Tuesday, February 4, 2020

GTD ‘20 Prep Ride Day 2

After a good night’s sleep I packed up camp and began riding at 7:20.  On the way out of the Campground I stopped at the Office to pay Cathy for the night of camping, it was about $18 cheaper than the KOA so all things do work together for the good.

I chose a different route to go home, one that I was very familiar with for the most part.  I hadn’t ridden on this section of 19 or 309C before, it was countryside, neighborhoods and mostly quiet.  Once I turned left onto 100 I quickly connected with the Lake Butler Palatka Trail.  I have ridden this Trail many times and enjoy the tree cover, wetlands and forest setting.

No sooner did I get on the Trail that I decided to stop and secure my solar radio to my sleeping bag on the front rack so I could listen to the different Christian radio stations along the way, great idea!  It was awesome to ride with tunes.

The trail winds through the woods at times away from 100 and other times it runs alongside 100.  Once I see Florahome off to my left I know it is not too much farther to the North Florida Christian Camp sign then Putnam Hall.

Once I got to Putnam Hall I turned left off the Trail on to 26.  The 5 mile stretch from Putnam Hall to Melrose is like a roller coaster.  Since I only had a Protein Bar for breakfast I was excited to get to Melrose so I could eat lunch at Subway, I was getting really hungry!

After passing Lake Swan Camp I knew Subway was getting close.  Once I arrived at Subway I ordered a double meat and cheese Roast Beef & Swiss, awesome!  The Subway Sandwich Artist saw my rig and asked if I was going cross country.  I shared with her about my Prep Ride and upcoming GTD '20 Ride.  She shared with me about the long distance cyclists that have stopped in to eat after leaving St. Augustine or on their way to St. Augustine.  Melrose isn't on the Southern Tier Bike Route from St. Augustine to San Diego or vice versa.

After lunch I knew it was only 17 miles to the house.  Oftentimes I break a Route up into smaller segments in my mind so as to make it seem less than it is.  From Melrose it is 5 miles to Orange Heights then 12 miles to the house.  In the final 12 miles when I see the bend in the road ahead I know that I am about to cross a narrow bridge then see a blinking light in the distance at the 26 & 222 split, it helps me stay engaged during familiar rides.  On rides I am not familiar with it is town to town on Google Maps.

Once I passed the GNV Airport entrance I knew home was 2 miles away.  As I passed the Dignity Village Bus Stop I checked to see if any of my DV friends were waiting, none that I knew were.

I arrived home and was pleased with my ride and what I learned from it.  I realized I hadn't packed my Rain Cover, Extension Cord, Lantern, Ibuprofen or Hat.  I will add those things to my BOB Bag for my upcoming 4 day (February 14-17) ride from Mom's House in Orlando to Ft. Pierce and back.  I am riding to Prep more but also share a CCH Update with our church friends in Ft. Pierce.  I am looking forward to the challenge as my daily mileage will be more representative of what I will ride on a daily basis during GTD '20.

Thanks for joining me in this journey, for your encouragement, prayers and support!

Until next post, live adventurously and love God!

Friday, January 31, 2020

GTD ‘ Prep Ride Day 1

A gap opened up in my Thursday afternoon schedule so I decided to throw in a 2 day ride that would include a night of camping.

The plan was to ride to the Ft. McCoy/Oklawaha KOA to spend the night then ride home the next day.

After leaving Gainesville City Limit I rode the GNV Hawthorne Trail to Hawthorne, nice scenery and no cars.  After a slight detour in Hawthorne due to work on the railroad tracks I set out on a country road that my brother David raced on during the Florida Xtreme Tri.  It led me to 20 East which has a bit more traffic.

I was only on 20 East for a short while before turning south on a country road.  At this point my legs were aching, not sure why since I was only 20+ miles into the ride.  The rest of the ride was in the countryside with the main traffic being trucks with trailers hauling ATVs to the Mud Bog.  I was so glad to pass the Mud Bog and eliminate that traffic on my side of the road.

