Day Eleven: Murphy’s Law

It was the last day of biking… finally. “Tomorrow, our buttholes can finally recover,” we thought. “We can finally stop eating grilled tubes of meat-slime for dinner. Today should just roll by, and it will be quick since we are excited to get to San Francisco.” Of course, we hadn’t had a nightmarish day for quite some time, so we should’ve bought a new fan to account for the shit that was about to hit the old one.

Let’s start from the top everyone! We left our campsite entering onto Highway 1. For about 45 minutes we biked on the most crooked portion of the highway yet, through wind and drizzle, constantly along 600 foot (give or take a Luke or two) bluffs. It was honestly scary for the drivers to even drive on, let alone biking.

Luis and David drove to Jenner, CA where they stopped for coffee, clam chowder, and a quick chess game. They asked the barista of Cafe Aquatica for the best route to highway 101 (which we would later come to find out, had turned into an eight-lane freeway that was illegal to bike on). “Take Highway 116,” she said. Eventually, while Luis was gracefully having his own ass handed to him on the brink of checkmate, the biker boys rolled into town. They caught the news of Highway 116 and drifted on.

Luis and David drove to to a town called Forestville down the 116 and waited at a coffee shop. They organized their thoughts and caught up on blog posts and soccer game highlights. About an hour later the biker boys showed up, having had a flat tire on the way. The tube replacement went unusual - in the sense that it proceeded without problems. When Cesar, Luke, Milan and Gabe showed up, they sucked down a considerable amount of Coffee to warm up. It was already almost 10:00 AM and the team realized they had only gone about 28 miles on the 100 mile day - quite far behind the usual schedule. We were kept on our toes by a homeless man circling our picnic table while we ate sandwiches. There was disagreement on which route was the best to take in order to make it to 101, and Luis and David never really heard which one they decided to take. Yeah, just in the middle of a forest with no phone service and we don’t tell each other which direction we will be traveling. Yeah, we go to UW. As a result, neither group had any idea where the other was when Cesar got another flat tire about 20 minutes later. IMAGINE THAT.

At this point, the boys suspected there might be something wrong with Cesar’s wheel or tire. Or those 500-horsepower legs were just too much for that bike. Luis and David found a nearby bike shop, and Cesar powered through to meet up with them while the other three carried on. At a bike shop called Revel Cycles, we told the owner our problem and had him make small adjustments to Cesar’s bike while also checking the tire and rim for sharp objects. After admiring the immaculate shop and chatting with the owner, Cesar’s bike was ready to go with a quick removal of a piece of glass and a tube replacement. The owner didn’t charge us a dime, saying “it was his donation to the cause.” We couldn’t believe the generosity, and promptly gave him a deserved 5-star Yelp rating.

We shoved everything/one into Rex and got on the road to meet up with Milly, Gibby and Bulging Tire Boksem. Five minutes into the drive, we got a call from Milan about 15 miles away: “Hey, we’re a f$*king mess out here.” So we got their location and drove to what seemed like the most bass ackwards bike route to San Fransisco conceivable. We rolled up thick with a squeaky clean Cesar for the road, and listened to the situation at hand. To make a long story short, the three boys that went on had decided to disobey the Google Maps bike route (always a great idea) and get onto Highway 101.. which was now a fully blown eight-lane freeway. While riding on the freeway shoulder

(THEE FREEWAY SHOOOOULLLLLDERRRR. Tha. Freeway. Shoulder. As in, they consciously and willingly decided to ride a bicycle on a god damn freeway), they received a warm welcome from commuters abroad. Eventually they got the idea that they probably shouldn’t have been riding on…. tha freeway… Luckily Milan got a flat tire when they were four miles from any off ramps. So, they decided to hop the guard rail into a farm field. This ended up explaining the ridiculous route David, Luis and Cesar had thought they’d taken. Finally reuniting, a team effort for the tire changed.

At this point we were about 60 miles from San Francisco, and it was 1:00. Naturally, everyone thought it was a good idea to try and get diarrhea at McDonald's for the second half of the ride. So while the bikers made their way, Luis and David went and picked up 20 burgers and 30 chicken nuggets from McSquirts that everyone could have for lunch. This next 30 mile leg was the only uninterrupted/chill riding for the day.

When Luis and David arrived with three bags of glory, they found a Waining Gibbous criss cross applesauce in the grass trying to replace his tube he’d popped while riding around the park lawn. That marked tube number four on the day, and after that tube the entire squad only had one spare left. Everyone felt pretty disgusting after the meal, and got some pretty good meat sweats going too. About 20 minutes later, we had a black ops mission to infiltrate and destroy a Safeway bathroom.

With less than 30 miles of road left to cover, we continued to get thrown curve balls. The route leading to the Golden Gate was obscure and non-intuitive since it consists completely of back roads and short bike trails. We all had less than 10 percent battery life on our phones, this adventure became even more difficult. To make matters worse, Cesar forgot he was riding a road bike as he jumped a sidewalk curb and popped his third tube of the day. At this point, we were all drained and anxious to reach our final destination that stood on the other side of the hill. With no time to waste, the final spare was thrown on. Back on the road, we asked a dozen riders for directions for every mile we traveled. Our questions were concise and quick asking, “GOLDEN GATE?” with a desperate and confused expression on our faces.

Meanwhile, David and Luis were frantically reorganizing Rex and putting the bike rack on so that they could rescue a group of lost bikers who were way behind schedule. They began circling the Golden Gate State Park on the off chance the boys had arrived and just hadn’t bothered to call. On the fourth attempt to call Cesar, he finally picked up. Luis and David let out a sigh of relief and asked for the biker boys’ location. Cesar responded, “Meet is on the other side of the bridge, we are going across.”

