Bladi's Blog, April-May 2012

Long-time NBW member Bladimir Rodriguez is celebrating his 60th birthday by riding from Miami, FL to his home in Lincoln, RI. ON HIS FIXED GEAR BIKE! He hopes to average 100 miles per day and be back home in time for the May 6 Bladi's Birthday Ride and celebration. Bladi has a support driver and will allow one rest day and one rain day; he will be sending updates and photos as he rides to your webmaster. Here are his reports along the route:

April 19: Bladi set off early from Miami because rain was forecast. Today he's riding north to West Palm Beach.

April 20: Bladi rode 92 miles north to Sebastian (south of Melbourne), beating the rain, although he said it started to rain towards the end of his ride, followed by a thunderstorm. He said he felt good, and his timing is good so far. He did note that his support driver managed to go to the beach today during time out along the ride. Bladi is now 173 miles into his east coast ride.

April 21: Bladi is now north of Daytona Beach, having ridden 102 miles today, mostly on Route 1A in Florida, which he notes had bike lanes. Starting at 8 AM and taking frequent stops, he rode in nice, cool, cloudy weather--no rain, no alligators, nice tailwind--finishing riding at 3:15 PM. Support driver, Kenny Winsor, is doing a wonderful job, reports Bladi.

April 22: Not a good day. Very strong headwinds and cold rain made for a very slow ride (only 35 miles today). Bladi hoped to make the Georgia border today, but instead settled for south of Jacksonville, FL. He started early OK riding up Route A1A by the ocean, but the wind blew progressively stronger from the west as the area caught the remnants of the storm in the Gulf of Mexico. By starting a day or so earlier from Miami Bladi had got ahead of the pounding that Miami suffered, but the tail end caught him today. Bladi hopes to ride into Georgia tomorrow.

April 23: A much better day! Bladi rode 82 miles ending up in Darien, GA. Yes, he's made it into Georgia. He was hoping for more miles, but he battled a punishing NW wind for most of the day, plus he had a problem with his chain. Bladi said it was a beautiful, cool day and he feels really good, but that wind slowed him down today. He will work on his chain tonight. It's grinding - maybe stretched? - but he has a spare bike in his support car so he'll be able to ride tomorrow anyway.

April 24: Bladi reports he had a very eventful day. He began riding well, feeling strong, just a light wind today, and was hoping to do over 100 miles. However, he ended up with only 61 miles, only making it to Savannah, GA. After an argument his support driver, Kenny, left. However, nothing daunted, Bladi arranged for his brother from Miami to come to his rescue and drive for him. Soo ... upshot is that Bladi will take his rest day tomorrow in Savannah (nice place to have a rest day), waiting for his brother to arrive. Bladi says "I did a Tebow and my prayers were answered". On the plus side, he solved his chain problem by replacing it with a new one, he feels really strong, and is sure he can make up the miles he's dropped once he gets going again on Thursday.

April 25: Rest day! Bladi is taking it easy in Savannah, while waiting for his brother to arrive and drive the car. He says he's good to go tomorrow (Thu) and hopes to make it to Charleston, SC.

From now on you can click on a thumbnail to get larger images. Thanks to Jose.
April 26: Hey. A much better day! Bladi's brother, Jose, arrived to take over as his driver and Bladi is on the road again and putting the hammer down. Bladi rode 96 miles and has arrived in Charleston, SC, after a day of good riding with SW winds, cool conditions changing to hot. He met 3 great guys along the way; missionaries who were riding from Washington DC to Sanford, FL. They rode loaded and Bladi paid tribute to these fellow adventurers as they journeyed south while he headed north.

April 27: Bladi had another good day; in fact he said it was a beautiful day. He's feeling very good (too good, he says) and reached Myrtle Beach, SC, after riding 93 miles with a southerly tailwind. The bike is running beautifully, only presenting Bladi with his first flat of the whole ride 10 miles from Myrtle Beach. The plan is to ride Rt. 17 to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Rt 13 in Delaware, then Bladi will bypass Philadelphia by taking the ferry to the Jersey Shore below NYC, before riding the length of Long Island to another ferry to New London, CT.

April 28: Bladi is in Wilmington, NC, having ridden an easy 76 miles today. He said the weather was nice and cool for riding, with a little headwind, but there was a lot of traffic. Bladi disclosed that he had been suffering from a saddle sore since the first day (he said it was his own fault ?) Anyway, he said things were good today and he's riding strong. He hopes to make it to New Bern, NC tomorrow [corrected town name] - anyway, he's hoping to do 95 miles if all goes well.

