Boys and Girls Club

CROZET, VIRGINIA

My good friend, click here Scott Scudamore, moved from Montclair to near Charlottesville a couple of years ago. We don’t get a chance to ride together much because Scott’s passion is mountain biking and mine is road. But a few weeks ago Scott asked me to come down and ride with him with the kids from the Boys and Girls Club.

The Boys & Girls Club of Charlottesville has a program to get kids on bikes. Any kid who signs up and completes the program gets to keep the bike. A pretty nice road bike. Depending on their age, they had goals all the way up to completing a century.

I arrived at Crozet, met up with Scott, and met the kids from the club. Most of the kids riding were older and Melissa asked Scott to ride with Eli, a pretty big 12-year old, on a different route from the other kids.

Photo: Our job was not to get dropped by this 12 year old. I think we did that.

Scott had invited me down to ride Afton Mountain. The older kids were going with two other adults over Afton Mountain but Scott and Eli were given a 30-mile route that didn’t go over the mountain. Scott encouraged me to ride with the older kids. I chose to ride with Scott and Eli.

Eli is strong. The three of us headed out into the mountains. We had a great ride on a beautiful day. We stopped at Chiles Peach Orchard, looking for a rest room (closed) and enjoyed the aroma of the orchard.

We arrived back about the same time as the kids in the older group. There was a cooler of frozen snacks. The frozen lemonade pops were the bomb.

It was great riding with the kids, especially Eli. They will all meet their goal on September 15. I wish I could join them but have other plans that day.

 

EPILOGUE (October 15, 2013) – I am hoping this was not my last ride with Scott. Just one week after Scott rode with the kids on their challenge, he was mountain biking at Bryce Mountain Ski Resort. A crash broke his C1 and C2 vertebrae. As I update this he is paralyzed from the neck down.

What I remember most about August 29 was Scott was insistent that I ride with the older kids on Afton Mountain. He invited me down to ride Afton Mountain but didn’t understand that it wasn’t where you rode but who you were with. I was much more interested in riding with Scott than riding over Afton Mountain.

Scott, at the start line of the Boys and Girls Challenge, Sept. 15

Please keep Scott in your prayers and good thoughts. 
 

More Booty

COLUMBIA, MARYLAND

Last year I rode my first 24 Hours of Booty not knowing anyone in attendance other than through a cyber invitation from Bryan McMillan. We had never met before then. But I had a good time and soon discovered some of the summer cancer riders were there as well.

 

Some of Team Fight

This year I decided to be a team captain. Officially we were Team Jake’s Snazzy Pistols, in honor and in memory of Jake The Hero Grecco. I signed up his step-father, Gary Gravina, my sister, Betsy Sherry, and http://www.tempus-help.uns.ac.rs/?neural-network-phd-thesis neural network phd thesis John Phipps, a friend I met a couple of years ago while riding the Saint Mary’s Century (or was it the Southern Maryland Century?).

 

Barry, Betsy, John

A couple of days before the event I heard from Gary who mixed up the event dates and could not attend. That was a big set back. But I still looked forward to the event.

Bootyville early morning

Last year I knew no one in advance. This year some of my Key West teammates attended as well as last year’s cancer riders, http://www.dasquire.com/buy-college-papers-term-papers/ Jeff Graves and follow link Erin Mack.

I decided to tent, still not sure that was a good idea, but arrived early enough to set up the tent. With not much time before the start, I joined fellow survivors at the front of the line for the Survivor Lap, which I think is really half a lap. Meg Shipman, Paul Lemle, Jessica Tanner, and Thomas Backof from the Key West ride, all were at the front.

After the first lap (I won) I dropped back and rode with Betsy. I introduced her to all my friends I could find.

While I rode at a decent pace, I talked more than I did last year and didn’t rack up the miles. I also had more fun.

