Thursday, March 27, 2008

We Made It!

It has been a crazy day and I am desperately in need of some shut eye.

The climb yesterday was not easy. 18 miles at 4% grade and then a 7 mile downhill nd then another 7 miles up at a 4-5% grade. We climbed over 4,000 feet in 32 miles. (During this trip we climbed over 8,000 feet!) Then it was downhill to finish the 50 miler.

This morning we left at about 730am from Primm Nevada. We left so early because we needed to get to the Flamingo no later than noon. It was an easy 39 miles and we arrived ahead of schedule. We gathered about a mile from the hotel then cruised as a group (21 of us) into the hotel. It was pretty powerful to travel with the team, taking up a lane along a busy street amongst these huge hotels.

When we got to the Flamingo we had great support from many Ataxinas, families and researchers. The NAF did a great job orgasnixing the event. Check it out on Las Vegas News 8. (there's a video to the left of the page)

I appologize that the blog is not the same as it was last year. The ride was way more intense this year and it left me with no time or energy at the end of each night. Last year there were only about four of us and I could spend all night writing a blog. This year I was busy enjoying the company of my teammates and then getting up early every day to get on the road. This year we had no rest days so we rode through pain and fatigue. I left out a lot of details but you can be assured that we had a lot of fun and made a huge impact. For now our team gets to bask in the glory of our victory and we look forward to our next challenge...stay tuned for updates about the research that we will be funding.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Nearing the Finish Line

I screwed up in the last couple of posts, I numbered the days wrong but this post is back on track.

Day 10
Boron to Calico
55 miles

Day 10 featured a new trike on the road and he (Sam) did great.

Most of the day was flat and easy until we got on highway 40 heading east. We started flying because we had a nice wide smooth shoulder. Then all of a sudden I lost all power on my trike, my cranks started spinning freely and I realized that the master link had come loose and my chain had fallen apart.

So I slowed down and apparently I stopped too fast which led to a pile up behind me. Collin hit Dad, Jina hit Collin and fell partially into the road. She was still hooked in to her pedals so I grabbed the wheel of her bike and helped pull her out of the road. She survived with nothing but a few scrapes and bruises and I plan to slow down more gradually next time.

Back to the masterlink: This has happened before and it is no problem as long as we can find the masterlink (I think I just like using the term "masterlink"). One piece of the link was still in connected to the chain but the other piece had fallen off. So we had to scour the shoulder of the freeway to find a tiny piece of metal amongst all the other tiny pieces of metal and bits of tire and dirt and broken glass and cigarette butts that reside on the shoulder of the freeway. Miraculously sean spotted the tiny piece after two people had already passed it by. So after a bunch of grunting, sighing and heavy breathing, we wiped our greasy hands on our shirts and continued pedaling. The freeway was great, I hit a top speed of 31mph and we cruised for about 10 miles. Then we took the offramp and headed toward Calico Ghost town. A tough 3 mile climb to end the hot day...

This town was a silver mining town from 1880 to 1895 and now is a museum.

Tess on the Jack Hammer

We had a team meal at the on site RV park

Feeding frenzy (a hotdog never tasted so good, actually three hot dogs never tasted so good)

And we stayed in the bunk house

Collin and Buford waking up in the morning, 830 am start every day

The view from the porch of the bunk house

Day 11
Calico to Baker
55 miles

Today we took off from the bunkhouse and immediately headed downhill hitting top speeds for the trip, for me it was 32mph. We turned left onto a frontage road and the tailwind was spectacular, we cruised at 18mph for about 5 miles. Then the road started to get rough, so rough that I was afraid my trike was going to fall apart. By mile 14, we found out that there was a bridge out ahead so we hapily opted for the freeway against the advice of the signs that said no cyclists. As we were cruising at 20+ mph a CHP car passed us so we figured we must be ok to travel on the freeway. We cruised so fast that we beat the lunch wagon to the halfway point. A quick tuna sandwich and we were back on the road. The wind switched on us in the afternoon but it kept us cool in the desert heat. We had a few short climbs but it was mostly downhill. We reached the motel at about 2pm and everyone jumped in the icy water at the pool, our personal Oasis...

