Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The REAL San Francisco Celebration Details...

So a few things have changed since the last posting, most
importantly the location of our reception. We've got a lot of HBC
alumni helping us plan our event, so here's the latest (and correct)

HBC Alumni invite riders, family, and friends to:

HBC South 2005 San Francisco Reception
Sunday, July 31
2:00 P.M.
The Log Cabin Lawn in the Presidio

After the riders have crossed the Golden Gate, we'll head over to
the Log Cabin Lawn for food, drinks, and more pictures.

For driving directions to the Log Cabin, go to: http://

If you are able to help with logistics or food, please contact Josh

Sorry about the confusion folks! Get ready for a great time!


For All Parents, Sibling, Friends, Innocent Bystanders, etc.:

Here are some details for the big bonanza at the end of our grand

We'll be leaving Petaluma, CA late on Sunday morning (around 10 AM)
and riding the approximately 50 miles over to the Golden Gate
Bridge. We're trying to avoid the SF Marathon, which ends at 11:30
AM, so we'll be crossing the bridge sometime between 2 and 3 PM on
July 31st. We'll be riding along the bike path on the bridge, so
there should be plenty of room for spectators on either side and
along the walkway.

Once we triumphantly cross the bridge, we'll be celebrating with a
reception in Crissy Field Park, which is located right over the
Golden Gate Bridge on the San Francisco side. We'll be dipping our
tires in the Pacific there, and then having a picnic reception with
our family and friends, HBC alumni, and anyone else who'd like to
join us. Directions and a map for Crissy Field can be found at

We're expecting a group of about 110 people or so, maybe more (that
total's based on our riders and the friends and family they are
expecting, as well as the HBC alums who plan to come celebrate). If
you're planning on coming and would like to bring something along
with you, any type of picnic fare would be great - anything from
fruit salad to potato chips to deserts. And, of course, your
cameras and ready congratulations will be a must!

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Grand Finale in just a few
short days!

- Sarah Newman

California Here We Come...

We've finally made it into our last state! And what a way to
welcome us in - a day off at spectacular Lake Tahoe.

It's hard to believe that this place is nestled away just a day's
ride west of the desolate Nevada desert. We've traveled our way
along Highway 50, affectionately known as "The Lonliest Road in
America." The only towns we've seen on the route have been the ones
we've stayed in, traveling from one small town to another through
miles and miles of nothing but Sagebrush and mountain passes.

The day before yesterday served as a fitting culmination to our
rides through Utah and Nevada, with a 120-mile ride into Fallon,
Nevada. The ride didn't turn out to be as difficult as I had
feared, with two of the four passes of the day early on in the
cooler temperatures and an amazing paceline consisting of nearly our
entire team to fight the headwinds in the valleys. I arrived in
Fallon tired, but proud of my achievement and my teammates.

We headed over to Reno for the evening so we could experience a
little civilization after the endless desert. The casinos were
definitely a sight to see - I was actually a little disoriented by
all the sights and sounds of the flashing lights and slot machines.
We had the ride to Lake Tahoe ahead of us, so most of us had to cut
our enjoyment of the city shorter than I would have liked.

The ride to Tahoe was our shortest in quite a while - we cut off a
few miles by heading into Reno early. We slept in until a leisurely
6:30 AM before setting off and arrived at the lake in the early
afternoon. It's just beautiful, I can't even begin to describe it.

The climb up was difficult, but nothing we haven't been doing every
single day since leaving Kansas. It's funny - I don't think I'd
know what to do with myself if we ever had a flat ride on this trip.
Even Kansas was uphill a little bit.

We're celebrating while we're here in Tahoe - Karan and Andy are our
lucky birthday boys. Should be a great time all around, before we
head on to California. Maybe it will even be downhill from here -
but I think that's wishful thinking looking at the Sierra-Nevadas
rising up around me and the lake...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

First the Rocky Mountains and now the Desert Heat...

Now, I know no one said biking our way across the country was going to
be easy, but the recent adventures we've had here on the Southern
Route have been TOUGH.

After (sadly) leaving Boulder, we starting climbing the Rocky
Then we kept climbing the Rocky Mountains.
Then we climbed more of the Rocky Mountains.

