On October 19th, 2015, I will be riding my bicycle the entire length of U.S. Route 9 within New York State lines. This ride will be just over 320 miles and it will be completed in less than 32 hours, all while celebrating my 32nd birthday.
What started out as a crazy idea an blind ambition, quickly turned into an achievable goal. I've always wanted to start my own scholarship because I'm a firm believer in giving back to the community that has given so much to me and my family.
The scholarship is aimed toward high school seniors in Columbia County, NY who show an active interest and talent in the arts and sports, while also pursuant to a healthy lifestyle.
Each student who wants a shot at the reward will have to come up with their own journey that incorporates art & physical activity/health.
i.e. A student hikes for a few miles with an easel and painting supplies to create a landscape on canvas.
Much better than an essay!
In keeping with the number 32 theme, I'm asking for those who wish me a happy birthday on social media or in person, take 5 minutes and donate $32 to the cause.
I hope I at least know a thousand people willing to share just a little bit to help me reach my goal and inspire countless more people!
We did it. It took a little longer than expected, but it was a huge undertaking nonetheless.
A team consisting of two riders and two drivers/photographers, we conquered NY State from the George Washington Bridge to the tip of Lake Champlain at the border between NY and Canada.
Here's the abridged version:
Left NYC at around 10:30pm on October 19th, having already been awake for 16 hours. Life just happens.
The night riding and minimal traffic made it "easy" to ride thru the towns and get out of the populated areas.
An unexpected climb through the Peekskill area took us by surprise.
Made it through Poughkeepsie before the morning commute traffic got into full swing.
Made it into our home area of Columbia County by 8:00am and were welcomed by family members at the 100 mile mark. It was great to see everyone, get some hugs and food then continue the trek into Hudson.
Made it through the busy city sections of Albany & Latham without incident and eventually the halfway mark somewhere around Saratoga in the early evening.
By this time, we all have been without sleep for over 36 hours.
We hope to make it to Lake George, our 200 mile mark, before nightfall, where the riding seems endless. We only made it a few miles out of town before our lucky streak ended.
I had back to back flats due to a staple in my tire. We figured it out in Glens Falls while crossing the Hudson River and not even a minute after I fixed my second flat, Kent got his first.
Then the climbing began, right out of Queensbury and out of Lake George. The never ending hill out of there into Warrensburg was relentless.
The pitch black darkness, only lit by the headlights of the safety vehicle, turned me into a sleep deprived cycling zombie. By this time, the hills had turned Kent's knee into and painful torture device and he had to sit out for a little bit.
I rode on into the night, up massive mountains with no end in sight, eventually coming to a crawling pace less than 10mph on the flats. My body broke down and almost fell asleep while in motion. 43 hours of no sleep and covering almost 250 miles will do that to a person.
We all took a two hour nap on the side of the road, I was outside in a field laying straight out for an hour, then went inside as the 45º temp and no blanket made me cold. I napped a few more minutes in the truck and hit the road at 3:00am, Oct 21st.
Getting the blood flowing took a few miles and I hit my stride making it through the desolate towns until finally getting to a convenience store around 5:15am. Refueled with coffee and food, I hit the road again for the final stretch.
The sun rose, and the skies cleared. The last 80 miles seemed like the`y took the longest. I thought I was dragging an anchor behind my bike the whole time.
We got hit with head winds by the time we made it to Lake Champlain. By this time it's just the will to drive though. Each time we set an approximate end goal time, we missed the deadline. Moral going down the tubes, we just wanted to finish.
And we did! 37 hours and a half hours from the time we started, we accidentally crossed the Canadian border, had to go through customs twice and make it back into NY so we could get some well deserved breakfast at a nearby diner.
P.S. Google lied, it wasn't about 8,000 ft of elevation, it was 15,382!!!
To thy own self be true.
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