a new pair(spoiler alert, I decided to just tough it out). As careful as I was to pack everything, making multiple check lists, I can’t believe that I forgot them.

Around lunch time we rolled into the second sag stop. What was neat to see was that the helicopter and police vehicles were there again this year! It was busy, but not to busy that we had to wait long for our food. Peanut butter and jelly and some chips, which really hit the spot. Here are some photos

Leaving this sag I quickly found myself on my “home turf”, the trail I rode on often as it was near my home. We did make a quick stop at an unofficial sag stop at a new bicycle shop that will be opening right off the trail!

At this point everything went pretty smoothly. We soon arrived in Chesterton and rolled into the last “sag”. Well the sag was a bit down the road this was the bar that everyone stopped at.

After enjoying an adult beverage, and saying goodbye to my riding companion(she was staying at a hotel and I was camping), I sat down outside and just people watched for a bit. Though, with the last leg to go, I figured it was time to get moving. I stopped over at the actual SAG stop to fill up my water bottles, and there met two other riders who were headed to campground. I asked if they minded if I followed them and they said it was fine. I couldn’t help but think back to last year and how I felt at this point. I was dead tired, and could hardly keep going. This year though, while I was tired, I still had plenty of energy to get to the campground. I didn’t feel like death, I felt pretty decent.

We arrived in pretty decent time. Here is my daily mileage and riding time for the day

After figuring out where to actually go(it was a different site this year) I got to work on finding the right spot for me. I wanted something close to the exit, and some where that might give me a little privacy and discourage someone setting up camp right next to me. I found a nice little spot and quickly setup my tent.131418

My only complaint with the camping is that both years now there have been drunk rowdy people who have no respect for the other campers. This years loveliness was the screaming women at 11:30 at night, demanding their friends make them more vodka drinks and then singing “rise and shine and give god your glory glory”. I think next year I will get the number for the DNR on duty and let them deal with it.

Dinner was served again this year by the Rolling Stone Baker and it was simply amazing! I ate about 8 slices, 2 servings of salad, and some fantastic bread pudding. If you are ever out in Valparaiso, IN I suggest looking them up!

After a restless nights sleep, thanks to the drunk women across the way, I woke up at about 6:15 and decided to break up camp. I ate some food bars that I had packed with me, and began to mentally prepare for another day in the saddle. Planning originally to leave at about 8:30, because the annual 5k that is run in Beverly Shores, I realized that I didn’t feel like sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Instead, after getting everything packed up and loaded on the truck, it was time to strike out and leave. This was about 7ish(can’t remember the exact time). Before I left the park though I stopped for what I hope to make my annual Lake Michigan photo

2021

It was about 18 miles till the first sag where I knew some yummy donuts awaited me! Right before I reached Beverly Shores I was stopped by another group of LTDS riders who wanted me to take a picture for them. I happily obliged. As they took off I found myself following them. Not in a way to be a wheel suck, but more so that they were going around the same speed I was going. I ended up following them all the way to the SAG at Michigan City. We chatted a bit on the way there and it seemed like they would be a fun group to ride with. So when it came time for them to leave, I asked if they would mind I rode with them. In which they said that was fine, but to know that “if you get called a jack ass, it’s a term of endearment with this group”.

The ride through Beverly Shores is such a fun one to take. The houses are amazing, and the views you catch between some of them of the lake shore are just awesome. I couldn’t imagine waking up to views like that every morning. So we went a bit slower as we soaked in the views and talked about the different houses we would see. It was a highlight of the trip for sure. But like all good things, it came to an end. After BS begins the “hump”. This is where the hills really start to kick in, you are out in the middle of no where, and you begin to ask yourself why you are doing something like this. On the plus side though, I did manage to stop for a picture with some of the local wildlife!

22

I don’t know what it is exactly though, but the ride between the first SAG and the second SAG just is brutal. It drags on, and it was hot and sunny out. We were suppose to be getting rain storms all day and it was about this time that I was sort of wishing for one to start. I went through my two water bottles, and started on a third one that was on my fork. I just couldn’t get my thirst under control. I think I let myself become slightly dehydrated the day before, and thus was having to play catch up on day two. Just when you start to feel like you can’t take anymore of it though, you make a turn onto the road leading into Three Oaks, MI. The group did stop just before the SAG as some of them wanted to grab a soda from the local gas station. Now people always ask me the same question on these rides “what’s in the bucket”. Well I carry tools, tubes, food, bug spray, sun lotion, creams for the unmentionable parts, and after this stop a couple of drinks for the riders in my group.

