Reflections

Reflections

The Big Ride Across America 2013 is completed now and I want to wrap up this amazing journey with some simple reflections. Fourteen riders and three leaders gathered as strangers in Seattle seven weeks ago not knowing what might be in the cards for us. It turns out we were a very lucky crew weather-wise as we encountered very few days that were rainy, windy, too hot or too cold. Compared with other Big Rides, we lucked out!
This does not mean that riding a bicycle across four time zones, 3334 miles,12 states and the District of Columbia is easy. Some days were a joy and some were pretty grueling but we all worked together as a team for the most part and became a family unit that bonded quickly and stayed strong to the end.
I think that my crazy preparation of 3300 miles from January to June prior to the ride was the right training for an event of this type. The riders that did not do as much were pretty sore and injured early on in the trip. I had very few physical problems. Not to say I wasn’t totally worn out both during and now, after.
Camping was really not as hard as I had anticipated and I preferred the tent to any gym floor and even some dorms at universities. Not having much rain certainly influences that statement!
Charlton and Lynn are amazing in their preparation each day and always were thinking steps ahead of all of us. Their caring is genuine and very respected by me and the other riders. Your friendship will last a lifetime!
Tom Anderson-Monterosso was indespensible in caring for our bikes. We could never cross the country as a group without him. More importantly, he was a great friend to all of us and I know our paths will cross again soon! Thanks Tom!
This trip was all about raising funds and awareness for the American Lung Association and we did that beautifully as a group raising nearly $110,000 . I can never thank all of my supporters enough for their financial contributions and well wishes before and during his adventure. Thank you all for all you have done!
Great seeing so many of my Brothers from Phi Kappa Psi as I crossed the US this past 7weeks. You guys get better all the time and I realize how fortunate we all were to meet and become a fraternity so long ago.
For me , this journey was two years in the making and as a dentist I could never have done this without Willow Run Dental and my colleagues total support of this crazy idea. Drs. Geri Schneider and Scott Beckerman and our entire staff filled in for me, raised money for me and sent me off with their blessings. Thank you team!
The Congregational Church in Cumberland, Maine was also a huge help in this endeavor and all my friends there did so much to make this possible. Your thoughts, prayers, contributions and love were all needed to get me across this big country. Thank you all!
Most importantly, the love of my life, Sara Sloan, provided me with motivation and allowed me to venture out for two months without her to to do this trip. We celebrate 33 years of marriage this week and I return full of thanks for all she does for me. I could never do this without her love! Kelsey and Maggie, my talented, loving daughters,are my inspiration and I dedicate this ride to you two! Thanks for being so amazing!
So here’s to you Big Riders 2013! To Jeff E, Tom P, Olivia, Tim, Kendall, Cara, Nellie, Melanie, John, Luke, Martha, Laura, Jenny, and our fabulous leaders Charlton, Lynn and Tom.And also our part-time riders Brian, Ellen,Carol, Ali and Jim. Ride Safe! Love you all, Jeff

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost

Day 48 Poolesville,Md to Washington DC

Day 48 Poolesville,Md to Washington DC

Miles today around 40
Total miles for the Big Ride 3333.4
Average today. Pretty slow and thoughtful
We rode the final miles through Maryland horse country and along the Potomac River into DC arriving at the Lincoln Monument . It was a very mixed emotions day with pure joy at having completed our goal of crossing America but also realizing we would all soon be parting company for good. We arrived at our final destination at the Old Post Office where 1998 Big Rider Costa Pappas fed us delicious Giros and salads and baklava before we rode into Freedom Plaza separately to a cheering crowd to receive our medals and see our families. I was full of emotion as I was greeted by Charlton, Lynn , Tom and National CEO of the American Lung Association, Harold Wimmer. My fellow Big Riders followed every 90 seconds until we all were gathered one final time as a team. Some left immediately and a few of us met later into the evening in a final celebration at Tonic restaurant near the State Plaza Hotel where we stayed.Being with my wife Sara again was wonderful and I can’t wait to get home to Maine. I will post a final reflection soon to help sum up this incredible journey!

Day 47 Gettysburg to Poolesville, Maryland

Day 47 Gettysburg to Poolesville, Maryland

Miles today 62.6
Total miles so far 3291.6
Average today 17.5
Climbing today 1671 feet
Another perfect weather day for the Big Ride as we crossed into our 12th state, Maryland , early in the day. We have certainly been a lucky group with mostly cool summer temperatures as we crossed this vast country in last 47 days, with mostly tail winds or cross winds but hardly any head winds. If the 2012 Big Riders want us to do this trip again, just send us back to Seattle and we will try find headwinds, rain, and real hardship. Just didn’t happen to us this year and it made for a perfect summer for me. We enjoyed our last Big Ride dinner as a group at Barrett’s Restaurant in Poolesvile tonight. Charlton and Lynn treated us to a fabulous meal and we are all so thankful for their guidance, support, and caring. Big thanks to Tom Anderson-Monterosso for all the hours he spent keeping us on the road repairing our bikes. Tomorrow we finish in DC and will go our separate ways with great memories of this journey. Families here we come!