July 2004


July 1
Bike loading is one week from today and two days we board the bus for S. Burlington VA. We've been training all these months but I still can't believe the day is getting so close. We rode 15.32 miles this morning.

July 3 We went to the drive in at the Mahoning Drive In last night. It was great seeing Spider Man 2 on the big screen. We usually come after the first movie but since we needed to get out and ride in the morning, we decided to spend the night since the drive in is about 2 hours from home. Dan found cue sheets from local bike clubs in the area and we tried out a new route. We rode 33 miles today.

The lovely Mahoning Inn in Mahoning PA

Caruso's Restaurant - We dined here on Friday night

Michelle taking a break during the ride

July 4 As we get closer to departure date, we're shortening our rides. We did a hilly 23 mile ride today (up Goat Hill, Quarry Road).

July 7 We rested Monday and Tuesday. We biked along our usual morning route today. Since tomorrow is bike loading, we have our last training ride in the morning.

July 9 Last night was bike loading. We're really doing this. We leave early tomorrow morning for S. Burlington VT and Sunday will be the first day of riding.

July 10 We got on the bus this morning and headed for S. Burlington. We'll begin riding our bikes tomorrow. I'm really excited about the week.

Loading up at Waterfront Park

Riding in the lap of luxury

Best Western Burlington - Our first night accomodations

July 11 (S. Burlington, VT to Rutland, VT, 79.5 miles)

Day 1 of the Ride for Runaways was great. The route was wonderful and the weather was very nice. Yesterday's route was approximately 80 miles of flat to rolling terrain. There was one big hill but we managed to make it to the top (with one rest stop along the way). If only the whole ride was like today. This was certainly a fantastic way to start our first Ride for Runaways.

Tonight is our last night in Vermont. We head to New York tomorrow.

Here are a few pictures from the day:

Riders enjoying the first sag stop of the week.

We were treated to some free Red Bull. The Red Bull truck was roving the VT countryside and happened upon our sag stop. They offered all the riders Red Bull for the road. Dan's thinks the Red Bull helped him during the second 20 miles.

Picture from the stoker's point of view.

A view from behind.

July 12
(Rutland, VT to Glens Falls, NY, 64.4 miles)

Today is our second day of riding. This was a tough day. We had a long and steep 3 mile climb. However, the leg between Sag 1 and Sag 2 was a tandem team's dream. It was about 14 miles of downhills. The leg between Sag 1 and Sag 2 was a little eventful. Dan didn't listen to my directions and followed a group of people going to the right when we should have gone to the left. This caused us to go about 3 miles out of the way and up a big hill we didn't need to climb. We missed the tour and newly born calf at Sag 3. Dan was too tired and we were still fighting about missing the turn after Sag 2. We were really flying on this part. Then came the final 20 miles. Dan's legs were giving out on him. He had to borrow a PowerBar from our friend Mike Mahoney who was riding with us.

Dan and Mike

Michelle and Mike

No, no not another picture.

July 13 (Glens Falls, NY to Troy, NY, 70.1 miles)

The first 20 miles was flat to rolling hills. Then came the second 40 miles. There were more than a few long, steep climbs.

Dan stretching before we head out for the day.

Dan in his usual position at the sag stops.

The Ride for Runaways banner signed by all the riders.

Dan talking to Rich and Pam Toft (the other tandem team on the ride)

New York countryside

More New York countryside

Dan and Michelle

Post ride relaxation

July 14 (Troy, NY to Kingston, NY)

We didn't have the payoff of the big downhill after a big uphill because the roads were less than desirable. In general, the roads could have been better. I think there was some new construction occurring that wasn't here when the route was planned. Going over the Kingston Bridge (over Hudson River) was a little terrifying because it was single lane on each side (no shoulder, construction, and glass on the road) and a lot of traffic. If it weren't for the traffic and the construction, today would have been a good route.

Michelle taking time to hula at one of the sag stops.

