Pedals and Posts - Jay's Ride for Aptiv

August 24th, 2023

Jay's Latest Update

Not all things go as planned…

My ride had been going smoothly, and I’ve been happy with my progress and logging in the regular 85-95 miles daily. I was in the home stretch and looking like I was going to finish several days earlier than projected. Then…everything changed. I am writing this while I am recovering from an unfortunate accident on my ride. On Tuesday, August 22,  I was pedaling through a neighborhood in Auburn, NY. Things were going smoothly, riding on an easy, flat city road when I blacked out, causing me to take a bad fall. Luckily, Andy Parrish was following just a short time behind me in the support vehicle, and he took the needed action to get me to the hospital to be examined and receive medical care.  The result? A shattered clavicle, definitively ending my ride. Yeah…I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to finish the ride (just 480 miles to go), but I am thankful that I am ok, bruised and sore, but ok.  Now, I am beginning the healing process and will be reflecting on everything that happened as I make my way back home. I am grateful for all of the incredible support of my family, friends, donors, and Aptiv staff and participants who have been following me along and keeping me supported along the way.

August, 9th 2023 

Day Before The Ride

I have done several challenging feats of endurance, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, biking from Seattle, Washington to La Crosse, Wisconsin, and hiking/biking the Ice Age Trail. 

Trying to make this effort more than just about me, I've incorporated each as the basis of raising funds for those with disabilities who receive services through Aptiv. Subsequently, people ask what are you going to do next? After a lot of thought, I decided to finish my cross-country bike ride by starting where I ended six years ago,  in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and cycling to Portland, Maine. 

People ask me 'why'? I'm not sure. I am just an ordinary guy trying to do extraordinary things, make a difference, and have some fun along the way.

August 10th, 2023

83.2 Miles

I started the day with a nice crowd of family, friends, employees, board members, and participants to send me off out of the Aptiv parking lot in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

I worked my way through town and jumped onto the La Crosse trail system on County B. I spent the day traveling the La Crosse trail system, Elroy Sparta Trail, and the 400.  All three trails use former railroad grades, so it was a relatively flat ride with beautiful weather.  I went through three railroad tunnels making for an entertaining day. 

In total, I biked for 9 hours to a final destination in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. I was supported by my friend Denny. I stayed at the Quality Inn in Reedsburg. I had dinner at Jay’s Pub and Grill. I ate a great mushroom and swiss burger, sweet potato fries, and mango beer. 

August 11th, 2023

87.6 Miles

We started the ride at 7:00 a.m, we were hoping to start at 6:00 a.m., but rain delayed us by one hour.

I pedaled the first 5 miles mostly uphill out of Reedsburg on my trail bike since the roads were slippery and wet from the rain.  Later I ditched the trail bike and jumped onto my road bike for most of the day.  Overall there were lots of tough hills today, but I ended at 4:00 p.m. in Albany, Wisconsin. 

Denny,  my support person, again says I'm drinking 20 bottles of water mixed with Gatorade each day to stay hydrated. The recipe is working and has prevented my muscles from locking up. We had dinner at Vince's,  and I had shrimp fettuccine alfredo and clam chowder. I stayed at Super 8 in Monroe, Wisconsin.

August 12th, 2023

90.1 Miles

Things happened today that didn't really have to do with riding a bike. It started off with Denny, my support guy, forgetting our refreshment cooler full of ice water and beer at the KwikTrip in Monroe, Wisconsin. He realized he left it outside the car when he was filling up with gas.  He went back to KwikTrip and the cooler was nowhere to be found, someone stole it. Secondly, I ran over a squirrel on my road bike! Thirdly, at a slow speed, 10 miles an hour, my trail bike fell off the bike rack. Thankfully, there was minimal damage noted. Fourthly, we left my bike tire pump for my road bike in the motel in Monroe, Wisconsin. Denny drove home to meet my next support person and drove through Monroe to pick up the specialized pump. 

As far as biking, I had a tailor crosswind mostly all day. The temperature was around 90° all day, but the journey was over mostly flat terrain leaving Wisconsin, then I was on my way around Chicago and Illinois ending in Hampshire, Illinois. I had dinner at Wendy's, a Baconator, and a chocolate frosty.

