Day 26 – Day 38 Recap

Day 26 – Day 38 Recap


Day 26

Sterling, CO to Ogallala, NE

100 miles


Long and hot day. Bittersweet to cross into Nebraska… Nebraska brings our longest stretch of riding without a rest day AND our most boring (supposedly) rides through corn fields upon corn fields.


We were all pleased to find that Ogallala is a semi-resort town, that is right on the edge of this surprise lake. Got to take a short dip in the lake after crashing my bike in the sand… unfortunately in front of a few too many witnesses.



Day 27

Ogallala, NE to North Platte, NE

57 miles


Corn fields. SO. MANY. CORN FIELDS. Ended in a small town, fell asleep on the grass (sensing a theme?) Got my bike fixed from an awesome shop with two wonderful women working as mechanics (GO GIRLS WHO BIKE!) So my bike officially doesn’t click anymore when I pedal. Lots of bugs while camping = bug bites on my face.


Day 28

North Platte, NE to Lexington, NE

65 miles


I honestly don’t really remember this day. I would assume that’s because there were a lot of corn fields as well….


Day 29

Lexington, NE to Grand Island, NE

78 miles


I ended up driving this day as an impromptu decision. I was in a lot more pain in my neck/back then I would like to openly admit. Too many gravel roads!!!!




Ended the day in Grand Island at an awesome church that hosted us for the night. I fell asleep on the ground, shortly after arriving…


They made us a huge and wonderful dinner, bought my favorite kind of chips and cupcakes, SCORE. Slept soundly in a pew, refreshed for the next morning.


Day 30

Grand Island, NE to Lincoln, NE

102 miles


Long ride. Lincoln, NE is awesome though. Went to a local pizza place for dinner and my mind was blown from how delicious it was (still not sure if it was worth the price though)..



Day 31

Lincoln, NE to Council Bluffs, IA

80 miles


Huge rain storm at the end of the day, after crossing into Iowa. Super excited to cross into a new state and a new frontier! Can’t believe that we have made it this far already!! Super tired, going to sleep…


Day 32

Rest Day

Great day of events!


We met with the Nebraska AIDS Project (NAP) and got to talk about HIV care in their area. Such sweet people with great passion for their clients. We also got to shoot a short video for their website. As a team, we think its.. interesting. None of us are particularly fans of seeing ourselves on camera, but feel free to check it out on our facebook page!


We also went to the Boys and Girls Club of Omaha South to talk to the teens about health, HIV, and cycling. We met some awesome kids with great questions about HIV/AIDS. It’s always eye-opening to see for yourself what information about HIV is being passed on to the generations most at risk for its reach. I think we can do better to educate and prepare students to live safe in regards to sexual health.


Most importantly, the team let me do the Cost Co shopping. Therefore, I purchased Nutella. Obviously, it was the best idea ever. But its doubtful that they’ll let me do the shopping ever again…..



Day 33

Council Bluffs, IA to Atlantic, IA

57 miles


Stayed with an awesome family in the small town of Atlantic. Great conversation and great food with a wonderful nights sleep on an actual bed. Also got to hang out with the cutest three kids ever. Kate read them bed time stories, I got to play with legos. All in all, it was a successful night.


Day 34

Atlantic, IA to Des Moines, IA

95 miles


So many miles later, we made it to the capital!!! Unfortunately, Lisa snapped her rear derailer cable about 10 miles from the host’s house. Made for an interesting finish to the ride. Still no flat tires. I consider that a huge win for my bike!



Day 35

Des Moines, IA to Grinnell, IA

62 miles


Stayed at GrinnellCollege and relived the teams college days. I missed most of the festivities because I fell asleep on a couch, yet again. Luckily, we explored the Dairy Barn and I got to invest in some really unhealthy fried food and ice cream which made my night that much better. Slept in the one room in the dorm that had air conditioning—the computer lab. Not ashamed, it was awesome.


Day 36

Grinnell, IA to Iowa City, IA

65 miles


Iowa is hilly…. But not much of anything compared to LovelandPass. So thankful that I’m much stronger than when I started 36 days ago and my legs are able to withstand these hill repeats!


Our hosts for the night were a Neonatologist and his wife, which was super exciting, because……


I officially decided to apply to medical school (on day 24) !!!