In a magical moment, we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge during a beautiful San Francisco sunset. The view was breathtaking, and emotions ran high. Luis and David drove 10 mph under the speed limit to savor the moment. Eventually, when everyone made it across we rounded up the troop and took some pictures. Sadly, it took us so long that the sun had basically set by that time.

After pictures, we bolted 60 miles north east to Milan’s Aunt & Uncles house, blasting every song we knew had ‘California’ in its title. Steve and Helen offered to let us shower, sleep in beds, use their pool, and feed us an incredible barbecued chicken dinner with corn. The warm welcome was so, SO needed and gave us the celebration we’d longed for. Helen and Steve, you guys are freakin awesome. We all appreciate your hospitality and generosity so much.

As the night grew old, we went to bed only to ride at 3:45 AM to start the next day’s car ride. Everyone hopped in the car, and everyone except David and Cesar (first two drivers) conked right back out. It was only a matter of time before Cesar blurted: “So, where’s the next trip?” 15 hours later we were toasting to those who will be helped by the $10,500 we raised this summer.

The Cycle for Charvat has raised just under $50,000 in three years for the Kyle Charvat Foundation. That’s $50,000 that families affected by cancer won’t have to worry about. That’s a remarkable achievement for some college kids who just want to get on their bikes and do the right thing. With utmost sincerity, we’d like to thank those of you who donated, or read the blog, or spread the word about Cycle for Charvat. It was our pleasure to ride for this cause, and we hope you enjoyed it along with us.

 

Until next year:

The Biker Boys of Theta Chi

Day Ten: Spandex Cowboys

If the end of the last blog didn’t paint a vibrant enough picture for you on how hard we are driving this struggle bus, let us elaborate more:

California State Parks decided it’s a good idea to provide their campers with water that you must boil in order to not contract ebola from drinking it. So we went without water for about 12 hours because we didn’t pack any in. Rex is in pretty poor shape. First of all, our hot dog juice filled cooler leaked everywhere in the trunk, and has now fermented for about 24 hours. The stench has become incredible - wafting the fresh scent of “raw man-gooch” every time a door is opened. We ran out of icy hot, so Milan and Luke had serious withdrawals last night. While everyone was out putting gear away, they were heard discussing in the tent: “how the hell is my body going to be comfortable enough to fall asleep without icy hot on it?”

The drivers, Cesar and Dave, picked up the campground while Luis, Milan, Gabe and Luke got a head start on the day. Rex made a stop at Safeway to get water and icy hot, along with our 20th and 21st bags of potato chips. Rex also made an appearance at the local organic coffee shop in Fort Bragg (Dave was starting to worry he hadn’t consumed anything not fertilized with daisies and cow crap for awhile). While at the coffee shop, we again coincidentally ran into our friends from Oregon. Everyone was shocked - Cesar looked at David, David looked at Cesar - and the two began bantering at the biker friends immediately. After dishing and giving the appropriate insults to each other, everyone split and hit the road. Luis’ wheel skewer was loose enough to allow his back wheel to fall out of the frame after he stopped to check on his bike. Wtf, dude. The first stop of the day was made in Elk, CA. About 130 miles north of San Francisco.

We stopped at a lovely cafe called Queenies Cafe, where we got to feel like we were in an old western film. We ordered lunch starting out onto the California desert, and the four other buildings that reside in Elk. We ate our breakfast fast, clogged their toilet even faster, and paid. We then filled our water from the old spigot attached to the restaurant, spit left out of the frame into a can that went ‘P-TINGGG,’ and ditched town like cowboys in tight shorts.

On the way to the next destination, David and Cesar filmed the boys biking at a few different angles for the C4C film that will be coming out after the ride (stay posted on that). After pretending to be a Hollywood film crew and taking the videos way too seriously, the two found themselves sitting on the edge of a bluff hanging out. Literally in a field of dandelions and California brush, they sat and talked philosophy for about an hour contemplating life, as one does in a field of dandelions. They both agree it was the best part of the day. Meanwhile, Luke Boksem lead the biker pack by going 5 mph in a 50, taking the “share the road” signs way to seriously. Eventually the biker boys caught up with them. However, they were greeted with surprise Red Bulls and forced to shotgun them on the bluff while the song Thunderstruck by AC/DC was blasted out the car. Milan was excited to tell everyone about how he’d gotten the attention of a hundred cows as he biked past their pasture: “Dude they had the whole field, but they chose to come see me!” The lads slapped hands and carried on.

Everyone met 10 miles later for lunch in a town called Gualala. We commandeered some tables outside of one of the cooler super markets in California, called Surf Market. We ate delicious ham and cheese sandwiches, with ingredients freshly cut from the deli. While we ferociously munched, a man came up to us and asked us if we needed any spare tubes - he’d sell em if we did. It turned out we didn’t need the tubes, but we told him why we were out riding when he commented more on our bikes. The man ended up being a sincerely welcoming and cheerful person who was well connected in the California biking community. He invited us to check out his favorite cyclist pit stops in Santa Rosa, and told us he’d spread the word about the Cycle for Charvat. It was really awesome to see how excited he got for us on our ride, and was a spirit lifter for the rest of the day. On the way to the campsite, we figured out Luke should be a NASCAR driver instead of a cyclist. He legitimately does not know how to turn right. Every single right turn that came along, Boksem slowed to a fraction of the speed he could take left turns at. He was quoted saying: “I just wanna go fast.”

At 4:00 PM the 90+ mile day was toasted, and the campsite set up. We only have one more day of biking until San Francisco, and it seems like even though this ride has been grueling at times, the time is slipping away. It’s pretty unbelievable we’ve made it this far (how the hell did we actually do this), but with any luck we’ll be in San Francisco for dinner tomorrow evening.

 

Day Nine: Hills, Homage to Seattle Rock, and Hamburger Slaughter

Even though there were supposedly bears everywhere in the Redwood National Forest Campground, we saw none. This may have been the coldest morning, although we think every morning is the coldest morning. The tree canopy blocked the sun for a prolonged amount of time, extending the night hours. Cesar tried taking a shower (like any normal human should know how to do) but ended up walking out with a soapy face after his allotted time ran out.

