August 01, 2003

City of Sacto Works As Team - Bike Collides with Horse

The city of Sacramento worked as a team to pull a rabbit out of the hat for us to make our second annual Sacramento National Bicycle Greenway Day a reality. And magic was the required order of the day when our contact from the Mayor's office that we had been in dialogue with since last March fell ill on Monday. And when she disappeared so did all of the contacts she had made and other paperwork that we needed to make the ceremony surrounding the proclamation that had already been issued real. From several hundred miles away, then, we were faced with the challenge of locating the NBG Day certificate and then finding someone to present it to our riders since we also lost our direct connection to Mayor Fargo. Several hours and pages of notes later when we found Ed Cox, the Alternative Modes Director. Then we then had to track down a digital camera as well as someone to document that which took place and another person to email us the resulting pictures. Here, then, is what resulted:

When I last spoke to Kim, the Mayor's Scheduler and our seemingly omniscient contact in the mayor's office last Friday, happy to hear from me, she said that we would finalize everything on Monday. When I didn't hear from her as she had promised, I called and didn't get an answer. I tried again on Tuesday thinking that my messages were getting thru and that were still in a good place and that she was just busy.

When Kristina called me on the day of our ceremony to say Kim had been out sick since the start of the week, I had 4 months of work to make up for in 2 hours. In the end we all have Ed to thank for presenting the proc and Sybil for getting me phone numbers and email addresses and for finding a photographer for us and Shirley for recreating the proc itself (not once but twice) and Kirsten from Councilman Ray Trethaway's office for sending me to Ed in the first place and for Ray's being a cyclist and having Karen out there to represent his office and to all the other staffers, even council people who returned my calls -- wow whatta team!! And finally THX to Rachel from KCRA for seeing the news value of this and getting a reporter out there to interview Jim and DeWayne!

And so today our riders, who braved the record breaking heat they are having up there, share the spotlight with a Sacrament Mayor and Council office staff who hit a major home run for us Big Time yesterday. In Jim's words below we will see how the grand ride DeWayne long had planned came apart at the seams. Much honor and respect is due also to DeWayne for keeping his commitment to do the ride despite losing (literally) his team. But before we do, here is a note I excerpted from an email DeWayne sent to me last nite:

[..] Jim was interviewed by KCRA television (NBC affiliate), I just checked the site and did not see anything yet. It might not air until Friday as they kept asking ... "when are you leaving and have to be in Napa?"

Jim is a great guy. I have a TON of respect for him. We just had dinner at a friends restaurant (and Jim and I) took the photo's of the capital..........

And here's Jim:

Subject: Asphalt, bridges and cars

Hi Everyone:

Wow, what a reality check. Had an empty day so I took a pickup truck with my Raven trike to Berkeley, CA to have the Rolhoff hub checked out. Not having driven for a few months and traveling at bicycle speeds makes the freeway seem to be going at enormous speed. The drivers were responding so quickly to any opening that I wanted to park the pickup and ride my trike again. No wonder the drug companies are doing so well. They must make a fortune just trying to keep the drivers nerves and stomach acids at liveable levels.

The ribbons of freeways were mind boggling. If just the cost of one of those enormous bridges could be diverted to bike trails we would see a lot friendlier world out there. The elderly have to be overwhelmed by this speed and aggressive driving. I could not wait to get back to Sacramento and ride my trike. I am a little concerned just how to get through that maze of highways however.

But now life is good. I listened to Jon Krakauer speak at a Borders Book Store about his new book, his views on the extreme in the Mormon faith. He is an excellent speaker and I had enjoyed his earlier books, "Into Thin Air" and "Into the Wild". With his new book, from the they way he talked about it, I suspect that he will have done an excellent job in presenting a balanced view of the subject. His questions make the Mormon Religious leaders nervous as they feel no one should question God's revelation to them. This is a very scary premise in today's world. These leaders are only human and subject to the same failings that the subjects of the book face. It is just a matter of how much political power these leaders enjoy when they make these errors. I will definitely be anxious to read the book.

DeWayne Quinn my riding partner here in Sacromento is facing a few challenges. Yesterday he told me one of his riders hit a horse, yes, a horse coming down a mountain pass. Then, to make matters worse another rider fell off his bike and broke his wrist and arm. So, DeWayne and I will ride over to city hall and find out what is happening and receive the city's proclamation. This afternoon before leaving I want to tour the state capital and have dinner with a few locals.

