My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 50 -- August 9th -- Arrival at the Atlantic Ocean -- 3,700 Miles in 50 Days!

Miles Ridden: 52.7
Avg Speed: 15.6 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 112 bpm
Climbing: 2,122 ft
Calories Burned: 1,788 (so says my Garmin ... it's higher!)

Wheel dipping in the Atlantic Ocean ... amazing reception with family and friends ... good bye to new friends ... an engagement

Today' route and map --

Our final day together.  Time to look back.  Time to laugh.  Time to cry.  We left Manchester early with lots of time for easy pedaling, fun conversation, and a few food stops.  So many emotions and thoughts were running through my head.  It seemed like only yesterday that my adventure had begun, yet it seemed like I had been riding with my new ABB family forever.  I was sad to leave them behind, but excited to see my family and friends.  I rode with great anticipation and great contemplation ... for what was behind me and what was ahead of me.

The Geldings and our Filly rode closely together most of the day.  It was like the champion team riding into Paris on the final day of the Tour de France.  No thoughts of racing ... just celebrating our accomplishments and friendships.  The rolling New Hampshire hills seemed like seaside flats as we cruised to the first SAG stop in Kingston.  So many riders were together on the road and at the SAG.  We enjoyed more homemade cookies, this time from Fred's family.  Kim managed to kidnap Nan's "Cuchaloo" ... not once, but twice.  Lots of handshakes, congratulations, and hugs.

The Geldings Head Out For One Last Ride

A Red, White & Blue Peloton
A short 10 miles later we rode past Exeter Academy and into town.  There was still plenty of time before our police escort to the beach, so most of us stopped at a bakery for drinks and pastry.  We got a nice surprise visit from Bob Shaw (VA).  Bob had ridden with us from Astoria to Casper and was also a donor for my ride.  It was great to see him.  It seems so long ago that we had ridden together, but it also seemed like yesterday. 

Ellen in Exeter ... You Inspire Me #16

Is Getting A Lot of Flats a Crime in Switzerland?
By 11:00AM most of us had arrived at the Rye Junior High School.  At 11:30 we posed for our final group photo and were quickly whisked into formation for our police escort to the beach.  I knew the roads, I knew the beach, but I did not know what lay in store just a few short miles away at our destination.  My emotions ran high we pulled into the parking lot of Wallis Sands Beach, I could hear the noise.  Those familiar hand clackers, the cowbells (you can't get enough cowbell!), the cheers ... was I finishing the Trek Across Maine?  No, something much greater, much longer, much more important, but all for the same cause.  As the first few riders made their way through the crowd, I could see so many of my family, friends, and American Lung Association staffers.  The celebration was on!  Leah was first in line for hugs, kisses, and lots of my tears.  I had done it ... 3,700 miles.  A life-long dream ... a life-changing event ... all for me, my father-in-law, my Dad, and the families I had met fighting or impacted by lung disease.

The Team Photo ... Thank You Geldings and Filly
The Entire Crew ...

Hugs and Tears With Daddy's Little Girl
It was a whirlwind of hugs, tears, and celebration.  After Leah, came Karen, my mom, my sister Amy, my mother-in-law Jane, my sister-in-law Carol,  ... then my friends Dawn, Eddie, Cheryl, Dave, Amy ... still more ... my support crew from ALA.  Wow!  Lots of final goodbyes to fellow riders, the traditional wheel dipping, and our bikes held high.  I even ran out into the water (up to my waist anyway). 

I Did It!

The Geldings and Our Filly ... Thanks For A Great Trip

My Girls

The ALA Crew ... Thanks for all Your Support

Amy ... After 30 Years ... Thanks for Being There

Family & Friends ... Wow, Did I Feel Special

The Koltz Gang
As I write this a few days later, the enormity of what I accomplished and attained has not really sunk in.  The people, the friendships, and challenges fill my thoughts.  I was blessed to find people to share the experience with ... 50+ riders, all wonderful in their own special way; 6 amazing crew who devoted themselves to us and our dream.  Yet five people stand out ... the Geldings and our Filly.  We spent so much time together.  We became so close.  I will never forget my riding mates.  Thank you Dave, Mark, Joe, Jeff, and Alex.  Your friendship helped define my trip.  You made the adventure even more memorable. I could list so many others, and perhaps I will do that in a future post as I look back on the ride, the people, and the experience.  Thank you all!

The day did not end at the beach.  After heading back to the hotel, my family and friends, along with Dave and his daughter went out for a great lunch at the Portsmouth Brewing Company.  Karen and I bid farewell to the group and headed back to the hotel for some rest.  The celebration continued that evening and included a nice surprise.  Katie and Terrence got engaged!  Mark, Susan (the Duchess), Karen, me, Michael, Matt, Joe, Katie, and Terrance went out for a great dinner at Pesce's.  We raised a glass of champagne to the happy couple and our wonderful adventure.  In the morning, we said a few last goodbyes to Todd, Bill, Shirley, Howard, and Katie.

No Buffet Food For This Crew

Congratulations Katie & Terrence

One More Celebration
I will post more pictures and thoughts soon.  The ride was everything I thought it would be, nothing like I thought it would be, and everything in between. So many people to thank ... my family, my friends, my donors, and the American Lung Association.  Thank you all.  I could not have made this happen without your love, support, encouragement, and guidance.  Your emails, comments, visits, and pictures brought smiles to my face and helped make each day along the way truly special.  You rock!

Good night moon ... good night ride ... good night family ... good night friends ... good night donors ... good night ALA ... good night Leo ... good night Dad ... good night all ... I DID IT!

A special thanks to my wife Karen and my roomie Dave ...

I Love You TC

Thanks Dave ... So Glad We Shared This Experience Together

Day 50 -- August 9th -- Manchester, NH to Portsmouth, NH -- I DID IT!


I arrived at the Atlantic Ocean to an amazing crowd of family, friends, and Lung Association staff.  I will post all the details later tonight from the lake in Maine ... it was a great and emotional day.  Lots of pictures to share.  Thank you all for following me the last 50 days and for all your support.
Wheel Dipping in the Atlantic - 3,700 miles!!

The Geldings and Our Filly

My Girls!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 49 -- August 8th -- Brattleboro, VT to Manchester, NH

Miles Ridden: 81.7
Avg Speed: 15.2 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 125 bpm
Climbing: 5,197 ft
Calories Burned: 2,243 (so says my Garmin ... it's higher!)

New Hampshire ... another 5,000+ feet of climbing ... an optional 25% grade climb ... farewell banquet ... Atlantic ocean tomorrow

Today' route and map --

Today is dedicated to the amazing staff who helped get me across the country ... your guys rock.  Thank you for being there and all that you do!

Amazing ABB Staff ... Deb, Jeff, Barb, Jim, Karen and Mike
Just after 7:00 AM we left Brattleboro en route to Manchester, New Hampshire.  Within a mile we were crossing the Connecticut River into New Hampshire.  Our final state!  The ocean is just one day away now.  The Geldings rode loosely together for the first 20 miles.  Today's theme was climbing, and lots of it.  No big long climbs, but lots of ups and downs.  After a nice long descent at mile 10, the terrain flattened out as we went through Keane. 

Crossing the Connecticut River

My 10th and Last State
Entering Keane
It was pretty flat for the next five miles.  Most riders stayed on Route 9, but a few hearty souls (myself included) took an optional climb up Old Sullivan Road.  The climb was steep with grades exceeding 25%.  My poor Garmin computer had smoke coming out of it and registered 41% ... I would tip over backwards at that grade.  It was an exhilarating experience!  The Sullivan club included me, Jeff (CT), Joe (GA), Katie, Alex, Leo, Beth, Mark (NJ), Alison, and Jeff (ABB).

On The Top Of the 25%+ Old Sullivan Climb (me, Jeff, Alex, Joe, and Katie)

I Did It!

Two Rocking Fillys Made The Climb Too
After the climb we headed toward the first SAG at mile 35.  On the way, something occurred that had not happened in the previous 48 days ... Katie got a flat.  That leaves Gerard and Todd as the only riders that have not had one (jinx, jinx).  Katie met up with Gerard at the SAG and put on her best pout face.

Alas, Katie Joined The One Flat Club

Gerard Gloated ... Poor Katie
More ups and downs brought us through Antrium and Bennington, and then into Greenfield.  I dropped a little off the pace on a few of the climbs, but I always caught back up when the terrain headed down again.  Several of us stopped in Greenfield for lunch at a small grocery store.  I had a nice chicken Cesar salad (good boy Mark), but topped it off with a jelly roll (bad boy Mark).  Jeff and Alex had Hostess Snowballs for dessert ... the shelf life of those things is like 40 years and theirs was stale.  Must have been made in the 70's!  The last SAG was a few miles up the road in the quaint town of Francestown.

