Sunday, August 15, 2010

An ode to Glacier National Park: Part II

And I thought yesterday was emotional...boy was I in for a treat! The adventure was just beginning when we GOT TO Glacier, now we have to ride through it! Camping was a less than glamorous was SUPER cold and raining the whole night and it was pretty difficult to stay warm in our tents. Needless to say I didn't sleep very well so the 4:30am wake up was pretty rough. I woke up cranky, cold and pretty irritable. We had a 78 mile day ahead of us including the tallest climb of our trip - Logan Pass. We had to get up so early so that we could get to the top of the pass and back down again before construction on the road to the sun (the road we were riding on all day) started. I decided to ride with Kelsey and Liz that day because I knew they were having a hard time getting started as well. It was pretty evident in the first few miles of the day that we would be taking our sweet time to take pictures and climb at our own pace so we decided to volunteer to be a 3 man sweep team. Jillian and Diane were really excited that they didn't have to wait on us and happily accepted our offer. Kelsey, Liz and I had the best day EVERRRR!!!! We had so much fun enjoying the AMAZZZZINGness of Glacier and didn't feel rushed at all to climb up the mountain. We got to the top of Logan Pass with smiles on our faces - 6000 some feet up! It was such an accomplishment! We were treated with a 14 mile downhill at a pretty decent grade with winding switchbacks the whole way down!!! It was outstanding (minus the fact that the top was FREEZING and we had to take breaks frequently to make sure we could feel our hands to use our brakes...minor details while biking). At the bottom of the pass there's a lodge, convenient store and a few restaurants. The self proclaimed sweep team treated ourselves to a delicious pizza lunch and some relax time next to the fireplace. It was hard to tear ourselves away to finish out the 30 some miles left in the day. We finished the day in Whitefish, MT (with Kelsey getting the only flat of the day a mile from the host site - what luck we have!) and finished the 11th day in a 11 day straight riding days. It was a day of high highs and low lows and many many accomplishments! I love my life and the people in it right now...I can't believe everything we have done! I've also never been so happy to have a day off the bike (build day in Whitefish!) butt needed a break! :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An ode to Glacier National Park: Part I

WE MADE IT TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS!!!! After so many long days of nothingness we finally reached the mountains and I can't believe it!! We all woke up in Cutbank, MT knowing that we were going to have an epic day reaching the park. What we didn't know was that it was going to be freezing rain when we woke up at 5:00am to start riding - no fun. I would like to take a moment to pause and thank Kyle for giving me some of his warm clothing (because I wasn't entirely prepared...shocker, I know!) without which I don't believe I would be here today. THANKSSS!!! Anywho - so we start riding in the pouring, freezing rain and it takes me about 10 miles to realize I can't feel my feet or hands and that this ride is awful. What was worse was that I felt like I was the only one that was THAT cold...everyone else seemed to be able to overcome the chillyness and still enjoy themselves on the ride (not the case with me and it made me SO jealous!). It was a 72 mile ride from Cutbank to Glacier National Park and when I finally rolled into lunch at mile 40 I knew I couldn't possibly continue the ride. I felt sick, cold and defeated. I rode into lunch, tossed my bike on the ground and announced to Denis (the leader that was driving the van) that I would be joining him in Elvis (the van) for the rest of the day. I think he could tell how frustrated and miserable I was because he immediately comforted me and even offered up a spot in a car for the rest of lunch so I didn't have to stand outside in the pouring rain with everyone else. I sat in the car for a good hour before the last big group of B&Bers arrived. They were cold, but spirits were high and it was absolutely infectious! Liz was in that group and tapped on the car window when she saw what a Debbie downer I was being and our lip reading conversation went a little something like this...

