In 2017, I cycled across the country starting with 12 men, ending with just 8, and writing about our adventures daily. To read the daily blow by blow of this adventure, use this link: 9/21/2017 Southern Tier Transcontinental Cycling Tour . To navigate to the next or previous blog post, look for the tiny “NEXT” and “PREVIOUS” links that follow the “Published by Eileen Hardy” paragraph at the bottom of each page.
Since 2008, I have been on the Race Across America crews for a British ultra cyclist, Mark Pattinson, and a few other ultra cyclist friends. During each race, as we slowly crossed the country, there was a LOT of time for conversation. Most of the crew members met on various forms of the Pac Tour, a 27 day cross country ride run by a couple of famous ultra cyclists, Lon Haldeman and Susan Notorangelo. Over the years, I can’t tell you how many times members of the crew encouraged me to “do” the Pac Tour. So I started training for it in October of 2016, following the carefully prepared training plans provided by my brother-in-law, Charlie Combs, an ultra cycling expert who had offered to do the ride with me.
After a few months of training, I became painfully aware of the fact that both of my wrists have carpel tunnel issues and would not tolerate the level of daily mileage the Pac Tour calls for. I also became aware of the fact that for me, the ride would be a 27-day suffer-fest. It would have been an epic accomplishment, but not an enjoyable one. Me? I need time off the bike to enjoy scenery, food and people. So I went looking for an alternate way to cross the country on a bike and found one. The non profit Adventure Cycling Association has established bike routes throughout the country to promote safe travel by bike, and offer organized tours of many of their routes. An organised tour of their Southern Tier Route looked like the perfect fit for me.
Rolling the clock forward, on September 12, 2017, a dozen other cyclists and I converged on Point Loma, in San Diego, California, loaded up our bikes with tents, sleeping bags, extra clothing, hygiene supplies, tools, shared cooking supplies, and whatever else we deemed necessary, and embarked on a self contained 63-day bike tour that covered over 3160 miles. Beginning at the Pacific Ocean in San Diego and ending at the Atlantic Ocean in Florida, this “insane odyssey”, as one of the riders aptly named it, began.
[To read the daily blow by blow of this adventure from the beginning, use this link: 8/23/18 Canada to Mexico Solo Tour. To navigate to the next or previous blog post, look for the tiny “NEXT” and “PREVIOUS” links that follow the “Published by Eileen Hardy” paragraph at the bottom of each page.]
Here is our initial itinerary: