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The Ride Across America

This has been a “bucket list” item of mine for over 10 years.  Not 10 years in the planning, I just put it on the list about 10 years ago.  Well, this ride, like many bucket list items has a “window of opportunity,” a window which I believe may close sometime after my 60th birthday. 
So, enter Bob McCullough and Joe Geivett, two of my best friends and two guys who also have much longer bucket lists than mine.  They added the RAA to their lists about a year and a half ago.

There are seven fairly well-known routes to ride a bicycle across America.  We are taking the southernmost route (see map below) San Diego, California to St. Augustine, Florida.  We selected this route mainly because of the time of the year we are riding and the weather window that the southern route presents in late August through September.  Our planned dates to ride are September 4th – October 4th.  We will ride an average of about 100 – 110 miles a day.  Depending on which map you look at and the course we ultimately select each day, we will be riding between 2,912 and 3,055 miles in 29 days.  We are weekend riders, not racers but we hope to keep a fairly brisk pace each day.

On this ride we will be supported by Keenan Leary.  Keenan, a recent Occidental College graduate, hopes to work in the cycling industry, perhaps improving on or coming up with new bike related Apps.  We thought the RAA would be a perfect internship and Keenan graciously agreed.  Keenan will be driving Joe’s recently purchased and outfitted Sprinter van (photos below), we haven’t named the van yet but Joe has outfitted it to look like it could be in the next Road Warrior installment.  We will stay in hotels each night and we will also have “guest riders” dropping in, including we hope, Melanie Hoelzle, Shannon Palmer, Eric Pilsk, Jim Flies, Peter Jones and Roy Umlauf!  These riders don’t know it yet but they may be wearing jerseys which say, “Follow Me” on their back …

No bucket list item like the RAA is possible without support, encouragement and permission to go from some very special people; before we embark on this excellent adventure I want to thank the following:  my much better half and soulmate, Nancy, and my son Jack, for allowing me this time to check off this bucket list item.  Joe Geivett and Bob McCullough (and Gwen and Marta for allowing their boys to attend), my Shareholders for allowing me this time off, Carol, Laura, Karin, Pam, Grant, Marty and Roy, for holding the fort down while I am away.  And also Matt, Charlie, Will, Miles, Stephanie, Stephen and Nick for covering our cases while I am away.

I also want to thank the Columbia Athletic Club (“CAC”) for supporting their members’ fitness goals and for training me up.  (Heather, Kim, Malia, Betsy and Joy, thanks to you all!)  Thanks also to Sue Dowling and Allen Oskoui for graciously sponsoring us with really cool Columbia Athletic riding kits and additional riding wear.  This gift and “sponsorship” came out of the blue and is over the top – thank you.  The only problem is that now we will look like we should be riding much faster!

Thanks also to Myk McCarvey and the rest of the guys at Pacific Bike & Ski for getting our bikes in perfect running order for the ride.

Now all we have to do is dip our rear wheel in the Pacific on the 4th of September, plant our sore tired butts in the saddle for 6-10 hours a day for 29 days and then dip our front wheel in the Atlantic!

Joe, Bob and I hope to keep you updated with regular posts and photos.  Thanks to you also for your support, well wishes and encouragement.  CEF

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Day 2

Post by Eric Pilsk:  Day 2 of the RAA was a day of contrasts and surprises.  We started in Pine Valley, CA (note to self for when we do this next time--right like that is going to happen any time soon....anyway, the note, don't end the day in a valley---it just means that you start the next day with a tough climb.) Pine Valley is  just over 4,000 feet and as the sun was rising the temperatures were in the low to mid 40s.  We ended the day after 106 miles at about 100 feet above sea level, after dipping below sea level for a while, with a blazing sun heating up to about 110 and with road temps at 114-115.  We went from shivering to baking over the course of the day.
Among the days surprises were much more climbing in the first 30 miles than we expected, a 10 mile descent on the shoulder of I-8 that was exhilarating and mildly terrifying (high wind warnings for the semi's and a 6% plus down hill grade! Some on the team enjoyed this speedy down hill and in the second segment of a …

Day 1 is Complete!

Thanks very much for following us on this journey across America. Day one began with the ritual of dipping our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean at a "24 hour open beach" in San Diego---who knew beaches had hours?  Thereafter we winded our way through the outskirts of San Diego and got to Highway 80 which took us to Alpine and Pine Valley. Note to self, any town called Alpine is likely in the mountains and is to be avoided when riding your bikein 90 degree weather, with a road temperature of about 96 degrees!

We traversed about 7500' feet of vertical today in about 63 miles. Not the 100 miles a day average we had planned throughout but today's course was a 4.5 on our 1-5 scale of difficulty on our spreadsheet. (We don't have any "5's" because we did not want to get in our heads with the difficulty of a "5" riding day! In hindsight, today was a 5.)
Only one mechanical, a busted gear cable and Kennan was able to rectify the situation in quick fas…