We left the campsite at 7:00 AM on a swift journey to Cook Valley, but were sort of a mess. Milan had one clip-in biking shoe on, and one running shoe because his left pedal was shot, and his clip-in shoe wouldn’t stay in. Cesar took the most complicated route to wearing two full shirts: One jersey, two shooting sleeves (not even Kobe), and a vest. Also, Milan heard from Luis that “Tour de France riders are skillful enough to piss while riding their bikes, because they don’t have time to stop.” Milan, intrigued: “Bro no way.” So for the next few miles, Milan tried his luck at peeing while cycling. It didn’t work. He even tried getting off his bike to start the stream, and then hopping back on to try and keep it going while on the saddle. Athlete alert.

When the bikers arrived to Cook Valley, driver David shared the good news: “Well boys, we have some sh*$ elevation to take care of today. But I’m not going to tell you how much.” After that snack break, we were greeted by hills of unknown length and height. As the boys made the ascent, Luis took joy in cussing at Cesar every time the polka-dot jersey (best hill climber) would pass him. Only Luis’s threatening itch to take a crap kept his pedals turning.

We arrived in Leggett, CA to more bad news – the road ahead was a nice cocktail of everything terrible. To elaborate, the one-lane road had absolutely no shoulder and wicked curves ( ;D ) that left us hidden and in danger to upcoming drivers. David’s Mother senses were tingling and he demanded us to throw our bikes in the car as he shuttled us past the five-mile road. There was much banter to be had during the shuttle. After the shuttle, we cruised to the coast over another sizeable hill. Seeing the coast for the first time all day was remarkable, as we watched large waves crash over the rocks and onto giant bluffs.

Since the van had to be full of bikes and bikers, Gabe volunteered to sit with Rex’s guts on the side of the road – guarding our valuables like a good boy. Once David returned, they decided to test the stereo out. For most the remainder of the drive, they paid homage to their favorite Seattle rock bands (mainly on a Chris Cornell kick). Starting with Audio Slave, followed by Temple of the Dog, Sound Garden, Mother Love Bone, and ending with Pearl Jam. The two bounced back and forth with songs until running  into the biker boys in a small coastal town, 13 miles away from the campsite for the day.

To their surprise, the boys were hanging with two other bicyclers the team had met back in Oregon, all drinking gas station coffee together. To create the setting, the cashier nonchalantly swept a crawling mouse out the door as we sipped on the deck. Good thing we know this is high quality stuff we’re drinking out here. Together we reveled in the coincidence that we’d seen each other 400 miles ago, and somehow ended up at the same gas station four days later. Moreover, they were heading to the exact location to camp that we were. We let them borrow our awesome bike pump, even though it was “cheating to have a support van.” Get over yourself budday.

At around 5:00 PM, we made it to the campsite and Dave n’ Gabe had gone to the store for groceries. Upon return, we promptly opened the van hatch, only to allow the single $5 gallon of milk to fall and explode onto the ground. We gathered the goodies on the table, took out the frozen hamburgers and lit a blazing fire. We threw those hamburgers on there like we knew what the hell we were doing – we didn’t. The fire pit grill was so wide that our burgers had about a 50% mortality rate. We got pissed, and ended up cooking with pliers, sticks, and the top to an aluminum can. This strategy was not successful as six or so patties were sunken into the ashy abyss. It was pretty discouraging and almost warranted a McDonalds run.

To conclude this blog, lets talk about what really matters. As six college men that consume cliff bars, fruit snacks, meat, and in Cesar’s case, an absurd amount of mayonnaise and sriracha, our farts smell like absolute shit. Wish us luck when we have to drive back in all our sweaty gear, expired food, and a molding Rex. Yum. 

 

Goodnight.

#Rex #nosidedoors #getthesecowsmooin’ #gettheesedawgsbarkin’ #gettheseturkeysgoblin’

Day Eight: Greasy Cave Men

We woke slowly at the Lagoon, super chilly as usual. We drank coffee, which everyone knows jump starts your camp-food-filled digestive system. Nothing like a Fiber One bar with some suicide sprints. Uncoincidentally Cesar, Milan, and David made it to the can all within five minutes of each other. As David recalls it: “I walked in, sat down next to a guy who was listening to Ed Sheeran slow jams while unloading. I was gonna roast him when I got back to camp and then I realized it was Cesar.” Cesar never heard the end of it for the rest of the day.

Luke and David drove to the first stop, which was Eureka, CA. They’d received specific battle orders at 0700 hours to charge multiple people’s devices in the meeting town. Luckily, they looked like completely civilized, and totally not homeless dudes. David wore a black bandana with his uncombed spaghetti hair popping out of the top, his single pair of dirty pants he’d taken along on the trip (why), ripped vans, and two big backpacks. Luke wore grey sweatpants, a matching grey sweatshirt, and a McDonalds coffee in his left hand. The two unshaven men would walk into a Starbucks while not saying a word to anyone, briskly shuffle around looking for outlets, and then leave if they found none. They did this three separate times with no shame before finding one that had a table next to available outlets.

They waited for the biker lads while charging every device possible, trying to blend in to the Eureka Starbucks crowd (not a difficult task). The biker lads eventually showed up a tad later than expected, after Gabe had gotten a flat tire which they repaired with super glue. We bought some hot coffee to warm up and show a little courtesy for commandeering the Starbucks sidewalk for our midmorning snack. After catching some weird remarks from a few Eurekans, we wrapped up and headed to the next stop 30 miles away. We mashed through the miles in 90 minutes, surprising everyone with the timing at lunch.

 Hyped for dinner!

Hyped for dinner!