We had a little false start, but once Edward J. Cox, the Alternate Modes Coordinator got there with his digital camera and the reporter from Channel 3 got there things went well. They took our pictures as we were joined by Karen Pardieck, the District One Coordinator. Karen indicated Ray Tretheway, the District One Councilmember she represented, was very bike oriented. The reporter interviewed us and Ed showed me where the city was sponsoring a Wednesday market with great food. Duane had to get back to work, but Ed joined me for lunch. We had a great time reminiscing about our various bike rides. Ed gave me some bike maps of the area. He is a great asset to the city. At the Friday music program he operates a bike storage area to help bikers who ride to the weekly event. Makes me want to come back after we have our Napa celebration...

Wish us well as we head out to Napa.
Your trusty, crusty, dusty and anxious to finish rider, Jim

Posted by mkrieg at 07:55 AM | Comments (6)

July 28, 2003

Heat Kills Jim, Denise - Sacto Reached

Subject: Hot Hot Hot

Hello All You Cool Folks:

108 degrees according to the lady at the road side. We must have looked in need. This van pulls over and pulls out a cooler and offers ice for our hot water bottles and some advice about how to cycle into Sacramento. Later, we stopped at a fruit stand and bought a yellow melon. It was delicious. While we there we asked to use the garden hose to wash. It turned out the water was scalding hot coming out of that hose.

The berm as I referred to it is really the Levee Road extending for 15 to 20 miles north of Sacramento. When we first got on it, the road was so rough we almost decided to go back to the highway. But as we cycled along, the the surface improved and there was even an occasional shade tree.

My first impression riding along the levee, however, was how selfish these people and communities were. Here we were, hot, thirsty and baked and we could see the cool river a little ways beyond with an abundance of shade. Instead what stood between us were steel fences, locked gates, security alarms, guard dogs, and signs everywhere; Keep Out, Private Property, No Trespassing. Where there were no signs the owners had dumped piles of rocks and broken asphalt to prevent anyone from accessing the river. It was very depressing to see all this area that a cyclist could use to enjoy a short respite from the heat. I was kidding Denise that if one of us got hurt along that route we would have died before finding anyone who would have helped us. Why they do not put up a small area that someone can access the river from along this route is amazing.

I found a fellow cyclist standing by his cycle. He said his rear wheel was stuck. He said he was not a mechanic. When I looked at it his rear wheel had come out of the horizontal drop outs. I reinstalled it, he said thanks and rode away and never looked back. I was a little disappointed.

Once we reached the outskirts of Sacramento we came to a city park where there were numerous river activities. I could see now why they were not too worried about those using the levee roads 10 miles back.

Thanks to Denise we made it. She never complained about the heat or lack of food. To save money she was always willing to camp in the worst places. As were were cycling into town we ran into three children, Mireli 13, Joshua 5, and Jesse 9, who were all riding trikes very similar to mine. They had
rented them in town. Of course I had to take their picture, which I said might be shown on our web site when I get the camera to Santa Cruz.

Denise saw kids swimming in the river and said she had to do that. So off we went to the beach. I was trying to convince her to swing on the rope that the kids were using to jump in. She claimed she was too short to do so. As a result the only pictures I got of her in the water were of her surrounded
by some good looking local boys

Our next order of business was to find the bus station and some food. The vendors were losing
their doors as we arrived. We were sure they were going to roll up the streets and sidewalks next. Denise caught the 8 p.m. bus back to Reno and feeling tired I went across the river to a quiet little motel to crash. Did not even have dinner, but it did not seem to matter. My body just wanted
some cool water to cleanse it.

Well today I am starving and am off to find my new fellow riders and enjoy some of the charm of Sacramento.