Arriving at this last SAG I couldn’t help but have a bit of a flashback to last years ride again. I had already called my wife to come get me, but she wasn’t able to at the time, and was seriously debating if I wanted to just give up. I was dead, my saddle sores had saddle sores and I just didn’t know if I had another 10 miles in me. Flash forward to this year, and while I again was tired, I wasn’t feeling dead. I had saddle sores, but I wasn’t letting that stop me. I KNEW that I had another 10 inside me and then some. It is amazing what losing about 35-40# can do for your bike riding ability.

We took off as a group again from the last sag, but after about 20-30mins we were all strung out pretty far. At one point I couldn’t see anyone behind me or in front of me. However, I did eventually catch up with a couple of the guys in the front, but as they waved me past them(they had stopped to look at a friends house), I quickly realized that I couldn’t see them behind me anymore either. I was going to have to do the rest on my own, and so I dug in deep and pressed forward. I remembered from last year that the worst part of this short stretch(which is only about 12 miles or so) is that it just seems to drag on. It is the kind of lonely stretch that leaves you alone with your thoughts, and my mind quickly went to thinking about the trip so far. How much fun it was, and the bittersweet feeling of knowing it was about to be over. About 2 miles from the end I met up with a gentleman who I had actually seen the day before. He and his friend needed a bicycle pump for a flat tire, and of course I was happy to loan them mine(though they ended up not needing it as someone from their group caught up with them and had a better one). We chatted for a few minutes and he let me know that we were near the end. It was nice to find that out because I was beginning to wonder if I had missed a turn somewhere as it was really dragging on. He pulled off from me and warned me to watch out on the last hill because the roads were bad. A little bit later I was climbing the final hill and as I began to descend I realized what he was talking about. BOOM. I hit a bad pot hole/crack in the road and one of my water bottles went flying. I hit the brakes and had to go back and get it. After that I gently coasted down into the finishing area. Another Le Tour De Shore in the books, but it won’t be my last! Day two stats 232425

Last year I said “So the big question is, would I do this ride again? I honestly don’t know but this year I tell you I will DEFINITELY be riding again next year! Even if I have to ride it alone, because among fellow cyclist you are never actually alone.

27

Sorry this was so long, and thank you for taking the time to read it 🙂

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

28

Life’s for the living…

Just some morning ramblings…

Just some morning ramblings…

I was on a bike ride today, and as I was pumping along some lyrics came to my mind, “Life’s for the living, so live it or your better off dead”. How many years did I live as a dead man? I sat and watched endless hours of tv, played computer games until my mind went numb. I let the world slip by me like I was allergic to concrete. I let my weight climb so high that doing anything was becoming a seemingly impossible task. I was dead…

20120327-174431.jpg

Yet, I turned it around, I dropped from 450 down to 250, I was living life to the fullest! But, it was short lived. Slowly, at first, the weight started to creep back up. 280, 290, 300, 330, 340, finally finding myself around 360! I was living like a dead man again. I felt dead inside, and my outside was beginning to match it. But I always held on just a little bit, I would bike occasionally and every time I did, I felt that taste of life again. I recently recommitted myself to improving myself in multiple areas, from spiritually to physically. Yet I always feel like the boy who cried wolf. How many times have I “recommitted” to this journey just to fail again? To many to count. This time though things feel different. I’m not living like a dead man anymore, I am living life. I feel it every time I hit my daily step goal, when I take in a moment of quiet meditation in the mornings, and when I ride my bike.

I finally feel alive again.

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Living LIFE!

Green Eyed Monster

Man have I been bit by the green eyed monster lately. It is a vicious beast and strikes when you least expect it.