A couple hours later, we had finished the 88-mile day by 2:30 PM. Upon arrival the team split, having Luke and David grab supplies for dinner at the grocery store. Cesar and Milan decided they hadn’t had enough biking so they went and explored the redwood forest. They ended up running into the 4th largest redwood tree in the world. At the store, Luke and David decided they were sick of hot dawgs and wanted something “not salty greasy cheesy meaty.” So they picked 28 frozen chicken legs, a half-gallon of Umpqua chocolate brownie thunder (“$%*!”) ice-cream. They brought the spoils back to grillmaster Milan who fired up the pit and threw those bad boys on (#getthesebirdssquawkin). In the meantime we experimented with different sauces in the “C4C Sauce Labs,” which really was a picnic table with three guys mixing different ratios of condiments together. We played the vanishing bridge card game again, ate chocolate ice cream for our appetizer, and feasted like the greasy, forest-living, bearded cave men we have become. As always, topping of our night with some Nesquick and milk.

We dirty boys are cold and tired, but we’ve still got more left in the tank. We’ve also raised $6,000 for the Kyle Charvat Foundation so far, which gives us the kick in the pants we need to get out of bed every cold morning. KEEP THE DONATIONS ROLLING. Shout out to Thomas Ombudstvedt for getting Theta Chi riled up (all the way from Norway, we should note) and starting a snowball $400 donation last night. We feel you down here brother.

 Almost there!!

Almost there!!

Frankly, it’s going to take a freak Bigfoot accident or us running out of gooch-cream to stop us from getting to San Fran.

 

Tally-ho!

#nosidedoors #goddsferdoman  #goatsfordome #getthesebirdssquakin #keepthesedawgsbarkin

Day Seven: Lakeside camping

Day seven started a little slower than usual because we only had to bike 52 miles with 5300 feet of elevation gain the whole day. Milan and David were driving Rex for the day. 

The boys left at around 7:00 AM and saw no trouble for the first 30 miles. The only hindrance before lunch was a 1200 ft climb that never really warmed the guys up because it was so cold outside. After about two hours, the biker boys met with Rex in a town called Klamath for some Kirkland brand seasoned roast beef sammies (if I’m describing the meat that went into our sandwiches, you should be able to infer how eventful our day was). Cesar as usual put a disgusting amount of mayonnaise topped with sriracha on his sandwich.

After lunch the boys parted ways with Highway 101 for about 20 miles to travel on a slow winding highway through the Redwood National Forest. Milan and David parked halfway through the highway and made coffee out of the back of the van, pretty much in the middle of the forest. They connected with their inner PNW spirit as they sat sipping hot coffee, appreciating the trees. “These are some of the biggest organisms planet earth has to offer.” They talked biology for quite some time.

After about 45 minutes of tree hugging, Milan and David became suspicious of the biker boys because they should’ve passed by. They turned Rex around to see if they could find them on along the highway. Sure enough, within ten minutes the biker boys turned up, chugging slowly up the hills along the highway. They’d accidentally missed a turn that lead to the highway, having to double back.

After that hiccup it was smooth sailing until about seven miles away from the campsite. The reason being that we didn’t even have a campsite, and didn’t really know where we were camping. Luis had directed us to Humboldt State Park, but when Milan and David arrived, all they saw was a beach with a bunch of no camping signs. They then investigated the RV park about half a mile away from their location, which yielded no reservations either. Finally, after about an hour of searching at various county parks, Luis and the biker boys showed up right after David called the county park officials.

“Luis, the campground you directed us to has been closed indefinitely for the past five years…” #godsferdomma (by this time, Milan and David had overused Luke’s Dutch word ‘godsferdomma’ that they decided it was an official trip hashtag)

We fired Rex up and trotted to the only campground the county ranger said was first come first serve in the entire area in order to salvage the camping situation. They boys arrived at the campground only to find the most beautiful, secluded, lake-side campsite they’d seen all day. They relayed the message to the rest of the crew that Big Lagoon County Park was the place to be, seven miles south. Within an hour everyone was together and we could finally relax and spread out.

 Climibing the waterfront!

Climibing the waterfront!

After devouring at bag of Doritos in about two minutes, four guys decided to hit the beach located a quarter mile away from the site. The beach was absolutely stunning during the golden hour. We played soccer, took videos, laid in the sand and zoned out as the eight-foot waves crashed continuously. It was a truly wonderful, California-esk evening.  When everyone returned, Milan taught the boys a card game he plays with his family called “Vanishing Bridge.” It was so fun we ended up playing a little too late for our 5:00 AM wakeup time.

 Scenic Views.

Scenic Views.

If this post seemed bland, that’s because it was. Literally nothing crazy happened today. It was slow going, relaxing, and mindless. Sometimes that’s exactly the kind of day you need, especially when the van you’re living out of is starting so smell like butt cheese and dirty socks. It’s getting pretty smoky out here, so let’s see how tomorrow goes. Catch you later.

 

#nosidedoors

Day Six: Lol

Today we woke up in our lovely trailer park to a 360 degree view of dead grass and decommissioned vehicles. We were lucky to be able to wake up on our own time, not setting any alarms. The morning was slow and easy as we drank coffee, rambled about our neighbors, kicked around the soccer ball with our football field sized camp site.

A topic of special interest over breakfast was our neighbor Chuck. Charles approached and greeted Luke immediately upon Luis’ abandoning Luke at the campsite for the emergency trip the previous night. Charles told Luke about literally everything in his life. His wife was a “five-foot-three, blonde, ‘hundred-fourteen pound ball of fire.” Back in the good ol’ days, Deputy Charles yanked a fully grown man’s arm out of its socket; “that was a good day” (southern accent). For two hours straight, Charles sucked on an Atomic Fireball candy (stopping every few sentences to catch his breath) while describing his stories to Luke (who was staring off in the distance). Chuck had been living in this trailer at the park for three years, and he was humbled to hear Luke’s story on Cycle for Charvat.

