About a two months ago, my dad sent me a blog article about a group of Eagle Scouts planning to cycle across America. He often sends me interesting things he finds, so him forwarding me the article was more of a "hey, check this out" sort of email rather than him thinking I would want to do something as crazy as cycle across the country. As soon as I read the article I knew that it was something I wanted to be a part of. I have always had a profound respect for the great adventurers and endurance athletes of the world; people who push the limits of human capabilities and accomplish feats most would think impossible. To me, ESCAA seemed like one of these extraordinary adventures. There was the uncertainty about whether a group of teens could actually accomplish such a feat. That challenge made this trip really appeal to me. Little did I know however the number of obstacles I would have to overcome just to begin the trip.
When I first contacted the Eagle Scouts Cycling Across America Team (ESCAA), I was met with a warm welcome. Scoutmaster Bruce White was very inspiring and it was clear he and his troop had planned and trained and knew what they were doing. They were a cycling troop and had already completed many long trips. They had a bus, a customized bike trailer, a system for gear and 2 moms that had agreed to cook and drive the support vehicles. After I Skyped into one of their planning meetings I was hooked! I definitely wanted to be apart of this bike team.
So my preparation for the ride officially began. I went through the process of having my Specialized Roubaix bike professionally fitted. Coming from a mountain biking background, I was relatively new to the skinny tires. I set out to change that. I planed numerous long road rides every weekend and set up a training bike in my living room to ride as often as I could. I had 2 months and I needed to train every day.
A few weeks into my schedule however I encountered an unexpected and troublesome obstacle. During a high school baseball game I was hit in the face by a wild pitch fracturing my orbital in two places and bruising my eye itself. Although it wasn't enough to cancel the trip altogether, I was not allowed to exercise at all for an entire month. This put me way behind on training.
After a month of letting my eye heal, I got on a plane to Fredricksbug, Virginia. It was time to meet the ESCAA team in person and participate in a fundraiser for the ride: the 24 hour Bike-a-thon. The Bike-a-thon consisted of riding our bikes around a one mile loop through Fredericksburg to see how many laps we could do in 24 hours. It was a little crazy for me to fly across the country to ride my bike in a circle, but it was well worth it to meet the team. I ended up doing 190 laps during those 24 hours of torture, which although was slightly less then my teammates, I thought it was pretty good for a jet lagged Californian that was cleared to exercise that very day.
Then, after a little research, I discovered the one thing that could keep my dreams alive: the recumbent trike. I stumbled across the ICE Trike video on Youtube. These things looked fast! We found a local dealer and I test drove a few. I figured I had nothing to loose to try it out on the ESCAA ride. I would know within a few days if I would be able to keep up with the team or not. I picked out the ICE Sprint and had both brake levers and shifters moved to the left side so my right hand with the cast could just rest on the handle bar. 2 weeks before the trip I started to train again.
When described simply, a recumbent trike is a lounge chair on three wheels. Although I originally just assumed these quirky machines were much slower than road bikes, it turns out that is not the case. What these recumbents lack in climbing ability they easily make up on the flats and downhill. Due to their laid back posture they are extremely aerodynamic. In addition they are a TON more comfortable and virtually eliminate the aches and pains caused through long hours in the saddle, making them a perfect long distance vehicle. Best of all, they don't put any pressure on my wrist, allowing me to still embark on the trip of a lifetime.
Although it is going to be an interesting few weeks getting used to the Trike, I have never been more excited to get going on this trip. There truly is no better way to see our beautiful county then by using your own to legs to get you across, even if I am riding an oversized tricycle. In the company of 11 likeminded Eagle Scouts, I am about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Link to my Trike