Archives for category: ND

This was a ride I was sorry to miss last year, and missing it was one of the first indicators that I wouldn’t be finishing all fifty states in one year. It was on my radar because I know Fargo sits on the Minnesota border, and hello, we love the centuries that let us bang out two states in one day!

Initially, the logistics seemed more daunting than usual. I’d been following the Great Plains Cycling Club on Facebook, and assumed that there’d be a bike shop in Fargo I could rent from. Yes, Great Northern Cycles had bikes, but the only rentals were hybrids, and I’ve learned that lesson. So I posted to the group, while researching bike rentals in Minneapolis (and debating whether to fly Southwest into Minneapolis-St. Paul or someone else into Fargo). Lo and behold, one of my fellow riders had an extra bike, and a loan was arranged. My cousin Stephanie decided to do the ride, too, and arranged for us to stay with one of my other cousins just outside of Moorhead (Fargo’s sister city) on the farm where my mom grew up.

So, Southwest to MSP, overnight stay near the airport, early morning rental car pickup, four-hour drive to the farm, registration, meetup with my new bike friend and arrangement for the next morning, and then back to the farm for a good night’s sleep.


It was June 13. Game 5. It’s not hard to get Minnesotans to watch a hockey game. But I had an early wake-up call, and ladies-and-gentlemen, YOUR Los Angeles Kings were not securing Lord Stanley’s Cup in a timely fashion. Tie. Overtime. Double overtime. GOAL!


I own four different rain jackets/windbreakers/ponchos. They were all reposing in my closet back in sunny Los Angeles. Thankfully, my cousin was prepared, and close enough to my size. Off to meet my teammates, get a quick fit on the borrowed Bianchi, and have some pancakes while we watched the weather.

It was wet, but not terrible. The handful of 100 mile riders stuck together, not quite in a paceline, but close enough that I was eating spray from the rider ahead of me.

Into Minnesota, back into North Dakota before the 50 mile mark, and then suddenly flying North in one of those the-sun-is-out-and-I-am-awesome sprints.

And then we reached the turnaround point.


You can see the exact moment the speed dropped. Headwinds.


Somewhere around here, I got so much mud in my Speedplay cleats that I couldn’t clip my left foot back in. I tried to pedal as best I could, but my foot slipped, and the pedal smacked my untethered left leg in the back of the ankle. The pain was staggering, and I was unhitched from my peleton. You can see the next full stop – that’s where one of the bike mechanics hooked my up with some lube, and I was clipped in and made it to the finish line, snagging a QOM along the way:



My cousin (can you believe that she’s a grandmother?) and me post-race. We did the rounds, and the longevity and youth in our gene pool is kind of crazy. And the youthfulness – this party bus below lives at one of my cousins’ homes:



I knew I’d come up short on Minnesota miles, and persuaded myself that I’d borrow Steph’s bike Sunday morning and do a few laps around the farm, but it was raining, and I was meeting an old friend in the cities.

Okay, this reminded me of Larry:

I got to the suburbs of St. Paul, and any plans for more cycling went straight out of my head as soon as I saw my friend. Some people you’ve known forever, and yet you have 25+ years to catch up on. And catch up we did. What kept coming up was pain – how we inadvertently cause it, how our own pain makes us careless and clumsy and hurtful, how we forgive, but can never really forget. But it wasn’t a painful night, far from it. The act of reconnecting with each other was also the act of connecting with our teenage selves and our capacity to feel deeply.

So, North Dakota done, and I’m happily taking an incomplete on Minnesota. I’ll be back, maybe to hook up with my cousins for RAGBRAI next year…

And the obligatory Lisa and dog shot:


After a summer hiatus devoted to work and domesticity, I’m back on the bike and chasing down my last states.

June saw me take out North Dakota, and while I put in serious miles in Minnesota, I didn’t quite log in 50. That one gets its own post.

I’m heading back to the Midwest next weekend for Climate Ride Midwest, and promise some timely posts from Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois.

So, I’m at 36 and change, and will be almost to 40 a week from now.

The states that are still lurking out there:

South Dakota
North Carolina
West Virginia

I’m looking for epic rides in those states that DON’T involve a major fundraising component. I think my friends are all tapped out.

But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Lots of travel:


Run the DONE column up to 29

New States and Events!
(Joining the Gulf Coast Interstate Relay and Pedal for Paws)

30 Days of Biking April 1-30
(Everywhere! Take the pledge!)

Finish the Ride April 27 (not a new state, but this is an event worth supporting)

Cycle Against Violence May 17 (Colorado)

Tour de Cure Fargo June 14 (North Dakota, Minnesota)
Sponsor me!

Climate Ride Midwest September 6-9 (Michigan, Indiana, Illinois)
Support the Alliance for the Great Lakes

And now it’s easier to list the remaining states that I need to register for than the ones I’ve done.

North Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia

Help me get clever and tuck them into existing rides. If you’re in one of those states when I’m nearby, take me on a training ride for YOUR charity event, and I’ll sponsor you!

And the March Strava update, just so you can see how undertrained I am…


I’m starting to understand why people just decide to ride cross-country. The logistics of my quest are proving more challenging than the riding itself.

On the plus side, I found a team for Saints to Sinners (or more accurately, they found me) and I have another two states (Utah and Nevada) on the schedule. I’m really excited about the event, the cause, the new experience of a relay!

On the minus side, I took too long debating about the Tour de Cure Fargo-Moorhead, and by the time I was ready to commit, the airfare was close to $1000 round-trip. Worse, the only other long rides I can find there conflict with existing rides on my schedule. I’ve found some bike-shop sponsored races, but they don’t have the mileage I need.

On the plus side, I found a few friendlier sites to search for rides on: was always bookmarked, but their new format is friendlier.
gran fondo guide isn’t as comprehensive, but the focus on long, supported rides has done a lot of the editing for me.

On the minus side, I booked a flight for a Detroit gran fondo before I registered for the event… Which was re-scheduled for 2014. It’s a miracle that I could un-book my flight. It was almost a very expensive lesson.

On the plus side, my flights and hotels are booked for my Pacific Northwest excursions, and if I can just get a response from the ride organizer, I think I’m going to check off Alaska this month, too!

On the minus side, flights to the Midwest are hideously prohibitive. If anyone has frequent flier miles that they’re never going to use and would like to contribute to a good cause? Please let me know which airlines (and which causes you’d like me to ride for).