LA2DC Leg 18 5/3/15

Samsun : Dachau 

 Today Leg started in Boone Missouri. It was around a 30 minute drive from the hotel to the start of the ride. This was a very scenic area with lots of green hills and woodsy areas.

The riders for Leg 18 were Sasoon, Rafi, Artin, Ed, Mark and I. We started at 7:55 and it was already pretty warm out. The freezing mornings and rainy days seem to be behind us now.

IMG_2130The road started off nicely with lots of rollers similar to yesterdays ride. My back was sore from yesterday’s crash. In fact it hurt so bad that I could not sleep most of last night. When I first got out of bed my back was so stiff I was not sure if I would be able to ride the entire Leg today. Those first 20 miles of rollers hurt me on the climbs. I put the pain up on that shelve and rolled on.

Our first stop was the historic town of Saint Charles Missouri about 25 miles in.  The streets are cobble storn and there are many old brick buildings here. Then we would ride parallel to the Missouri River for a while. At mile 58 we crossed the mighty Mississipi River! Shortly after crossing the river we found a shady spot for a lunch break.IMG_2124

We were cruising along on a flat section and I felt something strange on my left peddle. I thought something had happened to my cleat. Sasoon was next to me and said he heard something drop on the road. Then my left crank came off. Luckily this happened on a flat section and not on a fast downhill section! After I was able to find the crank bolt a few hundred back, Bobby our mechanic quickly reattached the crank and we were on our way once again.

By 80 miles in the tempature was in the low 90’s. We could feel the heat radiating off the pavement. Not to mention the humidity. We were all feeling it but Mark was really getting cooked. We stopped for a break in the shade and poured some water over his head. A local resident came from his house across the street and asked if we needed anything or wanted to use the restroom.  These folks out here are so hospitable.

Today just like the past several days we had strong crosswinds blowing to the north. Everyone smiled when we had the brief sections heading north and we could enjoy the tail wind. It was a nice break.

Ride stats:
108.7 miles
3573′ of climbing.

Ride stats on Strava

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LA2DC Leg 16 Day 9 5/2/15

Mezereh : Trnojpolje

Adrian, Missouri to California, Missouri

Today my friends Alen and Noel Gharibian joined me for this leg as well as Gary Koshkaryan. Noel and Alen told me they would pull all day so I could take it easy. I had trained with these guys for this event along with Roobik so I knew they were strong riders and that they were capable of finishing this leg quickly.IMG_2405 IMG_2409 IMG_2411

We had to drive about an hour from the hotel to the start of the ride. By the time we got to the start and got going it was 8:00 am. We took it easy for a while to warm up the legs. Alen and Noel got in late so they did not get much sleep but they were pumped up for the ride so it did not seem to hinder them. Gary had ridden leg 15 the day before so I am sure his legs were feeling it though he never complained. I of course had a few miles on my legs too.

The last few days had long relatively flat sections of road. This route had many short rollers that were actually a fun change of pace and we were eating them up!

25 miles went pretty fast and we were settling in to our pace line. Then all it took was one rider to coast for a second and then the next rider had to slow and move to the left and my front tire clipped his rear wheel and I was down. As I hit the pavement I scraped my old wound open on my left hip as well as loosing more skin. I hit my shoulder and twisted my back and felt a muscle pull in my back. The wind was knocked out of me and I laid there for a few minutes! I wondered if this might be the end of the road for me.

I had joked with Dr. Harry that morning about him being bored and that we didn’t want to give him anything to do that day. Well unfortunately we broke the monotony of his day. He sprang into action. He stretched my back out and cleaned up my wounds and in 30 minutes or so we were riding again.

A few miles in as I stood to peddle up a hill the pain intensified. I had my foam roller in the support van so we stoped and I rolled out my back on a grassy area near a church. I wondered what the locals must have thought of this scene but did not care because it was helping.

The rest of the crew kept riding and it took me about five miles to catch up. Now those rolling hills that had been fun earlier were not much fun now with the back pain. If I stood to peddle as I like to do to attack short climbs it hurt my back so I had to stay seated. Staying seated was not good for the saddle sores!

My pain is a tribute to their suffering!

My pain is a tribute to their suffering!

My pain is a tribute to their suffering!

Noel asked how I was doing, I told him I was fine and that I had put the pain on a shelf. He joked that the shelf must be getting full!

Noel and Alen stayed true to their word and stayed in front taking turns breaking the wind for me all day. They were riding very strong and I had to yell out “notch” more than a few times. That is the code word for slow down.

Around mile 80 I hit a rock and got a front flat. Our support guy Bobby was on the scene in seconds with a spare wheel and changed it out quickly and we were riding again.

With our awesome support crew this event is the closest I will ever feel to being a Pro rider! They take care of our bikes, clean our wounds, mark the route for us, make our meals and keep us safe on the road while putting themselves in danger. They are truly amazing!

