From Cookeville to Atlanta, aka Already?

The ride is officially completed! The coast-to-coast portion concluded in Charleston, South Carolina, where I dipped my wheels into the Atlantic Ocean at Folly Beach, appropriately known as the Edge of America. That wasn’t the end of my journey, though, since I still wanted to ride to Atlanta and conclude at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University.

Oh no! Swallowed by the ocean!

Flashback to April and the unruly waves of the Pacific.

As you can see in the above video, I received an extremely warm welcome at Emory! My sister Cindy had done a lot to spread the word of my arrival. I was humbled to be greeted by the very people I admire, the doctors, nurses, and researchers who work tirelessly at providing the best care for patients in need. As they crowded around me and thanked me for helping raise awareness for bone marrow donation, it was only too obvious to me that they are the ones truly deserving of thanks. I am honored to be able to take part and make a contribution, however small it may be, to their life saving work.

The waves on the Atlantic side were much more cooperative.

The waves on the Atlantic side were much more cooperative.

Somehow, they allowed me to take Lutz up to the bone marrow transplant unit in the hospital! I was introduced to patients and their families, and it was another humbling experience to be included in their battles to regain their health. While I am glad to have had this opportunity to raise awareness for Be the Match and the need for bone marrow donors, I am also constantly thinking about how I could have done things differently, how I could have done just a little bit more to help the cause… well, I guess that just means I’m not done yet! My bike ride may be completed, but the mission, of course, is not. Possibly, given what I’ve learned from the first attempt, I should plan another ride… what do you think?

Oops, should I have provided a spoiler alert at the beginning? Sorry. But yes, in case you haven’t guessed already, the ride is completed safely! However, not everything went to plan. Much of the route was altered along the way. I guess I’ll flashback to how I came to be in Cookeville, Tennesse, which was where I left off the last entry, and retrace my steps back to Atlanta.

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From Denver to Cookeville, aka The Soggy Edge

Post WOD at CrossFit Elizabethtown.

Post WOD at CrossFit Elizabethtown, Kentucky.

Many apologies for not writing more frequently, but such is life on the Soggy Edge.

This post will have to be a bit different from the others. I’m not going to take the time to write about everything that’s happened, so I’ll have to just pull a few select tales. Besides, the chronological travel log style is not really the kind of writing I had hoped for myself, so this will be a break from that.

Also, the heat and humidity and general rugged lifestyle is destroying my electronics. This computer is driving me nuts. I never know where my cursor is and it unexpectedly jumps to random places. And the struggle for decent wifi continues. There will be no uploading of photos, because it drives me to tears. (Update – I’ve now come back and added photos.)

But enough griping. Let’s see what I can do.

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From Cedar City to Denver, aka Up

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant, thanks to a donor in Germany.

Isaiah recovers from his bone marrow transplant at Colorado Children’s Hospital, many thanks to a donor in Germany!

This section of my trip started with lots of climbing, and that was pretty much the theme for the next two weeks or so.

Wednesday June 10th found me in Cedar City, visiting my Cousin Kathy and her two sons. I got going pretty late as I took the opportunity to clean out and reorganize my panniers in an attempt to get a fresh start. I also really enjoyed chatting with my cousins and continuously helping myself to just one more slice of coffee cake.

Eventually I left and started my adventure on the Western Express Route. This route has a rather foreboding description on the Adventure Cycling website:

The Western Express Bicycle Route… challenges the rider with extreme weather and riding conditions, as well as logistical obstacles. One’s efforts are rewarded, however, by experiencing some of the least visited and most magnificent areas of the American West…

East of Cedar City, Utah, the route passes through some of the nation’s most isolated communities and several of its most spectacular scenic wonders. Take some time to explore Cedar Breaks, Escalante, and Natural Bridges National Monuments; Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef National Parks; and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. To even the most experienced of travelers, these natural sculptures, spires, buttes, and canyons are no less than humbling. The Utah portion of the route could be a worthy destination in itself.

I’d already taken my tours through Zion and Bryce Canyon, so I wasn’t expecting to encounter anything that could really compare. Oh, I was so unprepared. Continue reading

From Portland to Boise, aka Follow that Cyclist

Kevin and Sunyoung and me doing one of the things we do best!

Kevin and Sunyoung and me doing one of the things we do best!

You’ll have to forgive me, I think this post is going to seem a little vague. The last week of cycling went by in a blur, and honestly I rarely knew exactly where I was. For what is probably a more accurate account of what happened, visit Kevin’s Basses Bikes and Boise!