 

I carried a wooden whistle which sounds like a train whistle. As I approached the kids that were riding I gave it my best train whistle sound. That always got smiles. It slowed me down but that was OK.

I was invited to the Yellow Jersey Dinner and took Betsy as my guest. It was the same dinner as the other riders got but with speakers. Less riding.

After 6:00 p.m., my friend, follow url Adam Lewandowski, came over from Race Pace Bicycles to work and brought a Trek Domane for me to test ride. Even less riding while we switched pedals and put my lights on that bike.

By 9:00 p.m. John had reached 100 miles and was checking out for the night. He had a hotel. I was envious.

 

Last year I rode until the Midnight Pizza arrived and my light gave out. I had 120 miles at that point.

This year I had to pick up the pace to get 100 miles before midnight.

After Midnight Pizza I decided to get some sleep. This would not be the year I would actually ride for 24 hours. I don’t know if I would try that. Maybe some day.

 

By 6:00 a.m. I was awake and went out on the course at 6:30.

Breakfast, by invitation, was a Survivors Breakfast. It was the same breakfast as everyone else got but we had speakers. More down time. (This is not to diminish the speakers. They were all good.)

After breakfast I had a great surprise. Last year Team Portland was greatly effected by Jake’s story, and ultimately, his passing. I had met Jake’s Pedal Pal, Chey Hillsgrove, on the day they left Baltimore, but had been friended on Facebook by one of the riders, Trish Kallis.

And after breakfast there she (Trish) was. She called my name. I was taken aback certainly not expecting to see her here. It was great to finally meet her.

Trish Kallis, Barry Sherry

Late morning we tore down our campsite. More time off the bike. But I rode when I could. Ultimately I got in another 41 miles before we all joined in for the last lap.

Great weather, great friends, and fighting cancer. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

The Big Test Every Year

GORHAM, NEW HAMPSHIRE

Six weeks ago I broke my collarbone and immediately tried to withdraw from this event. But I was past the cutoff time and after trying to sell my entry unsuccessfully, it was with great trepidation I decided to go to the mountain. Riding with the collarbone hasn’t been bad the past six weeks but it has prevented me from doing real hill training – not that there’s anything that compares.

The last group to start at the Hillclimb

Last
year, the Gubinski family gave me a ride down and asked me if I would
come back if they signed up. And so I did. Had I not signed the pact it
would have been easy to skip this one.

It was cold at the top

My
heart wasn’t in this climb and even as I was driving towards New
England on Thursday I often thought of turning around. I didn’t bother
with finalizing hotel reservations until Wednesday.

The finish line

The
collarbone is pretty good. It doesn’t effect me as I ride except
occasionally out of the saddle if I twist the wrong way. It does, however, effect
my sleep if I turn on my right side.

The flags, the blankets, the coats

But
once I contacted the Gubinski family and asked if they still had a
place for a rider (to bring down after the race) I felt more energized.
We met yesterday at registration and were all set. Still, I wasn’t 100%
sure I’d race.

The Cog Railway

It was a gorgeous day. Sunny and temperatures in the mid 60s at the base. I decided to ride.

The flag whipping in the wind

As
usual, I started last in the last group, the age 45 and older riders,
which was so large it was divided into two groups. I started up the mountain
with the usual thoughts. This hurts. Shut Up Legs. Keep the legs
moving.

A rider near the top

At
times I thought about abandoning (aka quitting) but then thought about
cancer. I am not a quitter. I will keep going unless I can’t. And even
then I would find a way.

Looking out from the top

The
beauty of this ride is that time wasn’t important. Simply finishing
would be a victory because there was no way I thought I’d be here after
breaking my collarbone. I heal slowly.

Lucas (165) and Alexa (in black) at the start

I always remember a flat section but never found it. Every time I looked up, which wasn’t often, the road just kept going higher. The dirt section is still the dirt section. At the hairpin turn on dirt I was hit with a pretty vicious headwind. Hard to measure but we were told 40 mph winds.