After breakfast, we played real-life Tetris with the van. Since today was a break, that meant we had to fit six guys into the van, and break out the massive bike rack we’d bought: the Yakima Fulltilt 5-bike rack. Before we proceed, you should know we’ve decided to name the van “Rex”. This name was inspired by the #nosidedoors and raw power under the hood, which we thought comparable in both aspects to our favorite dinosaur T-Rex.

Once Rex was packed to perfection we piled in…through the front doors, adding an actual David Juergens calculation of 1000 additional pounds to poor Rex. With everything locked and loaded, and 5 bikes yanking down on Rex’s hind legs, the trailer hitch sat about an inch off the ground. We pulled the van out with extreme caution while David stood outside to see if we could even go anywhere without plowing the road. On shallow road dips, the bike rack would swing up and down coming within a fraction of an inch to the ground.

We pulled out onto Highway 101 at a blazing 35 miles per hour. Our first idea to help Rex’s situation was to just pump air into the tires, “because that’s what you do if you’re towing something, right?” We hit one of those gas station air compressors to find our tires were all at about half the maximum pressure, so we cranked those bad boys up. Next, it actually crossed our minds to go to an auto-body shop and inquire about a suspension upgrade. The single mechanic with an above average sized mustache, had little to offer for us. “Looks like there’s a lot of weight on that ve-hicle,” he said. Thanks captain obvious.

We drove about 30 feet past the auto shop and parked to figure out how we could get the hitch higher off the ground. After a few minutes, Milan had a lightbulb go off: Using David’s ratchet set to tie a line taught from the roof rack to the bike rack, lifting the hitch higher. The duo Macgyvered another two inches lift for the hitch. After testing the clearance on the gas station drive-way (and failing), we called it good enough. Highway travel was the next test for Rex’s suspension upgrade. We started slow, but ended up cruising at 50 mph steady. About three miles later, David began searching for his phone, we decided to pull over so he could get out and look beneath his seat. After no success, his heart sank: “Last time I had it I put it on the roof.” In one rapid motion, DJugs lifted himself out of the car and sank back in with the phone in hand – Rex had taken care of it. The boys. Went. Wild.

The next stop was McDonalds in Brookings, Oregon for a much needed lunch at 2 pm. They were advertising a 10 dollar bundle, consisting of an absurd amount of McStuff. We split the bundles in pairs, except Gabe. “My body is in a severe calorie deficit.” So Gabe’s new mission in Gabe vs Food was to finish six burgers and 20 chicken nuggets for lunch. He got real close, and got even closer after we heckled him into eating all but a few bites of his last burger. He sat for about three minutes and decided he needed to visit the toilet for a tactical McPuke. The rest of the boys listened while Gabe the Mighty Dragon spewed his fire into the glory hole. He literally sounded like a screeching dragon echoing through the door and into the dining area. His efforts proved to be useless, as he ended with spit halfway up his arm and no puke in the toilet. After some questionable looks from the regulars, the boys decided it was time to leave.

Highway driving proceeded smoothly until the California border crossing. We were asked if we had “any fresh fruit on board” by a patrol agent, replied “not really sure,” and overconfidently floored it out of the station. We bottomed out on sweet California concrete for about ten feet, but this was the only time our system would fail. California, to be honest, looked worse than Oregon on sight. Smoke everywhere, vision was horrible, no beach babes in bikinis; the boys were underwhelmed to say the least.

We cheesed it right to the campsite, missing the turn and doubling back. Upon arrival, it was a consensus that this is the coolest place we’ve camped yet. The Crescent City KOA campground was tucked away in a Redwood forest, providing us cover and beautiful scenery. We explored, finding a stump 20 feet in diameter with a hole big enough in the middle to set a tent in. We found a playground where Milan and Cesar played in the C4C Tetherball Championships where Milan took the gold home after ten minutes of a hard fought match. We found a community room with arcade games and ping pong, so we relaxed and charged up devices.

 Break day!

Break day!

When nightfall came, we made the biggest fire we’ve had yet and got some dawgs barkin’ loud (#getthesedawgsbarkin). After dinner, we cleaned our bikes to make sure they were ready for the next day. We got into the tents and through conversation among the tents, we found out Luke speaks fluent Dutch. Naturally, we asked him to please to Luis to shut the hell up in Dutch when he kept everyone awake later. “Luis, godsferdomma.” (If you’re fluent in Dutch writing, sorry if we misspelled that).

Tomorrow the boys will have a 52-mile day with a lot of hill climbing, through the Redwood National Forrest. We will end the day at Big Lagoon County Park.

 

Hasta luego. #nosidedoors

Day Five: Wednesday’s Pain

Let’s get straight to the point; today was the lowest of lows. After encountering a myriad of unfortunate events, we all felt doubtful, frustrated, and despondent. This is how our day went:

Waking up at our regular 5 o’clock schedule, we were greeted with cold winds and misty fog. This wasn’t anything new to us so we pushed on. Our first 20 miles were very uncomfortable because the breeze from the ocean persisted. To further explain, our toes and fingers were numb within twenty minutes and the lingering pain brought thoughts of frost bite which kept us worried.

In the meantime, Luis and David traveled to the nearby bike shop to fix up David’s broken wheel spoke. The whole process took almost two hours because the bike shop was backed up, and the bike had to be completely reassembled since we took it apart to fit it in the van. Meanwhile, Luke was feeling lots of pain in both his knees, eventually making it imperative for him to jump into the van and for David to ride. When the biking boys made it to the bike shop, everyone had to wait until David’s wheel was fixed and he could reassemble the bike. As a result, the entire ride was slowed down a couple hours, frustrating us and putting us all on edge. 