All this time I had been riding on the west side of the Cross Florida Barge Canal.  I had to get on 19 in order to cross over the Canal and turn on Rodman Dam Rd.  Soon my plan to stay at the KOA would change.  Google Maps Bike Route took me past the Dam to a sugar sand dirt road that took me  to the Florida Trail which was pretty much non existent.  Fortunately I had passed the Rodman Dam Campground so I called to see if they had a spot.  I caught Cathy just as she was about to close down.  She said she had a spot and to come on.  As I was riding toward Cathy I called KOA to cancel, they were very understanding re: my GPS failure.

I turned into the Campground and met Cathy.  She said Spot 30 would be good and quiet and close to the Bath House.  She was right!  I set up camp before checking out the Bath House.  As it got dark the mosquitos got bad.  I hurried to heat up some soup for dinner so I could get into my tent away from the mosquitos.  The soup was awesome as was the large bottle of Tang I mixed up.

After cleaning my soup bowl and hanging my trash bag high up on the trash pole I climbed into my tent into my sleeping bag.  It took about an hour for me to fall off to sleep.  Thanks to Celeste I had a solar radio that allowed me to listen to the Christian radio station.  No sooner did I turn it off and I was out like a light.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

GTD '20 Illumination

Long distance cycling is not only blue skies and sunshine.  Oftentimes it is overcast, rain, fog, wind, darkness....

For example, when Ben & I cycled down the PCH oftentimes the morning was foggy.  In Minnesota & Wisconsin when riding down the Mississippi River it was dark and rainy.  Riding on the Panhandle of Florida the daily wind was so bad I had to start my ride at 2am when it was calm.

In each of these instances, and many others, it was important that I was visible to the traffic coming from behind or coming my way.  Illumination is of utmost importance!

My Jamis Touring Bike is fitted with a Planet Bike Headlamp and a Bontrager Red Rear Light Blinkie.  My helmet also has a Bontrager Blinkie.  In addition to all of that I wear a Tracer 360 Visibility Vest which acts as a multi colored strobe.

This combination has been effective for me recently as I have commuted from the Campus House to home in the dark.  In my mirror (very important to have) I see oncoming drivers changing lanes early in order to pass safely, what a blessing!

During GTD '20 I am certain that I will be riding in conditions or at times when illumination is of utmost importance, I am confident that I am set up to be seen.

In a few weeks I have a 4 day trip from Orlando to Ft. Pierce and back.  This trip will allow me to simulate a typical GTD '20 day of riding and camping at night.  It will also help me develop a nutritional strategy that will fuel me for 14 days and 1000 miles during GTD '20.  More about that in my next post.

Until then live adventurously & love God!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

GTD ‘20 Bike Shops

Whenever I start and finish a tour away from home there are additional matters to consider.  One of those is, where will I ship my bike?  To a Bike Shop?  To my lodging place?  I have done both.  If I ship my bike to a bike shop they can have them assembled, tuned up and ready to go when I arrive.  This is what I did for my Atlantic Coast Trip.  The Bike Shop in Troy, NY, was awesome!

If I choose to ship it where I will be lodging I have to unpack and assemble my bike with the hopes that nothing was damaged during shipment.  This is what I chose to do for my Mississippi River Ride.  I shipped it to the hotel and assembled everything in my room.  There were a few minor issues that needed attention so I had to go to the bike shop before leaving Minneapolis for Itasca SP.

For GTD ‘20 I will have Gator Cycle in GNV break down my bike, pack it up and ship it to the Angry Catfish Bike Shop & Coffee Bar in Minneapolis.  They will have it ready to go for my Saturday morning ride to Jamie & Niw’s house.

At the conclusion of the Trip I will stop at Jack’s Bicycle Shop in Detroit.  They will take care of breaking my bike down, packing it up and shipping it to Gator Cycle.

I am thankful to find good people at good bike shops, they are a blessing and a significant factor in helping me have a successful Trip.

The next issue for me to tackle is illumination.  Sometimes I set out or am caught in the dark, it is extremely important to have adequate lighting in order to be seen by all vehicles.

Until next time, live adventurously and love God!