Liz: what are you doing???!
me: I'm vanning...I don't feel good :(
Liz: you can do this! you're going to regret it if you don't ride
me: I don't feel good, I'm cold (while shaking my head)
Liz: (sassy look) it's all mental, you'll regret this!
me: pouting face
Liz: you can do this, we'll ride together :)

Within five minutes a combination of Liz's determination and persisitency, and my extreme FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) made me change my mind and finish out the day! I jumped out of the car just as the clouds broke (only for a minute or two!) and I hopped back on my bike and told Lize we had to go NOW or I wouldn't go at all! I can't thank Liz enough for giving me the final push to get off of my rear and suck it up! The ride into Glacier was cold and wet, but one of the most beautiful things I have EVER seen! I can't explain how happy I am that I didn't ride in the van because I would have never been able to appreciate it in the same way. We did a lot of climbing (which kept us warm! sort of...) and the scenery and downhills made it all worth it! We finished the ride with a long, tough climb that was followed by a 5 mile downhill right into St. Marys (a cute little town right at the entrance of the park and also the home to our campground!). When we got to St. Marys I was crying (because it was beautiful and because I was freezing still) and hungry but also happy as a clam! I was so proud of myself! We all immediately bought winter hats, gloves and hand warmers to shove in our sleeping bags that night and went to the local cafe for hot choclate and warm food! It was a long day, but oh so worth it :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lightning striking the same place twice!

Something happened today that has only occured one other time this summer and I swore it was going to be just about as frequent as Haleys Comet...I was in the first group to arrive at the host site!!!! Now I can't take all (or pretty much any) of the credit - I owe this great accomplishment to Sam and Kyle Gamsby for dragging my sorry tail all the way from lunch to the host through some pretty EXTREME winds! It does however take SOME skill to be able to stay in a paceline with these fast boys, even if they are pulling for 98% of the time :) THANK YOU GUYS I love you!!!

Today we finished day 7 of 11 straight ride days and everyone is starting to feel it. We're all starting to get pretty sore and will be happy to have some time off the saddle in the next few days. My butt is NOT happy with me to say the very least. However, we're all SUPER excited for Glacier National Park and the Highway to the Sun - it's going to be incredible! It's even more exciting now that we can start to see mountains in the distance (no offence Montana, but you've been pretty boring thus far).

The other day we rode into Glassgow, MT and went to a full on real life RODEO! It was SOOOO much fun! We all walked to the fair grounds (which pretty closely resembled the rock county 4-H fair grounds in the ville!) and took a seat in the grand stand. We then enjoyed lots of hooting and hollering, a clown, SEVERAL very upset horses, bucking cowboys, great drinks/food, cowboy boots, hats and BIG belt buckles on spectators of all ages, a botched National Anthem, some pretty ridiculously inappropriate right winged jokes and even a cattle wrestling contest! It finally felt like we were in Montana! :) We all had so much fun and weren't the least bit upset to run back "home" in the rain after the festivities. It was defintely a B+B life moment and I'm soooo glad we went! I can't wait for our next crazy adventure!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

...because east to west would just be TOO easy

Well readers - today I was mere miles away from a full blown Kate Terry breakdown, and it would NOT have been pretty. I generally don't like to blog after a difficult ride, because you all know how much I hate being negative, but I think it's important to share what we accomplished today. Today we rode from Minot, ND to New Town, ND and it was a 73 mile ride. Now, at this point of the trip 73 miles is pretty easy for us. Today that was not the case. We faced super strong headwinds ALL day long and we rode the entire day on Hwy 23. 5 years ago Hwy 23 was a pretty low traveled road but since the discovery of drillable oil there has been a huge incrase of semi traffic. There is also little to no shoulder on this road AND it was pretty hilly (especially for ND), so for cross country cyclists it's a pretty dangerous road. I don't say this to scare anyone (especially my parents!!) and we are all being extra careful, but these conditions plus the extreme wind made for a pretty stressful ride day. Everyone was a little on edge, and I'm embarassed to admit I let the wind get the best of me. Fortunately, the semi trucks were communicating with eachother and knew what Bike&Build is all about so by the end of the day most semis were giving us a lot of room. But even after some 2000 miles of riding, an overloaded semi can still shake me up a bit when it passes at 65 mph on a hill. The last 15 miles were really hard for me, and I DEFINITELY could not have done it without the encouragment and love from Abby, Jess and Leisl - these girls would NOT let me fall behind/ride by myself and were constantly slowing down for me...thank you! I LOVE YOU! :) Much to my enjoyment - as we pulled into New Town we spotted a Tastee Freeze (similar to a DQ but cheaper and maybe even a little more "tastee") right away and treated ourselves to some ice cream and fries. Hours later (and post nap) I'm still more phsycially, mentally and emotionally exhausted than I have been in a long time. I'm glad to be done with today, but I'm really proud that we all finished safely. I know everyone had a hard ride, and we worked through it together. That's what we get for being rockstars and going across the country the wrong way.

