Bike Day 1 thru 46 is the story of the most awesome adventure of my 33 years. Cross Country Craziness was a self supported 46 day 3400 mile 2 man cross country bike ride from Arlington VA to Cayucos CA. Epic!
I would like to dedicate my bike blog to Jacob, an outstanding teammate and partner. While Jacob could have done this trip solo, I, on the other hand, would never have made it passed the first flat without him. Jacob, please read and re-read our blog and re-live our adventures…until next time!
I sincerely appreciate the up-to-the-minute support I received through facebook, email, texts and blog responses. Thank you thank you thank you! It felt so good to know my friends and family remembered to miss me. I missed you all terribly.
I hope the blog may inspire other single 30-somethings to try the crazy route instead of the ordinary. Normal is perfectly boring. When opportunity knocks, please punch through the door and jump into its arms. It’s worth it.
“Why the heck did you do this?”
Cycling across the country had been Jacob’s dream since he was 14 years old. We started riding together 7 years ago. During our very first week of partner rides, Jacob began casually mentioning… “Robin, when we go cross country together, blah blah blah”. Out loud I’d reply “Yeah that’s great!” while in my head my reply was “Riiiiight…this dude is NUTS!” After a short hiatus from biking together, Jacob met me for drinks at Crios in Dupont. “This is the year, Robin”, he said. “My doc gave me the go-ahead and he said it needs to be sooner rather than later – now or maybe never”. Jacob’s broken back will eventually need surgery but he wanted to do the ride first. Since we hadn’t been riding together in months, the trip really wasn’t on my radar… plus it was always imaginary anyway, right? We said goodbye after drinks and I wished him the best of luck on his “solo ride”. I then called him the next day with “If this is real, I’m IN”. “Woohoo!”
Bike Day 0
The day before the ride my excitement turned into nervous anticipation, turned into doubt, turned into cold feet, turned into trepidation, turned into fear.
Jacob came over to my house and we fully packed our bikes for the first time. Even after paring down supplies, they were filled to the brim and heavy. Like 100lbs heavy. Jacob bought banana-holders. This was the cause of my first “in my head” nervous mini-freak-out. Dude, we are going mucho miles and every ounce counts, and you want to carry an awkwardly sized plastic banana holder? Just eat the banana! I didn’t mention this freak-out to him. Instead I smiled and said “Thanks man, but I’m gonna leave my banana-holder behind”. After we stuffed supplies on the bike I said “See ya tomorrow J”, and I took the bike out for a test ride. I struggled to balance the weight of the bike as I walked it to the back door and past my roommate Matt, who then said “Hey, looks like you need some help”. Ummmm, “Matt, I CAN’T have help! This will be six weeks with no help!” I barely made it out the door and down the stairs, somehow got myself onto the bike and pulled out of the driveway. It wasn’t the easiest bike to ride with all of the weight, but it was much easier than walking the bike. 5 minutes later, I blew a tube. I came back inside and had my second “in my head” freak-out. This one not-so-mini. What if I pop a tube every 5 minutes on the ride? We’re never going to make it. We are going to be failures! I called Jacob and he reassured me. “Don’t worry, I can come over in a few hours and I’ll fix it”. After about a minute of a physical freak-out, running-around frantically with manic tears in my eyes, I texted him with “I’m freaking out here”. Immediately he texted back “I’ll be there in 10 minutes”. Jacob talked me off the ledge and fixed the flat like a bike doctor, all the while explaining what went wrong and how it’ll be ok. “See you at 6am!”
Mom and Dad took me to Mussel Bar, a brand new restaurant in walking distance of my house, for my last supper. I made a last minute stop at CVS for ponytail holders and feminine hygiene products before meeting them. I ordered a nice glass of Sav Blanc, a big salad and an order of mussels. Mom gave me a St Christopher Medal “to protect travelers” and I wore it the entire trip. I forgot to buy a small comb for my hair – no such thing as hair brushes “on the road”, so Dad gave me his plastic comb that he always has handy from his breast pocket. I was all set!
Before bedtime, I talked with my roommates Melinda and Chris. I told them “I think this is what cold feet feels like. I’m having cold feet”. Then I rationalized it in my head “Hey it is just 6 weeks, not a lifetime, and I’m not MARRYING Jacob… Ok, I’m good”.
My 5:15a wake-up call came way too soon. I got up, took a good shower, ate a warm breakfast, hugged my roommates “Goodbye forever!” and fought my bike out the door in the dark. Melinda biked with me to the part of the W&OD trail that goes under the route 50 bridge. Jacob and I call it “The Bridge” and we start all of our long rides from that exact spot. Jacob wasn’t there to greet me. This was weird since Jacob literally always beats me to the meeting point. Not to worry, he was 5 minutes late but he made it. Mom gave me a coffee mug for the road – our bikes had coffee-holders! Melinda and mom took a bunch of pictures in the dark and we biked west to the horizon. Friday morning commuters asked us “Where you headed?” “CALIFORNIA!!!!”