Congratulations to my Cannondale Touring bike! Last Sunday, the bike proved that it’s also worthy of completing the 112 mile leg of a full distance triathlon. And this wasn’t just any 112 miles, this was 112 miles with over 9,000 feet of climbing on one of the most grueling full distance courses: Silverman. Quite a feat for “a touring frame ready for trans-continental adventures or everyday commuting duties.” I did modify it slightly, first by removing the approximate 70 pounds of gear we were carrying. I then put on aero bars, kindly lent from Heather, and switched out the front wheel with a nice skinny road wheel off of one of Jared’s rental bikes. Finally, we switched out the rear tire (not the wheel) to a slick with slightly better rolling resistance. I ignored the cracks in the rim (which is quite normal after 4500 miles with gear) by putting electrical tape over them. Luckily, I was allowed by USAT officials to keep my mirror as my bar end…to see the competition coming up behind me better! I had many looks and questions about my bike, particularly all the stickers and mostly, the icelandic sheep wool tied to the front. I loved it! I was so comfortable on this bike during the race, thinking of all the farms and wonderful people we met this summer. Even when my bike had to sit in the transition area different from every single bike because the back wheel was too thick to sit in the stand, I was most proud to say this bike would carry me through “the toughest course in North America.” Thank you Actually Excitable!
Check out our updated website, full of pictures and video podcasts. We will be adding a lot more in the coming months so be sure to check it out now and again.
Right now, we are in Las Vegas - home of our two Cannondale Touring bikes! Darren’s bike is now set to be hung on the wall at Las Vegas Cyclery, and mine will be ready in a few days - but first, it must carry me through the bike leg of Silverman this Sunday!!
WE MADE IT TO OUR FINAL DESTINATION ON THIS ROOT RIDE, WHICH TOOK US FROM TULANI RANCH, A SCENIC AND MAJESTIC FARM JUST PLANTING ITS SEEDS IN TOPLEY, B.C., ALL THE WAY TO RIVER BERRY FARM, A FULLY FUNCTIONING, ESTABLISHED, AND BEAUTIFUL ORGANIC FARM IN FAIRFAX, VT!!!!!
What a summer it has been! We have planted seeds, shoveled manure, fed fennel to sheep, slept next to chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and more, harvested onions, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, berries, and more, bottle-fed yak, milked cows, shelled garlic, handled chickens, collected eggs, built fences, mowed grass, watered plants, cut flowers, made jelly, spun wool, raked, weeded, put up a tent, taken down a tent, and peddled and peddled and peddled our bicycles across this beautiful land.
Before this ride started, I was excited to meet the farmers growing good food and seeing how this good food affected individual health, the health of their neighbors and the health of Earth. I knew that each of these layers - individual, community and global - influence the other, but I now understand that they are all one. You cannot have health of the individual without health of the soil of this earth and you cannot have a healthy community without healthy individuals.
Thank you to everyone how has been a part of the ride. Of course, Jared and Heather from Las Vegas Cyclery who sponsored the bikes and kept them in prime condition. Since the bikes were tuned up by Kurt and the crew in Vegas, we have not had to do a single thing to the bikes and have not had a single flat since central California and all the puncture vines. And we actually, yes actually, didn’t even add any air to the tires!! Just a little lube here and there, and these Cannondale Touring bikes took care of themselves. They are awesome and I will be using mine in Silverman in one month!
But not only were we sponsored by Escape Adventures, we were mostly sponsored and supported by all the farms we visited this summer. They carried us from night to night, offering fresh food, new information and helpful resources for us to research further. Many more offered warm showers and shelter for the night, particularly as it got colder and wetter. These farms made this trip happen! Once we are settled in some sort of way, we invite you all to come join us so we may host you and feed you. You can have the tent and we’ll sleep outside !
So, the cycling for the Root Ride is over, but the ride has hardly just begun! We have seen and learned so much and are looking forward to digesting not just all the good food we’ve eaten, but all the information we have gathered as well. This is just the beginning and there is no end, as we hope to continue to learn and share this incredible journey with others. Come back from time to time to our websites (particularly The Root Ride), as we will continue to post podcasts and blogs and resources in the coming months…in the meantime, we are enjoying our time at River Berry Farm, picking raspberries and not putting on bike shorts!
Well, it’s hard to believe, but tomorrow will be our last ride. We have a nice, short 30 mile ride to do tomorrow to roll into our final farm destination of River Berry Farm in Fairfax, VT. This summer, we’ve cycled 4500 miles (I don’t have the exact number because my odometer broke in the last week…er!) and have visited more than 40 farms. Tonight, we are spoiling ourselves in a Best Western in Plattsburgh, NY, partly in early celebration for tomorrow…not only is tomorrow the last day of our ride, it is also our one year wedding anniversary! We are excited to be celebrating our Root Ride finish and anniversary with my aunt and uncle and cousins, who own and operate River Berry Farm.