Soaked with sweat it was as though someone opened the freezer and turned the fan on high. Turbo high. I tried to get as low as possible while grinding up the dirt section.

I never checked my time. I just kept turning over the pedals. As I came to the final section a man I met at breakfast called out “Virginia.” I stood briefly then as I turned the corner to the last 22% grade I stayed seated. Although I had alternated my position throughout the climb I guess it was just time to sit. I looked at the clock and saw 2:05 which was really 1:45 – less the 20 minute difference for starting later than the clock did.

My time, always consistent near 1:45, was just a time. I was quietly pleased that I had finished; I had fought off my own inner doubts about not being able to make it.

Within a couple of minutes I began to realize how cold it was. Just 41 degrees and with 30 mph winds, the windchill was 29 degrees. As the race organizers tried to cover me with a grey Polartec blanket, it was blown off. Before the woman could retrieve it I asked for a blue one. I have four or five grey ones already. I knew my wife would like blue.
 
Alison Gubinski found me and had my bag of clothes. I put on my jacket to keep me warm long enough before finding a nice place to change out of my sweat soaked clothes into my dry ones.

Ramp before the 22% finishing climb

It was a fun day. My friend, Jeremiah Bishop, took third overall. The Gubinski’s, riding, for the first time, all did well; Lucas made Top Notch (sub 1:20) and Alexa got on the podium in her age group. I wish I could take credit for their great results.

Alexa, Barry, Vic Gubinski, Lucas

It was 1300 miles for an 8 mile race. But it seems to be the big test I face every year. Can I climb Mount Washington? And for this year, the answer was yes.

Alexa (L) on the podium

 

Following the Dirt

BRATTLEBORO, NEW HAMPSHIRE

I enjoy mapping out cycling routes using RideWithGPS.com then following the route I created. I stayed overnight in Brattleboro and wanted to ride in Vermont, even if it really was New Hampshire, before making the three hour drive to North Conway.

Twin Bridges in Hwy 9. The Bridge on the Left is for Bikes. Or People.

The Connecticut River divides Vermont and New Hampshire and any good ride needed a river crossing, thus the reason I would be riding mostly in New Hampshire. 

Brattleboro, Vermont

I started out in
Vermont then crossed the river. After turning off Highway 9 I turned
onto a dirt road. I hadn’t even thought about being on dirt and briefly
thought about turning back and just following pavement. But this dirt
was great. It was so hard packed that it was almost as good as being on
pavement and was better than some asphalt I have ridden on.

As the road went
deeper into the forest the only sounds were from the water running next
to the road and the whirl of a lumber mill somewhere through the woods.
It was perfect.

Railroad Bridge in Brattleboro

But perfect would
come to an end. At a turn on Merrifield Road, the road became rough.
There was a washboard quality to it with gravel. And when I crested a
hill and had to descend I was very nervous.

Dirt so perfect

I was trusting my route when the dirt ran out and I was back on asphalt. After a half mile a cyclist came from the other direction. He was on a mountain bike and I did a quick U-turn to follow him. We had a great chat as we rode.

It turned out that following the advice found in Mother Earth magazine, he ended up relocating to Bedford, Pa. where he owned a cafe for seven years. We talked about Bedford, Altoona, and Somerset.

Barn on Merrifield Road

He also told me that we were riding through a very poor area in New Hampshire but that Brattleboro was a “hippie town.” He said they call it the “nuts and granola” town and warned me that it legal to walk around naked and that I might see some folks in the nude. I didn’t.

This car matches my bike

I would not take a road bike on the Merrifield Road portion of this ride again but thoroughly enjoyed the discovery of a new area. Back at the hotel, I took my morning shower at 11:30 a.m. and checked out which was in great contrast to my usual 6:30 – 7:30 a.m. checkout. It was nice being last.