Getting to talk with John really confirmed for me that I’m content with the decision that I’ve made and ready to work for the next few years to actually make it into a school. May the odds be ever in my favor…



Day 37

Iowa City, IA to Bettendorf, IA

66 miles


Driving Day! Got to read some of my newly purchased book about the Rwandan genocide. Decided it was probably a good idea to invest some time in learning about the country our fundraising is going towards. I’m completely appalled by what I’ve learned so far, but at the same time so motivated to continue riding. More to come on that later.


Day 38

Rest Day


Chilling at the computer this morning. Had a cup of coffee and a chocolate muffin—good day. No crazy plans for the day except to prepare for the major events we have in Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and Boston!


Oh the joys of being the team events coordinator.


Peace. Love. And Bikes.



Days 20-25 Update!

Here’s the much anticipated update for days 20-25!


Day 20

Edwards, CO

Rest Day


Very sick. Slept for about 15 hours… to which I’m slightly impressed but also ashamed. Battling altitude sickness, but got to go to VailMountain for a fundraiser and had a great time with our host, Gus.



Day 21

Edwards, CO to Silverthorne, CO

47 Miles

Driving Day


Was still very sick from the altitude, so was summoned to the red and white chariot. The team climbed VailPass before heading to our hosts house in Silverthorne.


Got to tour Breckenridge, CO (a BIG ski town). Our hosts treated us with a visit to their Peak 7 lodge, which was an insanely beautiful resort. Myself, Laura, and Kate ended up in “The Grotto” which was essentially a private hot tub (complete with a waterfall), steam room and sauna paired with some awesome smelling aromatherapy. It was amazing! And definitely helped me feel better after a pounding headache all day!


Day 22

Rest Day


Our hosts jam packed this day with events! We were lucky enough to go zip lining on top of a mountain. It was incredible and a great break from pedaling. We had some storms and hail (?!) which delayed our adventure, but it was so worth the wait! Met some awesome guys that work there, and got to go on an ATV  ride down part of the mountain with my new bearded friend Ben. Ben drives really fast. I think that’s the first time I’ve actually wished for a seatbelt…


Later that night we got to table at a community concert. We raised just under $100 from strangers! It was super exciting to have so many random people support our cause (or maybe they just felt bad for us because we had to climb LovelandPass the next day….)


Day 23

Silverthorne, CO to Denver, CO

100 miles


This day was absolute insanity. We started our day just before 6am on the bike paths that lead up to the start of LovelandPass. After a ten mile warm up, our three hour trek up the mountain began. I spent nearly all of the climb alone, listening to good ole Fall Out Boy, and in my “Granny Gear” which is the teams name for the smallest and slowest gear. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish the climb because I felt so much residual altitude sickness, BUT by 9:20am, I was at the summit!!!


We were so high up, my breath was foggy, and there were still patches of snow along the sides of the road. Much different than my lifeguarding summers at home!


In a nut shell, this was by far a huge accomplishment for me personally. I’m so thankful that my body was resilient to bounce back from the original altitude sickness to allow me to climb even higher!


The descent was pure magic, slightly terrifying, but wonderful. Unfortunately, I watched myself lose all of the elevation I had just gained over the past three hours in a matter of minutes.


After some hold ups later in the day due to The Triple Bypass Ride in the area, we finally made it back on the bike path…. Only to be pelted with storms. If there was ever a moment in my life where I thought rain drops were going to leave bruises, it was then.


Sore, soaked, and starving we made it to Denver: the first city skyline since Sacremento, CA. Our hosts through an incredible fundraiser event for us and we got to meet a lot of incredible people.


Conveniently for me, both of our hosts were doctors. Lee was a professor in the UC Denver Masters of Public Health Program and Lori was still a practicing physician. I got the incredible opportunity to talk to both about their careers and get some advice.


Day 24

Denver, CO to Fort Morgan, CO

100 miles


This was by far one of the most emotionally demanding rides of the trip. Leaving Denver and a skyline for the flats of eastern Colorado and Nebraska was hard to do, especially since our hosts were so incredible.


We had a lot of issues with our route, lots of u-turns and frustrated stops. About 60 miles into our ride, we ended up on a 4-5 mile long gravel-dirt-rock- road. After three miles of awful, I ended up stuck in the mud and unable to clip out before falling over. Since there was no one driving on this road, I was able to just lay there for a few minutes and contemplate my situation. The unfortunate thing about gravel roads is that they contain a lot of little sharp rocks. I added quite a few scrapes, a sore shoulder and pounding headache to my collection of maladies for the trip.