Tonight we are staying in the town of Baker, home of the tallest thermometer in the world, it read 83 when we rolled in.

We ate at the legendary Mad Greek Restqaurant, good stuff

We will climb 4000 feet in approximately 35 miles and then cruise downhill into the town of Primm after crossing into Nevada, the silver state. We are all feeling pretty good for the most part. Sean's ankles are really tight and swolen and he has been bearing the pain for the past couple of days. He is confident that he can make the climb tomorrow.

The heat is becoming more of a factor as we go farther into the heart of the Mojave desert so I think we will start earlier tomorrow so we are not climbing at the peak of the heat.

We arrive in Vegas at the North lobby of the Flamingo at noon after traveling 39 miles from Primm that morning...Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Day 10
Tehachapi to Boron
49.99 miles

Today we got a little break, downhill all day. We started in Tehachapi and the Tehachapi News met us for a picture.

We had a few miles in the flats and then it was downhill for the rest of the day. We had a strong headwind but we powered through it with gravity in our favor. We completed 18 miles before our first stop and 33 miles before lunch. We cruised into Boron with energy to spare.

Fun Fact: Boron is home to the largest Borax mine in the world.

We will have another trike joining us tomorrow. This is Sam. Sam is getting over a gnarly cold and did not ride today. He will join us with fresh legs tomorrow. We are stoked to have another FA'er on our team.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


First of all...a couple business items: Last week we hit the $80,000 fundraising mark and I was confident that we would be at $90,000 by the end of the week with a good shot at $100k. Well, I am very excited to announce that we have passed the $100k mark and our total is still on the rise! Thank you for your support!

Also we have added a few teammates. Bart Rupel and John Lockwood have joined us as cyclists and Bart's Buddy Tim has joined the SAG team. We have also added our Seattle crew as cyclists Sam, Max, Tom and Amy. Our team is growing and getting stronger. We now have 17 cyclists!

Day 9
Bakersfield to Tehachapi
36 miles
3500 foot climb

Thus far, my posts have not featured much cycling. Well today was all about cycling. We only rode about 36 miles but we climbed 3500 feet.

We started out on the outskirts of bakersfield and clicked off 9 miles in the flats.

Travis and Mike checking out the mountain

Then we started the climb. We climbed for about 5 miles at a 5% grade before any downhill. I was not a speed demon at 3mph but I just geared down and cranked it out. We had a spectacular view of the vally floor on the way up the hill and we had a long time to chat as we stared at the rolling hills as they passed at 3-4mph. When we hit the first downhill we let 'er rip and hit the top speeds of the whole trip so far. I think John Lockwood had the top speed of 42mph. We had one more small climb then it was downhill to the lunch spot. At lunch we had a decision to make, stay on highway 58 or take a side road. We found out that the highway cut out about 5 miles and has a much more gradual grade than the side roads so we decided to stick with the highway. The group in front of us left before us and went with the map on the side roads. They had much tougher climbs registering more than 10% at one point. In the end we all decided to stick to the highway for the rest of the trip(as long as it is legal and safe). Highway 58 actually has very generous shoulders and as far as I know, cyclists are legal.

We finally reached the summit and our hotel was about a block away...success! Our team had been dreading this day since the beginning and we all made it with no injuries!

Friday, March 21, 2008


The hours are passing like minutes. We must be having a lot of fun! I really n eed to get to bed in preparation for the big climb to Tehachapi tomorrow so I am going to make this short...bummer, I could spend a few hours here telling you about all the stuff that's going on. Also, my computer died tonight so tyhe posts might be few and far between from here on out (I am using a computer in the lobby of our hotel).

Day 6
Hanford to Wasco
57 miles

The rad stuff about this day happened off the bike. A local guy John (sorry John, I don't know your last name) provided our dinner at a local park. He and his people barbqed some killer carne asada and we had fresh tortillas. It was really nice to be taken care of by some great people, thanks guys.