See you later. Love to all, Jim

Posted by mkrieg at 11:30 PM | Comments (4)

Denise Inspired by Lance, Jim Also Rolls Big Miles

Here we see Denise Hill and Jim Muellner biking from Reno to Sacramento where they were almost behind schedule for Denise to make it back to her work on time but at only 40 miles from the state capitol, they are well ahead of their Wednesday meeting with Mayor Heather Fargo:

location: Motel 6 hot tub, Yuba City, CA

wait, before you call me soft, read:

we got up today and rode off at around 8, and by 11 we'd reached CA highway 49, the road we'd take up over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. then we spent the next few hours climbing at around a 5% grade, in 100+ degrees... the road entered Tahoe National Forest, and wound around steep inclines covered in sugar pine trees. they drop cones that can be up to 20" long, so you don't want to roll over them.

anyway, on the long way up we passed signs announcing the altitude: 5000, 6000, then finally the peak at Yuba Pass, 6701 feet. hurrah, at long last we'd made it! then we began the coast down the other side, hitting speeds around 30 with ease. I noticed that Jim has been less of a speed demon on the downhills; he said his cautious approach to gravity is due to his rolling incident back in Utah.

we stopped for a bite on the way, and kept riding... the traffic was pretty kind, and I was hanging out on or near the disappearing-reappearing shoulder. suddenly the voice of God boomed from behind me, "GET OUTTA THE ROAD AND GET OVER TO THE RIGHT ON THE SHOULDER." it was the highway patrol, out of nowhere, ordering me off the road with their hood-mounted loudspeaker. I politely explained at the top of my lungs that the shoulder didn't exist just then, and that I was unquestionably on the rightmost part of the lane, and I thanked The Voice for its advice.

after a while, though, that downhill coast leveled off and turned into a climb just past a town called Downieville. we stopped there to sit in the shade and consult the map. see, we'd taken a detour that added quite a bit of distance on to the trip. and this would normally be OK, but I really need to get back to work as soon as I can. dilemma. at the rate we were traveling and the distance we had to go, even Lance wouldn't be able to ride to Sac in the time I'd allotted for us.

no wait, Lance is steel, he could do anything.

so anyway, we kept going. I'd consumed upwards of 200 oz of water already, but I was running out again as we pedalled along rt 49... Jim was ahead of me, slowly getting further and further ahead...

the sun was heading towards the horizon, and this climb was taking forever, and I was really beat. we'd gone 85 miles already. I scarfed a few slices of bread and drained my water bottle, and wondered where we were going to stop and camp. none of the forest's designated campgrounds had water, and I was low on drinking water let alone cooking water. I usually embrace these little adventures, but I was damned tired, probably hypothermic and sunburnt.

I leaned my bike on a post to fish out my remaining water when the whole back-heavy thing tipped, and landed on my rear derailleur. it was bent beyond easy repair, so I loudly recited all the bad words I know and started pushing her up the hill. I hoped Jim wasn't too far ahead.

he was. I walked for most of a mile before the *Trail Angels* arrived. a white pick-up drove past, one of many many cars and trucks that had gone by in the last 10 minutes, and it stopped and a woman yelled "you want a ride?"

hell YES I did, so I eagerly accepted. we hauled my bike into the bed and I climbed into the extended cab behind Craig and Peggy, My Saviors. we rolled down the road, and sure enough I was very close to the top of this climb. I kept my eyes peeled for Jim, but it wasn't for 5 or 6 more miles till we caught him. I was totally impressed with how far ahead he'd gotten. he later said it was to satisfy my goal of doing a century today, and when we caught him he was almost to 100.

Craig and Peggy offered to take us as far as they were going, so, with the sun over the horizon and 96+ miles on Jim's computer, the choice was made. we loaded Jim's trike into the bed and enjoyed a/c, cool bottled water and pleasant conversation ALL the way to Marysville. look that up on the map to see what gracious chauffeurs Peggy and Craig are. talk about saving the day!

at this point, it looks like I'm going to be back on schedule after all. Jim and I got a room at a Motel 6, and I found the hot tub and swam in the pool, and drank - what else - Sierra Nevada.

it reminded me of the worst/best day ever on the way to Pittsburgh, when Ora Sue and Jim and I spent all day freezing and wet and beat but by day's end we were slumped over in a sauna. today was like the opposite, except for the enormous gratitude and relief that a shower, beer, and a bed brings.

c'mooooaaaann yellow jersey,


**Getting Back Into the Ride is Challenging**

Hi All You Beautiful People: Thanks to a lot of input from Tim, Deux Gros Nez owner and Randy Collins, College Cyclery owner, we opted for a northern route over the lowest pass over the Sierra's. It also was a quieter route and very beautiful.