April 29: Bladi rode 92 miles and is now in the lovely quaint town of New Bern, NC. He had a headwind all day, and some fog (as you can see in the first photo above of him riding his lonely ride). He says he "survived the day". He did indeed, not being lonely in the fog for long before 3 women from the "Pink Ladies" club in Wilmington, who were riding the opposite way, training for a triathlon, promptly turned around and kept him company for a few miles. So he survived OK and says he feels good. Some Bladi humor: he said he rode by Camp Lejeune and saluted the boys and gave them a chance to see a real "screaming eagle" fly by! I told him that his NBW friends on today's BikeWorks Ride sent him their best wishes and hope to see him on his birthday ride in Lincoln, RI next Sunday (keep rolling, Bladi, you have a deadline coming up!)

April 30: Bladi rode 89 miles today to Ahoskie, NC, about 20 miles from the Virginia border. A headwind for the first 30 miles, then a tailwind, but sunny and cool - a good riding day. In fact, he said he could have ridden further, but the next hotel was 40 more miles so he prudently didn't push on. Tomorrow he will cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge into Maryland. He plans to bypass the dangerous traffic around Norfolk, VA on his way to the bridge by hopping in the car. Photo above is of Bladi's loyal fans - the vultures - who he says have followed him since he left Miami! Bladi says he will definitely be back in RI for Sunday's ride and celebration.

May 1: Great riding day today! Bladi rode 96 miles on the bike on a sunny day, with a short hop in the car to get around Norfolk, VA, and across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. He's now in Pocomoke, MD, having crossed the Virginia and the Maryland borders, using the Delmarva peninsula for his clever route. He was helped by a VERY strong tailwind all day - he says it was so strong that if he'd been on an ordinary road bike he wouldn't have needed to turn the pedals! Tomorrow, 50% chance of rain is forecast so he intends making an early start, riding to Lewes, Delaware, to catch the ferry to Cape May, New Jersey, and get some miles into New Jersey. If I had time I'd post a map showing his route, but I've been busy with TFCE work. Bladi reminisced that he did this same route in 1989 and 1990, except in 1989 he carried all his luggage on the bike and managed to do 140 miles one day -- but of course that was when he was young and foolish!

May 2: Aah! A rough day! Headwinds, very cold rain, thunderstorms with lightning -- just a bad, cold ride. Although he got up early, what with the lightning and a tornado warning, Bladi started late and ended up with 47 miles today. He was heading for Lewes, DE for the ferry, but when it became just too windy he had to resort to getting in the car to make the ferry to Cape May NJ. So that's where he is - no riding further into New Jersey as he had hoped. Tomorrow, he says, he has to do some serious miles!

May 3: An excellent riding day today, says Bladi, cloudy and cool, just as he likes it! A bit of a NE headwind for the first 20 miles, but then a tailwind all the way. Bladi rode 109 miles to Freehold, NJ. A good ride, and he feels really good. Tomorrow he'll ride about 20 miles to Elizabeth, NJ, then hop in the car to get across New York City to Long Island in time to get some miles ridden on Long Island. Bladi prefers to ride the length of Long Island instead of battling the Connecticut traffic - especially in fixed gear. He's hoping to make it to Hopkinton, RI, to stay with his brother-in-law, leaving only a short ride home. So he sounded confident about getting home in time for Sunday's NBW ride. What planning!

May 4: Bladi is in Hopkinton, RI ! He rode 73 miles, the length of Long Island. Because it was raining hard in the morning he decided to abandon the 20 miles to Elizabeth, NJ and instead did that and the trip across New York City in the car. By the time he started riding in Long Island it had stopped raining and he had nice riding conditions - cloudy with a tailwind. He took Rt 25 (too much traffic) then Rt 25A (really good for riding) and said he had a pleasant ride; including the first hill he'd encountered since he left Miami (and he said it was only a little hill). So he'd planned a nice flat route. I think the photos above that Jose sent were taken on long Island, and you can see the little hill. He rode to Orient Point for the ferry across to New London, then got in the car again for the brief drive to stay with his brother-in-law in Hopkinton. A rest day tomorrow.

Bladi's plans for Sunday, May 6: He will ride the approx. 36 miles to Lincoln, RI in time to meet the riders on the NBW ride about 1:15 to 1:30 PM at the entrance to Lincoln Woods (on the route), and then ride home with you all for a celebration.

May 6: Bladi rode home in true "Bladi style" (of course!). He was escorted by a group of NBW riders, and welcomed at his house by his family and more riders. Above photos from left: Bladi coordinated in pink (maybe in honor of the Pink Ladies Club who rode with him in North Carolina?); Bladi and his brother Jose (who drove, sagged, took photos and emailed them to me); great celebration party; Chip and Loretta gave a master class in salsa and other impressive dances (you may remember that Chip rode with Bladi on their famous ride from Central Falls, RI, to Medellin, Colombia a few years ago). So it's all been accomplished--from Miami, FL to Lincoln, RI on a fixed gear bike, in 2 weeks, and in time for his 60th birthday - Congratulations and Happy Birthday Bladi from the Narragansett Bay Wheelmen.