Day 7
Wasco to (a little past) Bakersfield
45 miles

We added a few miles to this day so we could subtract from our climb day tomorrow. We also added a few teammates: Beth, Eric and Edie.

Today, once again we were taken care of by a local group. This group is driven to help out by a great young man named Jarod. Jarod was diagnosed with FA a few years ago and is surrounded by a great group of people who are driven to find a cure. They have an event of their own (5k & 10k walk/run) coming up on April 6 and they invite all to join the fun. For more info contact me.

Sean, Jarod, Me

Bonus Picture:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Days 4 and 5

First of all check out this short article that was in the Sacramento Bee the other day:

Day 4
Madera to Fresno
25 miles

Day 4 was a short day. We took it easy and had a nice team lunch courtesy of Outback Steakhouse. They fed us great food and we didn't have to clean up!

Me and Sean at Outback

We met another ataxia friend at Outback. This is Mike Betchel and his Mother Beth. Mike and I met at the NAF annual membership meeting in San Diego a couple years ago. Mike has an undiagnosed type of ataxia and he was diagnosed at age 2. Undiagnosed means that clinically the diagnosis is ataxia but the gene marker has not been discovered for this type of ataxia.

That night we stayed at the People's Church in Fresno. They were gracious enough to let us use their showers and we had a roof over our head for the night. The best part is that we saved some cash by sleeping on the floor!


Day 5
Fresno to Hanford
49.75 miles

I dragged along for 50 miles today. My legs were aching by mile 10 and would not quit. I could not sustain a speed of over 10 mph for more than 15 that was pretty frustrating. It felt like my brakes were on the whole time but I checked and rechecked and everything was cool. I guess I was pretty tired and maybe I didnt eat enough this morning. Another factor is that I put a new seat on my trike last night and it may have changed the configuration enough to make a difference. Either way, I made it. So did everyone else and they all had less trouble. Other than a crash resulting in minor scrapes and bruises we are all safe and well.

We had dinner at Ryan's Place right by the hotel.

And then we went out to a local ice cream shop. There is a faint smell of Dairy everywhere in this town so the ice cream was pretty fresh...mmmmmmmmboy!

This is a small scoop!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Long Day

Day 3
Turlock to Madera
65 miles

We woke up this morning at the lovely Travelodge in Turlock. Loaded up the SAG vehicles and headed to the spot where we left off yesterday.

Sean at the starting line with his St. Patrick's Day bling.

Started out heading South right next to the railroad tracks. As a train passed, I gave it the "blow your horn" signal and he nearly blew us off our bikes, it kinda freaked me out. So we rode next to the tracks for about 30 miles today and there was not much shoulder but the motorists were mostly courteous.

We traveled in three groups for the most part today. Group 1: Sean, Travis, Mike, Luke, Tess Group 2: Me, Mike B., Uncle Steve, Collin, Jina, Libby, Neal Group 3: Andy, Linda, Spinner, Angela

Group 2 and 3 traveled together for the first 25 miles until lunch. We passed this sweet Aviation museum. Check out Collin and Jina looking tough in front of the SR71.

At lunch we were standing around laughing at something and all of a sudden we heard what sounded like a fire cracker. Uncle Steve jumped as something hit him in the back of the leg. It turned out that a hole had blown in his tire and we are guessing that it was because of the warm afternoon sun. We had plenty of spare tubes and luckily he had one spare tire because that one was a gonner. So we all stood around and watched as Uncle Steve gave us a free lesson about replacing a tire. We all agreed that he was lucky that it didn't happen on the road.

After lunch we still had 40 miles ahead of us through some rough orchard lined roads and at one point we got a little confused at the corner of Road 24 and Avenue 24.

The first group came in at about 4pm, the second 5pm and the third group came in with daylight to spare at 6pm. Long day on the road and everyone was still smiling, we really are having a lot of fun. We took care of our sore muscles in the pool and the hot tub. The pool was ice cold so we waded up to our knees for a nice ice bath.