I stayed at the Super 8 in Hampshire, Illinois. Denny did an awesome job as my support guy the last three days. Thank you my friend.

August 13th, 2023

71.7 Miles

We started our day at Walmart buying moleskin for a blister.  It was my first day being supported by Andy Parrish. I started pedaling south and went south nearly all day.  I was mainly on Highway 47. There was a lot of traffic, some of the highways had no shoulder,  and some with 10 ft shoulders meant for biking. The trek was about as flat a track as one could ask for. The temperature reached a high of 84 degrees. There was a light tailwind and it was mostly cloudy.  I couldn't have asked for any better conditions. Having accumulated a lot of miles in the four days since our start, I will continue through Indiana and into Ohio. Unfortunately, with more elevation as we progress through Pennsylvania. 

 I had dinner at Old Route 66 Family Restaurant. I am spending another night at the Super 8, this time in Dwight Illinois. Rain is predicted by 10:00 a.m. tomorrow, so we'll be on the bike at first light about 6:00 a.m. to try to get ahead of the rain. 

August 14th, 2023

65.7 Miles

Rain was predicted at 10:00 a.m. and was predicted to rain until 4:00 p.m. We got up at 5:00 a.m. to start pedaling by 6:00 a.m. I managed to stay ahead of the rain until we arrived at our planned destination about 5 miles east of Roselawn, Indiana at the intersection of Highway 10 and Highway 65. We exited Illinois and are about 15 miles into Indiana, our third state in 5 days! I am averaging about 80 miles a day on my bike. 

Today I was on a very flat terrain without hills to climb or descend. We only had one oops today, Andy left his pillow in the motel, no big shakes. Andy was my support person for the second day. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Merrillville, Indiana. We had dinner at Culver's. I had a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries and a diet root beer.  Culvers ran out of ketchup until 'tomorrow'. 

August 15th, 2023

101 Miles

We woke up at 5:00 a.m. and the rain stopped at 7:00 a.m.  I jumped on the road bike for the day and had good winds out of the Northwest that made for a fast ride all day. The roads were very flat so I had to take advantage of those conditions. Temperatures were in the 70s and cloudy.  I rode my first “century ride” at 101 miles. I  could have gone further, but nine hours on the bike was long enough. I want to be more like the tortoise for the long haul, rather than the hare for the short run. I still have about a thousand miles to go more or less. I did take a fall when stopping on loose gravel.   I dodged a bullet, and my bike and I were unscathed. I  finished in South Whitley, Indiana. We stayed at Tru by Hilton in Warsaw Indiana. We went to Pizza Hut for dinner and had a large stuffed crust meat lovers pizza. 

August 16th, 2023

76.3 Miles

We woke up and Andy mentioned getting up at 5:00 a.m. EST,  is really like getting up at 4:00 a.m. CST,  so I guess we got an “extraordinarily” early start to the day. Early on we had some hills, then it got more manageable with rolling hills. Once out of Hicksville, Ohio (did I say Ohio?!  Yep state four!) my world could not have been flatter, and nice tailwinds of five miles an hour. We arrived at Defiance, Ohio at about 2:00 p.m.  Andy was my navigation now for day four. 

I forgot to tell you that I went to the laundromat last night, walked up to the machine, and asked the owner if she could help me get started.  She asked if I was there to dry clothes or did I want to put them in the washer first?   Yeah, I can laugh at myself, I had just realized, I've never washed clothes at home before. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Defiance, Ohio and had dinner at Jerseys. I had a Cobb salad and a beer. 

August 17th, 2023

85.6 Miles

Once again, we got an early start to avoid forecasted rain that was supposed to fall beginning at about 2 p.m. I started pedaling at about 7:30 a.m. Before getting on my bike, we needed to stop at Walmart to buy ice and more moleskin. As I rode over a set of railroad tracks,  I heard the sound no cyclist wants to hear… pssst… yep, my first flat tire! We stopped at a local feed mill co-op to use their electricity to get my trail bike tires up to the recommended 80 pounds per square using my electric pump. Once the tires were inflated, I  jumped on my trail bike while Andy took my road bike to a bike shop in Fremont. The shop fixed the tire with a brand-new tube. After 13 miles on the trail bike, Andy met me on the road, and I resumed my ride with my road bike.  