Definitely a real low point for the trip.





Day 25

Fort Morgan, CO to Sterling, CO (Coloraska)

49 miles


Very short day in RAA land. Completed the mileage before lunch with a late(r) morning. A good portion of our gear ended up soaked from the sprinklers in the public park where we stayed the night before, so it was hard to want to get on the bike.


Still have a headache from yesterday, but am thankful for the swimming pool at the RV park we are staying at tonight and internet access.


Hoping to sleep well tonight and have a great ride into Nebraska tomorrow.



Please, don’t forget to donate! I’m currently in last place L and am the brute of team jokes about poor fundraising abilities… Please save me!

The Much Delayed Recap of Day 1-19

Here’s a quick summary of my first 19 days of the ride! (Are you happy Mom?)


Day 1

San Francisco, CA to Santa Rosa, CA

71 miles


Very tedious day. Lots of turns, paired with new group dynamics and a broken chain. Rode on pure adrenaline for about 30 miles… then got tired. Since when is California so hilly?


Ended the day at Max’s house for a fundraising celebration. Overwhelmed by how many people have lost loved ones to HIV. Excited to be riding from America’s HIV ground zero to Boston—the epicenter of change.


Day 2

Santa Rosa, CA to Davis, CA

83 miles

Driving Day


Acquired the new nickname “Amanda-mom” while caring for the riders in the sag wagon. A beautiful ride/drive through NapaValley with some crazy climbs (Trinity Grade).



Day 3

Davis, CA to Pollock Pines, CA

90 miles


First time in Sacremento, CA! Ended up on the lawn of the State Capitol around 9am on a Sunday morning, made for easy riding with no traffic! Rode along a wonderful bike path for most of the day and got to detour on to some mountain bike trails J Thankful for my wonderful bike that’s built to do anything!


Day 4

Pollock Pines, CA to South Lake Tahoe, CA

70 mile hot mess


By far one of the roughest days of the ride. Rain like nobody’s business, paired with miles of straight climbing. Summoned to the van after three hours of climbing resulted in white, pruney hands and a very cold and wet Amanda. Sought refuge at the top of CarsonPass=beautiful. Bummed that the apparently rare rain conveniently came in during our ride.


Got to spend our night at the Stanford Sierra Camp. Played “Disco Bingo” and won a free snack from the snack bar. Got to dance on tables and hang out with a ton of great families.


Did I tell you I met the producer of The Amanda Show and Good Burger? Shoulld’ve gotten a picture….




Day 5

South Lake Tahoe, CA to Fallon, NV

102 miles


Descent into Nevada = AMAZING!!! 15+ minutes of coasting around 40 mph. Great feeling knowing that you conquered a state already!


Day 6

Rest Day


Got to spend our rest day napping, eating and napping. Hung out with our hosts and was amazed by their amazing hospitality!


Day 7

Fallon, NV to Austin, NV

114 miles


GAHH. Heat wave. Unbearably hot, sweat from places I didn’t know could sweat. No one informed me that Nevada was mountainous…. Ohio surely did not prepare me for this type of terrain… Started to ride on the loneliest road in America….


Day 8

Austin, NV to Eureka, NV

70 miles


HOT, HOT, HOT. Middle of nowhere. Lots of lonely miles. Cars pass every five minutes. Only passed one gas station/store entire time. Listened to a lot of Fall Out Boy’s new album. And no, I’m not sick of it yet!


Day 9

Eureka, NV to Ely, NV

83 miles


Hot and lots of climbing. Still feel completely out of shape for this type of terrain. Maybe I’ll be ready by Colorado….?


Got to bike the first pass with a local named Leonard, who I’ve decided is one of my new favorite people. Rode to the top of the summit in dress pants and a button up. YOU GO LEONARD!



Day 10

Ely, NV to Border Inn (NV/UT)

Driving Day


Much boredom in the van, pondered life, massaged my sore buns, and wondered when the heat wave was going to pass.



Day 11

Border Inn to Delta, UT

88 miles


This is the first day I went above and beyond my expected capacity. One of three riders to finish the day—still in the middle of a heat wave. Found a sunflower in the desert = day made.


In my moment of practicality I rolled my jersey down to uncover my shoulders because it was so hot. Immediate result = not as hot. Prolonged result = Sun poisoning.