Then we relaxed the soreness away in the hot tub...what a life.

Nice jersey tans!

In general, everyone feels a lot better than they did yesterday, much of the knee pain is going away and we are figuring out how to avoid it in the future...onward to a cure!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tail Wind

First of all, I found the news footage from yesterday, check it out.

Day 2, Lodi to Turlock:

We woke up this morning to swaying trees and cold temperatures. Ate a bagel, made a sandwich and 25 of us started pedaling at around 9am. Started off heading east with a strong cross wind blowing from North to South. After 7 or 8 miles we turned and headed directly south. Then it was on... There is almost nothing better than a strong tailwind. We were traveling at 16 mph with little or no effort and pushed it up to 20 mph when when we were feeling "boogie fever." The faster groups were cruising at 25 mph for much of the day. The wind did not quit all day and the first couple of groups finished within 3 hours. Everyone finished the day including Andy Johnson who spent last night next to the toilet with a stomach bug...he's hardcore!
Andy and Linda came all the way from New York!

We are staying the night at the Travel Lodge here in Turlock. We spent a while in the hot tub nursing our sore muscles. Many of our team members are experiencing knee pain, but we are pushing through it at this point. Ice, heat, and IBU Profen are our friends.

We refueled as a team at a little Mexican restaurant. We are down to our core group of cyclists as we said goodbye to another group of teammates today. We also lost a few SAG personnel and we will miss Roger (aka Scooter) on his harley and Lori, Wendy and Jonathan serving lunch and taking care of us. They will be back...

We are looking forward to the wind tomorrow as long as it is still blowing south...

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Good Weather, Good People

The State Capitol was packed this morning with 50 cyclists and over 100 supporters for the Ride Ataxia send off. It was an epic event and it was captured on News 10, check it out.

It was supposed to storm today. Thunder, lightning, the whole works. However, we woke up this morning to clear skies. The clouds were around during the day but they only served as a nice break from the bright sun. We started out heading south out of downtown. We stayed in a large group until we got out of town. Rode along the river for a few miles and along farm roads for the rest of the day. We had a couple flat tires but everyone was taken care of and we all had a great time. Everyone finished the day here in Lodi which ended up being about 55 miles. Some of our teammates went home today and they will be missed. We had a team dinner here at the RV park...lasagne never tasted so good. Hung out and watched Susie do tarot card readings. Laughed a lot and watched the news at 6.

I realize this does not sound exciting but it was a perfect day. I am going to hand the keyboard over to tess to add some excitement:

so there we were 50 chilled but eager cyclists. i type cyclists, but really, oh gee, really, i think most of us are rec riders. tough, but yeah, rec. oy, were we rec. but without the expected thunderstorms (which we were toughly ready to handle), and with the lovely, fluffy white clouds (gosh i'm tired right now), well, it was a perfect day. tee hee, roberto was a rockstar with his two flats. angela finished like a champ again. spinner was a hoot as always. and i got to chat it up with so may new people, such motivating people, that i didn't need my IPOD, well hardly at all. i mean it was 4 hours. oh yeah, and then there was "the wheelie guy," who so utterly grossly wheelied over roadkill (i.e, a possum and dog)... can i type this? dude, kyle's so gonna edit this all out anyway. who needs a journal, when i can shout out to the world. ok, ok, so there we were, vineyards and fluffy clouds and cows and goats. mmm, the cows smelled. and one spit on the dude with the Wendy's jersey. btw, uncle steve (he's kyle's uncle not mine, but i call him that b/c it's ridiculous) still has the i love cuties sticker on). and lance is a psuedo himalayan shirpa. and well, jina's got this silly butpad names for people. ok, i'm out.

