Thursday, June 24, 2010

Me and my NBFs

Day 4. Kah-nee-ta to Prineville Oregon. Another beautiful day here in Western/Central Oregon. Scenery today was much like yesterday with desert scrub giving way to cultivated fields and beautiful vistas of rolling hills, rivers, canyons, and mountains. After a while you get a bit desensitized to it all, despite it's beauty. We had a good 100 km ride today. Jeff, Mark, Dave, and I were joined by Joe who recently retired as CFO of BBDO Atlanta (yes, he knows Frascione, and yes he "knows" Frascione, if you know what I mean Karen - also for my running friends, Joe has run a 100 mile ultra-marathon before). The people on this trip are unreal.

We decided to take it easy today (a bit) because we have a daunting mountainous 200km ride tomorrow that is intimidating all of us. Not one of us in the group has ever done this kind of mileage before, let alone with 5,000 feet of climbing. I'll bet we don't get to the motel much before 6PM (even with a 5:30AM start). The most I've done is 160km, but it wasn't over the Cascade Range (unless somebody thinks the Niagara Escarpment is a "range").

So, why did I title this blog post "Me and my NBFs"? Well, around our house, we use the term NBF to connote "new best friend". I know that over the years I have made fun of both my daughters and my wife for spending time with their NBFs, whether they were new or not. But what an interesting group. These are my NBFs!

There are my riding mates (Jeff - a computer guy for IBM, Mark - a tech guy with Northrup Grumman, and Dave - a retired Ford Finance guy). At breakfast today I sat with Carl and Gayle from Duluth. At dinner last night I sat with Margot and Gary Weinstein from Connecticut. Gary and Margot have 3 children including a high functioning autistic child. For those of you who've been to Aspen before, Gary is a minority owner in Il Molino, that fabulous Italian restaurant we ate at that opened last year. I thought that was cool.

There's also Ellen, a retired Postal worker from Maine. There's Kay and Jay from Arkansas, who are riding and seeing their 18 year old niece Alison off on this trip. Then there's Katie, an assistant at Martha Stewart Media who is one of the most determined persons I've met (an outstanding writer, Katie writes a blog you could cry over - see link below). It's too bad she doesn't live in Toronto, I'd ask Jill or Karen to interview her. On the second day of the trip, Sandy (see below) heard that Katie had the wrong gearing for a trip like this and that Katie had spent all her savings just to get her and her bike here (imagine a car only having a third or fourth gear - you could never get it going). Immediately Sandy got a bunch of us together, and with some contributions and the help of tour mechanic Jim, Katie got her gearing right. "Giving Katie the gears" is what we'd call it if Due North had this pro bono assignment!

There's Sandy and her friend Leo. Big Don from Oregon. Texas Tom, Bruno and Daniel from Switzerland, Ian from the UK, and lots of others that I'll tell you more about as the days roll on. The only thing we have in common (at least now) is this ride. But boy is that enough. Based on the chatter and easy mixing of the group, you'd have thought we'd known each other for years. I've been to Bar Mitzvahs and weddings where people who were family didn't seem as close as this group seems in less than a week.

Now on to my mail.

Kenny, from Toronto writes: "My mom Minky has a name for your bike. How about "for sale"? Thanks Kenny, but while I laughed my ass off at the thought, I'll keep on searching for a name.

Irwin from Toronto was inspired by the" Leg-a-sea" name suggestion and writes "how about The Spirit of Lara" as a bike name?" That is pretty good, Dad.

Jo-Ann from Toronto writes "Did you hear about the earthquake?" Yes, I did, but I didn't know that the Duchess' snoring could have that kind of a seismic impact.

Erin from Toronto writes "I'm enjoying your adventures without having to do the biking myself". That's kind of like me enjoying your upcoming trip to Greece without having to do the shopping myself.

The Vancer from Thunder Bay writes (when told his bike name suggestion lacked creativity) "I'm a lawyer/mediator, not a creative guy". Truer words have never been spoken.

Lastly, my wise-ass son Adam from, well, New York now, writes "Here are some names for your bike – "nutcracker", "hemorrhoid maker", or even "Muriel" (after Granny). How about "TBOB - the bike of bikes?"

I am going with one of these three. It's either "The Spirit of Lara" or "TBOB" (the bike of bikes), or "Leg-a-sea". Hey Kaufman clan – what do you think? Kailee, Nicole, Russell – let's hear from you! Lara – how are you doing?

As promised, here are a few links from other riders blogs.

This link is data from Jeff's bike computer showing stats from today's ride -very cool:

This link is Baltimore Mark's blog:

And this is Katie's blog (why isn't this girl writing for Martha Stewart?)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mark, so glad this adventure is more than you imagined and that you are making some iddy biddy friends. I don't know about a name for your bike, but as for you, I think you're the
    "Prince of Rides" (tip of the hat to Barbra) or maybe after tomorrow (today?) "Queasy Rider". Well, whatever you're riding and whoever you are, I hope the excitement and wonder continue.
    By the way, given the baggage that often comes with family, it's can be easier to feel close with new friends because they travel light.

    Love, Esther