Since we started only at 3PM and still had to do a little shopping we got to Hallelujah Junction and I convinced Denise we should take advantage of the truck stop to sleep at so we could have coffee and use the bathroom in the morning. We picked a quiet little corner over looking the area. There were cows grazing across the fence and we had a beautiful view of the sun setting over the Sierra's a perfect way to start the ride.

This morning we packed up and headed for the mountains. The hills seemed steeper to me and the down hills shorter. Was I getting old? It did take the better part of a couple days to get those muscles working properly.

Denise is on a tight schedule so we, based on Tim's comments that he had done this ride in one day, thought we could also. Well, the northern route had added 50+ miles to our distance.

The ride over Yuma Pass for me was a real challenge. The sun was so intense that I finally took out my trusty umbrella and thought it looked a little funny, but hey it helped a lot. Soon I noticed the motorcycle riders giving me a thumbs up and I felt better. It is amazing what a person does just for appearances. Lesson learned. Despite this, at one point when Denise was far ahead of me, I stopped, spread out my canvas and took a little nap right along the road. Refreshed I rode a few miles and found Denise had done the same while waiting for me.

The top of the pass 6700 feet does not seem high but Halleujalh had to have been at minus 3000 ft in my mind. The ride down was fast and long, at least 20 miles of mostly down grades. At around 75 miles I started looking for camp sites, but Denise realizing how close she was to 100 miles, a century, convinced me we should try. I had not done one myself so it was not hard. I did not let myself visit with her so I would not talk myself out of it.

We had stopped earlier and I had a big juicy burger and a strawberry malt. Well that energy must have kicked in because before I knew it, I was at 95 miles when then I heard a little toot behind me. There was Peggy and Craig Carberry of Yuba City with Denise and her bike in tow. It seemed her bike needed some work. They found her along the road wondering how she was going to catch me. They graciously said they would run us into Yuba City. There was no argument from us. Craig is a Realtor and knew the area well.

So now we only have 40 miles to get to Sacramento, plenty of time for Denise to get herself and bike back to Reno.

But, I have skipped some facts about the ride: Flowers were few and far between. One yellow bunch was spectacular and yet I failed to take a picture. Today was really pine cone day. There are numerous pine trees as we entered the the more forested areas. Every ditch had its fair share of pine cones. The most interesting were from the Sugar Pine that grew form 10 to 20 inches in length and they smell like artichokes. The most dangerous are the ones that are almost solid and weigh a lot. They release their seeds only during forest fires, when they burst. As I was laying down I kept thinking that one of them might fall and do me in. Some were small, some others were also solid and longer, but there was no way to identify which tree they came from. Where is that beautiful docent when you need one. The mountain formations were very impressive, but when you are going down at a fairly fast pace it was no time to let yourself gaze too long.
That's all folks, Jim

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67 year old, trike riding Jim Muellner can be found at
His email on the road is:

Denise Hill one of the stars of the DC to Pittsburgh relay leg can be reached at

Posted by mkrieg at 12:01 AM | Comments (5)

July 26, 2003

Denise Hill is Back Leaves Reno amid fanfare

And yet another relay ride had a ceremonial send off today. Reno kicked our ride off to Sacramento from their City Hall amid even more excitement. And not only is Jim Muellner back but so is Denise Hill. I'll let them fill U i on the details:

Hi All You Wonderful People:
Wow, everything went very well. The Reno Gazette, Channel 8 TV, David Aizzi, Commissioner and Reno City Councilman read the proclamation. Also, Steve Frady, the Public Relations Officer was there to lend his support.
And especially my surprise guest DENISE HILL now from Salt Lake City, where she is a researcher for the forest service.
She looks great and is excited about rejoining the ride. She has not decided how far she can ride, but will let me know as we ride.
Tim, from Deux Gros Nez, was our leader and led us to city hall and back. He wants to show us the recommended route out of town and ride part of it.
We are off. Jim


location: Hallelujah Junction, CA

hey Martin, what's your state flower? because it was on the sign that said "Welcome to California"...

yes, I've jumped back on for one more leg, Reno - Sacramento. this one's got mountains, lakes, and rivers, and a state I've never been to. besides, the stark contrast of my bike shorts tan line was starting to fade; it was time to ride.