Anyway, I spent a glorious couple of days relaxing in Portland with wonderful hosts. Despite all the help I got from Sue and Be the Match, Portland CrossFitters did not respond to my requests to hold donor drives at their boxes. Which was a little disappointing, but also kind of nice, since that meant more domestic time under a roof for me. I baked cookies for the family, went on grocery shopping trips, got a little massage, did my laundry, and all those little things were very soothing. Friday May 8th rolled around very quickly, though, and it was time to meet Kevin and Sunyoung at the train station.

Linda calls up the different Be the Match reps in the northwest district and introduces me as a

Linda calls up the different Be the Match reps in the northwest district and introduces me as a “celebrity.” Ha!

I cheated and got a ride into downtown Portland so that I could have time to poke around a bit before the train came in. I dropped in at a CrossFit box to make sure they knew what they were missing out on by not hosting me (just kidding, I’m sure they’re doing their own wonderful things!) and then swung by the Be the Match office unannounced. Linda Alexander, manager of the northwest district, was engaged in an absolute flurry of activity, but once she realized who I was, she squealed and enveloped me in her tornado of energy. Almost immediately she plunked me into a conference call with the other Be the Match contacts in the northwest district. It was great to hear Frances’ voice again and to get to talk to John, whose email I had recently blown up with plans for Boise. Continue reading

Barbells Bikes Bones and Boards

The training plan calls for long rides on Saturdays, so last Saturday I figured I would take off on my bike and not worry about anything else. I didn’t bother to badger anyone into joining me, because if I’m not okay with riding by myself for hours and hours, then I have a serious problem.

But it was my birthday on Sunday (and my Dad’s), and since the gym is closed on Sunday, we were doing my birthday WOD on Saturday. I couldn’t skip that!

Amy’s Birthday WOD
21 – 15 – 9
Deadlifts
Lateral bar hop burpees

We take our deadlifts seriously at Prometheus CrossFit. The fact that this picture was taken during the Open 15.2 has nothing to do with the intent coaching gaze. Well... maybe it has a little something to do with it.

We take our deadlifts seriously at Prometheus CrossFit. The fact that this picture was taken during the Open 15.2 has nothing to do with the intent coaching gaze. Well… maybe it has a little something to do with it.

Last year Ben set the Rx weight for the deadlifts at 1.5x bodyweight. That’s a lot of weight. I showed up to the gym and figured that I would scale it down, especially considering that I was slightly hungover. Hey, it was my birthday, and we’d started celebrating early. And I put myself in the second heat cuz, again, it was my birthday and I was slightly hungover. But you know how it is when you show up at a CrossFit gym. The enthusiasm is infectious, and suddenly you start thinking that it’s your birthday WOD, you should do it Rx! Continue reading

Swabbing and WODing!

Prometheus CrossFit and Be the Match, together at last.

Prometheus CrossFit and Be the Match, together at last.

I’d been waiting for so long to use the phrase Swabbing and WODing and I forgot to use it on Saturday! Oh no!

Saturday was my first Swabbing and WODing day! I’ll have to make up for not using my clever slant rhyme on the day of by saying it over and over again here. Swabbing and WODing, Swabbing and WODing, Swabbing and WODing!

So what is Swabbing and WODing? It’s when a Be the Match bone marrow donor registration drive is held at a CrossFit gym!

swabs

Swabbing.

wodding dec 13

And WODing!

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On Stolen Bikes and How Awesome People Respond

Since my bike’s been stolen, I’ve been spending a lot of time moping.

When I'm sad, I cuddle with a rat.

When I’m sad, I cuddle with a rat.

It’s okay, I have permission to do so. In fact, my project manager (who also happens to be Sue) instructed me to do so. It’s true. She wrote it on the weekly blue sticky note of tasks. “Time to mourn and regroup.”

But I need to bounce back. I’m doing a ride next year for Be the Match, for heaven’s sake. These setbacks cannot get in the way!

I went to my parents’ house and rustled around in the garage to find any bikes that might be lurking in there. I found an old Novara that needs some work, and I figured that it’d be great to put some of my newly learned bike maintenance skills to work. So I tossed it into the back of my car. When I got home my neighbor brought out a bike that’s been hanging around his backyard for twenty years. Underneath all the dust you can see that it’s a Peugeot. He said I can fix it up and then decide if I’d like to buy it from him. So I’m thankful for these distractions. I started to think that I could be one of those people with a garage full of old bikes, none of them fancy or expensive, but each with its own personality, its own story, and some of my own handiwork. I like that idea. Today I put a couple hours into the Novara and hope to be riding it tomorrow.

But of course I still want my Surly back. Continue reading