Author's Note: I do not have cell reception and haven't had any for a while - so mom and dad, I'll call as soon as I do! It's probably better that I don't...because if I would have called right when I got in today it would have been water works a go go and that's no fun for anyone :)

ANYWHO...hopefully the wind and hills and crazy roads will only get better as we near the Rockys and Montana! Tomorrow we ride to Teddy Roosevelt National Park and we have our first camping experience! I'm really excited and I know we'll have a lot of fun. Tents and smores and stars and Teddy Roosevelt and fire and all other camping delights plus 32 friends...I can't wait :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Llama Proma 2010: a day on the farm

One of the most memorable nights of my life took place in Rugby, North Dakota this past week. The 2010 NUS team held their prom at Rugby High School, home to the panthers I do believe. The theme was appropriately named "Llama Proma - A day on the farm" due to all of the llamas we have encountered on our ride. Not to mention the enormous amount of farmland we've been riding through for the past month or so. We were all to dress up in appropriate garb, and the boys each drew a lady's name out of a hat to determine his date for the night. The boys were also all required to ask their date to prom in a very creative way. My date, Mr. Jamey Gaston, may have had the best proposal of them all. I'm afraid my future fiancé has a lot to live up to. The story goes a little something like this...

We were all sitting around the host in Grand Rapids, MN getting ready to go to bed after a presentation when suddenly Beth and Nolan start screaming that we all needed to come outside. We all walked out and Nolan started telling a ridiculous story (clearly trying to buy some time for some reason) when I started to see a few funny faces among my teammates. Sarah and Denis started CRACKING up and I had no idea what was going on! All of the sudden, Jamey appears from the distance riding a HORSE!!! I kid you not a real life horse! He gallops over and asks in his booming voice, "Kate Terry - will you go to prom with me!?!?!?". I clearly lost it and was so happy I could hardly contain myself! It was OUTSTANDING :) Thank you again Jamey, you will always be my prince charming :)

Prom was AWESOMEEEE! We had couples pictures, some of the best farm outfits I've ever seen (or farm products - I was dressed as an ear of corn), outstanding dancing, fantastic decorations and out of this world music to top it all off. I literally sweat more dancing that night than I have on the past few ride days. We danced the night away and even crowned a King and Queen of the Llama Proma - CONGRATS KIRA AND both deserve it :) :) We awarded best dancers, best outfits and the "spirit of the llama" and just had a ball doing it all! I love my group so much and I can't believe how much fun we have together! I feel so lucky! After all of the festivities were done we took group showers to cool down and de-stink ourselves and went to bed! All in a days work for B+Bers :) we win!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Remember that time we biked 118 miles in one day? And got attacked by a bird. Yep.


So much has happened since I last blogged and I'm not even going to TRY to go back and explain all of the amazingness but trust me - it was great! Minnesota was a treat and it was especially fun getting to ride into St. Paul with Ali Kolste because she is the reason I'm even doing B&B! I had a really great time staying at my college house with my friends and hanging out but I must admit, it was weird being back in the "real world". Per usual, it's nice to sleep in a bed and watch TV but I always miss my B&Bers when we don't sleep in the same room together :) After St. Paul we headed to Sandstone, Duluth, Grand Rapids, Bemidji and Crookston. The highlights included a day off in Duluth (and seeing Inception with a bunch of the team), a lot of bike path riding, some great DM, Paul Bunyon and Babe the blue ox, cliff jumping, staying at an AWESOME Synagogue, being a speed demon one day and arriving at the host FIRST (never to be repeated again), and so so much more I can't even remember. It was fantastic.