Man have I been bit by the green eyed monster lately. It is a vicious beast and strikes when you least expect it. I joined a rather large Facebook group for road cycling, and I noticed that everyone had nicer bikes, nicer wheels, and Garmin GPS units. I had never felt the need for a fast bike because my weight would be a limiting factor. Nor could I justify dropping $2k on a wheel set, that just seems crazy to do if you aren’t an actual racer(which most of these people aren’t). But, a nice Garmin gps bike computer, now that looks fun! I sort of felt like Ralphie from a Christmas story as he admired and coveted the Red Rider double action bb gun with the thing in the stock to tell time.

bicycle-for-our-minds-909820_960_720

So I started plotting, and planning on how I could make one of those beauties mine! I looked at prices online and the $400+ price tags would mean that new would not be an option. But what about used or refurbished? After all refurbished is better than new! I looked around and after comparing models settled on one for $190. It was amazing, it would tell me how fast I was going, how far I was going, and even give me directions on how to get where I was going! YES! YES! YES! I MUST HAVE IT! Now at this point I almost felt obsessed about it, I imagined how sleek it would look mounted on Tallulah. The way the lines would complement the cockpit view. I would be able to travel to unknown parts without worrying about anything. Life would be grand! Besides, from what I read, how could I be a real cyclist without one?

more-687241_960_720

The other night while driving home, I decided to tell my lovely bride about my lusting for this amazing piece of modern technology. Her response was surprising, I expected her to frankly just laugh at me and say “nope, you have enough stuff”. But instead, she opened the dialogue about WHY do I want it? I explained that it would allow me to free up my phone in case of emergency, it would tell me my information, and it had GPS so I wouldn’t get lost. Her reply was pretty smart , it went along these lines “Why do you need a gps? You ride the same routes all the time. Your phone works fine and you carry battery packs. Why do you really want it?”. It was at this time I realized I wanted it because everyone else had it. I didn’t NEED it, it was a want. IF the worry was about freeing up my phone, I could buy a cycling computer for half the cost and it would work just as well. This left me feeling a bit down and deflated.

Deep down I knew, I knew the reason I had to have it, it was because I see these people who ride, always talking about their Garmins, and they seem happy. In my mind I equated happiness with stuff, but that night I realized happiness isn’t about stuff, it’s about moments and experiences. They aren’t happy because they own a decked out bike with a fancy computer, they are happy because they are riding. Happiness comes from within yourself. Happiness is free…

Happiness IS FREE…..

sun-32198_960_720

WHAM Night Ride 2016

It’s that time of year again, WHAM RIDE!

It’s that time of year again, WHAM RIDE!

This year was probably one of the best years to date. But I will get into that as we go. The weather to start with was nearly perfect, not to hot or to cold, but it was just a little humid out. This year sadly Kool-Aid couldn’t make the ride, but I was able to catch a ride with my friend Alex“Sierra Nevada” and his girlfriend Shandi! As he pulled up in his prius I was amazed how he was able to fit 3 bikes with only having a 2 bike rack. Those little prisus can pack more than they look like. We arrived I think around 10pm and after parking we went to pick up our registration packets. But before we could leave Alex realized he had forgotten the mounts to his lights!Luckily for him I had my kitty litter panniers and had brought some electrical tape. He hooked it all up as best he could and we headed towards the pavilion. As I went to go pick up ANOTHER tie-dye shirt that I would never wear in public, a sack style “backpack” and some soap, I started noticing that a bunch of people had on some pretty cool shirts. They were a pleasant blue, with a bicycle in white over a map of Indiana.

14055574_10155145571844502_1675159118_n

Could this be this years shirt? YES! Not only did we get cool shirts, we got awesome mini top0tube panniers instead of the backpacks!! But don’t worry, I still got my bar of soap. This worked out very well for Alex as his light was shining to high, but he was able to use a pocket on the tube bag to hold his light.

I did run into Jose “Red” from the previous years but didn’t get much chance to visit. While they still had a DJ this year the music played seemed better and the volume wasn’t uncomfortable. After registering, we had to get our “party” on with some glow sticks I had picked up at the store earlier (though I did see they added some vendors this year, they even had someone selling glow sticks!).

13900362_10155140767704502_4542824170638527391_n 13892345_10155140767789502_8696533619071679350_n 14039946_10210833269054743_5891766438945615481_n 13938374_10155140767689502_1390091535232136840_n

With our festive illumination in place, and the clock about to roll around to 12 we got in place. We decided to leave with the fast group again, now what I hadn’t mentioned is that Shandi has only been riding for 3 weeks! She had a nice 80’s Schwinn (I believe), and we had talked her out of doing the 10 mile and join us in the 30. As we waited for the signal to go off, I was all set. We were nearer to the front this time, but still part way back. HOOOONK went the air horn to signal to go, when I realized I forgot to start my mapmyrun! I tried starting it but it was acting up, so I had to stop for about 30 seconds to get it going. Within that time both Alex and Shandi had left me in the dust. I could just make out her “halo” (made from a glow stick) in the distance. It ended up taking me almost 9 miles to catch up to her. It wasn’t so much that I couldn’t get the speed, but more so I lost sight of her and I couldn’t get around people who were riding 3 abreast at times.

By the way, this is a shout out to the gentleman who got mad at me because my bucket was in his way, as he tried to pass me on the right, when I was in the right lane. Don’t get pissed that there wasn’t room, either slow down or PASS ON THE LEFT WHERE NO ONE WAS. Also, I was surprised by the number of people riding this year without lights, I counted about 10-15 of them. Those are just the ones I saw. It’s midnight, partly cloudy, and you need lights people. Ok now back to the story.

After catching up with her, I found out that Alex had taken off like a bat out of hell at the start of the ride. So we rode together for the rest of the ride. It was nice this year having someone to talk with, it really made the miles go a lot quicker. Now from what I had remembered from the previous years the big stop at Cabela’s was at around mile 15. We both were looking forward to taking a quick break, but mile 15 came and went without a sign of Cabela’s. It couldn’t be much further, I figured it might be at 16 or 17, but I was wrong. We finally rolled into Cabela’s at mile 20. It wasn’t as busy this year, but I also noticed that the ride in general seemed to have less people. My guess is that with the weather being kind of iffy all day, many were afraid of the rain. The other thing could be that I was way off and they had more people than I realized.

 

13912538_10155140767794502_173209755955136618_n13932941_10155140655129502_4721475449914795542_n13924958_10155140767844502_8286663523123931391_n 14045695_10155140767839502_1784883056367017786_n

It turned out Alex has still been waiting for us at the stop, which I was surprised to find out as I was sure he would have left already. He had gone nearly 20mph! He has been working out and eating right this last year and is really in great shape, which seemed to have paid off nicely for him! So with only 10 miles left to go, we all decided to ride together.

I almost forgot to add, for the first time ever I was recognized for my blog out in the wild by a stranger! It was about a mile before the stop, and he rolled up on us. He asked if I was the “big boned blogger” and said he was happy to meet me, as he pulled away lol. So if you are reading this, thanks! It really made my night, and encouraged me to write this post.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, so I will just cut to the next parts. We finished the ride a little before 3am and had an 11.7mph average. Not bad all things considered and I still felt like I could have done some more mileage.

13902635_10155140769149502_3935583911670918236_n

But now it was time for Breakfast! This year breakfast was served by Tapas Cafe! This was the best breakfast so far, the eggs were tasty, the sausage patties yummy, and the pancakes fluffy and not burned/undercooked.

13907146_10155140767909502_2707455549539578451_n14021468_10155140767949502_1983208910629438586_n13902819_10155140767954502_8117678300017801026_n

So now for my annual feedback!

  1. The directions were much better this year, didn’t feel lost at all, plenty of signage and people pointing the way.
  2. Food was excellent, stick with them!
  3. Would like to see some food options, would have been happy to pay a bit more as I was still hungry after.
  4. Consider a live band
  5. The swag was much better this year, thank you!

Thanks again for a wonderful event, and already looking forward to next year!

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Le Tour De Shore 2016

After a restless night of sleep I woke up early at about 4:30 to begin my day. I loaded up my bike, while my oatmeal cooked in the microwave. I ate it nervously, and began to wake up the household. Today was the day. The day I had been both looking forward to and dreading since February, the Le Tour De Shore ride. A 100 mile 2 day ride from Chicago,IL to New Buffalo, Mi.

We arrived at the McDonald Cycling Center at about 6:30. I quickly unloaded my gear and saying goodbye to my family, I figured I would try and mingle. Accept for one little problem, I found myself full of anxiety. I couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone, because I had this irrational fear gripping hold of me. I did ask one lady for some help pinning on my riding number (number 31), but I soon found myself standing all alone again. However that same lady approached me about 5 min later and asked if I had anyone to ride with? I responded that I didn’t and she offered to let me ride with her group.
13445667_10157062755725164_3008807872832116257_n

We ended up leaving a bit early as another rider offered to show us a better way to get to the Lake Shore trail head. He was a local and his route was very simple to follow, though I doubt I’ll remember it for next year. It was a pretty uneventful start, my nerves were still high as I was worried about completing the mileage for day one. We were keeping a decent pace through Chicago which was a nice difference from the last time I rode through it, Tri-State Ride. Everyone I was riding with was very friendly, which made the time go by very nicely. Everything was going smoothly, until we realized that we were missing someone. We waited for awhile, and one of the guys went back to look for him, but didn’t find him. After a bit we decided to keep going, as we thought he might have actually been ahead of us (he was a very strong rider). After a bit he came up from behind us, he had dropped his bike pump from his jersey pocket, it had wedged itself between the frame and the back wheel! I don’t know how but he didn’t fall and none of his spokes were broken. Luck was definitely on his side!

We were on our way again quickly and things again were moving at a decent pace. I could tell we were getting close to Hammond, IN where our first SAG stop would be. It was at this point we met a train, and not just any train, a REALLY SLOW train. It moved in front of the crossing about 300 feet and stopped. Ugh! We sat there for what seemed about 5 mins and it slowly, inch by inch started backing up. A bunch of us decided that when it was past the crossing we would cross. It was a single track and with the train moving so slowly it wouldn’t be any risk. A few people did yell at us from behind as we crossed but again, there was no danger. We quickly regained our speed and as we rode through a park area it started to turn, and turn, and turn us right back to that same train! Nooooooo! We were stuck at the middle of the train, the slowest moving train that has ever existed in all of human history! About 3 people decided to attempt for a Darwin award by going under the train. Now it was stopped at times, but it was still moving at others. While the 3rd person attempted a crossing the train started moving again, this time at a decent pace. Luckily they realized it in time and were able to get back. One guy had decided to go over the train and he almost lost his bike. It ended up being about a 15 min wait, and we all cheered when the train finally pulled away.

We finally reached the SAG point, and what awaited us was some gloriously yummy PANCAKES! We were all starving at this point, and we quickly found ourselves in line for the delicious food. We were lucky too, about another 10 mins and the line was wrapped around the corner. My oldest son had me bring along one of his transformers, and asked me to get some pictures of him on the ride. So here is Heatwave, in dinobot mode, enjoying some pancakes.

6 75 1

The next section of the ride is kind of a blur, I was keeping a good pace of around 13-14mph. I remembered some of the roads and trails thanks to riding the WHAM Rides WHAM 2014 Night Ride WHAM 2015 the last couple of years. I do remember riding down a “hill”, which was really an overpass on the road. I was ready to get some speed, I moved into my drops and head down low, only to find out the bottom of the “hill” was where we had to make a left turn! Yikes! By the way, my brakes DO work, and I really love the stopping power from my disc brakes. There was another hill, this time on the bike trail, and I the ride down it that time I was able to coast for a good ¼ mile or more and still was passing people. Big Boned Bikers do well downhill. By the time we reached the second SAG stop, our group had split up. One of the riders, the lady who had invited me to join them, had been getting cramps in her legs. We called them and told them we would wait for them at the SAG stop though, and after about 30 mins they caught up. Turned out the ended up in some construction and had to walk their bikes for awhile. While we had been waiting though An ambulance had shown up, and a helicopter started flying over head. All of a sudden the helicopter started getting lower, and lower, and lower. It landed in a field next to the park we were at! I wondered if it was a medical flight, but I noticed on the side it said “LAW ENFORCEMENT”. As it was landing a squad car pulled up quickly, lights on. I was thinking to myself “what the hell is going on!?!?!”. Out of nowhere a bunch of kids started running up to the helicopter though and I quickly figured out it was a “touch the truck” type of event.