Pass after pass, thousands of feet above sea level, for over seven
straight days we biked up and down those mountains. I actually
learned to dislike riding downhill - since it only meant we've have
further to climb to reach the next summit.

We camped at the top of Kenosha Pass (elevation 10,001 feet) during
one of our first days in the Rockies, and let me tell you, it gets
COLD up there in the mountains at night. I had to sleep with my arm
and leg warmers under my clothes to stay warm, but a few brave (or
insane) souls actually slept outside!

We climbed and descended the Continental Divide as well during our
week in the Rockies. We rode up Cottonwood Pass, and after over 20
miles of uphill biking and 12,123 feet, took in the summit before
gritting our teeth for the unpaved gravel road on the way down.

We finally crossed into Utah, thinking we'd finally left all those
long grueling slopes behind us. As luck would have it though, we
found Utah to be full of canyons. Canyons we rode down into and
climbed back out of time and time again. While the climbing in the
Rocky Mountains was just as slow as what we've found in Utah, those
canyons seem a lot more difficult in the 110 degree (or hotter)
weather we've been facing.

We all made it into Moab, however, and enjoyed a much-needed (and well-
deserved) day off. We took a group trip out to Arches National Park
to hike around and see the amazing stone wonders created by years of
wind and water erosion, explored the shops and entertainment in Moab,
and, of course, ate A LOT of good food.

Today we enjoyed a short ride of only 55 miles into the town of Green
River, to give us just a little more time to rest before tomorrow's
daunting 105 mile ride through the desert into Capitol Reef National
Park. Wish us luck (and a little less heat)!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Photos from the Road!

We have been snapping away and have dozens of pictures to share with you!

Please enjoy Karan's pictures of the beautiful scenery and our great adventures at:

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Boulder, a hippy's paradise

Hey Everyone,

Just got into Boulder, CO, and gearing up for a fantastic day off
(well... half day off half work day). Perhaps its just because we've
been slightly starved for civilization, but i LOVE it here. Up until
now since Louisville we haven't actually been in a town larger than
1500 people, and the last week we've stayed in towns with as few as 87
people and as many as 500. funny when places with 2000 people suddenly
become large cities.

The ride through western kansas was most likely exactly what any of
you would expect of Kansas... very flat and lots of farms. Each town
is marked by a grain elevator somewhere near its "center"... giant
white rectangles w/ a varying number of silos attached to them... they
are so large you could usually see them from 5-7 miles away (yes, we
counted). We had about 5 days straight of corn and wheat fields and
when we entered Colorado we discovered that in fact, very few people
call it their home (literally we would go 80 miles without passing
through a single town, only to stop in a town with fewer people than
were in my 5th grade class).

The elevation is making itself known as well... the mornings are now
fairly "cold".. to the point that we're all wearing arm warmers and
leg warmers (or leggings) until about 11am. The sun feels stronger
too... great for our already ridiculous tans... and because we're
starting earlier,we now have the pleasure of having te back of our
calves about 3x darker than any other parts of our bodies. We will
start climbing the Rockies on Fri, and then will go over our highest
pass on Sat... i'll email you all again, assumign i survive.

Oh yeah, and there was this storm in Kansas... not a Tornado (per say)
but i think it was close. There were ping pong ball sized hail balls
falling from the green sky and black streaks illuminated by giant
lightning bolts every 3 minutes. We stopped at this house, where nice
people let us take over their barn... we played dominos and charades
and danced around in the rain (except when the hail was falling). it
was totally incredible, and i sort of thought the world was coming to
an end (literally, stephen spielberg should just go film out in kansas
instead of using computer graphics for special effects).

anyway, we're heading to dinner... hpoe all is well w/ everyone.

miss you all dearly,

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Some Facts and Thoughts From Kansas (June 30, belated)

