Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Mile To Ride Before Sleep

Saturday, November 3, 2012

3 Months Later

3 months. Incredible. I imagine shortly I will be talking about this in terms of years. I still miss it as hard as some days were. I miss the people. The journey and adventures. The group suffering. It made us become close quickly. But now we are spread across the country (and around the world), and I feel like I lost some of my closest friends, but that's not true. Kristina reminded me the dynamic has only changed, but I've been thinking the hardest part of Bike & Build is no longer doing Bike & Build. So many things remind me of it. Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros is playing on my Pandora station right now. Ugh. I went back to sleeping on my therm-a-rest. My bed was uncomfortable so I did what I knew from this summer. Two months later, I am still sleeping solid. There is usually something major every week that reminds me of summer.

The Bike & Build blues can get you down, but there are bigger and better things. It was the most absurd time of my life, so it's hard to imagine what will top it. Natalie, one of the program directors, rode with us the first and last few days of the trip. She gave a short speech about four miles before we reached the Pacific. I don't remember what all was said, but she told us to not let our summer be it for us. Rather, go on and do big things. Jay ate his first PB&J right there.

I am trying to figure out what that means for me. My professor posed a strange but interesting question to me last week. "Do you want to help one person, or do you want to help millions?" He says he can give any of his students a proven method to become a millionaire/billionaire, but I ask myself, "Is money the answer?" Investing time in people does a lot of good things. Maybe there's a balance. I digress.

I made a video. Natalie is the last rider you see. That would have been day 2 or 3 in Florida.

I did P90X starting back in January, so I have some of my body measurements to compare to after Bike & Build. Full disclosure: I only completed 45 days of P90X. I just retook some of the measurements tonight to compare. I've cycled only about 250 miles since August 3 (yikes!). My chest and hips are about the same. I gained an inch on my waist. I actually lost an inch on my thighs, but they are certainly stronger and more defined. I lost half an inch on my right bicep and a full inch on my left. My weight immediately before and after Bike & Build was about the same. That was one of my biggest concerns, truthfully.

My biggest concern I didn't have was highway riding. I kept all my cue sheets from this summer and was curious as to how many miles we rode on them. This was my biggest (perhaps, unfounded) expectation that was not met. I thought we'd be mostly on country roads. To be fair, many of the highways were low traffic and had decent shoulders. However, some were downright terrifying (particularly in New Mexico) when you look up and realize the speed limit is 75 or there are literally a dozen crosses on the side of the road showing where a drunk driving collision occurred. Many times the highway was the only available road. Same story for the interstates (it's legal for bicycles in some states).

We rode 1505.2 miles (36.59%) on US highways, and 137.3 miles (3.34%) on interstates. I actually felt a lot safer on the interstates than most of the highways -- ten foot shoulder and rumble strips make for a nice barrier between you and the cars. I write this not to scare anyone away from biking across the country, but to set up a proper expectation.

Additionally, if you're looking to do Bike & Build, the route on may change a few times. SUS changed three times by our first biking day with the following mileages: 3921, 3988, 3993. Now the web site sits SUS at 4035. It probably won't change too much as long as we left a good impression on all those who hosted us this last summer.

$1413.22 is the updated cost of my summer = $17.66/day. And the reason I remember visiting DQ and McDonald's more than my receipts is because we got so much donated.

Fun fact: I used over 40 ounces of sunblock last summer. 3 applications per day of SPF 50 looks like this: