The Challenge of a Cross Country Bike Trip
My daughter asked if I would bike across the US with her. I’m impulsive so I jumped at the chance to spend time with her as well as to have a great adventure. But I had no idea what lay ahead. Lots of training, finding a sponsor to help make the dream come true. And researching how to bike across America. But we soon discovered the Trans America Bicycling Trail along backroads mapped by the American Cycling Association.
The “Athlete” Within
Many nights I woke up at 3 a.m. and my bravado gave way to fear — of trucks running us down, injuries, arguments and the enormity of the project. Was I up to this? Would I be able to get in shape? I was in my mid-fifties after all. I hadn’t competed in an athletic event for 25 years. After my daughters were born I slowed down. When the dog got old, I quit jogging and when the dog died my workouts dwindled. I let go of the “athlete” within me.
For several months I didn’t tell anyone about the bike trip and I wrestled with the idea in my mind. Slowly I made a firm commitment to myself. When I shared my thoughts with my husband he asked, “Are you sure?” I could see he was frightened about our safety.
That was six months before departure day. I immediately jumped into action.
How long will a TransAmerica Bike Trip take?
At least two months.
Planning helped a lot. First I bought the specialized bikes and bikers maps. Next I engaged the professional services of a high performance (triathelite) trainer who put me on a rigorous training and nutrition schedule.
Slowly I built up my endurance and confidence, beginning with slow rides on flat terrain, and eventually pedaling 50+ miles in a day; day-after- day.
Next I started to tell all our friends.
My daughters believed I could do it and so did the super guy I married 25 years ago. I had to believe it myself.
One day as I looked in the mirror, I realized something had changed. Of course I’d lost about five pounds. As the person in the mirror stared back, I said out loud, “Hot damn, you’re an athlete now.” It felt good to work out, be disciplined and move toward fulfilling the athletic zenith of my life. I relaxed and began sleeping through the night.
Later we contacted the National Osteoporosis Foundation and found a sponsor. We raised $1 per mile we rode for Bone Health education. $52,000 total in three months.
When you can discipline yourself…Remember: There is more strength and discipline within you…than any obstacle you many have to overcome.