Golfing at the sag stops

July 15 (Kingston, NY to Port Jervis, NY)

After looking at the route profile this morning, we thought today was going to be a killer day. There were a lot of hills today but we managed to make it up all of them. We had several mishaps on the ride. First, we had a flat tire before we left the parking lot. Ed, the bike mechanic, helped us change it and then we were off. Unfortunately, we had another flat (in the same tire) about 16 miles into the ride. After fixing that, we realized the bike computer was no longer working. Dan (and other riders) tried to get it to work but to no avail. We would have to wait until we got in tonight and have Ed look at it. Not having the bike computer to read miles made my navigation job a little tough but thankfully, the clock was still working and I was able to navigate (somewhat) using the clock for timing. It wasn't perfect but it was a good approximation.

The sag stops each day are a lot of fun, and today's sag 3 provided a little something extra. It was the Ride for Runaways Seed Spitting Contest. Dan chose not to participate but I did. My 35' 11" spit wasn't enough to win but I'll do better next time.


July 16 (Port Jervis, NY to Phillipsburg, NJ)

We began the day with a bit of a handicap. As we left the hotel, Dan had on the drum brake because we were going downhill pretty fast. (For those of you don't know, a drum brake is essentially a parking brake for a bike. We use it when we're going down a steep downhill to help slow the tandem better than the manual brakes alone would do.) Unfortunately, Dan forgot to release the brake and we rode the first 16 miles with a little bit of extra resistance. We should have known something was wrong when we kept getting passed on flat roads. Dan didn't discover this mistake until we had climbed a steep hill. After he released it, pedaling became much easier.

Aside from the drum brake mishap, today would still have been a difficult day. We had to climb two long, steep hills. The second of the two was the worst we had to climb all week. We had to stop several times along the way before we finally made it to the top. We might have had an easier time with these two climbs if we hadn't expended so much energy riding the first 16 miles with the drum brake on.

We had to wait quite a while for hotel rooms this afternoon. We didn't get checked in until 4:36! The hotel's computer apparently couldn't understand that some of us booked separate rooms aside from the Anchor House block and that as a result some of would be listed on two rooms. Because of this, several reservations were kicked out. It was all finally cleared up and the rest of the night went well. Tonight was the ride banquet which was very nice. After dinner, most of us went to the hotel bar and just relaxed before the final day of riding.

The Yellow Truck that carried our luggage from hotel to hotel each day

We conquered today's tought hills and we're still standing

Cleaned up and ready for the banquet


Mr. Hogan speaking at the banquet

Michelle and Allison having a drink at the hotel bar

Dan and Rich are playing with the cameras.

Team Red Eye performing karaoke

More Team Red Eye

Beth and Garry

July 17
(Phillipsburg, NJ to Quakerbridge Mall)

The final day was amazing. We started the day riding with the other tandem team, Rich and Pam Toft. We said our goodbyes at the first sag stop (Actually, Dan told them to go ahead without us. I had to make a pit stop and the line was a little long). It wasn't long after the first sag stop before we were in familiar territory. The ride along Route 29 was a wonderfully flat stretch of road and a tandem team's dream. We picked up some great speeds along this road. We were pleasantly surprised that when we got to the intersection of Routes 29 and 519, we didn't go up the hill but along another flat road. Are you sensing a theme here? For the most part, flat was the name of the game on Friday and we were loving it.

As it turns outs, Friday's ride of 52 miles (not counting the 10 miles to the mall) was the shortest final day ride for the Ride for Runaways. I agree with the local newspaper that this should become a tradition. Having a short ride on the final day is a fitting end to a long week.

After the picnic at the Dutkos' home in Pennington, the riders lined up for the ride to the Quakerbridge. With our police escort, we headed out. We had been warned that the ride would be slow because there would be a lot of starting and stopping. It wasn't too bad. The motorists were friendly, many of them blowing their horns and/or clapping for us as we went by.

I can't describe what it felt like to ride into the mall. To see all who had come to welcome their family and friends. Dan and I went to the welcome home ceremony last year but I had a new appreciation of the event as a rider this year.

We're still deciding whether we're going to ride again next year. I know we'll participate in the Ride for Runaways again and for me, the only thing that would prevent me from wanting to do it is if we're in the middle of renovating.