The day became darker and chillier as we pushed onwards, 70 miles out and hours behind schedule. To make matters worse, the group accidentally split apart and due to lack of cellphone service and miscommunication on the route taken. All in all, one group waited for the other on the highway for about 45 minutes. This sucked because we felt exhausted from waiting around as our muscles cooled down and stiffened. When everybody was back together, tension was among the team which led to arguments and bad chemistry.

Things only worsened when around 5 pm, Milan biked over a sharp seashell that popped his tire and stopped the ride once again. After 15 minutes of struggling to replace the tube, we came to a conclusion the tube itself was faulty. Consequently, Milan called up driver Luis to grab him while in the meantime David, Cesar, and Gabe carried on.

Ten minutes later, the worst incident of the day happened when David looked back to check for any cars and inadvertently steered his bike in the same direction. Losing control of his bike, David dove into the thorny ditch, and was launched into the barbed wired fence. Cesar and Gabe rushed to David, who was emotionally in shock, to find him injured undoubtedly. With cuts along his arm and a severe slice on his upper leg, the group helped him out of his tangle and consoled him. The wounds progressed in intensity making it essential for Luis, who arrived momentarily, to take David to the E.R and have Milan ride David’s bike.

Although experiencing lots of pain, David thankfully felt fine after a stitch up at the nearby hospital.

Today’s bike ride was painful. A ride that began uncomfortable, proceeded to anger and create bitterness within the group, and ended with a friend getting hurt. It was for sure a day nobody enjoyed. However, the ride didn’t end after David’s crash occurred. An event that brought everyone down was able to bring the group together and help us finish the miserable last stretch. The relationships amongst us improved as we realized how we care for each other and are always looking after one another. In addition to all this, while Luis prepared to drive David to the nearby hospital, he mentioned that today generated the most donations, surpassing $1,000. The idea that we truly are blessed to be physically capable to ride from one city to another surfaced and created appreciation amongst us all. We are reminded this ride isn’t about being a fast biker, or being exceptional as individuals. It’s about something bigger than just us. As cliché as all this may sound, this is how we are all feeling right now sitting around this campfire.

Today’s post is sobering because it opened up our eyes, showing us what truly matters. Catch you tomorrow as we enjoy our first and only day off. Thank you for all those who are following the blog as it is nice to know there is someone listening.

 

#nosidedoors

 

Day Four: Cliffs, Craps, and Cliff Bars

Today we thought it would be a good idea to wake up a bit earlier than usual because the daunting elevation change would prove to lengthen the ride. Alarms went off at 5am and we made quick work of preparation and packing, leaving at about 6:20am. Surprisingly Cesar functioned more efficiently knowing that he was going to be the driver for the day.

It was a very cold morning, all riders were wearing under armor or sweaters. We rode back through pacific city and eventually into the pasture-scattered landscapes. We soon met our first challenge, an enormous 750-foot climb. Thankfully the road had three lanes and it was still very early so we had little trouble on the shoulder. Still sore from the previous three days, David released guttural screams deep from the bottom of his stomach. While Gabe, clearly pissed that the hill had the audacity to hinder his ride, was cursing at the top of his lungs when rounding every corner to see more uphill. Luis chose the ‘look down and don’t look back up’ tactic. Milan reached the summit and played “On Top” by Flume, soaking in the ecstasy of the moment. The rest of the 4500 feet of elevation gain over 97 miles was frankly all talk and no walk, the biking boys would end up chewing through all of it by 4PM. 

 Quick rest for the boys before more hill climbs.

Quick rest for the boys before more hill climbs.

Bombing down the other side of the hill, freezing any lingering sweat, the boys flew into the countryside and made it to Lincoln City in no time at all. A quick break for cliff bar snacking soon turned into a repair sesh. Gabe had thought something was up with his wheel, upon further inspection his break pads had been rubbing against his tire the whole day.

About ten miles later and thirty miles into the ride we met Cesar at rest stop for water refills. Gabe fell on his bike while giving it a quick test ride with newly improved brakes. The boys ate sandwiches and collected the gear Cesar had purchased for them at Wal Mart. Notable (remember this sentence) was David’s request for Kinesiology Tape (KT tape), a stretching fabric meant to provide compression and stability for injured joints.

Halfway to the next stop, David destroyed a newly cleaned Burger King bathroom after his bowels kicked him off the bike in a hurry. He felt so bad he contemplated buying a whopper as a conciliation prize for the staff. But there was no silver lining for that bathroom job whatsoever.

When the boys were 20 miles from the day’s new campground, Milan kicked it into high gear because he apparently had to take a crap worth a million dollars. Clipping down the highway at the fastest rate of the entire trip, we stopped at three separate beach parks hoping to find bathrooms. At the third attempt, Milan stood soberly, looking out into the ocean knowing what needed to be done. He shed a single tear that dried halfway down his cheek. David pointed to a path into the brush, and Milan asked if anyone had wipes. For 30 seconds, Milan’s heart raced as he prayed to the Lord himself that someone had wipes in their day pack. After a minute of awkward yet worrisome and puckered silence, David pulled out his brand new, $12 roll of KT tape from his backpack. “No, I can’t destroy your tape,” Milan said. David, hesitantly but wholeheartedly withdrew his hand, and extended it once more for Milan after thinking over the gesture again…. Milan: “Alright, I’m gonna wreck your tape.” 

After a couple more hours of biking, we made it to Heceta RV Campground somewhere on the Oregon. We’ve all made a pact to have the driver for the day purchase a surprise desert for the biking lads. Cesar bought strawberry popsicles, and they were incredible. The camp owner/host is named Alan/Allen, a Southern sounding 60 year old man who likes going 248 miles per hour on his Kawasaki Ninja. Al soon found out we were doing the Cycle for Charvat ride after we arrived on our bikes, kept the laundry room open extra late for us, and offered his entire giant garage full of tools to us in the morning in case we need to do some quick maintenance. Al also plans to donate to the ride as soon as he can, and he’s been a real spirit lifter. He also spoke with David about how Luis “looked like a zombie” when he came into the RV store, and how his Ninja 1200 “rips up them hills because it don’t have no computer on board, just a carburetor.”