Day 12

Delta, UT to ProvoUT

99 miles

Sick as a dog L


Woke up this morning feeling awful. Good ole sun poisoning from my day 11 adventure in the heat wave. Summoned to the van to recover. If only aloe would’ve actually helped……


Day 13

Rest Day


Not much of a rest day. Someone… cough cough… Max… locked us out of our hosts house so our day became about killing time. Eventually got some great dinner and conversation from our newfound friends at the Provo Bike Collective. Was a huge fan of their beards, tats, jorts, and thick rimmed glasses. I wish  I was that cool….


Day 14

Provo, UT to Park City, UT

45 miles

4th of July


I’ve declared this day our first YOLO day of the trip. Our original plan was to ride to Strawberry, UT and camp. But, word on the street was that ParkCity is the place to be on the 4th. So we took a risky detour, reducing our mileage for this day, causing us to backtrack 18 miles the next day, and increase our mileage for both day 15 & 16. Definitely worth it though! Had an amazing day and night with the team and got to meet a ski jumper on the Olympic team!


Day 15

Park City, UT to Starvation State Park, UT

85 miles


Back tracked 18 miles to HeberCity before heading to StarvationState Park. Thankfully, the miles were downhill and we had a lovely 5% grade most of the way. This is the first day that I was conscious during the entire ride of how sore my buns really were. They really hurt… Need an ice pack… or massage… or replacements?


Had an impromptu swim party at lunch in Strawberry Reservoir, a great gift before finishing the last 40+ miles.


Night camping at StarvationState Park was by far one of the most interesting experiences of my life. We got to watch a storm roll in after dinner, but eventually it produced RIDICULOUS winds. Was incredibly hard to walk, made for some interesting experiences with our tents.  


Day 16

StarvationState Park to Dinosaur, CO

95 miles


Was so excited this entire day to finally enter Colorado. There’s nothing like the feeling of dusting your feet off and riding into a new and exciting state. However, what I didn’t realize was that the border was at about mile 92 of the ride. I was convinced that it was around mile 75, so I pounded the pedals starting around mile 60 because I REALLY wanted to be the first person to the sign. By mile 80, after climbing a pass, I got tired and ended up on the side of the road nursing my wounds with Clif caffeine shots…. Somehow still ended up at the sign first (probably because I left earlier than everyone else……) got some great pictures and rode into Dinosaur, CO for some ice cream!


Day 17

Dinosaur, CO to Meeker, CO
75 miles


Colorado is awesomely beautiful, but painfully hilly. Lots of stacked days of mileage with continuous rolling hills/mountains. They aren’t technically mountains, but they sure aren’t like Ohio hills… Got to end the day with a warm shower and a hike to the top of some rimrocks to see the sunset.



Day 18

Meeker, CO to Glenwood Springs, CO

70 miles

Have I told you yet that I’m tired? I think I’ve officially been out of Ohio for three weeks now and I’m feeling very warn down. It’s crazy to think that I still have so many more miles to go and states and days. It’s truly worth it though. Excited to see how all of this impacts the communities, ourselves and Rwanda.



Day 19

Glenwood Springs, CO to Edwards, CO

61 miles

Driving Day


Super jealous of my fellow riders today, they got to ride along the most beautiful bike path. Colorado is stunning in general, but they got the best view.


I killed the battery in the van today. Left the headlights on for way too long. Luckily some strangers gave me a jump just in time to get the team lunch.


Arrived in Edwards decently early so I got to take an afternoon nap, which I’m extremely grateful for.




Overall, I’m really tired and sore. I have ridiculous tan lines, especially on my hands. My back is still recovering from my bout of sun poisoning and I’m starting to miss being home. This is by far the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life, not only physically. I’m learning everyday that the battle isn’t just in my quads. I’ve realized over the past few days that this is more of a battle of motivation. Do I care enough about improving the state of HIV/AIDS across the globe to climb Loveland Summit in a few days? Do I care enough about it to wake up at 5am and put on spandex? Do I care enough about it enough to put in 100 mile days?


A year ago I probably would’ve said no. Today, I say yes. My comfort in all of my exhausted efforts is that what we’re doing will dramatically improve the lives of others. At the end of the day, this is not about Amanda accomplishing something that she never thought she could do, it’s about making a big statement for a big improvement—it’s about human life, about the chance for joy and the opportunity to be healthy.


So with that, I will continue to ride.