13435316_10157062754340164_1133558755172886447_n

At about 1pm we left the SAG stop and continued on, heading to the last SAG of the day in Chesteron, IN. The sags were all spaced about 20 miles apart, and about 10 miles in, we had all split up again. We stopped at an unofficial SAG stop. It just was a park with a restroom and some water. It was here that I ended up splitting up with the group. I didn’t want to be late getting to the campground, because dinner started at 3pm and only went to 6pm. What was interesting, and kind of weird, was that this section of the ride was right by my house (less than a mile). It is the trail I ride all the time! In fact, I almost turned to go home by mistake at one point. I was starting to feel a bit run down about this point, and ended up stopping to rest a couple of times. It wasn’t so much my legs that were feeling it, it was my “boodle” as my son likes to call it. I should have applied more cream( I use diaper cream to help protect and it works great), but for some reason I decided not to even though I stopped at a spot with a restroom. I kept on going though, one pedal at a time and found myself arriving in Chesterton! It was getting late at this point, almost 3pm but I had decided that I would stop at the bar next to the SAG and have my one beer. It was at this point one of the guys from the group I had been riding with pulled up! We decided to go grab a beer together. I had a Lagunita IPA, which on such a hot day was amazingly refreshing. We went outside and I quickly drank my beer. It was so damn good, I couldn’t make myself nurse it like I normally would.

9

After finishing my beer, and checking out Broomhead  bars booth, who I must say have AMAZING bars! I couldn’t believe they were gluten free/healthy! I was headed out, and I must say this was the hardest part of the day. I was completely by myself, and I there were a few hills. I was tired, my butt hurt, and I just wanted to get to the campsite with out getting lost. I eventually ended up stopping to check my directions and someone else came along at that point. A lovely couple on a tandem bicycle, I offered to take their picture for them and they let me follow them to camp. Well I tried to follow them. I was just barely able to keep them insight. After what felt like forever, we finally pulled into the campground. It was a free for all setup and I found myself a nice quiet spot to setup my tent.

10 20
I had expected people to be already eating but the place was pretty empty. Turns out dinner didn’t start till 6pm and it was only a bit after 4. I was starving, and if I do this ride next year, I plan to pack a second bag of just food! The campground slowly began to fill up though and dinner was finally served. It was from this AMAZINGLY FANTASTIC SUPER DELICIOUS OUT OF THIS WORLD wood fired pizza place. This is coming from a guy who hates thin/crispy crusts. Here are some photos of dinner and the firetruck they cooked it out of.

11 12 13 14 15 16

Feeling a bit jelly aren’t you? You should be.

21 1922

That night, I slept pretty well, despite the party that raged outside my tent for what felt like hours. I fell asleep quickly though and I remember waking up to complete silence at about 1am. I had decided to leave before the official start time the next day. There was a 5k race taking place along the route that I knew would end up slowing down the ride, and the weather was going to be warm out. I got up at about 6am and packed up as quietly as I could, and was on the rode by about 6:30. I did take a quick stop by lake Michigan to grab a photo of Tallulah.

23

Again, I found myself riding alone, and this time along a busy hwy near sunrise. This sent me into a small panic attack as one car decided to buzz right by me. An inch more over and he would have clipped my handlebars. As I rode along I shortly found myself riding along the lake, it was amazingly peaceful. I passed the location where the 5k was going to take place, no issues at all since I was so early. After going a ways though, I hadn’t seen any marks to turn, and I knew I had a turn somewhere near here. I stopped my bike along the narrow lane, and pulled over as far as I could. I dug into my yellow bucket and fished out my cue sheet. Damn it, I had missed my turn. I back tracked about a mile, back to where the 5k was going to take place. They had painted over the turn marking on the road! I made the turn this time and kept a sharper look out for my next turn. This time I missed it again, but only went about 100 yards before I realized it. Eventually though I was on course, riding through a swampy area and wondering to myself why I decided to pack the bug spray with my camping stuff. After what seemed like an eternity though I finally got to Michigan City, where my first sag stop of the day was taking place. As I pulled into town I meet up with some other riders, who invited me to join them. They were planning on riding at a slow pace, so I figured it would be a great group to ride with. I was surprised to find out that the reason they were on the road so early was because their hotel had a fire the night before. They had been up since 2am and had spent most of the early morning drinking coffee at a nearby panera.