As we ate dinner tonight - burgers at the Ground Round made with all natural beef from our last farm - Kilcoyne Farms, we reminisced on all the amazing people we have met this summer. We are not sure how we can fully thank all of you for being part of the incredible adventure, but we plan to take a lifetime to do so - sharing what we’ve learned and what we have seen with anyone who wants to listen.
You’ll be with us on this last ride as we send you all our thoughts!
THANK YOU EVERYONE!
Today we woke up in a beautiful campground, comfy and dry, even in our smelly, moldy tent…it’s been well used this summer with a few too many mornings of packing it up wet. But we still love it! Anyway, the dry day didn’t stay for long. By 11am we smelled like wet dogs and were carrying an extra 10 pounds each of sopping clothing and bags…BUT (ORTLIEB plug here) our bags stayed dry - well the gear inside the bags!! Ortlieb panniers are the best and really are waterproof - unlike my $12 (Canadian dollar that is) rain jacket. Honestly, though, upstate New York is beautiful, particularly during fall. We saw many well kept farms as we peddled by as fast as we could to keep the blood moving to our toes, which spent most of the day near frozen. Not completely frozen, as we’re still a few degrees from freezing. Thank goodness. And most gracious of all, we have a warm, dry place to sleep at Maxwell Creek Farm, an awesome 2 acre CSA produce farm we contacted just two days ago and who were most generous to open their home to us. Thank you Kim, Marty, Jake, Ben and Connner!
Yesterday we woke up in Ohio, rode through Pennsylvania, and went to bed in New York - not bad for a day on the bike! We spent the whole day riding along Lake Erie on Route 5, riding through the Grape Belt with the sweet smell of concord grapes enticing us along. The grapes are used for wineries, but also a lot seem to go towards Welch’s grape juice. The area really is beautiful even with the dark clouds over us. We’ve been wet and cold now for the last three days with threatens of storms, but we’ve been spoiling ourselves with cheap motels - which we are now very tired of - looking forward to getting back into our tent, or rather, back to farms. Our route has changed from our original plans in the hopes that we can make it to Vermont before it gets much colder!! But we know we are nearing the end and the rides are getting harder with the intermixing feelings of excitement to finish, sadness to be done, and unease for what comes next. We thank everyone who’s been following along and sending us thoughts & messages along the way - these carry us through the day and especially now as the bikes feel heavy and our toes are cold.
Had to end the day yesterday due to a storm in Chicago. Were expecting to do a 90 mile day but settled for 64, making today a little longer, so we get in a bit later than we expected for Johnsons Produce who have some activities planed for us. We’re sitting right now refueling with some begals and will be on our way. BUT this morning is the first time in three weeks we have wind helping us along, a light one, but we’ll take it as a gift!
We are in Dixon Illinois learning about Icelandic Sheep. A beautiful hobby farm that has around 60 sheep, 1 Lama, 2 collies, a great perinese, a chicken coop and ducks that are taking over, but as the winter comes in the ducks will fill the freezer, family and friends. Some of the sheep get sold and the wool gets spun. Speaking of spinning, Becky is getting her first lesson in the art of textiles.
What a unique piece of property tucked in and amongst the towering surrounding corn.
What a unique and wonderful place. A place of practical exploration into the realms of living in and along with, this earth we call home. We are so privileged to have shared even a minute here.
So far our Iowa visit has been filled with adventure, education, and chance meetings with incredible people! Today is no different as we sit in Reid’s Beans Coffee Shoppe in West Branch, IA, the birthplace of Herbert Hoover. Today’s ride was supposed to take us to Fulton, IL to visit Honey Girl Honey. We were starting to get a little nervous as today was one of those days starting a little slow - first, we woke up most comfortably and clean in the house of Bedstemor’s dear friend, Dody, who was incredibly kind to offer us a place to stay when we diverted our route south a little to visit ZJ Farms, a small, family run ,very diversified farm with a huge CSA, at the Iowa City Farmer’s Market. We had a hearty breakfast with Dody and got on our way, but stopped shortly to make some phone calls and work further on our route. We rode on again, with a few stops here and there, trying to pin down our directions on the back country roads. And now we find our selves in Reid’s Beans, talking with Laura (”the coolest grandma” in West Branch, IA - Iowa is full of very cool grandmas!!), who has set us up to visit Scattergood Friends School, a college prep school, rooted in Quakerism and running a full organic farm. And so, the route changes slightly today, as we make our way to the school, excited to visit with the students, sharing our tale and seeing their hard work. Honey Girl Honey and our following farms will be pushed back one day - we hope we don’t interfere with everyone’s schedules too much. For those farms in the coming two weeks - we’ll be giving you a call or email to clarify our visit before we get there and we apologize for any inconvenience we may make with our visit! We may be able to make up some time, but that is the one thing we are starting to dread - the quick time of change as we are seeing the colors change on the leaves of the trees. Winter is chasing us and we still have so many farms to visit!