For us cyclists, waking up at 4:30 am is an extraordinary effort
acceptable only during unique circumstances. For the townsfolk in
Gypsum, Kansas, rising in the early morning is everyday routine in the
farms. Happily so: before sunrise, we were greeted with a delectable
(as Andy would put it) breakfast, the result of many families and
local organizations coming together to host HBC.
I can barely open my eyes at these ungodly hours, and, unlike, say,
Adam or Tanya, I lack the energy to cheer and greet. But, to be fair,
being on the road by 6 am has many practical advantages. You can avoid
many of the hard obstacles of a day’s ride, such as heavy traffic,
strong headwinds, and exhausting heat. For the most part, though, what
everyone enjoys most is the early morning landscape. As Matt and I
discussed, the cold breeze and slight darkness makes riding seem easy
enough for one to admire the beauty of the Kansas’s fields.
Today was especially good (which was completely unexpected, given that
Quinn was riding the van, and by now we’ve realized that whenever he
is driving, our mileage is extremely hard). With backwinds, we were
rolling at almost 25 mph; by 8.30, we had already covered almost 30
miles and had seen the usual fields of corn, soy, wheat, and milo
change their color as the sun rose. We escaped rain and thunderstorm,
and witnessed, during our first water break, a controlled fire—a
surprisingly peaceful sight.
We were mostly by ourselves on the road leading to the small town of
Tescott, being greeted by the occasional grandma driving grandson to
Summer Bible School (presumably), and by the usual Dodge pick-up truck
driver. In Tescott, before the last 30 miles, a couple yelled at me
from the side of the road: “Who you’re riding for?” It took me by
surprise. ‘Who for’? Do you mean ‘where to’? I suppose many cyclists
have passed by Tescott. “Habitat for Humanity,” I yelled back, as they
gave me a whole four thumbs up.
Route 18, toward our destination Sylvan Grove, was fast and easy.
Before 10.00, we reached 60 miles and were ready for lunch. No one
really ate, as we were eager to make it to town—word was that they had
two restaurants serving Mexican food, so why bother with a big snack?
I grew impatient during the last 10 miles or so. We have learned that
in Kansas (where you can easily see what awaits in the horizon) a tall
structure, whether it be a grain elevator or a water container,
signals the presence of a small town. I saw 2 or 3 of these around 80
miles (the expected mileage for the day), but, of course, only the
very last container read “Sylvan Grove.”
Most of us were in the First Presbyterian Church by 11.30. T.C, Avi,
and I, who I think find it harder than the rest to wake up early, were
eager to get there quickly and thus arrived first (a rare occurrence
on my part, I must confess). Immediately, we hit said restaurants,
which offered very, very cheap goods, and, after a quick shower at the
local high-school, took, well, how to put it, an unusual 5 hour-long
nap. After all, we had a lot of time to kill. Right before dinner, at
6pm, we strolled around town again. We chatted with the owner of the
local grocery shop, a Southern California native who found his home
state too loud and crowded and decided to move to Sylvan Grove (if
you’re looking for small and peaceful, then you should join him).
Delicious burgers, beans, and potatoes were served for dinner (thank
heaven for leftovers), and a slideshow presentation followed.
Conversing with some of the people here, I learned that neighboring
Manhattan, KS, is home to Kansas State University and one of the best
schools for milling and veterinary. I learned that methamphetamine
production is huge in Kansas and Missouri, and that drug busting
busies police officers more than any other crimes. Cattle farming, is,
of course, big around these parts; Texas slaughters more cows than
Kansas, but the latter wins in packing capacity.
Not a bad day at all, and though I am not looking forward to waking up
at 4.30 tomorrow morning, I confess that the Kansas plains have not
driven me as crazy as I thought they would. The early morning has
allowed me to fall in love with the landscape, which, as I confessed
to Avi this morning, I think bears a striking resemblance to other
places I have visited: Southern Belgium, or even the Andean highlands,
all far-fetched yet true comparisons. I am still finding what about
Kansas is different. So far, it is that roads here are divided with
yellow lines (as opposed to white), that the crickets are loud and
sing until late, and that the smell varies a lot, from that of sweet
flowers to that of lazy cows. Perhaps what’s peculiar about Kansas is
that these stretched lands makes one think a lot about home, and yet
they can feel homely, somehow.

Friday, July 01, 2005

In Celebration & Remembrance

In Celebration & Remembrance

Written in Memory of: Rachel “Ramie” Speight.
Tragically taken while riding her bicycle across America
In a fund-raising pledge ride known as The Habitat For Humanity Bicycle Challenge

As the days pass, we’ll hear your whispers in the wind.
We’ll feel your loving embrace in the warm rays of the sun.
We’ll be reminded of your absence in the tears of a soft falling rain.
We’ll feel your spirit soar as we watch the Lark lifting us ever higher.