My name is Kyle Bryant and I approve this message.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Sean and I were on Capital Public Radio yesterday. It was totally sweet. Public radio is rad because the comercials are few and far between, so it was like 15 minutes of information. Jen Farmer and David Lynch also called in to share some of their medical knowledge. Check it out:

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Brown and Caldwell

Before our journey begins I need to recognize my largest source of support. As well as being the single largest donor to Ride Ataxia, Brown and Caldwell has shown me support on a daily basis. We have received generous donations from Hawaii, Walnut Creek, Phoenix, Seattle and San Diego. Four of the Sacramento employees are team members. All of the employees in our Sacramento office now have shirts that say "Brown and Caldwell Supports Ride Ataxia" and we all wear them on fridays ("Casual Fridays"...that's so Office Space). We had a poker tournament that was a lot of fun and produced a modest truckload of cash. Brown and Caldwell has also supplied our team with some much needed food for the ride. Thanks friends, it is incredible to have such great everyday support. Special thanks to Dave Zuber, Janine Miller, Daniel Tams and Matt Pegler for making all of this happen.



Friday, March 07, 2008

Skiing with DSUSA

It has been five years since I have been skiing. I skied 3 days a week in highschool and every friday during the season in college. Each season it would get progressively harder to walk on the ice and carry my gear to the slopes until I gave it up and called it a loss.

One of my friends, Matt, works for Disabled Sports USA Far West ( and suggested that I try the ski program. I was a little nervous, didn't know what to expect but my instructor, Jan, made me feel comfortable and I had a lot of fun. When I started sliding down the hill it all came back to me, it was like riding a bike. Obviously I am not shredding the steep and deep (and I look like a goof) but DSUSA helped me get out there to find out that I will be skiing in some capacity as long as I want.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Press - Radio Interview

Hey folks. I want to inform you about a radio interview that will be happening next thursday (March 13). The interview will feature yours truly plus Sean Baumstark, plus a call in from a researcher in the Ataxia Research Community. We will be discussing the impact of Ride Ataxia and the current state of research for this disease.

The live interview will air on Capitol Public Radio for 20 minutes sometime between 2pm and 3pm. Here are the stations on which it will be broadcasted: 90.9 FM KXJZ Sacramento; 90.5 FM KKTO Tahoe/Reno; 91.3FM KUOP Stockton/Modesto; 88.1 FM KQNC Quincy.


Saturday, March 01, 2008


We are quite busy making the final preparations for the ride. It is going to be quite an adventure with more than 30 participants for the first day. We invite you to join us as we take off on March 15 from the southwest corner of the CA state capitol building (Corner of 10th and N). We will be taking off at 9am sharp so plan accordingly. We hope to have a LARGE cheering section as we take off. We are also hoping for press coverage that morning, we have a few things in the works.

We have already shattered our fundraising goal of $50,000. To date, our fundraising total is $63,700 and the total is growing everyday. I do not wish to discourage any donations by letting you know that we are over our original goal. On the contrary, I hope this encourages you to make your donation big or small. Every penny that is given in honor of Ride Ataxia to either the National Ataxia Foundation or the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance will fund the collaborative research projects of these two organizations. Ride Ataxia has requested that this effort be focused on translational research that will help bring treatments from the lab to patients like me and many others. The collaboration of these two organizations will bring forth the most promising research in the world. To make your donation please visit and follow the "instructions for donors" or just respond to this email and I will hook you up.

Please check out these links. This first one is a short video that will air locally here in Sacramento 5 or 6 times on PBS:

This one is an article about the efforts of our Friends Andy and Linda Johnson. The Johnsons are the breakout story of the year for Ride Ataxia. The Johnsons have already raised over $16,000 and have drawn a lot of press attention in their hometown:

Thats all for now. I hope to see you all on March 15. 2 WEEKS UNTIL GO TIME!

On The Side:

I have to let you know about this new article written by my good friend Matt Strugar-Fritsch. This article is about disabled whitewater sports and will appear in the March issue of Sports and Spokes which features Matt on the cover! This article has nothing to do with the ride but it I am a huge fan of Matt's writing and I hope you like it too: