Saturday, January 3, 2009

I Am Home In Cary North Carolina! - Summary Post

NOTE: This post was originally published on January 3rd 2009. I have just updated it a year later with some final thoughts at the bottom of this post.

I slept in late today (8:30) as there is no more riding - wow! George, Tim, and DT were all up and wanted to go get a good hot breakfast prior to us driving up to North Carolina. We called Kevin & Theresa who were out walking on the beach and reflecting back on their awesome accomplishment of riding nearly a thousand miles or 1/3 of the country. They were also superior Sherpas and will surely get strong recommendations from Carl and I for future customers. Kevin and Theresa were hungry and quickly hustled back to the hotel to fill their tanks with the rest of us guys. We all walked 4 blocks up the street and enjoyed a fabulous brunch at a trendy little cafe. We had made to order omelets, blueberry and strawberry pancakes, bacon, sausages, fried potatoes, soup, salad, pastries, and much more. They also had fresh gourmet coffee which was the best that I have had for weeks. We all agreed it would be our last BIG meal as we now need to start backing down on our food intake. We stuffed ourselves and then walked back to the motel to pack the Mean Green Machine into George's truck and all of my gear. Wilson rode in the back seat with me and we both began reflecting back at the incredible adventure that we just completed with great friends. We took our last pictures, said our last goodbyes, gave big hugs, and then gave one final waive and thumbs up to each other. I will see Kevin and Theresa soon but for Carl, it was a tougher goodbye. I am sure we will stay in touch and get together again in the future.

The drive in the truck north was harder on my body than any of my 41 days of biking. It took over 9 hours as we had some heavy traffic around Jacksonville plus Tim needed to stop all of the time for bio breaks. The banter in the truck between George, Tim, DT, and I was worthy of a U-Tube video but none of us thought to record it. It was almost as good as the trash talking that went on during the rides with Kevin, Theresa, Carl, and I on a daily basis. Tim drove the first half and then was evicted from the front seat by DT and was replaced by George after lunch at Ruby Tuesdays to bring us home safely. DT talked a lot but never drove a mile of the whole trip. Tim said DT is the best back seat driver he has ever seen. All of these guys gave up a big chunk of their weekend to share my ride completion, celebrate my success last night, and bring me home. They are great friends but somehow I have to believe they will want something in return down the road :-)

**** This final paragraph was added to this post on 12/29/09 - just about a year after I finished my journey. I never got back into this blog to provide my summary thoughts as promised. So, now is the time after a year of reflection!

I will never forget my ride across the country for many reasons. First of all, it was an awesome physical challenge. The changing scenery across all those states was amazing and very diverse from those big mountain passes out of San Diego, to high desserts, to scaling the Southern Rockies, to swamp lands, to the warm flats leading into St Augustine. But most of all, I will remember all of the great folks that provided support and encouragement to me the entire way. Kevin & Teresa Smit and Carl Barry really made my last 2 weeks a blast by joining me along the route. We had so much fun! My parents joined me (big surprise) for several days in Texas and spoiled me rotten. The were awesome Sherpas as were Kevin & Teresa! Special thanks to George, DT, and Tim (who also published a book from my blog) for the finish line party and driving me back from St Augustine to Raleigh. Carrying the Spot GPS tracking system allowed everyone to participate and track my every mile which was really cool. I loved everyone's posts on my blog site and personal emails that found my BBerry. I continue to get asked on a frequent basis about my trip and cite stories about my adventure to anyone who gets around me.

I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had the time and money and would drag others along to share in the fun. I sometimes look back at all my pictures and still can't believe I really did this!!! Thanks to my family for allowing me the chance to take this on and a final THANK YOU to everyone who followed me or helped me along the way.

In case you are wondering, I have not ridden my mean green machine since I completed my trek but have ridden thousands of miles on my racing bikes and contine to ride as often as I can. I am making plans to hopefully ride from southern France to the northern Spanish coast during the summer of 2010 (is only 500 miles) or do the ride across Iowa with Kevin & Teresa and my biking buddies from our cycling group. Hopefully Carl will join the group in Iowa as well.

See you on the roads!

Gotta Roll....... Steve

Day 42 - Friday, January 2

Description: Completed the 57 mile ride in St. Augustine Beach - in the Atlantic Ocean. This COMPLETES my entire cross country trek.