I arrived in Reno this morning and easily found Jim at Deux Gros Nez. it's a predominantly vegetarian cafe and the decor is very "bike," so I liked the city straight away. owner Tim is a former racer who once rode from Reno to Sacramento in a day. I was inspired.

we had the proclamation ceremony, replete with TV cameras and interviews, and Tim treated us to lunch at his cafe while we pored over the map. then I got a new front tire and a water bottle cage (woohoo, dehydration be damned!) and we were off.

it was an easy riding day (I was just glad I remembered how to pedal), and despite the heat there's a wonderful breeze going so it wasn't bad. we're camping out somewhat near a convenience store, which doesn't sound too glamorous, but the free facilities, picnic bench and surrounding mountainous scenery are more than enough.

and I'm in California!!

fingers crossed for Lance,

Denise (and Jim)

Local access to PocketMail mobile
e-mail now available in Europe, North
America & Australia

67 year old, trike riding Jim Muellner can be found at
His email on the road is:

Denise Hill one of the stars of the DC to Pittsburgh relay leg can be reached at

Posted by mkrieg at 01:12 PM | Comments (12)

July 24, 2003

Jim Readies for Road to Sacto

And for those of you wondering about our Big Power senior citizen Jim Muellner who arrived in Reno far ahead of schedule, he's back as you will see in the words below. Besides rebuilding himself for the long distance road, Jim has also been in touch with Tim Healion of the world famous Deux Groz Nez there. Major well connected bikes wise, Tim hopes to have a worthy reception for Jim and the NBG tomorrow:

Surprise, I'm back, bet you thought I got lost

Hi Everyone: Well, things are starting off here in Reno just as I left them. Hotter than blazes, but friendly as ever.

This morning as I did a 20 mile training ride I met David Brown, a Reno native, 65, retired and avid cyclist. There was no doubt when you saw his black bike. It had more black bags than you can imagine. He had a radio, really a small boom box, a cooler, that he could do his laundry in, a table, and chair, both very small. Everything was black so he could disappear at night when he wants to camp someplace and not get company. It is so effective he told me, that one night he walked away from his cycle and lost it for almost an hour.

The other thing I want to comment on is drivers stopping for people in the walkways. A person could get used to that. In my home town I will have to watch out as there the drivers seem to aim for you to scare you off the street. Here, it is like two worlds, the gambling section and the rest of Reno. It has a lot going for it. I was impressed with the music all during the month of July at the river park.

It is amazing how quickly one can get out of shape. So I am off for another practice ride.

Posted by mkrieg at 01:46 PM | Comments (11)

Jim's Final Day in Reno

Hi Everyone: Wanted to leave some nice feelings. Everyone I met today from Reno I complimented on what a great city they had. The two sheriff's in the coffee shop I think were the most surprised. I was standing in line waiting to be served. I glanced at them considering what to say, they looked back with somber faces. When I was handed my coffee I stopped, introduced myself as a cyclist having spent a few days here. Just wanted them to know what a great city this was. They were both up on their feet in seconds, smiles, introductions, handshakes and a warm feeling. What a simple lesson in human nature. They felt good, I felt good and the day was definitely better, all because of a few words of praise.

Did some last minute things on my trike getting ready for the ride tomorrow. Am excited as my surprise guest rider will join me tomorrow if all goes per plan.

This evening I am sitting on my trike at the Wingfield Park for a dance presentation hosted by the city of Reno,called A Night to Remember. directed by Rosine Bena. Wow, what a performance. People have been coming here for the past three hours, enjoying a snack, a glass of wine to get into the spirit of the event. There are hundreds of people here and the performers are setting up. What a great way to end a perfect visit. Thanks to this bike ride I will definitely come again.

Tomorrow we will meet at the Deux Gros Nez at 11 AM for a ride to city hall and the Mayors presentation. Today as one more gesture of hospitality,Tim Healion presented me with a hat and t-shirt from his restaurant. A memento of the pleasant talk and meals enjoyed there.

Keep you fingers crossed that tomorrow as we head out of town the temperatures have dropped and we won't get lost in the first hills, or should I be saying mountains we encounter.

More tomorrow.
Love to all, Jim

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Posted by mkrieg at 01:24 PM | Comments (0)