Tuesday, June 23, 2009

KS.... forever.

I"M STILL IN KANSAS. Soon, soon.... I'll be in Colorado and I can't wait. Here are some highlights of biking 350 miles across this state.

1. We wake up at 4AM in order to beat the heat, so we are usually on the road by the time that the sun rises. Big sky, big open spaces, great way to start the day.
2. KS is not actually flat. We reached the top of of small hill and could see for endless miles in any direction.
3. Biking for 70 miles on the same road and not seeing any civilization.
4. We took the day off in Manhattan, KS which is home to Kansas State Univ. It was the first time that we slept past 5AM in almost a month.
5. After biking 85 miles in 95degree weather, sometimes a shower with a garden hose just hits the spot.
6. People are amazingly gracious and generous. Their enthusiasm leads to some wonderful home-cooked meals.
7. Plenty of thinking time about life.... ahhh clarity. :) It's about damn time.
8. We were play a game where we would sneak up on each other and pinch one another in the leg. After 5 hrs of playing, things turned sour. Let's just say.... someone swerved, my wheel caught their wheel and the end result was two very wobbly wheels. I felt horrible, but fortunately the Urban Bike Project of Wilmington, DE taught me how to true wheels. Huge life saver in the middle of KS!!! Thanks guys!
9. We arrive in town pretty early, so it's been a good bonding experience for the group since we need to make our own fun. Local towns have been wonderful in allowing us to have free access to their local pool. Plus, a wonderful person sent me a package with Time magazine and Newsweek on the Eastern side of KS... ahhh... so nice to have the smallest idea of what is happening in the real world.
10. I don't know if there is a tenth highlight? I was pretty impressed to think of nine. No no... I had one of the best night's sleep in Beloit, KS.

Simple pleasures in KS. I need some intellectual stimulation :) Bye!


Thursday, June 18, 2009


Someone described Kansas as purgatory. They were right. Hot, flat, and non-stop wind. In addition, my phone is currently not working and there isn't another Verizon Store until Denver, CO. :(

This is a day when I realize how much I miss people.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Missouri... Misory

So, access to the Internet is often limited on a cross-country cycling trip. The few moments that I do have are typically short due to the queue of people waiting to check their e-mail after me or the level of exhaustion that I am currently experiencing. This leads me to have limited opportunities to write creative blog posts.

Well, I have a few minutes, so I thought I'd briefly share a typical day in the life with you all.

So here it is... a day in the life with David during Bike and Build.

The phone begins to vibrate sometime between 5 and 6 AM. Within minutes, I start to hear the air leaving the Thermarests upon which we sleep as people begin to roll their sleeping bags and start to pack their bags. On a ten week trek, we can easily count the number of times that we get to sleep in a bed on one hand.

I've been designated as the group's barista. After stuffing everything that I own into a duffel bag and get geared up for the day, I scrounge through the host site's kitchen facilities to prepare coffee for everyone. We all participate in packing 31 riders' bags, gear, and food into a small trailer. The process is now down to a science.

Around 7:45, the stretching session begins with my second cup coffee in hand. One of the four trip leaders begins to pass out cue sheets with our route for the day. We soon mount our bikes and depart for the day's trek from one city to the next. The magnitude of our trip is too great for me to comprehend at times, so I resort to simply thinking taking each day's ride as it comes without thinking about the next.

It's awesome to be on a trip with so many different people from different places. While we stretch our legs during the first 15 miles, I often have a chance to joke and talk with fellow riders. Eventually we start to form various groups based on pace. The best part is watching friends become stronger and more confident on their bikes.

We recharge around the 35th mile with a roadside PB&J stop. We manage to find some pretty interesting combinationgs with PB. Who know it could go so well with Fruity Pebbles and Sweet Relish?

We average around 70 miles a day, so we start to pull into our host site in the early afternoon. Ernest Hemingway once wrote about discovering a country's terrain by bicycle as the most real way to experience and encounter the land. I believe the same is true for meeting the amazingly hospitable people that inhabit this place. People from all over are willing to assist us in our journey by giving us a floor to sleep on, a roof over our heads, and a belly full of home cooking. I'm often baffled by our generous people are.

The evening is full of chores, errands, bicycle maintenance, laughter, and journaling. I know a lot of you are wondering when I'll figure out what it is that I want to do with my life. Well, be patient, it's coming :). I can usually sneak away to make a few phone calls and share my day with a couple of amazing people back home. Sleep is never an issue after inflating my Thermarest and bunching up my sweatshirt to use as a pillow.

Simple days and joys keep me going.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ohio and Indiana

Let me just say that both Ohio and Indiana surprised a lot of people as being amazing states to bike through. Gentle rolling hills, Cinci, hospitable hosts, great weather, Columbus Indiana, Bloomington. The problem with that is the fact that my 7 year old hand me down digi camera finally gave out on me. Therefore, no pics from those two states yet. I'll steal some from my co-riders later.

Currently, we are in Illinois. We've now officially entered the Midwest. Yesterday was 70 miles on one long flat road with a strong head wind, no scenery, and thunderstorms. Perseverance.

Quick fact: I've somehow managed to gain 9 pounds since the start of this trip. Don't ask me how.

PS. We are at mile 1000.

Love you all.

David Kozy

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A few pictures...

SO! I know that I promised pictures, so I must fulfill my commitments and upload a few quick pictures before a 95 mile ride tomorrow.

This is Lee. He rode this route last year but joined us for a mountainous 80 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The gang after our first build day at a Habitat site in Charlottesville. Peep the drywall dust.

All 31 of us as we are about to dip our back wheels into the Atlantic Ocean.

For now it is the Atlantic, but in two months... the Pacific!

This is our trailer where we load all of our bags. We painted it for the trip.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

West Virginia

Lexington, VA was a wonderful lay over after our grueling trek along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As we were rolling out of town the left morning, I specifically remember looking at my friend Aaron and uttering in between painful pedal strokes, "Can't we just go get coffee instead of biking today?" The answer was "NO" of course and I continued to ride alone, which is a rarity, along VA-39 which follows the snaking Maury River. Stunning, absolutely stunning. With gentle rolling hills and beautiful scenery, I remember making a specific note to come back and re-ride VA-39 in the future.

However, I didn't know what that day was to hold.

After lunch, I continued to mosy along VA-39 again and I immediately noticed the rode start to incline upwards and continue that way for some time. After countless bends and 3 miles of cycling up a mountain, I reached the first of three mountain passes for that day.

The next two passes were completed with a group of friends. It's truly amazing to see the way in which the Appalachians are able to bond a group of people that had only met a week prior. I always viewed cycling as an individual sport, but the amount of teamwork that goes into to suffering through a mountain pass is extraordinary.

We entered into West Virginia, having completed our first entire state, we celebrated with pictures at the border.

West Virginia's motto is "Wild and Wonderful".... and boy is it.

Our first night in Marlinton, WV was spent at a farmhouse a few miles outside of town. Every image that you could possibly have of rural WV was realized in this farmhouse that Maggie was kind enough to open up to us. No neighbors leads to the opportunity to shoot shotguns at tin cans. Did I mention that we had to bike up a five mile mountain just to reach fresh spring water? Ohhh.... this trip is one large cultural lesson across America.

WV was about mountains, and we completed them. WV was about seeing some of the realest rural poverty in the nation, and it left us with lasting images and stories of the challenges that exist in our own nation.

I'm happy to be in OHIO(!!!!!) and to be able to have dinner with Brittany. Where did I find such a great girlfriend? Tomorrow is our second build day here in Cincinnati. More drywall? You never know.

Updates with pictures SOON!