Many people ask me why I am doing this ride and the there is not one obvious answer. Part of it is that Janet and I lived overseas for most of the last 12 years I worked for ExxonMobil and since I retired in February 2015 we have really enjoying driving around the US and reconnecting with our country. Also, I wanted to do something big after retirement- and pushing (punishing) my body physically is something I have always enjoyed (I did play rugby for 15 years…). And for the 30 years I was employed by ExxonMobil, while we did have many extraordinary adventures, everything was planned and calendared and my schedule could not accommodate several months of complete flexibility and freedom. Hence, the ride.
My objectives are to visit a bunch of the small towns that make up America and meet the interesting people that live there. To ride slowly (especially through the mountains) through some of the beautiful, rural northern US and enjoy the scenery. And to see how I handle the adversity associated with riding 4,000 miles across mountains and through the inevitable bad weather. I know this will be the hardest thing I have ever done- I am hoping it will be among the most rewarding as well…
Janet does not enjoy punishing her body- as many of you know, she is the smart one in our marriage- so I am doing the ride alone. She has been very supportive and quite involved with planning the ride and we will be in constant communication via FaceTime during the ride. She will be with me at the start in Anacortes, WA, meet me at the middle in Nisswa, MN and meet me again at the end in Fairfield, CT.
I am planning on starting the ride July 16th and have “scheduled” around 70 days to complete it. The 70 days include rest days every 7 to 10 days but do not include any delays due to inclement weather. We have our first grand-baby due mid- October so I will definitely be back in Texas before then! It looks like I will spend about 40% of my nights in small hotels, 40% with the Warm Showers** network and will camp out the remaining 20% as I will not be near any towns.
I have a phenomenal coach (Michael Hagan) who is with TrainingPeaks and thus far I have completed about 2,000 miles of intense interval training in Texas and Florida. June 14th we leave for the mountains of Arizona where I have about one month of rigorous altitude (7,000’ – 9,000’) training. I am pretty confident I will be ready for the ride come mid-July.
**Warm Showers is a reciprocal network of people that have agreed to host cross-country cyclists. In most cases you stay in a spare bedroom, can take a shower and can do laundry, and often have dinner and breakfast with your host(s). Warm Showers hosts seem to be interesting and cool people and I am really looking forward to that part of the adventure. As it is a reciprocal network, Janet and I have joined and are looking forward to hosting our first cyclists.