OK the first trip is in the books and I've gotten a lot of questions so here's a couple answers and a long video recap of me trying to take a picture every 15 minutes or so. I know it's 17 minutes long and doesn't really look like I did much of anything but 6 weeks in 17 minutes is hard to convey all the challenges. As I watched it a couple times, I did start to remember how tough the first 3 weeks really were.
So here's some of the Frequently Asked Questions....
Is my butt sore?
Not really and never really was. Remember I'm used to sitting all the time anyway the past 25 years in an office, so that was all about the same. The only butt issue I needed to worry about is rubbing and chaffing and I had special lotion I rubbed on myself to help with that. If you need help with where that is because you are getting into biking, just ask me and I'll get you the specifics, but it's right where you think probably. I had a couple days where I'd run out, but I had lower miles those days and it didn't get too bad.
What was the worst day?
Most everyday had 30-40 "hard/worst" miles in it the first 4 weeks, but, probably June 6 Camp Wood TX to Kerrville TX 90 miles was one of the harder ones. Heat, 10% climbs ( walking of course, 3-4 of those, an early before dawn day to get going, heat, 11 hours long, heat, and 10 miles of city traffic to finish.
What was the best day?
Besides the last day and finishing and seeing the family, obviously that's the best day.. I still have to go with the 2 monster climb day to Emory Pass and the decent on June 1, 79 miles Silver City to Caballo Lake. 6 hours to climb the mountain and 1 1/2 hours of down hill and down wind to get to Caballo Lake NM. The beauty of the climb was easily the scenery and the route through the mountain. I still remember racing down the mountain and across the desert with a tail wind all alone for 20 miles seeing the end in sight. That was a good, good ride where I knew I survived the hardest 10 days of the trip and physically I was still standing (pedaling).
Who was the most interesting person?
There were many, but Randy in Salome AZ stands out for some reason. He was pretty much the first on one the trip I called to set something/anything up to sleep. I was a bit nervous about where I was going to end up that night. He didn't have a room, but wanted to make sure I was taken care of because he cared about the bikers. And he was a Rock Star ( ok, he supported the rock stars) but I could listen and ask guys like that questions all day long. His tour badges were a really cool thing to see and hear about.
Didn't you get bored?
At times in the day, yes, but mostly no. Lets face it the scenery changes every 200 yards or so on this kind of trip. It's not like I rode 2500 mile on a velodrome track. There were times when the road was 30 miles long, straight and flat where I thought I was a hamster on a wheel. The days, hours and minutes though pretty much required focus and concentration to make sure the path was right and road debris didn't get you. So, nope I really didn't get bored.
How did you stay motivated?
I did want to write about a topic, but it never fit in there. I mostly convinced myself I was an Individual Athlete and this was my job. I was obviously not an athlete for money or fame or world records, but it was my job to do this day in and day out. I think that we all forget that for each of the "superstar" athletes we all see and hear about and know that they make tons of money, there are probably 100-200 athletes just like them that we don't know about that have put in just as many years, weeks, days and hours to be as good as they can be at doing one specific thing ( golf, tennis, biking, or really any sport). All those "others" probably just make a "decent" living but they've committed probably the same amount of time to get there. There's just a half a step here or split second there that separates them from the superstars.
Anyway, I was an athlete for 6 straight weeks, full time. It was awesome, it was fun, but I can't imagine doing it for 10, 15, 25 years of my life day in and day out. So I think much of my motivation was that I had a 6 week contract with myself to do as much as I could with this adventure. But I can't imagine what the "real" athletes go through to stay motivated and I appreciate even more what all of them have done ( likely their entire life) to do what they need to do to be competitive and make a "decent" living. I think athletes deserve every dollar they make.
Do you regret taking the train?
Sure we all have regrets after we get through challenges, but I've always kept the perspective of "Did I make a good decision in the moment?" is what really matters. Whether it was the train, whether it's a parenting decision, or whether it's a business decision, the only regrets should be when I know I should have made a better decision in the moment. The Train ride was the right decision at that time. The next 400 miles was desolate, out of cell range, HOT, and would have caused me much more stress that I really thought, at the time, could have kept me from finishing, so no regrets, its was a good decision at that very moment. Could I have done it, most likely? Did it change my whole experience of the trip, probably not at all.
Can anyone do this?
OK, that's not really been asked, but it's my statement/question back to everyone. The answer is YES anyone can do this. It may not be all the way across the country, it may not be with all the gear, it may be a little at a time, but I really do believe anyone can do this activity. Come on, we've all been riding a bike for like forever. This is just a little different way to go about it, but you're still just pedaling! Get out there and do something it doesn't have to be on a bike, just get away from the cable TV and do something. It's going to be much more rewarding than not.
Would you do it again?
Absolutely, without a doubt! As a matter of fact 2 trips are already on the drawing board :). I can't imagine not doing this more really. There may be some changes on how it's done and not alone, but it's the coolest way to spend 3 days, 7 days, 2-3 weeks or even 3 months. Any amount of time for anyone would be rewarding. It's great physical exercise, it's a great way to see the country, and it's a great way to just get out there and experience the people and the beauty of the country.
So until the next trip... thanks everyone for:
1) Following along on the blog, it sounded like it was worth clicking on your book marks and following along.
2) Sending me a quick email or a quick text or a comment on the blog ( if you could figure out how to post) along the way. It really didn't take much more than a quick "way to go, keep it up you're doing great" to keep me pedaling each day.
Thanks again Jim Peters for taking care of Pavin' The Way and supporting this trip from the very first time I brought it up.
Thanks again Pavin and Creean for taking care of yourselves!
Thanks Kelly for being the best wife/spouse/partner ever. I know this was harder on you than it was on me. You're the best.