I slept in late today until almost 7. Breakfast was at 7:30 in the Quality Inn restaurant. Kevin and I had pancakes and sausages, Theresa had eggs, toast, and fried potatoes. Carl had biscuits and fried potatoes. We all enjoyed fresh coffee to wash all of the grease down the hatch. After breakfast we all packed up and then Kevin drove to St. Augustine to drop the van and ride back toward us. Theresa, Carl, and I were slow to start and did not get rolling until 9 am. We rode up the St Johns river bridge and stopped for several pictures of the great scenery. Once over the bridge, we turned north out of E. Polatka and followed the river. We rode through lots of potato and cabbage farms and very flat roads. The wind was very favorable and helped us along our path most of the day. Just out of E. Polatka, we came across Wilson Farms which we all suspected was the birth place of Wilson and Mini-Me (see pics on blog). Then we got lost in the farm fields just outside of Hastings. We spoke with a local jogger and he got us back on the correct trail. We stopped in Hastings for a bio break and some donuts from a gas station. Then we pressed on and rode up rt 13 toward Racy Point and Riverdale. Kevin rode extremely hard and caught up with us just prior to Racy Point. There was a local RC airplane club having fun flying their planes in a farm field which provided some brief entertainment. We were all moving real slow and enjoying the river views and beautiful homes along our path. We rode through potato and cabbage farms and were enjoying the warm breeze at our backs. We then stopped at a small gas station store in Molasses Junction for a bio break and a sugar hit. After the break we got on our bikes and were ready to finish our final 15 miles to the beach. Then this guy walked up with a tee shirt that said "Cutters" on the front. I asked him if this had anything to do with the Breaking Away movie (remember, we watched this one XMas evening) and he said yep. He went on to say that he is the coach of the Cutters team from Blooming ton IL and they are from the University of Illinois. He went on to say the team was training in Florida for the upcoming annual race in April. We were all stunned and did not believe what he was saying. Then he said the team is just down the road and heading our way. We still could not believe this guy until the team showed up. They all signed Wilson and posed for pictures which was way cool. They were pumped by all the attention. The Cutters team was going to do a 1 mile time trial and the coach invited me to join them. I got all excited and was thinking of going for it on Theresa's carbon bike and taking on these college boys. Only problem was time as they had to map out the course and get ready for the time trial. It was going to take more time than we had so we regretfully said our goodbyes and moved on. I could not believe the extreme coincidence of meeting these guys on the road and this was a major highlight of my trip. From Molasses Junction, Kevin and Theresa let Carl and I lead the ride into St. Augustine as it was "our day" according to them. We stopped at the St Augustine city limit sign to take pictures. At this point, I called George, Tim, and DT who were driving down I-95 from Raleigh to help celebrate with us. They were just 30 minutes away so we planned out a meeting point just outside of the beach. We met at a bar and had a round to kick off the final mile to the beach. Then we rode to the beach and "officially" consummated the completion of our ride by dipping our front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean with lots of cameras documenting the event. I was very pumped up and so was Carl. We actually rode our bikes into the ocean! After the ceremony, we checked into a hotel room to clean up and prepare for our celebration. We then toasted the accomplishment with sparking wine and Knob Creek before dinner. We then walked next door to a seafood restaurant for dinner. We had an amazing blowout dinner that included steamed oysters, spicy shrimp, fried calamari for appetizers and then had entrees. I had pan seared tuna and just about everyone else had grouper. Desert was cherry cheesecake for me and Kevin which was terrific and others had key lime pie which was fair - at best. Overall this place was excellent and we had a great time on their outdoor patio. It was a perfect ending to my trip to be with such good friends. Special thanks go to Kevin, Theresa, Carl, George, DT, and Tim for making my final day a big event.

This is my final daily post but I plan to have one final post in a few days that will reflect back on my trip and provide some thoughts on my high points, things that worked well, and things that did not. I will also post my last few day's pictures and add some comments to them as well when I get some time.

Tomorrow, I will pack up and drive back home with George, DT, and Tim. I do plan to ride with the Rose's and the Thorn's on Sunday morning if anyone shows up at Bruggers. Kevin and Theresa will be heading down to Ocala to pick up his mother and bring her up to North Carolina. Carl will be hanging out for another week waiting for his girlfriend Karen to arrive from Long Beach California and then they will take a vacation down to the Keys.

Thanks to every one who has tracked my adventure and for providing daily encouragement through your many posts to my blog site. This has been an incredible adventure and one I will never forget. Special thanks go out to my Sherpa support team that consisted of my parents, Theresa, and Kevin. I won't say that I could not have done it without them but I will admit they made my trip 1,000 times more enjoyable. Carl has also been a welcome addition to my adventure and we have become great friends over the last several weeks. His perspective and witty humor fit perfectly in with Theresa, Kevin, and me.

Good night!

Weather: The weather was perfect today for my final ride to the east coast. It started with a warm 58-60 degree morning and warmed up to a nice 70 degree day with partly cloudy skies for most of the day and a great tail wind. The wind gods were very generous to us today.

Performance Metrics:

Miles: 57 Trip: 2,981
Total travel time: 7:00 Trip: 213:30
Bike Riding time: 4:12 Trip: 239:05
Avg speed: 13.60 Trip: 12.99
Max speed: 35.12 Trip: 41.87
Total ascent (ft): 208 Trip: 62,620
Avg pedal RPMs: 77 Trip: 85
Avg heart rate: 85 Trip: 108
Max heart rate: 153 Trip: 195
Calories burned: 3,502 Trip: 180,792

Weather Statistics:

High temp: 71 Trip: 77
Low temp: 58 Trip: 27
Hours of rain: 0 Trip: 13:30
Hours of snow: 0 Trip: 0
Total days of rain/snow: 3
Wind factor: Very Favorable - finally
Total good wind days: 15
Total bad wind days: 26

Misc. Stats:

Flat tires: 0 Total: 11
Mechanical failures: 0
Hotel or camping today: hotel - Regency Inn and Suites
Total hotel nights: 40
Total camping nights: 2
Cups of coffee: 2 Trip: 126
Pints: 4 Trip: 82

Mood rating (1-10): 10+. I have completed my ride with great friends and beautiful weather today. I am glad the ride is over but will surely miss this way of living.

Friday, January 2, 2009

We made it

I made it. All that is left is to celebrate.

Hello Atlantic Ocean!

Carl and I have officially completed our treks across this BIG country! More details later.... Oh, and special thanks to George, Tim, and DT for coming down to celebrate with us and to drag me home.


OK ESN:0-7458562

This is Steve and I am checking in to let everyone know that I have finished my ride for the day safe and sound.
Nearest Location: Pope Rd, St. Augustine Beach, FL, US
Distance: 0 km(s)
Time:01/02/2009 13:11:15 (US/Pacific),-81.2657&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1

The Breaking Away champs. The Cutters. You have to watch the Breaking Away movie to understand this post.

Ohh so close to the beach and the end.

I found the birthplace of Wilson and MiniMe

My final route map. We will start late and enjoy the day.