AXC - The bike

AXC - The bike

Monday, August 4, 2014

Journey's End

On August 2nd, 2014, I dipped the front wheel of my bicycle in the Pacific Ocean. After starting off by dipping my rear wheel in the Atlantic 92 days prior, and riding my bike 4300 miles (and then some) across these fine United States.

I have seen the country at 10 miles an hour, I have met people and seen sights that were greater than I ever expected. This experience cannot be summed up in writing, but at some point I will try. For now, I'll just wanted to let everyone know that I have completed my ride, my goal, my journey.

Reaching the Pacific was the culmination of this epic journey; I was overcome with a hundred emotions, and sheer elation at the accomplishment I had been working towards not only for 3 months of pedaling, and 6 months of planning before that, but of years of anticipation. All coming to a close on the sands of the Oregon coast.
I knew the end was coming, but how can you really be prepared for the enormity of that moment?

This post is only a wrap up post to let you all know I reached the end, and to share the moment and the pictures with you. As I've been doing on this blog - telling stories - at some point after I've had time to reflect on the trip I will write the story of what this trip meant, how I feel having accomplished the goal and reached the end. For now I will just be getting used to not riding every day, and am excited to go back to my life, my friends, and my career back in Philadelphia.

Once again, thank you so much for following along and for joining me on this Grand Adventure.
~ Not The End ~

At the start of the last day

Great feats of strength!

Pictures of the Oregon coastline I rode along on the final day, on the way to Florence, OR

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Thank you

On the penultimate night of the ride, I want to say thank you. Thank you for coming along on this ride with me, and sharing your thoughts and comments as I shared mine. 

It was a long road here, literally, of course, and figuratively as well. 

Many years ago, my friend Davey rode his bicycle across the US. He blogged about the trip along the way, and I remember following him excitedly as he did. This was back in the days when laptops were big and heavy, and wifi was not all that common. But still he blogged and shared his adventure. I recall him eating ice-cream at every opportunity, and even one day when he got multiple flat tires because of a bad wheel rim. 
His trip planted the seed of inspiration in my head. It let me know that this was a thing that existed, and was possible. And for whatever reason, this adventure was something that stuck in my head, that I came back to time and again. Imagining what it would be like to be on the road, pedaling my own way from ocean to ocean. And when I tossed the idea down into the depths of my mind, it came back 'that seems kinda fun.' Where 99% of the people would say (and have said) 'That's crazy!' Something about the idea resonated with me. 

Thank you Davey for the inspiration. 

Several years ago, I randomly decided I wanted to do a Triathlon. Sure, why not? I can swim, I can bike, I can learn to run a little. I'll give it a try! At the time all I had was a mediocre 10 year old mountain bike. But I figured I didn't need to win the Tri, I just needed to finish. When I told Tracie about this aspiration, she surprised me and bought me a very nice road bike for my birthday. That was what it took to turn me on to cycling in earnest. I started riding with the Bike Club of Philly and really enjoyed it. After completing one Tri, I kept on biking, and kept on doing more triathlons. I likely would have been 'one and done' if I hadn't gotten so interested in bicycling, thanks to having really good equipment that allowed me to enjoy it to the fullest, and someone who gave me not only a physical gift but a motivational one as well. 

Thank you Tracie for giving me the gift that put me on a new path. 

In the late summer/early fall of 2013 I was talking to my friend Michele about triathlon. I had just completed my first Half Ironman race (see, I did keep going!) and all my friends assumed that due to my pattern of race escalation, the next logical thing for me to do would be a full Ironman Tri. But the idea of that never resonated with me the same way the bike trip did. When talking with Michele, she asked me 'if not an IM, then what do you want to do?' I told her about my pie-in-the-sky idea of the cross-country ride. And she asked me 'well, why can't you do it?' And I thought about that... and all the excuses and reasons I had in the past were no longer the insurmountable barriers they used to be. But the barriers had been there for so long that it had just become a state of being. It took Michele asking me a very simple question 'why not?' to get me to reevaluate the possibility. And with that, the path was set. 

Thank you Michele for helping me see the possibility. 

I'd also like to thank my parents for being so supportive of me in this trip. Both literally, helping me with logistical support, and figuratively - just being there for me, believing in me, and being so proud of me at every step of the way. Thank you as well to my brother for his support and telling me how proud he is of his big brother.

A very big thank you to the group leader David who saw us through all details and trials, and got us safely and comfortably from coast to coast. Thank you as well to all the fellow riders on this tour; you've given me friendship, advice, comfort, humor, knowledge, and put up with my quirks and occational bad mood. You have become true friends, thank you. 

After that, there are so many people to thank for everything, that I don't want to name names for fear of accidentally leaving anyone out. 
Tremendous thanks to my friends who helped take care of everything in my 'real life' while I was out on the road living my dream. I can't say 'thank you' enough, but I'll keep trying. 

Thank you to my friends who came out to my bon voyage party and gave me such a warm and amazing send off. It is great to have such good friends who are so excited for me doing this trip to take the time and effort to come out and wish me good luck. 

Thank you to ALL my friends who have been so supportive and enormously enthusiastic about this trip. There are facebook friends that I haven't exchanged 3 words with in years, who are suddenly hanging on every update and even telling their friends about my adventure. And those who have always been close friends who are now closer for having shared this experience with me.
It is so great that this reaches so many people, and speaks so deeply to their sense of adventure. Many people have said 'thank you' to me for taking them along with me on this trip vicariously through my updates and pictures. To that I say both 'you are welcome' and a return 'thank you' for taking me into your world and experiencing it with me. This was a lonely ride without my friends, but while I was taking you across the country with me, you were keeping me with you back home as well. 

And finally, thank you to everyone who has been reading this blog and sharing in the experience through my words and my pictures. The people I know as well as all of you who have found this blog other ways; it has been a pleasure and privilege to invite you into my world to share this trip with you. I have enjoyed your feedback, comments, and questions along the way. It makes me extremely happy that you have enjoyed my colorful and occasionally dramatic prose, and that you come back to keep reading.

When I started off writing this blog, I knew I wasn't going to write every day. That's what I did the 'Daily G/B/U' updates for. I didn't want the pressure or obligation to write every day, but more than that, I wanted to tell stories when I felt I had stories to tell. 
Thank you for sharing in those stories, and giving me an audience to share them with. I'll post at least once more after I dip my wheel in the Pacific, and maybe more still, if/when I have a story to tell.

So, until then, thank you with all my heart for following along and sharing in my adventure.