Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 34
Brenham to Navasota

Like I explained yesterday - I didn't really ride quite all the way to Brenham, I was 9 miles short. I started at the same spot I left off with yesterday (right next to this cute little camper I wanted to buy on route 290). Today was a bit overcast but not to hot - a perfect riding day! I rode into Brenham historic district to meet Tammy for lunch - and rode right through without ever seeing her. I was about half a mile from the Blue Bell creamery when I called her. I ended up riding back about a mile and stopped in town for lunch at Funky Art Cafe & Coffee Bar.

When we finished lunch, I rode down to blue Bell and met Tammy to go for the tour. It was really fun and the ice cream sample at the end made my day!!!! I had looked forward to the tour for several weeks now and was not disappointed. Now if we can only get them to sell it in Connecticut I will be all set. It was interesting to find out they are the third largest ice cream company in the country and they only sell it in 19 states - yes it is that good. And when you buy a half gallon of their ice cream, it is still two quarts - a REAL HALF GALLON!!!!!!

After the tour I set out for Navasota, it was starting to rain, so I tried to speed it up a bit. It never more that drizzled so it felt refreshing as I rode. The hills did eventually let up and get easier as I approached Navasota. Once in town I rode to the Firehouse to get a patch and find out if it would be possible to stay on their property Friday night so I can start fresh Saturday morning. The Chief found a patch for me, and showed me where he lets the cyclists passing through stay. Awesome a safe place for the night - mission accomplished.

They are VERY bicycle friendly at the firehouse here, so if you know someone crazy enough to do this (cross country bicycling)- have them stay the night here if they need it!

The garmin information for the day is as follows:

Day 34 Brenham to Navasota by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Day 33

Bastrop State Park to Brenham

OK I get it already - Hill country - Today was full of more rolling hills, you get to the top of one and there is a triple hill coming that is just a little higher than you started. If not for a bit of a headwind, it would have been a great ride down the first hill and most of the way up the next. Not today, I had to work a little for it!

The weather was bright and sunny and hit 85 degrees for the first time in a while, it was nice to have the sun again, to dry me out. The Bluebonnets down in this area are about at peak and I could see many fields of them in full bloom, it is quite beautiful to see. If you ever get a chance to come to Texas, try to make it for this time of the year and check out the Bluebonnets (The Texas State Flower).

I rode out today with my wife Tammy following me for the next couple of days, as this is her vacation time( not much of a vacation following me on my bike), we are staying in Bastrop State Park, and riding out each day to stay on schedule and going back to the park each evening. Today I stopped just short of Brenham (home of Blue Bell ice cream), so that tomorrow I can ride into Brenham have lunch with Tammy, and go take the tour of Blue Bell Creamery. (can you tell I like Blue Bell ice cream?)

The ride was nice and scenic with the Blue Bonnets along the way, the only downfall for the day - chip seal roadways - over simplifying it, Oil and rock rolled on the ground to extend the life of road surfaces. Extremely bumpy and rough on the seat!!!

As I stated earlier I stopped short of Brenham, packed the bike in the SUV, and was off to the Oasis at LAke Travis for a sunset dinner. If you have not been there - look it up and go (Beautiful sunset views) if you have been there I don't have to say any more - you already know!!!!

The Garmin information for the day is as follows:

Day 33 Bastrop State Park to Brenham by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Friday, April 23, 2010

The more things change . . . .

Greetings from the viewing stands! I'm finally updating you all now that I have far more concrete information about what is to come for me in this endeavor.

As you all know, I left the route with a severe case of bronchitis that just did not want to get better. I pedaled 3 days with a head cold and 3 days with bronchitis - - and oddly enough, felt great while pedaling. (It only hurt to breathe when I stopped, which seemed kind of odd.)

I knew I was sick, and I knew I needed to rest for an extended period. Thus, I came off the route and home to New York to figure out what was next. As the bronchitis cleared (through a combination of rest and prescriptions), I felt like I could start training to hopefully rejoin the ride from New Orleans to Florida. Unfortunately, on an easy training ride over flat terrain in ideal weather, I discovered that I was in a major, major asthma flare - only the second I have ever had since developing mild asthma in my early 20s. Things went downhill since that easy little ride, and it became clear that I would not be able to train back to the level at which Todd is riding given that he now has 1,500 continuous miles under his belt. In fact, right now, any riding at all is a problem.

I started this project knowing that I risked physical harm - - whenever one gets onto a bicycle, one faces all manner of health and safety risks. I planned for the best, trained hard, and happily accepted those risks in order to fulfill a dream of riding cross-country self-contained. When I got sick, I re-evaluated those risks and, heartbreakingly, I have realized that "risk of harm" has turned to "certainty of harm" given all of the circumstances.

It's going to be a long-ish road back to full lung function. By late May, I hope to be ready to start training for Get Your Guts in Gear's Seattle Ride. For now, I am going on walks and trying to reintroduce shades of cardio activity into my life. I'll get back on my bike, of course. Just not in time to ride into St. Augustine on May 14th.

It's completely heartbreaking. I know for certain that there are some folks out there who are deeply disappointed, and I do not blame you. I, too, am deeply disappointed. This is not how this was supposed to be!

However, it's still true that the more things change, the more they stay the same. And the one thing that seems inevitable is that plans change, and one must constantly adjust.

And so we adjust.

As I wrote initially when I got sick, this is not unlike experiencing a Crohn's flare. You evaluate, adjust, and figure out how to deal with the changes to your health and to your life. It's not "fair" in the way that we'd like things to be fair, but living with a chronic illness never is. We just have to figure out how to meet the new situation.

I will be onsite in New Orleans as Todd arrives at our previously-scheduled visit to Digestive Disease Week - - a gigantic conference of gastroenterologists, and we will hopefully garner additional media attention at that venue. But for the spaces in between, it would be great to have additional folks out there with IBD, ostomies, or CRC. If any of these conditions has touched you or your family (and especially if you are able to speak as someone affected by IBD as a patient, family member, or other caregiver), and you are in East Texas, southern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, or northern Florida, please get in touch with us so we can get you and your bike on the road with Todd!

Many of you have sent me messages of concern and support. Thank you. I'm gonna be fine; you don't need to worry about that. I recognize the difference between taking a risk and ignoring certainty. That said, here is what we DO need: please continue to support Todd while he and his dad continue their cross-country odyssey, and please continue to support our larger mission for Crohn's, colitis, colorectal cancer, and ostomies, either onsite or from afar.

As always, thank you for reading & following. Now back to the regularly-scheduled awareness- and fund-raising!

- Jay

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 31
Lampasas to Austin

I seem to be finding an unusually uncommon theme for the weather lately. Am I still in Texas? The common theme here as of late is COLD. It has not even hit the 70's in days now. I have had to wear long pants, jacket, and full gloves just to start the day. I really miss those awesome Texas sunsets, and all the stars in the sky at night.

At least it is not raining today! I started late in hopes of a last minute possibilty of a meeting, but that was not possible today. So its off to Austin where I may be able to make a couple connections.

The roads today picked up where I left off yesterday, lots, and lots of rolling hills. I did finally see more Bluebonnets today along with a lot of colors along the roadside, unfortunately there is not much more to the day than that. I rode until traffic became a problem, this was in the Jollyville/Anderson Mill area. There were no bike lanes and I was on a 3 lane road alongside the highway and both were very busy, so I pulled into a parking lot and called it a day.

Finding a place to stay was very difficult, there are no RV parks nearby, and there is a convention in the area. We were forced all the way back to Cedar Park!!

The Garmin information is as follows:

Day 31 Lampasas to Austin by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details