On November 9, there will be a race in Charlotte worth checking out. The 3-2-1 Dash for Down Syndrome will be presented by the Down Syndrome Association of Charlotte. There will be two finish lines, the first at 3.1 miles and then another at 3.21 miles. The goal is to raise funds for scientific research and to raise public awareness. Part of my job as wellness coordinator at Partners in Learning is to raise the quality of life for staff and students. I don’t usually promote Charlotte races but this race certainly has wonderful goals and has touched my heart. The race website is www.dashfordownsyndrome.racesonline.com
Today is 2 weeks after discovery of the brain tumor and 3 weeks after discovery of the blood clot. The clot in my leg is being treated and hopefully will soon be gone. The treatment for the brain tumor is still to be decided. I feel great and my running is back somewhat. I have not been pushing the pace but had 51 miles last week. Lots of good doctors and good medicine along with prayers and thoughts by so many great people. Thanks to everyone.
In the past week, I have focused on the return to my normal daily life. After 54 days of excitement, adventure and physical challenge, I will admit that I already miss the intensity of my daily ride across America. I will also admit to being overwhelmed and humbled by the huge turnout at our reception at the Post on Wednesday night. It was great to meet all of you, and it was a night that I will cherish forever. Nothing is better than the knowledge that so much of Rowan Country was riding along with me. 4,164 miles, now complete. Thanks for the messages and inspiration to keep going.
There are three quotes that stand out easily from the ride so far. Here they are: 1. I stopped at a convenience store late one evening. The lady in the store told me about the towns coming up. About one, she said ” they have a real town, with a McDonalds and everything.” 2. When asking directions one day, I got the following reply. ” you need to go see this guy’s castle. It is only 10 or 12 miles out of the way.” 3. I had to talk to a helpline concerning camping in Yellowstone. I told him I was a cyclist and it was 4 PM, and I needed to find available camping close by and be heading that way. His response was, “So what is is the length of your RV?”
So far, nothing has been tougher than battling the wind in Kansas. Most of the time it has been in my face, and on the one day, the constant roar was almost overwhelming. The heat isn’t so bad, especially if you can stay hydrated and cover the miles very early. After a couple of days of getting caught in both, it was easy to see that pre-dawn starts would help a lot. Cold never became an issue if I could keep my hands and fingers warm. Rain is almost pleasant especially when it is hot. I do need to work on getting more sleep, especially with getting on the road at 5. No matter, the adventure seems to override these issues.
When the trip started, I worried for the first 2 weeks about cold, rain and wind. It was so cold on one particular morning that I couldn’t feel my fingers. Just 5 days ago, I left Alma, Colorado with temps in the 40′s. Very quickly, it has become a blast furnace. This same western Kansas area gets zero weather in the winter, and over 100 regularly for the late May through September time period. Seeing and taking to the people show me how hardy they are. The biting fly thing is evidently limited to a certain area. Once again, I find more and more reasons to be happy that I live where I do.
So far, most of the cyclists are riding standard bikes. Most of them are loaded down with 4-6 bags, attached to the frame. I am only carrying two, plus a light backpack. Close behind in the style of bikes is the recumbent kind. There are a lot of them, and I am amazed at how well they seem to go up hills. Next would be tandem bikes, in two different styles. One is the common kind, with both people sitting upright on the double standard bike frame. I have seen a few double recumbents. The oddest bike, and I have seen two of these, is with the front person riding in a recumbent, and a standard bike mounted on the back somehow.
All the time that I was planning the trip, I thought I knew what it would be about. I just met the Van Lues from Kremmling, Colorado today and met Bret Sutton yesterday just out of Saratogo after we both watched the Fourth of July parade. As I near half way on this adventure, I realize more that there have been so many great people that I met over the first four weeks. There is no way that I will try to list them because I would for sure leave someone out. Many people have gone out of their way to make things easier for me, and I appreciate that very much. Can’t wait to see who else crosses my path the rest of the way. No doubt, the trip is about the people.
I am about to leave Wyoming over the next day or two, and 40% of my ride will be compete. For me, it is hard to believe. There have been lots of ups and downs. I anticipated Yellowstone as a highlight, and had never heard of the Wind River Canyon. I know that much of Wyoming has no cell phone coverage, and lots of people get by with 5-12 TV channels. I have heard many tales of 40 below winter days. Another absolutely beautiful state will be behind me, and now it is on to Colorado. Can’t wait to see it. With all of this said, I have learned to never pass up a good tailwind! It is a huge gift. Days will come when I have to face a brutal wind, but that makes taking advantage of a good tailwind all that more important.
I am constantly asking for information while on this trip. I don’t want to make wrong turns, or doubt myself on the effort needed. Here is what happened when I had to climb the Virginia City hill. I asked at the visitor center and was told by the woman that it was 2 miles, the guy said 3, and the guy at the campground said 7. It turned out to be 2 1/2 to the top. The map I am using constantly gives alternate routes, and I have taken 3 of them so far. I usually ask first. All have been terrible choices. Because of that, I am taking on tomorrow’s hill directly. I will let you know how that turns out.