At 4:15 p.m., as I continued riding, I was just a mile from Flat Rock, Ohio, when the sky started dropping rain. I decided that it was a good day overall and finished riding. Before heading to the Hampton Inn for the night, we backtracked up to Fremont to buy replacement cleats for my road bike. I also made a stop to do my laundry again. This time…with no supervision! We enjoyed dinner at Silver Top Bar and Grill. I had a grilled chicken BLT salad and a couple of Yuengling tap beers. 

August 18th, 2023

84.6 Miles

Andy was torn in planning the best route for the day’s ride today. Initially, he wanted to send me up to Lake Street and have a flat ride as long as possible. Considering I’d be riding toward a city with a population of 373,000 this morning, he had a change of heart and opted to stay within a narrow corridor from west to east. The route kept me just south of Cleveland and North of Medina and Akron. I had some doubt whether this would both avoid large changes in terrain AND avoid big busy city roads. Initially, the route was quite flat, followed by some hills, then returning to mostly flat roads. Overall, the roads were mostly navigable, as was the traffic volume. I had lunch at Gandalfi’s Pub, ordering a grilled cheese sandwich and chips. I finished the daily ride in Streetsboro, Ohio. We visited Steak and Shake in Akron, Ohio, for dinner, where I enjoyed a burger. We overnighted at Home2 Suites to end another day on the ride.

August 19th, 2023

82.5 Miles

We woke up at 5:00 AM to get back on the saddle at 6:30 AM. Had a nice tailwind most of the day out of the West. We chose to stay within twenty miles of Lake Erie so as to assure a mostly flat track again. I appreciate Andy’s planning of each day’s route to avoid unnecessary changes in elevation. We can probably avoid it again tomorrow as we cut through Pennsylvania’s far upper west corner for about fifty miles and enter the state of New York. We ended today’s ride at the Ohio / Pennsylvania border near Conneaut, Ohio. We have entered our fifth state (yippee!!). We stayed at the Day’s Inn in Conneaut, Ohio. We had dinner at Breakwaters BBQ, I had a brisket sandwich and coleslaw. 

August 20th, 2023

83.3 Miles

This is all starting to get predictable... We are up at 5:00 a.m., have breakfast, look over the route for the day with Andy, get in the car, and start biking at first light, which is about 6:30 AM. Today we clipped across the northwest corner of Pennsylvania and rode 46 miles by 10:30 a.m. We entered state number six of this endeavor, that state would be New York.  Yep, we're in New York. For the second time since we started this ride, I fell over on my bike with one of my cleats locked onto my pedal, when I leaned in the wrong direction as I stopped at the red light. I literally tipped over like a kid learning to ride a bike, the bike and I are ok,  just a bit of a bruised ego!

I have only seen one live deer in 911.6 Miles pedaling through what is considered to be some pretty good deer turf. I am a bit disappointed that I haven't seen anymore, maybe I'll see more on the rest of the trip. We ended the ride at about 2:00 p.m. in Silver Creek, New York. Hunkered down at the Hampton Inn in Hamburg, New York. Andy and I went to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo. In 1964 the owner of the bar, Teressa Bellissimo, invented something new which instantly became a hit, the chicken wing. I had the honey bourbob wings, which were awesome!

August 21st, 2023

89.1 Miles

We got up and continued my ride at the same time we have for most of the trip. The weather was beautiful once again, cloudy, with temperatures in the mid-70s for the high temperature and mostly northwest tailwinds of about 10 MPH.  We started with a flat track, then a series of more challenging Hills, finishing with the last 10 miles mostly downhill.  I needed to do about 89 miles today to surpass the cumulative miles of 1,000. We are officially 2/3 of the way to Portland, Maine! In an effort to avoid huge elevation ups and downs, Andy Parrish, my cartographer, has been staying close to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Up to this point on my ride, Andy has been keeping our route mostly flat. We are now halfway through New York and looking forward to riding into Massachusetts, which should happen in the next few days. Then we will be into the home stretch to finish the ride! Today I finished in East Avon, New York, and overnighted at the Holiday Inn Express in Victor, New York. We went to the Thirsty Turtle Bar and Grill for dinner, and I enjoyed a BLT and french fries. It was very good!