Tag Archives: Biking

My 2015 Tour of Sufferlandria


When it gets cold outside, we are often forced to ride our bikes in the basement on a trainer. Linda and I both have our bike hooked up to a CycleOps Magneto trainer.  It can be very boring, but we can at least watch TV while riding our bike. The thing I like least about riding on the trainer is that I generally don’t get as much of a workout when I’m just mindlessly spinning the pedals and watching TV. In fact, I rarely even break a sweat.

Enter The Sufferfest.


These are a series of biking videos that can be watched while riding hard on the trainer. The workouts are generally a series of high-intensity interval training type workouts. The best way to describe it is “doing P90X on the bike”.  Because these workouts are usually a bit exhausting, I have only intermittently utilized the videos over the past 3 years.

Sufferlandria is the mythical country from which each Sufferfest rider pretends they are citizens. For the 3rd straight year, the “Tour of Sufferlandria” (“The Greatest Grand Tour of a Mythical Nation in the Whole Wide World”) was offered. This is a 9-day event utilizing almost all of the cycling videos available. It raises money for the Davis Phinney Foundation. Davis Phinney is a former pro cyclist who now has Parkinson’s disease; his foundation raises money for research and helping those with Parkinson’s disease.

After initially being scared about trying to do 9 back-to-back days of Sufferfest videos, I made the decision to participate this year. Over the 9 days, I rode just over 13 hours and travelled a distance of 219 miles (without ever moving an inch in the basement).  This was a fun event to do and I will certainly do it again next year.Here you will find the stages, duration, miles travelled, and also calories burned.

Stage 1, Sat, 24 Jan: Elements of Style + The Long Scream
Duration: 1hr 10mins
Distance: 19.35 miles  (784 calories)

Stage 2, Sun, 25 Jan: Blender
Duration: 1hr 40mins
Distance: 26.03 miles (1105 calories)Stage 3: Mon, 26 Jan: Fight Club
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 16.97 miles (635 calories)

Stage 4: Tue, 27 Jan: Nine Hammers
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 17.25 miles (785 calories)

Stage 5: Wed, 28 Jan: Angels
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 16.04 miles (720 calories)

Stage 6: Thu, 29 Jan: Local Hero
Duration: 1hr 25mins
Distance: 23.72 miles (1100 calories)

Stage 7: Fri, 30 Jan: The Rookie
Duration: 1hr
Distance: 15.31 miles (710 calories)

Stage 8: Sat, 31 Jan: Revolver + Violator + Half is Easy (Dame Alissa Memorial Stage)
Duration: 2hrs 25mins
Distance: 39.36 miles (1825 calories)

“Our youngest Knight of Sufferlandria, Dame Alissa Schubert, was killed earlier this year when she was hit by a truck while out cycling. Revolver was her favourite video. We dedicate this stage, the hardest stage ever to feature in the ToS, in her memory. We also dedicate it to her parents who also became Knights of Sufferlandria with Alissa. A true Sufferlandrian’s stage. Crush it.”

Stage 9: Sun, 1 Feb: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time
Duration: 2hrs
Distance: 30.36 miles (1352 calories)




Tour of Kansas City Gran Fondo


Saturday was the Tour of Kansas City Gran Fondo. Linda and I had chosen to do the 100-mile route (which somehow had become the 104-mile route). Our friend, Wally, had talked us into doing this many months ago as a way to force himself to train for his half-Ironman race. We figured we hadn’t ever done a century ride, so it would be good motivation for us also. (We signed up for the Biking Across Kansas date after signing up for this ride).


However, now Wally was sick and not with us. Paul Beuchter (a friend from the KC Symphony Chorus) was riding, but he had changed his mind from doing the 104-mile route to the 54-mile route. We probably should’ve listened to him. He had done the route the week before and realized that the route plus the heat would be hard. We decided we could do it – besides, we’d just done a century ride the week before.


We saddled up at 7:20 for the 7:30 start. They had us lined up behind our average speed – the 14mph was the slowest one offered. We started out easy and it felt like this was going to be a great ride – slow and steady. However, the day wore on and got warmer and more humid. The SAG stops were perfectly placed and always seemed to be right when we needed one. The half PBJ sandwiches, fig newton cookies, pickles, and ice cold water with Gatorade powder was heaven-sent. The rolling hills after rolling hills after rolling hills were sent from hell. Every time I’d crest a hill, there was yet another one right after it. I believe curse words were slipping from he corner of my mouth by about mike 75.

Linda was a very strong rider for most of the ride. She’d trained hard throughout the spring and has been consistently attacking hills much harder than I have ever done. These hills were no different and she could’ve easily left me many times over. However, the heat started to take a toll on her and she started to wear out after 75 miles. We were both very tired and the hot humidity was really hurting us. We started taking frequent breaks and stopping every 3 miles in whatever shade we could find. Whenever we could catch our breath and calm our heart rate, we set out to attack the next set of rolling hills.