Prostate Cancer Pony Express

WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Prostate Cancer Awareness Project
sponsors an annual motorcycle ride called the PCAP Prostate Cancer Pony
Express. It ended today by the U.S. Capitol. And I joined them. On my
bike.

Barry Sherry, Robert Hess

They were late arriving so I did lots of circles in a traffic circle. I discovered that is the perfect place to ride. Once you’re in a traffic circle you always have the right of way as long as you stay in. So don’t leave.

Eventually I found Robert Hess, posed for a few photos, then called it a day as I was on my way home from Pennsylvania. I felt sorry for my friends. They had to ride motorcycles while I was on my bike.

Punxsutawney Redeux

PUNXSUTAWNEY, PENNSYLVANIA

It’s reunion time! First the States reunion followed by the Lowmaster reunion the first two Saturdays in August. It gives me the opportunity to ride from my parents’ place near Somerset to the reunion site near Punxsutawney.

One hour photo – Top of Summit Hill out of Johnstown

I just can’t seem to leave early enough (daylight) to make it on time and decided to do something different today. Planning to drive to Pittsburgh to see the Steelers v. Giants with my father, I asked him to drive my car to Punxsutawney after dropping me at Davidsville, Pa.

This would knock the first hour off my trip but it also took 30 minutes or more driving there so it really only saved me 30 minutes. It also took 17 miles of the easiest riding out of the trip.

Two Hour Photo – Duman Lake, Cambria Co.

Grey and overcast, I wore arm warmers when I took off. Coming out of Johnstown, it started to rain, lightly. I just couldn’t escape the rain on these trips. Like last week, I felt good on the climb but managed a higher descending speed because the roads were mainly dry on this trip.

In Northern Cambria I stopped briefly at my cousins, Don & Nancy Lowmaster, for a water break but they weren’t home. No worries. I pushed on.

Three Hour Photo

In Cherry Tree I stopped for about 15 minutes and talked to the young clerk in the post office. I am friends with the postmaster, Michael Perrone, and was surprised to learn that he had recently retired.

I took the usual back roads through Banks and Canoe Townships in Indiana Co. At one point I came to some barking dogs, one unleashed. Not my friend. I like dogs and I was able to make friends with this one. He licked me. Although he wanted to chase me when I left.

Not quite my Four Hour Photo

I told my dad it would be 4 1/2 hours and I pulled in 4:40 minutes later — it was those extra 10 minutes in Cherry Tree.

I like this route. Route 271 between US 422 at Belsano and US 219 in Northern Cambria is especially nice. Great pavement and very little traffic plus a real nice four mile downhill from Nicktown to Northern Cambria. I’m ready for more reunions.
 

Blue Knob in the Rain

ALTOONA, PENNSYLVANIA

Despite breaking my collarbone last month, I am currently on the second longest consecutive streak of daily rides with 42. I define a “ride” of at least 10 miles although I could make exceptions in special cases like the climb up Mount Washington which is 7.6 miles but is more intense than most 100 mile rides.

With rain forecast all day it looked like it was a good day for a rest. But after spending a morning in Johnstown at the library the rain broke and I decided to go to Altoona to ride Horseshoe Curve. On my way there I decided to try something different – the climb up to Blue Knob Ski Resort.

I parked at the park entrance then went down to Pavia which I would consider the start of the five mile climb. I got about three miles up and I knew I was caught. The skies turned black and within a few minutes I was soaked. The rain was coming very hard.

Not much to do except ride through it. I made it to the top and looked for a place for water or someone who had water. I found none. The climb was harder than I thought. Despite the consecutive days of riding, none had been intense or had been hill climbs because of my injury.

Still raining hard, I started down the road. Normally loving descents, I did not like this. Not one bit. Visibility was poor. Braking was difficult. And I was very scared about a crash that could shatter my still-healing collarbone.

But I made it safely to my car. I checked and recorded 10.1 miles. It would count. (Although I’d be OK counting less than 10 today given the conditions. This was a bike ride.)

