Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CANDISC '09—My first bike tour: Overview and registration day

The blog has been quiet the last couple of weeks because I was away on a great new adventure. My first long distance (425 mile) bike tour. And what fun it was! Yes, also painful at times, but the fun and adventure far outweigh the pain and that is what is stickin' with me since I got home. It's still hard to believe that I biked 425 miles but I am very excited to get a new road bike now (I rode on my hybrid bike, pictured above) and go again.

Now, the word "tour" is very important. The time spent on your bike is NOT a race. It's about taking the time needed to make it from point A to point B each day at a comfortable speed while enjoying the scenery, people and food along the way. The scenery was gorgeous and green this year with the moisture we have gotten. The people were so nice and fun. And the food...OH, the was almost endless and so yummy!

Each day there are several rest stops along the way about every 10-20 miles with restrooms, food and beverages available for us. We are burning through thousands of calories a day while riding so it's important that we keep replenishing our "fuel stores." Most of the rest stops are manned by church groups or organizations that use this as a fundraiser and they serve some awesome homemade goodies, sandwiches, soup, burgers, brats, rolls, cheese, crackers, name it. You never know what you are going to find waiting for you until you get to the next stop, that's part of the fun.

And I haven't even mentioned the suppers and breakfasts hosted by the towns where we camped each night. Man, they went all out and put a lot of time and effort into taking great care of us tired, hungry bikers. We had a turkey dinner with all the fixins, a ham dinner, roast beef dinners, spaghetti dinner, all-you-can-eat taco bar and every kind of wonderful breakfast combination you can think of.

OK, enough about the food, I think you get the idea. :)

Registration day, Aug. 1st:

Saturday is registration day. We all met at Fort Stevenson State Park just outside of Garrison, ND to get signed in, have a meeting and spend our first night camping. There were 435 riders this year (last I heard), 140 from North Dakota and the rest were from out of state and even a couple of people from outside of the country. I think they said there were people from 29 different states, but I can't remember for sure. The youngest biker was 5 years old and the oldest biker was 76.

After getting signed in and setting up my tent "home" I rode around the park a little bit and took some photos of big ol' Lake Sakakawea. (Pictured above and below.) Then it was time for supper, our meeting and bed so we could get up at 5 a.m. the next morning to start our first ride.

Watch for "Day 1" when I get some more time to blog, hopefully soon...