There were several times when the roving SAG vehicles would stop to check on us; we would just wave them on – until we started needing more water. By the 90th mile, we were beginning to be concerned that the heat would do us in. However, we kept cheering each other on and we eventually pulled in to the final run. The last few miles found me grunting with a sharp pain in my left knee. The hills and headwinds had created enough wear on my knee that every pedal stroke caused a hot-poker pain right in the middle of the joint.

We officially finished at 9 hours and 55 minutes (about 7.5 hours of actual pedaling time). This was about the time that we did the century last week – that was almost fully flat. We were cheered on by other riders that were lining the finish line. Cow bells were ringing, hands were clapping, and friends were cheering. I really wanted to celebrate, but all I could do was heave one pedal over the other to make it up the small inclined finish. Turns out, also, there was an additional 2.5 miles added in because of a “parade start” that had us do a small loop at the beginning. So – our 104-mile ride became a 106.8-mile ride!

Our final results listed me as dead last and Linda finished right before me. However, there were a lot of riders that were SAGed in and didn’t complete the ride. We, at least, can say we finished the ride.

There was a party and dinner available at the end of the ride, but we literally rode directly to the car and loaded up and went home. We were so hot and exhausted that all we could think of was a shower and air conditioning. We showered upon arriving home and immediately fell asleep on the bed – for at least an hour. So exhausted, but so proud of what we had accomplished.


One day of Biking Across Kansas


Linda and I participated in Biking Across Kansas in 2011 after Linda had done a portion of it in 2010. Amazingly, I didn’t blog about our 2011 trip, but I guarantee our Facebook timeline is full of posts during our 2011 trip. The next 2 summers found us doing biking trips with some close friends, but our heart was aching for BAK.

The route is announced every year on Kansas Day (January 29) and the 800-person roster is filled pretty quick within a couple weeks. The route is usually a west-to-east route that goes straight across the state, around 500 or so miles. This is completed over 8 days of riding. The route this year (40th anniversary) started in the southwest corner and advanced diagonally up to the northeast corner – going through Manhattan. In fact, that particular day started in Salina and went through Fort Riley and Manhattan before ending in Wamego. Linda and I felt that this was too good of an opportunity to pass up, even if we didn’t have the time to do the whole thing.

We spent the day riding with a very good friend, Stephanie; she’s doing the whole route across the state. We left Salina at 06:30am and went through Abilene, Chapman, Junction City, Fort Riley, Manhattan, Zeandale, Waubansee, and then finally into Wamego.

We rode around Manhattan for a while, taking pictures on campus, in front of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, and at St Isidore’s (where we were married). What a wonderful day.

The big news is that we completed our first Century Ride. We were sore, tired, and very hungry. We ate a wonderful pasta dinner provided by the high school wrestling team and then made our way back to Salina to pick up the other car. We finally got ourselves back home by midnight and enjoyed hot showers/baths and the comfort of our fluffy bed and soft pillows.

Here’s to all of the others that spent the night in the gym or in a tent – and still have 3 more days of riding. Sure made me think about doing it again next year.







Treasurer…for one more year

Since February of 2007, I have been Treasurer for the Board of Directors for the Earth Riders Trail Association. According to the website,

ERTA (Earth Riders Trails Association, Inc.) is a recreational trails advocacy group created to increase the quantity and quality of sustainable singletrack trails throughout the Midwest.
ERTA is a federally recognized 501(c)3, not-for-profit corporation whose board members, officers, advisory board, and volunteers are outdoor enthusiasts dedicated to achieving it’s mission of adding and maintaining singletrack trails in an environmentally proactive and responsible manner.

ERTA was formed in February of 2001 in order to meet the requirements of Land Managers who like the idea of making more singletrack trails available to their park users. ERTA seeks to enter into formal partnerships and contracts with land managers to assist them and their agencies with three primary concerns:

* Protect the land which they manage.
* Increase the number of visitors to the lands through the creation and management of singletrack trails.
* Accomplish these objectives through an efficient and economical combination of volunteer and professional labor.

Over the past eight years, working with land managers, ERTA has assisted in gaining access to land that has resulted in an many additional miles of singletrack throughout the Midwest.

ERTA fills just one niche in a community of organizations dedicated to mountain bicycling, hiking and the betterment of our public green spaces. We maintain active partnerships with many organizations within that community.

This Board of Directors runs the 501c3 – and I manage the checkbook for the group. When I took over 7 years ago, there were literally only a few dollars in the bank. Thanks to hard work from many of our members, we are doing much better. Wish I could take credit, but I just write the checks.

When I started back in 2007, I was an avid mountain bike rider and could be found on my mountain bike (my only bike) several days a week and had many scratches and scars to prove it. Over the years, my mountain bike riding has waned and I spend more time on my road bike – because this is how I get to ride with Linda. However, my involvement with the Earth Riders has kept me connected to a great group of people and reminds me of all of the fun I have when I’m on the dirt trails.

We had a board meeting earlier tonight and agreed, once again, to serve another year as treasurer. Maybe I’ll get some opportunities to get out on my mountain bike this year.

