This is it… in all its glory. The TransAmerica trail spans coast to coast, from Astoria or Florence, Oregon (alternate starting points) to Yorktown, Virginia. Despite stories of the nasty headwinds traveling west to east, we will be starting our trip in Yorktown. We’ll be a bit closer to home once we finish and we’d also like to spend some time in the Pacific Northwest. The trail goes mostly through small towns, some amazing parks like the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone, and the highest point will be in Colorado, at Hoosier Pass.
Y’all are probably thinking that sounds wonderful, but also that we’re probably crazy. We really aren’t! Or maybe we are, who knows? What we do know is that many people have completed this trail and have been doing so for years. It’s only an unrealistic undertaking if you don’t set out to do it. That said, we’ve done nothing like this before and we recognize we’re putting our bodies and mental fortitude to the test. And that’s the reward! Yes, we’ll get to travel throughout the country in a self-efficient manner and cross out this major achievement from the list of things we hope to accomplish. But it will take much effort, resilience, and endurance–both mental and physical.
When we start this tour, Austin and I would have just graduated with our Master’s degrees, so this trip is doubling as a graduation gift to ourselves. Austin tabled grad school for six years and I had plans of going to law school after undergrad. We are so pleased that things have panned out differently than expected, but we’re also reminded that we cannot allow the illusion of control paralyze us from achieving the things we want to do.
As a woman, and especially as an AfroLatina woman, I would have never expected to discover cycling or that I could cycle. Moving to Colorado has introduced me to a lifestyle I didn’t know was for me but was exactly what I needed and to some extent, yearned for (I say this understanding that not everyone in Colorado has access to this “lifestyle”). I’ve been introduced to new things, like rock climbing, but have also gained better access to do the things I was already interested in. I’m so grateful to be here, at this moment, with Austin. And just as I moved here unexpectedly and couldn’t be happier, I hope to feel the same about our tour.
I won’t pretend that I don’t have any worries or fears. On the contrary, I am especially worried that one of those stray dogs will attack me in Kentucky and that’ll be the end of me. But that’s a part of it. When I’ve brought my reservations up to Austin, he’s reminded me that as careful as I want to be, pulling over any time I see a semi in the distance, we can’t incapacitate ourselves with caution either. We are wary of the dangers, but we also know that certain things will just simply be out of our control. We are focusing on the end goal and not on the things that may very well never happen (thanks for the enlightenment, Jason Mraz).
We’ve done a couple of long rides together to prep, and we both commute to work on our bikes. But I, more so than Austin, am definitely less than fit for the hill climbs that await. Thankfully, Austin had Sinister (my bike) serviced and added a granny gear which will help a bit with uphills. With all that I’ve read, I am ~mostly~ convinced by the anecdotal evidence that confirms that the best way to prepare for a bike tour is to do one. So that’s what we’ll do! Here’s to taking on the challenge, and having the most incredible summer.
What will YOU set out to do this summer?! Let us know in the comments!
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