Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Here's the ND tour route, just the border to border ND portion (MN may be added later):

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trip and tick update...

I'm getting closer to ready for my bicycle trip across ND.  My travel arrangements are pretty much complete and my route is picked out.  I'm taking the Amtrak, which I realize is odd for an airline employee, but it will cost less than flying with my bike, and will take me to Williston, ND, which is much closer to the MT border than Minot, where I would have to bum a ride to get the rest of the way.  I'll ride west for just a bit to get to MT, then drop down near the north unit of Theodore Rosevelt National Park, then hook up with Hwy 200, which other than a detour near Lake Sakakawea, will take me across the state in pretty much a straight line.  Not what I'd originally intended, but that's because I'm going to attempt to cover some distance of MN now too.  It would be great to make it all the way back to St Paul, but that's a lofty mileage goal on a fully loaded bike with 8 days.  That would not be the relaxation approach, and I would like to do some of that, believe it or not.  
I should be building my new wheel in the next few days- as soon as the rim gets here.  I picked up the rest of my wheel-building tools today at REI.  I bit the bullet and purchased a professional wheel truing stand, a dishing gauge, and a spoke tension meter.  I'm set for building and maintaining wheels for quite some time.  I need a shop for my shop now.  :)  That could potentially happen sooner than later- Alison and I are working numbers right now and looking to possibly buy our first home.  It doesn't appear that with our current aviation market we'll be seeing any major changes in position for a while, so we'd like to be earning some equity and having more than a cramped little apartment for space.  We'll see what happens, we haven't decided on anything yet, but are getting more and more educated on the process for now.

On the mention of Lyme Disease from my last post- I may or may not have it.  Now, you may be thinking, why would you be heading out to the middle of the frontier prairie on a bike when you might have Lyme Disease, Ben?  Well, it's because I don't currently have any symptoms and my doctors says I have no restrictions.  The only symptom I did have after being bitten by a deer tick was the "bullseye of death", as I have jokingly started to call it- a target shaped rash around the bite site that typically points to Lyme Disease.  I was bitten while rock climbing on Mt. Diablo in CA, most likely during the visit I took to some tall grass to evacuate a meal used.  I felt the bite happen while driving through Berkeley that evening, but thought it was a pinched nerve or some form of upset muscle, since was on my inner thigh where my climbing harness had been in contact with quite a bit that day.  I was feeling very beat up from the days rock exercises, so I didn't think anything of the pain and soreness I was feeling.   A few short hours later I was able to look at my thigh, and found the deer tick buried pretty well.  I removed it (quite well I might add), and went to the doctor with said tick the next day after flying back to St Paul.  They gave me a one time antibiotic just in case at that point, and told me to come back with the addition of any symptoms.  Well, I already told you I got the rash, so that landed me in the clinic again and that time they gave me two more weeks of antibiotics, which I am finishing by this Thursday (which is good, because it's keep me from trying more than just a sip of my newest homebrew to come out- an Irish Red).  Anyhow, rash disappeared, and no new symptoms.  I don't think I have the disease, but I won't know for sure until another month when they can test my blood for it.  I guess it takes some time for it to show up.  Until told otherwise, I'm going to go about my business like nothing nasty and bug-based is flowing through my veins.  So that's the story.  I think the climbing may have even been worth it.  I had the chance to lead (poorly, but for the most part successfully) Amazing Face, a Bay Area classic sport route.  100 feet or so of crimpy sandstone face climbing.  Exposed for a one pitch climb, and it was good for me to do it on the sharp end.  That's always the biggest obstacle I have- the mental push to step out on a hard move above the last piece; to be ok with possibly falling a distance when the system and fall itself is safe.   I think the mental side to climbing is always harder than the physical.  It's why most people don't climb at all, I suppose.  
Anyhow, there should be documentation of the tour and such to come amidst my busy work schedule.  I always seem to find time to talk bikes and fun outside.  :)

Thursday, May 07, 2009


So when I don't post very often, it's caused by one of two things- either I have been experiencing uneventful times, or, like now, I've been freakin' busy.  Lots of things to catch up on, but I don't know that I have the time to share all tonight.  Here's the short of it- went to California again, climbed very hard there, possibly got Lyme Disease (verdict's still out, and up to a blood test in around 5 weeks), expanding my home bike shop to include all necessary wheel building tools (expensive), been working like mad, and it's getting closer to the ND bike tour (last week of May), and several other things.  Stay tuned for an actual discussion on those topics.