Riding in a pace line is the most efficient way to ride in a group. When you have new riders everyday and some of them have never ridden in a pace line things can get tricky!

Ride stats for the day:
108.5 miles
4124′ of elevation gain
Ride Stats on Strava

My ride stats for the trip: 789.7 miles and 26,495′ of elevation gain.

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LA2DC Leg 14 Day 8 – 5/1/14

 Marash : Majdanek

Wichita to Yates Center

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Todays I teamed up with Armen, Kevork and Vatche for this Leg.IMG_2350

The first 20 miles of this ride was through the city. Some of the roads were very rough which was not good for the saddle sores! This would be the most stop lights and the most turns since we left L.A. I am not a fan of city riding and that is why I mostly mountain bike.  

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As we were rolling through town I saw this street sign for Holyoke Street. When my grandfather first moved to the States from Diyarbekir he lived in Holyoke Massachusetts so this made me think of him and our cousins that he came with the Simsarians.

Once we got out of the city the road was fairly smooth. The wind was blowing north as it has been for the last few days. Our first stop was around 45 miles at the city hall for a restroom break, snack, photos and say goodbye to our friend Kevork who would be heading home. Kevork’s wife cheered us on along the way waving her Armenian flag. IMG_2376

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By myself but not alone, rover, wanderer…

We kept on rolling with a few short stops along the way. The pace was slower than I was used to and at mile 90 our support driver Thomas told me that we could split up and Bobby would stay with Vatche and Armen. Most days I tried to keep everyone together but with the rough road I really was ready to get  off the bike so I jammed ahead to the finish line. Vatche and Armen would roll in About 20 minutes later.

Ride stats:
108.3 Miles
2162′ Elevation gain
3324 Calories burned
Average temperature during the ride 79 degrees. It will only get warmer from here on out.

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LA2DC Leg 12 Day 7 – 4/30/15

Marash: Majdanek

Hugoton to Mulinville, Kansas

Today was another one of those days where we started right from the motel so that gave us a little extra time in the morIMG_2344ning which was nice!

Our wonderful Chef George made us another great breakfast consisting of oatmeal,waffles, eggs and fruit to energize us and send us on our way.

Todays team consisted of Anush, Kevork and I. This was Anush’s fifth day of riding and my seventh so our legs were a little fatigued.  Kevork just joined us so this was his first day of riding. Kevork had just completed his first Century ride a few weeks ago so this was the longest ride he had ever completed. 11165942_10153221299660056_2061267785_n

Anush and I gave Kevork some quick pointers on riding in a group and drafting. He was a quick learner and appreciative of the tips. We enjoyed his enthusiasm and spirit!

This Leg was pretty flat with only a few small rollers and some unexpected longer descents that put a smile on our faces. We did have the usual cross wind blowing north but at times we had a nice tailwind giving us a welcome gentle push.

We stopped for a seat height adjustment and the paparazzi were all over us!IMG_2335

For as far as the eye could see there were miles and miles of wheat fields. It looked nice but became a bit monotonous after a while.

To break up the monotony we sang songs. Kevork led us in a few Armenian songs. We sang one of Anush’s favorites! Old McDonald had a farm… Yeah things can get a little crazy after hours and days on the road!

After the ride we dropped Anush off at the airport in Wichita. I enjoyed riding with her and was bummed to see her go but she promised to return for the last Leg into D.C.

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Ride stats:
Miles 114.6
1578′ Elevation gain

Ride stats on Strava

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LA2DC Leg 10 Day 6 – 4/29/15

Kars: Buckenwald 

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The Crew ready to roll from Cimarron New Mexico

Cimarron New Mexico to Clayton New Mexico

Today’s team would be Anush Ricci, Hagop, Vicken Sipilian and I. We all had multiple days of riding on our legs by now and had ridden together a couple of days. So we eased into the ride. We had all strong smooth riders on this team so that was nice.

Much of the ride was along the historic Santa Fe Trail.

Much of the ride was along the historic Santa Fe Trail.

The weather was nice today with an average temperature of 64 degrees during the ride. The terrain was pretty nice too with just short rolling hills to climb.

We saw herds of Antelope today. At times they would run parallel to the road so it seemed as if they were running with us!

Facebook updates!

Facebook updates!

Vicken’s bead on his tire was not seated properly so we stopped to fix it. That gave Anush and I time for a quick Facebook update.

The terrain was starting to change. The previous day we would see lots of mountains and rock formations. Now things were starting to flatten out a bit. We were starting to see more open fields and farmland. Except for the couple of small towns we passed through we did not see any buildings. Just a lot of open space where the Deer and the Antelope roam.11210243_10153223517925056_1197046029_n

Anush always had a smile on her face!

Anush always had a smile on her face!

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Rolling into town near the end of the Leg and this is the first sign we see! It has to be about our ride right?

Baton Pass

Baton Pass

Ride Stats:
117.7 Miles
2910′ Elevation gain
3514 Calories burned
19.1 MPH pace.

Ride stats on Strava

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