The piercing pain in our hearts will finally ebb.
In the beginning we'll sit down in silent reflection to remember our time together.
Your giving, committed and compassionate life seemed to slip so quickly away from us.

Finally there will come a time when we’ll recall our joy together with overflowing hearts.
We’ll rejoice in how we’ve always been surrounded by the warm embrace of loving, caring family,
friends, places and moments.

Those shared experiences having created indelible impressions,
the bittersweet cinema of life unveiling.

No matter how pained and tired are our bodies?
No matter how hushed our joy;
breathe in this very second, experience our shared breath of life,
embrace each other and each wonderful moment, for it’s all we can really possess.

We have all arrived together at this point in the journey.
For the gift of birth and death are celebrated and honored.
For all of those who have gathered to remember Rachel,
it is with love and compassion that we honor the culmination of her temporal life.

By: Philip Turner ©2005 (Also a distance cyclist and Cousin of Lauren Selman. Lauren was one of
“Ramie’s” Ride Partners on the Bike Challenge’s Southern Route.)


Philip Turner
Network Operations Engineer

Riding Our Way Through Kansas

Today we are in Hill City, Kansas, a thriving metropolis with both a
library with internet and a laundromat.This was somewhat shocking to
us, since it wasn't even bolded on the map in our atlas (yes, that IS
how we decipher whether or not a city we're entering is big or not).
We've been in Kansas, our 9th state, for 5 days now and overall it has
been treating us quite well. The first days were extremely hot with
incredible head winds, but since then the decision to begin waking up
at 430 (no, the sun is not up at that point, but it does begin to rise
right before 6, just when we're ready to roll out onto the road) life
on the flat, shadeless roads of Kansas has been much more pleasant.

Last week we had a week of short spurts in many states. We were in
Kentucky, Indiana, (Kentucky again), Illinois, Missouri, and now
Kansas. Missouri was pretty intense
because I personally had believed that since it was in the midwest, it
should be entirely flat. For the whole state. Flat means (for those
states who are confused) no hills. Apparently when we heard rumours of
some "mountains" called the "ozarks" they weren't really lying. They
do exist. Just a word of advice, if you ever decide to bike across
Missouri and you think it's flat. The worst part about it
was that because the mountains aren't really that big, they don't
waste their time with making long gradual climbs up mountains...
straight up and straight down is the policy there. Needless to say
there were times that i think my front tire actually came off of the
ground because the hills were so steep.

Since entering Kansas we've gone powershuting in Iola, had a work
day/day off in Emporia, took a shower in the firehouse in Gypsum, ate
Mexican food in Sylvan Grove, and had a mail drop in Hill City.
Powershuting was amazing, it is like a motorized parashute from which
we got to see lots of the countryside from about 500 feet above it. In
Emporia we split up into small groups and did different volunteer
activities around the city. Some people helped to clean up and garden
in the public garden areas, some sorted clothing for a local church,
others gave a bike safety clinic at an elementary school, and others
went to a day camp to talk about our experience with the trip so far,
habitat for humanity, and also learned how to do archery. The shower
in Gypsum has been, by far, the most favored shower up until now. It
didn't matter that you had to hold the lever on the end of the hose in
order to have the water come out, the brightly colored tarp walls, the
fact that the water was a wonderful sun warmed temperature, and the
comfort of the giant fire engine right next to you, all made up for
it. Shockingly enough, in Sylvan Grove, they had 2 mexican
restaurants, with incredible burritos and chips and guacamole. Who
would've expected that in a town of no more than 400 people? Today we
arrived in Hill City, greeted by over 60 packages from friends,
family, and even a few from HBC alum. Needless to say, we now have a
giant table of baked goods from which to choose from which we can
sample to our hearts desire. Thank you everyone, for your incredibly
generous gifts, we all greatly appreciate them!

It's officially July now, and we've just ended our 5th week on the
road. It's hard to believe, but we're looking forward to entering
Colorodo in a few days. We're all excited, but I'm sure we will soon
be sorely missing the flat roads of Kansas.