Thursday, January 23, 2020

GTD ‘20 Navigation

Yesterday was the day to finally figure out how to operate the Turn By Turn Navigation on my Garmin Edge 530.

After watching YouTube videos and reading the DC Rainmaker website I was getting close to having it figured out.  Close truly did not count, I was missing the final step to successful turn by turn navigation.  I mounted my Trek and headed to Gator Cycle to see if Brian was working.  He was!  Brian helped me make some progress with other 530 issues and I had alerted him to the fact that I needed to solve this navigational puzzle sooner than later.

I handed my 530 to Brian and he got to work.  After several minutes of button pushing after I told him my intended destination he handed it back saying it was ready to go.  Before taking it back I had him walk me through the process.  Success!

I left Gator Cycle and rode to The Swamp, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.  Though the turn by turn navigation took me a different way than I would have gone, it got me there.

As I stood in the shadow of The Swamp I realized I now had to go through the process without Brian.     I went into Maps and began to Browse.  I decided to designate home as my destination.  After doing so I held the Select button until I was asked to Confirm my destination.  I Confirmed it and it Calculated mileage and route.  I pushed start and began to follow the route, it worked!

After arriving home I was satisfied that I could check this task off my Trip Prep List.  I know this Turn by Turn Navigation will be extremely beneficial during my GTD ‘20 Ride, especially when navigating my way through larger cities like Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit.

Next Task to accomplish is connecting with Bike Shops in Minneapolis and Detroit.  I will need them to build up, break down and ship my bike.

Until then, live adventurously and love God!

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

GTD ‘20 Cold Weather Acclimation

When cold weather visits north central Florida I have to take advantage of the opportunity to test out the cold weather gear I will be wearing during my “Go The Distance ‘20” Ride in May.

Yesterday the daytime temperature was 48F and last night when I rode home it was 36F.  All the gear I had on kept me comfortable day and night.  The only piece of gear I was missing last night was my balaclava, the wind was biting my face all the way home.

My gear consisted of:
-Warm socks
-Touring shorts
-Wool headband
-Stocking cap
-Warm gloves

I think this gear will work perfectly as I cycle thru Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana & Michigan May 17 - June 1.

Monday, January 20, 2020

GTD 2020 Preparations

With only 118 days till I begin GTD ‘20 in St. Paul, MN there are many preparations that I have to take care of.  Gear, Route, Gear Transportation, Physical Readiness, Support Raising...will keep me busy till I fly out of Orlando on May 15th.

I am looking forward to GTD ‘20 because I will be able to visit UFCCH Alumni, University Campus Ministries, Inner City Ministries, Ministry friends....  In addition to all of that I will check off my 50th State visited, Michigan.

GTD ‘20 is a UFCCH Fundraising Bike Ride.  All Funds received will be used for Student Mission Scholarships & UFCCH Projects.

You can financially support GTD ‘20 by the mile or with a one time donation.  The estimated total mileage will be posted after I finish tweaking my Route.

Prayer Support is the key to a successful journey.  At this time prayer for all the preparations taking place would be appreciated.

Blessings!  Bob

Saturday, September 28, 2019


2020  "Go The Distance"  Ride and Fund Raiser coming soon...   

Monday, March 11, 2019

A Fresh Perspective

Last week was Spring Break so Mama C and I took some time at the beginning of break to visit church friends, UF CCH Gon4ths and churches in south Florida.  Other than the south Florida traffic it was really great.  We so appreciate those churches, friends and Gon4ths who are invested in the Campus House and our lives.  They truly bless us, our students and others more than they know.

After our time in south Florida we turned our attention to the Panhandle.  It was a long trek from Miami to the Panhandle but it was worth it.  We got to visit with family, Gon4ths and church friends who had been affected by Hurricane Michael.

To see what we saw in Wewahitchka, Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach, Callaway, Lynn Haven and Panama City was sobering.  So many lost so much.  To hear the stories of those who hunkered down in their homes for a nightmarish 4 hours gave me a fresh perspective on Hurricane Michael and the terror it brought to their lives during that time.

Our family and Gon4ths shared about loss and damage but also the blessings in the midst of and after the storm.  God is so good!