Tomorrow we will wake at 5AM again, and tackle the “giant ass hill of the south” that Al warned us about. We’ve been blessed with clean nickers once again, we’ll you on the other side.

 

#nosidedoors #gettheesedawgsbarkin #oregoncoast

Day Three: Between a rock and a hard place

Alarms were set for 6 AM and Cesar awoke at his usual 7 AM because it was too cold for him to get out of his blankets. The day was off to a slow start for sure. Another drawback that kept us at the campsite was the urgent need by everyone to take multiple (yes, literally multiple) emergency dumps from the previous nights loaded Seattle Dawgs (cream cheese filled Costco Polish sausages). Nonetheless, we left the site at 7:45 and had a smooth non-stop ride to Canon Beach. The only obstacle we encountered was the freezing cold fog that wrapped around the coast. At one point, Milan didn’t know whether his bike was shaking or he was shivering, but we carried on to the scenic destination.

As we arrived, we had quick stroll along the sandy beach and took a nice picture near a large sand castle and called it our own, but it was definitely built by a 12 year-old future SpaceX engineer. After asking a couple to take our picture in front of that giant rock everyone somehow knows is at Canon beach, we left swiftly and made it back to the fog. Almost immediately, Highway 101 took us to the base of Mount Neahkahnie where we climbed a demoralizing 1,600 feet to summit. We were all truly thankful for the haze that covered the cliff side because Cesar probably would have had a panic attack as we rode along its edge (no heights for him). However, the boys spirits were lifted as we read the meaning behind the name which translates to “the place of God” in Tillamook (the language).

 Loving the fog!

Loving the fog!

After driving for about 45 minutes on the 101, David glanced over at the Tillamook creamery. To his surprise, he spotted 5 boys in purple jerseys with bikes next to them, sitting at the front entrance chowing down on some gelato. He pulled into the buzzing parking lot only to find that Cesar and Gabe had gone fanboy for Tillamook and told the boys to pull over so they could buy mugs and creamy delights as souvenirs. While this happened, Milan “Popov” Kassa sat by his bike, being questioned by a homeless man 2 feet to his left. He ended up giving Milan advice for the next time he went to a casino but Milan disregarded it rightfully.

Next, we met up with Momma Dave only to find a picnic table garnished with sandwich-making paraphernalia and home-made spicy tuna. The only thing more adorable than his preparation was the bathroom at this rest-stop. In Milan’s words, “Yo guys, that’s a cute bathroom.”

The last thirty miles consisted of: the boys almost getting rear-ended by a hauling tractor on the shoulder of the highway, a bounty of cows and goats that provided an afternoon of not so fresh air, and Luis heckling Luke for going too slow in the front of the peloton. For context, Luke had been taking the brunt of the wind for quite some time so the guys behind him could coast easier. After a few minutes of Luis’ barking, Luke turned around, stared him down, and screamed in the wind “YEAH!?? THEN WHICH OF YOU F*$!%RS IS GOING TO BREAK THE WIND FOR US?”

We finally arrived at camp, and decided to check tomorrow’s route and elevation gain. Let’s just say that wasn’t a good idea. Join us tomorrow as we tackle 4500 FRICKEN feet of elevation over 97 miles of literal hell. Yay.

P.S.

Oh, and also, Milan once again fell straight down going a blazing zero miles per hour on his bike upon arriving to the campsite.

Catch ya guys later.

 

#nosidedoors

Day Two: “Welcome” to Oregon

2 AM – stars are out, horse crap still smells, cold AF. Milan, Luke, and Luis were awoken by an army of bantering ‘yippers’ (aka cayotes).  David, Cesar, and Gabe slept on.

At 6AM plus one snooze of the alarm clock, the boys drank coffee, ate breakfast and saddled up by 7:30. The initial biking was completely saturated with morning mist running down our helmets and bike frames. Visibility was limited to 100 feet or so.

After the fog burned off, we were greeted by the sun and its warmth. While Milan was recovering from falling down at literally zero miles per hour after a snack break, Cesar gazed into the eyes of a cow resting just 15 feet from us. Like a boy caught looking across the bar at a woman, they remained fixed on each other. Milan saddled back up, and Cesar suggested the idea that “no cow ever dies from natural causes…wtf.” He continued to stress the sadness of the cow’s life, the wrongdoing of the meat production industry, and the need to go vegetarian. However, continuing the bike ride sounded more entertaining so we left while he was talking. Cesar ended up eating thee giant polish hot dogs, two glasses of chocolate milk, and six tablespoons of cream cheese later that night. Just so you know how he is with commitment.

 The boys after crossing the Washington border into Oregon.

The boys after crossing the Washington border into Oregon.

Here’s a synopsis of the lovely “Welcome” that Oregon gave us:

Luke’s managed to get a flat tire right before we climbed a massive bridge over the Columbia River. We sat there trying to change it for 30 minutes while Cesar implored to take another route that didn’t involve heights – no heights for him.

Oregon decided to lull us in with a welcome sign, a dozen dead animals on the bike roads, an unending series of 20-minute hill climbs on 2-foot wide shoulders, and gale force winds that blew us like tumbleweeds.

At lunch, Luis directed himself and David a mile past the meeting location, down a giant hill. Here’s how that went… Reaching the top of the summit, David asks “Do we take this right turn or what?” Luis grabs his phone opening Google Maps, and says “Nah, we go down the hill first bro.” Little did they know that the checkpoint was where David expected, and they consequently had to be shuttled by Gibster McGee back up the hill. The stories of Luis doesn't end just yet… more to come. Additionally at lunch, a new English unit was invented by the one and only, Luke ‘Bulging Tire’ Boksem. While staring down at the Columbia in disbelieve that our elevation was only 656 feet above sea level, Luke exclaimed “If I’m six feet tall, that’s definitely more than 100 Luke's high.”