A Second Ride With Dad

MEYERSDALE, PENNSYLVANIA

Train Station at Meyersdale
Train Station at Meyersdale

Last year’s “First Ride With Dad” was such a success that my sister, Betsy, and I decided to do it again. She rode the Great Allegheny Passage trail from Frostburg, Maryland and I parked in Rockwood and rode to Meyersdale where we told our father to meet us.

Betsy Sherry and Rev. Harry C. Sherry
Betsy Sherry and Rev. Harry C. Sherry

I screwed it up last year thinking Frostburg was at a higher elevation than Frostburg. So we left Frostburg and rode much of our planned route uphill. I could not do that to Dad again.

Casselman River
Casselman River

I chose today’s route, this time fully aware of the elevation change between Meyersdale and Rockwood (trending downhill). And I wanted my dad to ride across the great Salisbury Trestle, a 2,000 foot span that crosses the Cassleman River and US Rte 219.

 

We were high up on the trestle. It is about 200 feet above the valley below. It was windy and I was afraid my dad might clip his handlebars on the side of the bridge. But we made it through safely.

Betsy and Dad taking a break

Betsy and Dad taking a break

There are a couple of cuts in rock croppings but for sheer beauty the section between Meyersdale and Rockwood doesn’t quite compare to some of the other sections.

Just three weeks earlier my father had three stents placed in his heart and at age 84, was riding on the GAP. Not too shabby. He wanted to stop three or four times to rest and it was no problem.

Harry Sherry and Betsy Sherry
Harry Sherry and Betsy Sherry

When we finished at Rockwood we met a dad with two kids. He and his daughter agreed to take our picture.

Sculpture and his daughter, Rockwood, Pa.
Sculpture and his daughter, Rockwood, Pa.

There are a couple of bike sculptures in Rockwood. Turns out this man was the creator. He offered to take our picture by them but we didn’t. In retrospect, since he was the creator, we should have, but he didn’t tell us until after we said we didn’t want to walk to them.

Barry Sherry, Betsy Sherry, Harry Sherry
Barry Sherry, Betsy Sherry, Harry Sherry

Punxsutawney Bound

PUNXSUTAWNEY, PENNSYLVANIA

It has been two years since I was able to ride to a family reunion.
Yesterday’s forecast looked promising but just as soon as I left my
parents’ place in Friedens, just north of Somerset, Pa., it started to
rain.

 

Barn converted to Car Sales in Davidsville0

Riding with a broken collarbone I was a bit skittish as I rode. I was very afraid of having a spill on the road and landing on the collarbone. So I took it easy.

On the climb coming out of Johnstown on 271

I stopped once an hour to take on food. While it was a just a gel that I
normally take while I’m riding, I didn’t want to ride with one hand
on the bars and one hand on the gel. It also allowed me to stop and take
a one hour photo to document where I was.

Amish Country. Three Hour Photo on PA 271 near Duman Lake Park

I have ridden the route enough to know the turns and climbs and find it quite enjoyable. The climb out of Conemaugh/Johnstown was quite enjoyable. I found myself with a comfortable pace albeit in the rain.

 

West Branch Susquehanna River near Cherry Tree

When I reached Northern Cambria I stopped at the home of 4th cousins, Don and Nancy Lowmaster. I had never been but warned them that one day I may stop for water. This was the day. Unfortunately, I was pretty squishy. I was already pretty wet and when I moved you could hear water squishing. Nancy was great about cleaning the one bottle and refilling it with ice and water.

Normally no one has every heard of Gipsy

As I left the skies opened up. I was in a real downpour for the next 10 minutes but then the faucet was turned off for the day. By the time I reached Cherry Tree the sun was out, and other than my wet clothes, you wouldn’t have known it had rained.

This was my first long effort since breaking my collarbone and I felt good. I feel as though I am starting to regain my form.