I know that the use of those terms together seems crazy but I have often said that it is the people of God who always seem to get the best of a bad situation and this truly was a bad situation!  The stories/testimonies that were shared with us reaffirm my belief that as the rain falls on all people it seems as through God's people have a covering that protects them from getting soaked by the rain.

Recovery will take years, we hope to take some students in the future to help those still in need.

Monday, February 25, 2019

GTD '20 Practice Ride

Last Friday I set out on a 2 day Practice Ride for next year's "Go the Distance '20" Fundraising Bike Ride.

The plan as to ride just south of Ocala, FL, to the Shangra La Campground just off the Cross FL Trail.

I woke up to a heavy fog so it was good that I had some things to do at Campus House before setting out.  As I finished up at the Campus House the fog was starting to burn off.    I headed home to pack up a few final things.  Before setting out I had C take a photo.

Before leaving town I stopped at Starbucks for an iced coffee refill.  My Yeti mug keeps my iced coffee cold for hours, awesome!  After Starbucks I ducked into Lloyd Clark Sports to buy some GU Energy Gels, the temperature was projected to be in the mid 80s both days so I wanted to be prepared for cramping.

Shopping was done so it was time to get going to Ocala.  I was on 441 south so I rode with a lot of traffic as I passed UF, Archer Rd., SW 16th & Williston Rd.  After Williston Road the traffic lightened but the road debris was terrible.  A light fog was still hanging over Paynes Prairie so it was picturesque.

The plan was to stop for lunch at Sam's St. John Seafood on the corner of 441 & 326.  The ride there was scenic as I entered into horse country.  It was starting to heat up so I stopped for a cold Diet Dr. Pepper before lunch.  Our favorite Server Beth was working so she knew my order, the AYCE Fish Special!  As usual it was awesome and I was satisfied.

I continued down 441 for a bit and then turned west just before Ocala, this would enable me to get to 200 west which would take me to Starbucks before Shangra La.  200 was a bit busy but with 3 lanes cars were able to give me plenty of room.  Road debris on 200 was worse than 441.

When I got to Starbucks I was hot & tired.  If not for a GU and extra shot of espresso in my FREE Frappuccino I probably would have stopped and gotten a hotel room.  Fortunately the combination energized me and I headed to the Campground.  On the way I passed SW Christian Church, they are great friends of UF CCH!

I arrived at Shangra La, checked in and went to Campsite #2.  I leaned my rig (bike & trailer) against the picnic table, got my shower stuff and set out for the Shower Facility.  The shower felt so good!  Since I was just off the Cross FL Trail there were many people camping who were riding the Trail on their horses, I love horses!

After showering I set up my tent, blew up my air mattress, got out my sleeping bag and pillow.  I had a Protein Bar for dinner, checked internet stuff and then fell sleep.  I slept till 6:30am!

I woke up to a beautiful sunrise.  I quickly broke down camp and started riding at 7:15am.  1 hour later I was back at Starbucks on 200.  I enjoyed an Egg & Cheese Box for breakfast along with another FREE Frappuccino.  I charged up all my devices and set out for home.

I turned up a 2 lane country road that I would ride all the way to Orange Lake.  This is the same road my brother David raced on a couple of years ago so I already knew the lay of the land.

I was hot again so I stopped to apply sunscreen and purchase a cold drink.  The ride into Gainesvlle was good, I felt much stronger than the day before.  It wasn't till 5 miles before home that I felt a cramp coming on in my right hamstring.  I stopped for a GU then finished up my ride.  Once I got home I threw all of my clothes in the washer, showered then unpacked some things.

All in all it was a good first Practice Ride.  No tough situations other than the heat.  The Rig performed wonderfully.  The weather for camping was great.  My new air mattress afforded me a great night's sleep.

Looking forward to my next Practice Ride!  Nothing is set in stone but there is the possibility of riding to Jacksonville in May to talk with the Elementary kids at Englewood CC about my Bike Trips, what is needed for the Trips and how God provides for the Trips and during the Trips.

I will keep you posted.  Peace!  Bob