Archive for September, 2006

The Erck Marathon Approaches

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

This is completely unrelated to our upcoming travels, but it is too exciting to not write about!

This weekend, October 1st, James, John, and I will run our first marathon – together! We will run the Twin Cities marathon, also known as The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon. 26.2 miles through the city and around Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, Lake Nokomis, along the Mississippi River, finishing right in front of the State Capitol.

I started training a few months ago and have been semi-diligent with my training plan – I have faithfully completed (almost) all of my weekend long runs, but I’ve been lazy about doing mid-week runs.  My longest long run was 19 miles, completed 3 weeks ago. And it was rough. During the last few miles my muscles & joints were so sore that it took an embarrassing amount of effort to pick them up and move them for the next step. I am hoping for lots of adrenaline during the marathon to keep me going. Alison or Dad, maybe I need one of you to hide somewhere around mile 21 so you can jump out and scare the crap out of me. That will help with the adrenaline, right?

James & John went with a totally different training plan. They did almost nothing. They do claim they ran 10 miles together, 3 months ago, but “it was so easy that we got bored and stopped running.” hmmmm… They are counting on their youth and Viking heritage (John’s exact words) to carry them through.

I’m not saying I want to see my brothers go through a lot of pain and suffering…but if they skip across the finish line I might have to kill them. Actually, if they carry me, while skipping along through the finish line, I will be OK with that.

Maiden Voyage

Monday, September 25th, 2006

Yesterday Sarah and I went out for our first real ride together. We parked the car in Carnation and then road 10 miles to Sammamish to watch some football at Sarah’s manager’s house. You can see the route here. The weather was perfect and the ride was beautiful. It was sunny but the air was crisp and the leaves were changing. There are some very nice roads to ride on East of Seattle. It is a very rural area and you are often surprised with views of the Cascades and Mount Rainier. Sarah was pretty tired after doing ten miles and her derriere was sore, so I rode back to get the car alone. Sarah’s coworkers caught on to this and spent the next hour inundating her with comments about me pulling her in a trailer or on a tandem bike. I hope the jokes don’t come true! It was good to get out and put some miles on Sarah’s bike and ride together. Next stop – 20 miles.

Route Planning

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Here’s a preview of our trip route. In the next few weeks we’re planning to create an actual Route page on with a detailed map of the countries and cities we’ll travel through. As we continue on our trip we’ll try to keep the route page updated with the actual cities we visited plus our current location. The first 1 1/2 months will be a roadtrip across the United States. After Christmas we’ll leave the US and start riding our bikes in New Zealand.

US Road Trip:

  • Seattle
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Ventura, CA
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • Yuma, AZ
  • Saguro National Park
  • Big Bend National Park
  • Austin, TX
  • Fargo, ND
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Wilmington, NC


  • New Zealand
  • Southeast Asia
    • Singapore
    • Malaysia
    • Thailand
    • Vietnam
    • Laos
  • China
    • Yunnan Province
    • Sichuan Province
    • Guangxi Province
    • Guangdong Province
    • Hong Kong
  • Russia
    • St. Petersburg
  • Eastern Europe
    • Specifics TBD
  • Argentina
    • Only if we have time, money, and energy left!


Friday, September 22nd, 2006

Yesterday, James & I went to Northshore Public Health, in Bothell WA, to get immunizations for our trip. We had no idea how many diseases we’d need to be immunized for, so the first part of our appointment was a consultation with the nurse. As we listed all the places we plan to visit (New Zealand, Southeast Asia, China, Eastern Europe), he said “Whoa, we are going to have to sit down and think through all the stuff you’ll need.” Then, when we told him we’d be biking the whole way and spending a lot of time in rural areas, he blew a gasket and exclaimed “You are at high risk for practically every disease known to man! Are you nuts?” After calming him down, we ended up deciding on four vaccinations – Hepatitis A/B, Tetanus, Polio, and Japanese Encephalitis. We’ll get Typhoid pills next week. We skipped Rabies. If one of us gets bit by a rabid skunk, bat, or dog we will have 24 hours to get to a hospital for a vaccation. Let’s hope our pepper spray and rocks work well against all the rabid creatures in the Russian countryside. Our nurse then loaded up 8 syringes, lined them up neatly on a tray, and said “Who wants to go first?” James was the brave volunteer. The nurse swabbed his arm with alcohol, said “I think I can get all four on one arm” and then went at it. He was a complete maniac (a very competent maniac, I must admit) with his execution – he’d grab a syringe, jab the arm, squeeze the plunger, and then theatrically toss the used syringe up into the air behind him before speedily grabbing the next one & starting over. He did all four in about 15 seconds. I was next – same speedy & frantic routine. It was great to have it over with so fast, and I can honestly say I barely felt a thing. Grand total for 8 vaccinations? A whopping $678! We are submitting the bill to Microsoft insurance today. My fingers are crossed that they pull through on their reputation for stupendous coverage…

Bling, Bling!

Thursday, September 21st, 2006

Sarah's New Rivendell AtlantisSarah got her fancy new bike today! She is going to ride a 61cm Rivendell Atlantis on our trip. Sarah wanted the Atlantis because she has long legs and a short torso and the short top tube geometry of the Atlantis means it will be comfortable for her and allow her to sit upright. Bill Davidson of Elliott Bay Bicycles built the bike up for her with a mixture of components. The wheels are handbuilt with Shimano Deore XT 36-hole hubs and DT Swiss TK 7.1 rims. The headset and front derailleur are Shimano Ultegra and she got Dura-Ace 9-speed bar end shifters. Sarah was originally thinking she wanted moustache bars, but after trying them out at the store she thought they were awkward and went with a standard Nitto Dream drop bar instead. The drivetrain is a Deore XT derailleur with a Deore LX crankset. We went with an 11-32t cassete so we can (try to) climb hills while carrying all our gear. The brakes are Camagnolo Veloce Linear Pull Cantilevers. Sarah is still afraid of clipless pedals, so she just got toe clips for now while she gets used to the bike. Last but not least Sarah will spend the next year sitting on a Terry Butterfly saddle which we heard is one of the most comfortable saddles for a woman. We are going to start doing short rides and making adjustments to the bike. Eventually, we’ll put racks, panniers, and everything else on it. Now that Sarah has the bike, our trip definitely seems more real. The total cost was $2244.11 which brings our running total for the trip up to $2843.17.