Back in the saddle

Back on June 12, I had a nasty spill on my bike that resulted in a lot of road rash and a fracture to a bone in my pelvis. Exactly 10 weeks later, I returned to the group ride alongside some great friends.

I have had several rides on the indoor trainer over the past month, but they really weren’t that scary because my chance of crashing was pretty low. I did have one solo bike ride one month ago to test out my pelvis – it was sore and I clearly wasn’t ready for a real ride.

One month later, the day came where I was free and the weather was conducive to a bike ride. I looked forward to it all day, but I must admit I was a bit nervous. What if I crashed again?

We met our friends at the normal meeting spot and it felt like a reunion where I was the guest of honor. It was quite a welcome back. Everyone was pleased to see me and i was even happier to see them. I promised Linda that I would ride easy and cautious; any crash would not be because I was pushing it too hard.

As we pushed off, the butterflies began to flutter in the pit of my stomach, but they quickly disappeared. It felt wonderful to be moving down the road on two skinny tires alongside friends that shared the same love of cycling.

Six miles into the ride, we came upon the site of the crash. The butterflies returned, but they quickly fluttered away as I rode away from the site. We laughed and joked about remembering that not, but it was heavy on my mind recalling how surreal that night was. We all had a chuckle when one of them renamed the hill, “The Pelvis Cracker”.

I was concerned that 10 weeks without exercise would leave me breathless and weak throughout the ride. However, throughout the ride I felt strong. By the end of the ride, I felt great. No pain in the pelvis and the ride was fun. What a great evening.

Biking is done for a while

Two nights ago, I learned what it’s like to be a patient in my own ER. After a long shift in the ER earlier that day, I met Linda and our group of riding friends for our regular Tuesday night ride. It was a beautiful night and I was just glad to be out on the bike.

Six miles into the ride, I had just finished going down a good hill at 33mph and was passing everyone going up the next hill. I stood up to give a bit more power and the chain came off. In a split-second, I was down on my right side and sliding along then paved road.

My head hurt, my back hurt, and my skinned/bleeding right shoulder/arm was stinging. All of my fellow riders gathered around me and talking about calling an ambulance – I protested heavily. I tried sitting up, but the incredible wave of dizziness prevented me from doing that. I crab-walked out of the street into the grass and lay there for a short time. Eventually, I was able to sit up and struggle to my feet. I wanted to ride on, but my bike was not in condition to be ridden. That answered that (made me upset but everyone else was glad I couldn’t even try to ride).

A very, very kind good Samaritan, Cathy, offered to load my bike into the back of her minivan and drive me back to the parking lot where my car was. This was wonderful, as it turns out she is a mutual friend of other biking friends. However, in my conversation with her, I realized I had a concussion as I was having trouble coming up with things I knew I should know (like the name of the school my girls attend).

Linda and a couple of other friends rode their bikes back to the car and arrived within minutes of me arriving. In the few minutes I was there waiting for them to arrive, I decided I was injured more than just the scrapes and bruises – I needed x-rays. I called my ER and told my partner what had happened and that I would be coming in.

After walking in to the ER, it was quite a relief to finally lay down. However, this caused my head to spin even more and nausea set in. Fortunately, an IV was started and I received medicine for the nausea and the pain. We decided to start with x-rays of my lumbar spine and pelvis and, because of the hit to my head, a CAT scan of my head. The CAT scan was normal, as was the x-ray of my spine; however, the pelvis x-ray revealed a fracture. After discussion with my partner, we agreed to get a CAT scan of my abdomen and pelvis to better understand the extent of the injuries. The result was a comminuted fracture of the inferior pubic ramus on the right side. Here is a diagram of a pelvis with fractures of bilateral superior and inferior pubic rami:


Here is a snapshot of my CAT scan with the fracture of my right inferior pubic ramus (seen on your left, as you are viewing the pelvis from below):


The wounds were all cleaned, which honestly hurt more than anything else. Eventually, after much protesting from me about possible admission to the hospital, I was sent home with plans to use the crutches I already owned. A quick stop by the pharmacy for some medicine and I was finally home at 11:30. Here is a picture of my arrival home:


Here is a picture of my abrasions the next morning:


And finally – here’s my shoulder after 24 hours:


It will likely be 4-6 weeks before I’m healed, but I hope to be back to work in the day or two. As long as I’m using the crutches, I’m not in much pain. Soon, I can probably have a cane – I can look like Dr. House.

I’ve had many texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages – for which I’m very grateful. Thanks to all of my friends, but most of all thanks to Linda for her wonderful care if mr over the past 36 hours. I love you, Linda!

Great day to ride


70 degrees with fair, sunny skies and only 5mph wind makes for perfect biking conditions. Weather and schedules have kept us off our bikes for much longer than we’d like. However, when a day like today presents itself, you can bet you’ll find us in lycra and jerseys.

Looking forward to many more days like today and the chance to get a lot of miles in before our big summer bike trip.