I was incredibly honored to be featured on Fox 17 News (WZTV Nashville) tonight… It was an awesome experience working with Eric Alvarez – so talented, creative, and personable. He captured my message and upcoming mission beautifully. —> View My Segment <—
Less than 2 days remain before I head to Virginia and begin this grueling, yet glorious cycling journey across America. It will be a privilege to honor my fallen Brothers and Sisters and I will pour my body and soul into this journey in order to represent my fellow Veterans and make them proud.
I’ll be blogging regularly and opening up quite a bit via my “Updates & Blog” page, as well as my AVC Facebook Page. If by taking on this journey and being vocal about my own issues results in even ONE Veteran not feeling alone – or inspires ONE Veteran to power through another day rather than end their own life: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Less than 3 weeks before I begin cycling across America. I’ve been training like crazy, practicing inclines with traffic on the Natchez Trace Parkway, and doing timed speed cycling on the Music City Bikeway. It’s coming down to the wire. I couldn’t be more excited!!
Almost all of my gear has come in and I had a fun time laying everything out and going through it over the weekend. I ordered my Giro Clip-In Shoes and Pedals – they should be here early next week. Apparently, they are a necessity on long tours so you can pull up on the pedal as well as push down. I hear they take some getting used to, so I’m anxious for them to arrive.
This past Sunday, Stephannie met with me for a 4 hour, hands-on repair and maintenance class at Halcyon Bike Shop. As I type this, I still cannot even believe how much I learned… I now feel completely confident in changing my tires and tubes, removing damaged chain links and repairing my chain, replacing wheel spokes, adjusting my brakes, and doing alignments. In FACT, when I got home, my Schwalbe Marathon Tires had come in and I swapped them out my myself in the garage!!! 😀
The Clement X’Plor Tires that came with my Kona were great tires. The handling was amazing. However, after talking to cyclists and researching, the deeper tread would have resulted in heavier resistance on the pavement. Today, I tested out the new Schwalbe Tires, and wow. Noticeably more smooth, and still, the handling felt spot on – even though it had just rained and the pavement was wet. I improved my previous 20-mile time by 4 minutes!!!
On Saturday, I took my Kona Sutra out to the Natchez Trace Parkway (highway 100). I cycled my very first 50 miles in under 4 hours, burning over 3,000 calories. 25 miles out and 25 back, starting at Loveless Cafe. The elevations were formidable. 1-2 mile long inclines, steep descents, but surrounded by the beauty of nature. When things got really hard, I just looked around…
The Trace is a beautiful, mountainous 444-mile stretch, beginning in Natchez, MS and ending near Loveless Cafe, southwest of Nashville, TN. It’s loaded with amazing historical sights, hiking trails, and camp grounds. All the drivers were very courteous and there were many other cyclists out. Can’t wait to go back and take the time to explore off the beaten path a little more…
I am NOT going to try and sound tough and tell you that it was easy. It wasn’t – it was very difficult. This 50 mile ride gave me a small taste of what’s to come, and I have to say – I’m starving for more. I believe this journey will finally force me to tap back into the same facet of myself that the military required. A part of me that has been lying dormant for over a decade. This journey will be eye opening – an awakening.
There are certain skills that the military requires we master. Among these, is taking the slightest indication of defeat and turning it into a tool. Harnessing it, dominating it, translating it into energy – pure, relentless force. When you begin to feel overwhelmed, use it to your advantage. Apply it to your stamina. Use your mind to melt it down into fuel, into rage, into numbness, whatever it needs to be to fill in the gaps between you and wherever you need to be.
…… I’ve missed this ……
It will truly be an privilege to represent my fellow Veterans and honor my Fallen Family by taking on this physically demanding endeavor… As I train, I think about the countless challenges that will surely arise throughout this journey and what it will take to power through them. Turning these feelings into fuel, emotion into momentum… Pouring my mind and body into something that will aggressively fight me back. I cannot wait. And I look forward to taking you all with me… 😉
I pushed really hard today, bringing my 10 mile time down to 33 min. The Music City Bikeway is a great way to build endurance and practice handling. So many hills – and some are pretty darn steep. I’m already thinking ahead to the fact that these hills are nothing compared to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Or the Rocky Mountains… But they will be gorgeous, and the beauty of nature will distract me from my discomforts, just as it always has. <3
Using your legs to power yourself across the U.S. is no vacation, lol. However, one thing I think will be great about cycling rather than driving is the speed. There’ll be a chance to soak in the surroundings and note the details.
The Natchez Trace is a 444-mile National Parkway that runs from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, TN, connecting the Cumberland and Mississippi Rivers. This weekend, I’m taking my Kona Sutra out to the Natchez Trace Parkway. I will ride 50 miles on Saturday, then another 50 miles on Sunday. Time for a real test. Wish me luck. 😉
Thank you all so much again for following my journey, showing your support, and simply believing in me… My coast to coast bike trip will total over 4,300 miles, cross through 10 states and 4 times zones. I want to HONOR my fallen Brothers and Sisters and UNITE my fellow Veterans. I want to experience the country I LOVE and fought for in a way that’s both gratifying and GRUELING. Please share and help spread the word to the Veterans you know and others who might find my Bicycle Journey across America interesting or inspiring. I would love the opportunity to know them and make them proud.
I’ve been hand making custom paracord bracelets to raise funds for my journey. Thank you so very much to everyone that has purchased one so far! Some of your color combinations have been nothing short of legendary. 🙂