The ride from Crookston to Devils Lake was the most epic day of my entire life. We all were super jacked to ride the longest day of the entire trip (which was documented at 116 miles but turned out to be 118). We started out the day with a pre-biking dance party (standard move for us) and then we were off! I started the day with Travis, Beth and Liz and I did NOT feel good at all. We had a 90 mile day into Crookston and I pushed pretty hard so I think my body was revolting. I was considering spending the rest of the day in the van when we hit the North Dakota border but I soon realized that I would regret that decision for the rest of the trip. When else in my life will I bike 116-118 miles in ONE DAY?!??! Never again, that's when! So I decided to tough it out and finish the ride! It turned out to be OUTSTANDING! I felt great once I convinced myself that I was finishing no matter what. We had first lunch at mile 40, second lunch at mile 80, and Liz and I threw a dance party at mile 100 for Jamey and Gramelly (they loved it). Between mile 100 and 118 is where things started getting interesting. By that time it was just Liz and I - and we were tired, hot and hungry. This combination soon turned into a lot of giggling and maybe a little hallucinating. Liz was attacked by a bird (seriously) and was so startled she drove me right off the road and I rode my bike through the brush on the side of the road (not the first or last time I have done this). It was great and I would not have had it any other way! The best part of the day is that once we made it to the church (mile 118) we decided we were so hungry that we were going to get back on our bikes and ride the 2 miles back into town to the local DQ. For the record, this is the ONLY ride thus far that I have willingly gotten back on my bike after a ride day...where's the logic in that? All in all, AMAZZZZING day and I can't believe we all did it :) :) GO US!

PS: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to fellow cross country biker ABBY CARNEY (Aug 1st)...she and her family just finished their trip! CONGRATS! :) :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

On Wisconsin!!

Dear Wisconsin,

It is with full confidence and excitement that I say you have officially won over the NUS'10 B+B group! Everyone was pretty tired of hearing me talk about you for the past few weeks, and they didn't have very high expectations. But low and behold - they were amazed with your majestic beauty, never-ending fun/beer/brats, and varying landscape! YAY!! Congrats and I'm so proud of and for you :)

Now I have to be the beginning, right when we crossed over from Illinois, people were less than impressed. There was construction, heat and unexpected hills - not a great combination. But I told everyone that Janesville didn't come free, they had to work for it...and was it ever worth it! Everything about our time in Janesville was extraordinary! I was so anxious to "come home" that to everyones surprise (including my own AND my mothers) I was one of the first people to arrive in town! Thank you Mr. Andrew Corcoran for helping me ride like the wind...aka blocking all of the wind for me - LOVE YOU! My mom greeted all of the riders (other than me because I'm just too fast to catch) with popsicles on Milton Shopire road, it was awesome and everyone LOVED it! I was sooo happy to be back home and in the company of my family and friends! Extra special thank you to Cullen, Tori and Amy for coming to see me and helping prepare for the party!

On Saturday we had our build day in Janesville and it was great! We worked on a house on Pine street and got to do a lot of work! We had people on the roof, putting in windows and siding and everything in between! After the build day we had what just may be the absolute BEST B+B BBQ of all time! First of all, I cannot say a big enough THANK YOU to my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton and EVERYONE ELSE that helped organize/plan this truly was outstanding! The t-shirts, posters, unreal amounts of food, the absence of any and all forms of pasta and exceptional company was enough to put me right over the edge! I could not believe how many people came to see us!!! I was overwhelmed to say the absolute least at how many people were there - THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone! I was SO happy to see you all and it makes me soooo happy to know you read my blog and are excited about this adventure I'm on! It means so much to me, and I LOVE that I can share it with all of you :) :)

The next day we rode into Madison and it was extra special because I got to share it with my family! My Aunt Peggy, Aunt Mary, Uncle Bern and cousins Connor, Tom and Beth all decided to ride with was AWESOME! The boys obviously kicked my butt and are clearly future B+Bers...but they were nice enough to stay with me rather than speeding ahead and leaving me in the dust. We had so much fun and I was SO glad they all got to ride. We all made it to Madison, and I have to give a special shout out to my cousin Beth who was a total rockstar and had never rode her bike more than 10miles before this make this look easy! :)

We had our first day off in Madison and everyone had a great time! Then we were off to Soldiers Grove, La Crosse/Onalaska, and finished off our tour de WI in Pepin. We spent a lot of time on the Great River Road and it was absolutely GORGEOUS!! Long story short...everyone LOVED riding through WI (hills and rain included) and I had a ridiculous amount of fun doing it! I'll miss you and all your glory - but we will be reunited in September and I promise not to fall for another state other than you!