Sunday, July 27, 2014

Wind, cramps and finally spotted cows

The tour riders endured massive headwinds today through out the 94 miles from Milwaukee to Madison. Unrelenting winds slowed even the best of the riders and for the rest of us, just made it miserable. I cramped up around mile 50 as my leg muscles went into revolt. Every muscle made it known that they were unhappy. By mile 70 the wave of cramps had passed and I believe they will not return the rest of the way.
We had dinner at the University of Wisconsin arboretum--one of the most beautiful in the country. The Spotted Cows appeared in the form of New Glarus Brewing's ale. Quite good after a long day of riding although the chocolate milk right after the ride was primo. Nothing tastes better after a long grueling ride that ice cold chocolate milk. It builds champions. Listened to a great speaker Bruce Allison speak on local tree history. He was awesome but I fear our legs were talking louder than he was.
Seemed to be a safe ride today although one of our support vehicles was pulled over for speeding in their attempt to keep us supported in a timely fashion. Warning only, no ticket.
Tour Director Paul Wood going over safety briefing at 7:30am

Arrival into Madison

Fading rainbow to bring hope to a brutal day of riding.

Dedicating a katsura tree in memory of the mother of one of our riders, Dick Rideout. Nice touch.

The spotted cows on the loose at dinner.

University of Wisconsin Madison arboretum


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tour des Trees Opening Reception

After a short drive from Chicagoland to Milwaukee I arrived at the hotel for check in and to figure out parking for the week. A few of us drive to the spot where we will ride in next Saturday to leave our cars there and then bike back to our hotel. I pull my bike out of the car to find a rear flat tire. I haven't even ridden the bike yet and I have a flat!! Got it out of the way I guess. Quick change and ride back to the hotel.

Nearly 80 riders from around the world then gathered tonight in Milwaukee in preparation for our Tour des Trees launch tomorrow. Safety briefings were a big part of the afternoon and night as the last Tour I rode 2 years ago in Oregon saw several major accidents. "Safety above all else" on this ride with the goal of no accidents. Great to see old Tour friends, industry friends and meet some new ones. Bartlett Tree Experts was the generous and totally awesome sponsor of tonight's dinner. We have four riders this year representing Bartlett.

Over 20 riders are first timers on the Tour this year which bodes well for the future of this event. Sunday we launch around 7:15am and will officially depart Milwaukee from Henry Maier Park, home of Summer Fest and currently, German Fest. We ride 94 miles to Madison with rain and potential thunderstorms in the forecast which could make it dicey. Steel bridges over rivers in Milwaukee make for slippery surfaces in the rain. Let's hope we get out of town and on the road before the heavy stuff comes down.
Paul Wood Tour des Trees Director (in yellow), Ben Tresselt and me (sporting the Stanford University tee shirt) at the opening reception.

Team Bartlett. Left to right: Frazer Pehmoeller, me, Jarod Faas and Derrick Wells.

Ben Tresselt showing off his 2012 Tour broken collar bone scar to the Tour media people hoping to get a sympathy inteview.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Liberty

This was a busy week leading up to our Tour launch on Sunday. Company meetings took me to Stamford, CT and then a landscape industry strategic planning session in DC. So my legs should be well rested. On approach to LaGuardia we flew right over the Statue of Liberty. With all going on around the world and how imperfect we are here, it was a good reminder about what is right. We are fortunate to live where we live.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Cycling can be lonely. Long hours on the road, training when no one else wants to go out. All because you don't necessarily like it,  but because you have some big ride looming in the distance. You can never get enough miles in, never push hard enough. Then you say WTH, good enough....
Cycling though is really about a community. I got into it because of my neighborhood friends were riding. They push me, help me fix flats, crack me up, schedule 5:30am rides and make me a better rider. Once in awhile we even go out and stop halfway for professional cycling beverages, food and camaraderie. Riding alone makes you stronger. Riding with your friends makes you better, especially if you have a cool cycling cap.

Friday, July 18, 2014

2014 Tour des Trees Just a Week Away!

The 2014 Stihl Tour des Trees is just a week away and I will be again riding in this great event. Nearly 100 riders will begin cycling from Milwaukee on Sunday, July 27th and will pedal their way through the state of Wisconsin ending back in Milwaukee on Saturday, August 2nd just in time for the International Society of Arboriculture's meeting. http://stihltourdestrees.org/

This year's cycling route is approximately 600 miles through America's dairyland. The Tour des Trees is the primary fundraising event for the TREE FUND which raises money for arboricultural research. Each rider must raise at least $3500 and in years past this event has raised as much as $600,000 for research. Of interest to me is research that helps keep our tree workers safe in an industry that has far too many serious and life altering accidents.

This will be the second Tour des Trees for me. My first was two years ago in Oregon where we tackled over 30,000 feet of climbing. I've been cycling now for a few years and feel much more confident about this year's event. I know it will still be hard and the thought of riding 100 miles every day for a week is a bit daunting. Yet, like most things in life, it is all about putting one day in front of the other and to just keep the legs moving. The support and friendship on the tour is amazing and one of the reasons you keep pedaling.

Look for more updates along the way. Ride on!