Here is a photo of the group, they were all from Indianapolis.

13450944_10101848750122118_8720182470820509910_n 13423753_10101848750032298_808247524784839830_n

Despite my best efforts, I was quickly dropped. In all fairness, they did offer to slow down, but I knew that this was going to be a tough day for me. The night before all I was hearing about was how hilly this part of the ride was going to be, and it didn’t disappoint. This was the worst part of the ride. 20 miles of hot and hilly riding. At one point it got so bad I did the unthinkable, and something I really hate to admit. I called my wife. I told her I was done. I couldn’t go on any more and that I was exhausted. That’s right, I quit and gave up. Only, she wasn’t able to come get me for at least an hour or more. I decided that instead of sitting in the middle of nowhere I would keep on riding. I’m proud of myself because instead of completely giving up and throwing in the towel, I decided to keep pushing on. Turns out I was over half way to the sag stop! I ended up making it to the SAG, after having to stop a few more times to rest, and nearly going through 4 bottles of water. I was sweaty, thirsty, tired and beat up. It was still another 10-15 miles till the end of the day. Why 10-15? Because the mileage had seemed to be off on the cue sheets. I really didn’t know if I had it in me. But thanks to some encouragement from a stranger, who told me that if you do 90miles you do 100, I kept on riding. Luckily this was a much flatter portion of riding, and I was told it was just meandering through town. They lied. While it was less hilly, it was still hilly, and it wasn’t a simple ride through town, it was a ride through the country side, which meant less shade. However, after stopping one more time, I finally found a pace I could keep up with. My “boodle” was on fire, because I had developed 2 bad saddle sores, but I just kept pedaling. After what felt like 10 hours, but really was only about and 1.5 hours I rolled into the end of the ride! I couldn’t believe it, I made it!! Big Boned Biker completed his first Le Tour De Shore.

25 24

So the big question is, would I do this ride again? I honestly don’t know. If I do it again, I need to drag someone along with me, because the times that were hardest were when I was having to ride alone.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely!

Keep On Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

The little engine that could…

I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it

From the Desk of the Big Boned Biker:

Still going strong here! I haven’t posted in awhile, life has gotten in the way, and maybe a touch of laziness. I have been doing great with my workouts; consistently on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays. I have found my time lifting at the gym almost as relaxing as well as fulfilling as riding my bike. It helps me focus and really centers my mind. Here are a few pictures from the gym, though they might not be the most “flattering” I am still proud of them.

9d126d9dc31828fe6c722d26d810a34d12107175_800316670098397_3968427218979779244_n13102877_800316636765067_113348580184681027_n12993376_796949473768450_3945009813042727473_n

I have also been training for my up coming ride with Le Tour De Shore! Day one will be the toughest day as it will be a bit over 60 miles, though I was able to do 60 last month it was still a struggle to complete it. I really need to work on my food intake, as I think I bonked at the end(ran out of “fuel”).

The ride started out well, it was a cooler day and I wore some gym pants and a light jacket. I wish it had been a touch warmer as I felt a bit overheated wearing the coat. I did try taking it off a few times but the wind from riding made it a bit to cold still. I had originally planned to ride to Michiana MI. but decided the night before to ride to La Porte instead. It looked like a nice easy ride, mainly on calm country roads, in other words some of my favorite riding.

I took off around mid morning and quickly made my way down the Prairie Duneland trail that runs near my house. That took me to Chesterton, and even though a couple people have shown me a route around the downtown, I couldn’t remember it for the life of me. I HATE riding through the busy intersection that is there, and I am pretty sure the cars behind me hate it too. I continued along the roads, I knew them pretty well as it is the same route I take to get to the campground. When I reached the point where I normally turn left, I continued straight. This was my first break, and about 20 miles in!