Francestown Meeting Hall ... Circa 1801

Fancestown Town Hall

Neat RR Bridge After the Second SAG
The last 16 miles included more ups and downs and another steep climb up Joe English Road.  15% and not as long as the Old Sullivan climb.  From there is was not too long before we hit Manchester.  We had our farewell banquet during dinner.  It was a fun night with great skits from Michael and Katie (as Mike and Karen, Nan (great ABB song), Ian (hysterical poem), Andrew (top 10 suggestions for SAG stops), and Gary (he actually found "Little Jimmie" and the Geldings lost scavenger hunt items).  Toronto Mark and Sandy acted as MCs and presented an ABBY award to each rider.  It was a fun way to honor and look back on 49 days.  As each person received their ABBY, they got the chance to share their thoughts on the ride.  Most thanked the awesome ABB crew and commented on the amazing people we rode with.  I won the "Media Exposure" award for all the press I received (self promotion is a wonderful thing) and thanked my roomie Dave, the Geldings, Alex, Beth, Ellen, and the ABB staff.  I also looked up and thanked my father-in-law Leo who inspired me to get healthy ... it was an emotional and heart-felt.

We Made It (Well Tomorrow We will)

Nan Leading Us In Her ABB Song

Ian Reciting Poetry ... LOL

Michael as Mike Munk ... I Did Some Research

Katie as Karen ... Take a left, right, left, right, right

Sara as Barb ... Today's Tip

"Little Jimmie" and Our Scavenger Hunt Items Are Found!

Andrew Recommends Some New and Improved SAG Items

Our MCs for the Evening ... The ABBYs

Ellen (Maine) Was a Big Inspiration For Me

Mr "Inside Outside" ... Todd

Leo Won the Dubious Most Flats Award

Margo Was Awarded the Route Map for Her Amazing Sticktooedness
One more day!  We have another 52 miles to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye.  Even though we head to the beach, the hills are still with us, but they are less frequent and less steep.  A police escort will have us at the ocean around 12:00 ... I can't wait to dip my wheels, hug my girls, and see my family and friends!  I am also really looking forward to seeing Michael and all my friends in the Maryland area when I get back.  The support and outreach I have reached is truly a blessing.  Leo would have been so proud ... I am just one day away from fulfilling a dream!

Good night moon ... good night Old Sullivan Road ... good night 50 days of memories and the most amazing experience and people I have known ... good night Atlantic Ocean (see you tomorrow)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 48 -- August 7th -- Latham, NY to Brattleboro, VT

Miles Ridden: 77.6
Avg Speed: 14.9 mph
Avg Heart Rate: 123 bpm
Climbing: 5,089 ft
Calories Burned: 2,212 (so says my Garmin ... it's higher!)

My old stomping grounds ... New England ... 5,000+ feet of climbs ... Vermont ... 2 days to go

Today' route and map --

It is hard to imagine I hit the beach in two days.  I am so looking forwarding to seeing everyone and celebrating the completion of my dream.  Everyone who has supported me, read my BLOG, donated to the cause, or commented on my posts ... Thank you!  It has been a great ride and your help and support means the world to me.  After a fun night with RPI alumni, I was eager to make my way past Troy and up the hill to campus.  ABB found a back way from Latham to the Congress Bridge and in 5 short miles I was going over the Hudson River and through the Russel Sage tunnel (the school is on top of the tunnel) into Troy.  It was mighty dark in there, slippery, and full of pot holes.  Glad we all made it through OK.  I took a quick diversion over to the Sage campus, my fraternity house (the Castle) and the Troy Music Hall.