The afternoon became only slightly more bountiful for the riding boys. Cesar began to feel aches in his back, slowing his pace and falling behind in the peloton. Fortunately, we encountered more horrifyingly long hill climbs and Cesar jolted to the front, actually becoming faster because of the hill. He likes hills. And he also gets the polka-dot jersey for the day for his performance.

Towards the end of the mountain climbing for the day, Luis decided the highway shoulder was a great location to puke up his perfectly undigested and unproperly chewed salami sandwich (with extra mayo and Doritos). This was also while we were frantically racing to the next available restroom because Luis said he was “turtleheading.” Yikes. As Luis rolled up to tell us about his highway adventures, Milan spotted a roadway sign that wrote “Leif Erikson Way.” He then decided to have a teaching moment, explaining to the boys how Leif Erikson was “a baseball player that had a terminal disease and had the disease named after him.” He was oblivious to the fact that this was Lou Gehrig.

The rest of the day’s riding consisted of smooth, winding roads overlooking the Columbia River’s entrance into the ocean. We made it to Astoria and lost Luis for 15 minutes because he decided to not look behind him while the rest of us enjoyed a wonderful gazebo on the water. FYI, this picture will be posted on the cycle4charvat Instagram page so check it out and follow us if you’re a real one.

15 miles and one scary bridge later, we made it to Fort Stevens – and our spirits were lifted with hot showers, no burn ban, and friendly neighbors. Camping is by far the best part of the day. On that note, using his socks as shower shoes, Dave “Don’t worry, I’m a Chemical Engineer” Juergens surprised us by throwing his wet socks onto the grill alongside our dawgs, and centimeters from the flame… Yeah we don’t know either…

The ride continues and tomorrow we will hopefully surpass the 300 mile mark. Fingers are crossed, and don’t worry because we still have

 

#nosidedoors.

Day One: A buck twenty

Departure day finally arrived and the lads realized they actually had to back the promise to ride a bike for 900 miles.

As per usual, everyone made sure to get two whole hours of sleep before the longest ride of the trip - 120 miles. Quick shout out to Thien and Ricky for playing wholesome and gentle music throughout the night.

We left Theta Chi 45 minutes late at 5:45 AM, made our way out of Seattle riding south. We accidentally ran onto a beautiful bike trail that allowed us to avoid traffic. Winding through golden wheat fields and forested areas, we finally had a good pace going - allowing us to make up lost time in the city.

However, our soon to be Olympic Athlete Gabe Gagnon (Gibby) was unable to notice the vibrant red warning stripes painted to indicate large ass bumps in the trail. Cesar, for some reason, decided to stop recording on his GoPro minutes before Gibby hit his bike’s ejector seat on the trail bumps, swan-diving right over his handle bars. He managed to somersault into the present foliage and steel guard rail. Gibby sat there contemplating life, the bike ride, and the condition of his underwear - 12 miles into the days ride. Luckily, he was “unharmed” and actually tried to ride again - but we put him in timeout until lunch to make sure he was alright. We’re definitely calling the Olympic Synchronized Diving Team tomorrow though.

Cesar, Milan, Luis, and David pushed forward trying to chew through the miles while Luke got a good ankle workout driving the mini van for the day (again, with side doors that fall on the ground if you open them). Eventually, Luis decided to go full speed into the corner of a railroad track, exploding his tube. As we were changing the tire, David noticed Luis’ front brake was out of alignment and stopping his wheel from freely turning. Adjusting the brake, David asked Luis if he knew about this - Luis said he had in-fact known about it for the entire 70 mile ride. “It helps me stop better.” We see he still hasn’t learned how to ride a bike since last year’s trip

We made it to Yelm, Washington 15 miles later and 70 miles into the day. We stopped for lunch in a gazebo and ate sandwiches and chips. Soon after, we had an interesting encounter with The Infinity Toilet, an ever-flushing abyss that consumes anything and everything without hesitation. We are convinced this contraption consumes 70% of the city water resources. We probs should let someone know. Yelm is now immortalized to us, and we plan to visit the toilet again someday.

We hopped on the trail with Gabe joining us again, headed for this town near Great Wolf Lodge. We didn’t remember the town, because Great Wolf is cooler.

Eventually, we made it to Lewis and Clark State Park. Little did we know, Luis accidentally reserved a camp site at Lewis and Clark Trail State park - on the complete other side of Washington. Once again, this man reminds us to never expect much. The park ranger gave us a free spot in the equestrian camping area - ending with us setting up our tents next to a 5 foot box of horse crap.

Currently trying to find a way to cook our hot dogs without using fires, because they are banned.

 

#nosidedoors

 

 

“The calm before the storm”

The day before the ride and everyone is excited and nervous at the same time. 6 months in the making, starting with 12 bikers wanting to ride, but at the end coming up with 6. We want to give thanks to our Theta chi alumni with their willingness to help, as well as, providing us with money for the trip.

Cesar has already taken out his phone to record the start of the trip. Be ready to see some clips on YouTube.

On our way to pick up the support vehicle we found out that if we opened the side door of the van the doors would fall off. The bike ride hasn’t started and it’s already testing us. Nonetheless thank you to the family of Milan for letting us use the van for support during the ride.

During our shopping at Costco we were all excited about getting some pizza but were disappointed that we couldn’t buy an entire box. Yet another obstacle in front of us and the ride hasn’t begun. Cesar, during this time, may have said something that can’t be topped for the rest of the ride, “screw space dust, I want an Elysian”

After getting everything we needed it’s time to rest and be ready to wake up at 4 A.M. to leave at 5 A.M. wish us luck we have 120 miles the first day.

 Getting excited for the ride!

Getting excited for the ride!