032016

I was feeling strong and had only about another 10 miles to go before I turned around. Piece of cake! I take off and am riding along with a big grin on my face. There is something about being on a bike to make you feel alive! Wait, what was that up ahead? Ahh @#$@ a hill. Yeah, I didn’t know about the hills on this route! I ended up having to walk up one of them and this was waiting for me at the top.
032016 frown

So apparently I wasn’t the only one who felt this way! Despite the hills though I enjoyed the country scenery. I even stopped for a couple of pictures, or at least that is what I told myself the reason for stopping was.

IMG_9235

Now my wife and I have a deal of sorts, when I go riding she wont come get me. If I got myself somewhere, I can get myself back. Now this isn’t serious, and it is more of a joke than anything, but it is a mentality that helps me push through some tough spots. This ride though, she had said that if I needed a ride she would come and get me. As I pulled into La Porte, I stopped for another couple of photos.

032016laporte

I was half way, I was tired, I was drained, I was feeling like quitting. I called her up, and told her how I felt. Those hills had wiped me out, and there wasn’t even that many of them. I also was getting over a bad cold and would go into minute long coughing fits, which didn’t help the matter. I told her though that I wasn’t 100% sure I was ready to give up, and decided to rest for about a half hour before heading home.

One, two, three, four, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four. I counted a cadence in my head as I cycled slowly along the road. Through a bit of luck I took a wrong turn and ended up missing a couple of the hills, but I still was feeling like I was running on fumes. When I made it back to where the campground turn was though, I knew I could make it home. I called my wife and said to cancel the red alert, I would be biking home today! 4 miles later I was on the side of the road coughing, sore, tired, and wishing I hadn’t made that call. One positive note though, I did figure out the alternative way to go, so i was able to skip the busy area!Still, all the way home, about every couple of miles I was having to stop to rest my legs. I was finished. I couldn’t go one bit more. I stopped on the side of the trail, sat down and felt like crying. How could I have let myself get this far our of shape! I had done harder rides with ease in the past, even at heavier weights! The ride to Dodgeville was a tougher ride and I don’t think I could do that right now. However, I gathered my strength and pushed on. I just kept pushing myself, on pedal stroke at a time. I eventually made it home and I remember saying out loud “I f’ing made it”. It was a hair over 60 miles, but it felt like I had ridden a century.
capture032016

I learned for my June ride that, I can make it if I push myself(at least I won’t be riding alone hopefully) and that I really need to get my food intake figured out. The power bars I brought just weren’t enough fuel for my body. I further learned that, when you do a big ride on Tuesday, make sure Wednesday isn’t leg day! Ouch!

12998566_795784500551614_3845249645030882098_n

Keep on Rolling,

Big Boned Biker

Body Fortress: Super Advanced Whey Protein Chocolate

This is my review for the Body Fortress Super Advanced Whey Protein powder! As always, this is a product I purchased on my own, and not a sponsored post. The opinions are my own, and represent how I feel about the product.

whey

 

Cost: The cost was reasonable from what I have seen of other similar products, and it was an influence in picking this brand. I paid about $18 for it at my local grocery store. Using just one scoop it comes out to about $1 a serving, so about the same as a bottle of soda.

Taste: I bought the chocolate thinking it would be the safest, and it wasn’t bad. It made me think of carob though more than chocolate, having a sweet but slightly tangy flavor. I think I will try a different flavor next time, maybe the strawberry? My wife also had the thought of adding PB2 (a peanut butter powder mix) to it, and I think I will give that a try also. Another plus, it wasn’t chalky! It was very smooth and didn’t leave a powdery taste in my mouth after drinking. I tried it both warm and iced down, I recommend it served cold.

Feeling: It left me feeling very satisfied and full. It has about 30g of protein per scoop! Wish it had a bit more fiber, it only has about 1g, but that is OK. About 2 hours later and I am still feeling fine, not overly hungry(I ate a late breakfast today so this was my lunch/snack).

Thoughts: I am happy with it, though the flavor isn’t exactly what I had hoped for. My biggest fear was that it would taste chalky and I was happy with how smooth it actually was! My main reason for buying this is for an afternoon snack, as it tends to be when I struggle the most. I think this will work very well for that!

Would i buy again: Yes I would, and if you are thinking of buying it via amazon here is a link