Congress St Bridge ... Crossing the Hudson into Troy

Russell Sage Campus ... Minuteman And All

Robison Common at Sage ... More Memories
One Last Sage Shot ... Hey I Spent A Lot Of Time There

The Castle!  My Home for Sophomore and Junior Years

I Always Loved The Troy Music Hall ... Best Acoustics
Then it was up Congress Street on the south side of campus and up the hill.  I had to swing over for a few pictures and memories.  Campus continues to impress.  Back on the route, I went by the Emma Willard School and the gorge (no time for a picture there).  The roads in Troy were similar to what I remembered ... not good..  It was neat to see everything and to tell the other riders about the area and what to expect on the day's ride.
Quick Shot of RPI Before Heading Out of Town ... Wish I Had More Time to Spend On Campus

Lots of Great Intramural Memories in the Old Gym

A Quick Left Into Emma Willard
Once past RPI, I continued the climbing up through Brunswick and Hoosick.  Just before leaving New York we had our first SAG stop.  Rod (NH) had been moving pretty quick today.  When I got to the SAG I figured out why.  His family was there and boy did they bring goodies.  Great cookies, muffins, and other assorted baked goods.  A few short miles later we were at the Vermont border.  The Geldings spread out some during the day, but we were all together at the SAG and border crossing.  I dropped my chain after the picture, but that was a quick 10 second fix.  A somewhat gentle climb led us to Bennington.  I had spent a fair amount time there during college.  A great New England and college town.  Dave and I went ahead of Joe, Jeff, Alex, and Jeff (ABB) who had stopped to explore the town a little (they would catch us on the climb).  I did snap a few of the proverbial Bennington shots including the famous (well, not so much) barn on top of the silo.

Getting Hilly As We Close In on Vermont

Rod's Family Outdid Themselves ... Hmm, Hmm Good

My 9th State ... I Know My Way Around Now

The Geldings and Our Filly (Alex)
Bennington Battle Monument

Would Not Be A Bennington Visit Without This

Classic New England Church as You Enter Bennington

This Tells Me The Climbs Were Coming

Grandma Moses Museum ... Her Work Hangs In Our Kitchen

Only A Few Moose Left in Town

Another Bennington Moose
After Bennington the real climb started.  It was steady at first, about 4-6%, but kicked up to 8% with several 10-12% spots.  A solid 1,800 feet over ten miles.  I found a good pace and kept my power output and heart rate in reasonable ranges.  I felt good and stood periodically.  It was great climb.  After a quick descent into Wilmington, we hit the second SAG.  Wilmington is another classic New England town.  A few of the Geldings stopped just before the SAG for hots dogs and Kielbasa.  I hit the SAG and downed a nice 32 ounce chocolate milk.  Good fuel for the final climb of the day up Hogback Mountain.  That climb was about 800 feet and not as steep or long as the first climb.  Joe and the two Jeff's pushed on past Dave and I.  Dave and I paused for some overlook shots.  You can see for 100 miles from the overlook.  It is beyond beautiful in the Fall.

Dave And Me On The Top Of Hogback Mountain

The View

Down A Few Pounds I Think
Dave said "See you at the bottom", knowing I would descend quickly down the back side.  It was a glorious and long descent (almost 15 miles) into Brattleboro.  The descent was not all downhill though.  There were several mini climbs mixed in to keep me pedaling hard.  I just missed hitting the magic 50 mph level ... my top speed was 49.7.  Maybe I will get there tomorrow with even more climbing.  Don't fret readers (i.e., Karen), I descend very well and am extremely careful ... I just love the power and speed that I can generate.  Prior to town, I stopped at the classic New England photo op, a covered bridge.  I stopped shortly after that and rode into town with Dave.

Creamery Covered Bridge In Brattleboro

Built in 1879 Over Whetstone Brook

Town Lattice Design ... 80 Feet Long and 19 Feet Wide
Once in town, Dave and I hit the bike shop.  I needed new cleats and he was in search of a new jersey.  We both found what we needed at Burrows Specialized Sports.  They even mounted my cleats.  I also picked up a few gels for the final few days on the road.  We grabbed a great lunch across the street then headed to the hotel.  The last mile to the hotel was along a very rough road, but we survived.  Dinner was at the 99 ... a nice piece of Salmon and the cutest little piece of key lime pie you have ever seen.

Downtown Brattleboro
At wrap we reviewed the cue sheet (another 80 miles) for tomorrow and learned the Sullivan Road hill (a 20% one mile climb) was now optional ... I will play that by ear in the morning.  Even without it, we will climb another 4,000 - 5,000 feet or so into New Hampshire and Manchester.  Tomorrow night is our last night together.  I have met some amazing and fun people.  We get to say our good byes at a closing banquet in Manchester.  I expect a few funny skits and some tears.

Good night moon ... good night Vermont ... good night climbs (another big day tomorrow) ... good night Leo's Legacy ... I am almost there