Hey everyone its Dennis…as you know by now the trip was cut short by a scary accident on a very LONG, STRAIGHT, 4 lane highway in a very ISOLATED part of the Arizona desert. It was about 11am and we were cruising. It was day 8, so we were 7 days 11 hours into the trip after leaving Atlantic Beach at midnight a week ago. The reason for the detail and a secret I had been keeping until about 2 days from the end of the trip and the stretch run and sprint to San Diego ( the world record for the 2900 miles or so from coast to coast for someone 50 years old or older (( I know most of you are surprised I’m in that age group)) is 9 days and 10 hours). Soooooooo essentially we had roughly 46 hours to complete the bicycle journey and the 540 miles left to set a record for speed on a bicycle. I dont know if we would have done it.
I was getting crazy tired (would nap anytime and anywhere I had 5 minutes)…i will include pictures of nap places in the next day. BUT we only had to average 270 miles per day for the next two days and adrenalin would have helped ( AND I HAD THE BEST TEAMMATES EVER). I had gotten through a complete day the day before in the Rockies climbing many times to about 6000 feet above sea level (breathing was difficult but legs did great!!!!!! those long training rides to Virginia in 95 degree heat were paying off. The last two days of cycling I started at 3-4 am as we did every day but it was 45 degrees. Not extremely cold if you are standing in your back yard drinking coffee but, the next time it is 45 degrees and dark outside, get in your car, roll down the windows, drive 20 MPH and then stick your head out the window.
Thats what 45 degrees at 4am on a bike feels like. So layered from head to waist (legs were usually ok) you start shedding as daylight hits and by 2 pm it was 90-95 degrees and not a shade tree within 30 miles. So preparing for those conditions was difficult, but we were in the desert and there would be no traffic and so this would be the safest place for the biker (ME)….or so we thought…. as we headed down that highway i was able to daydream a bit ( the more you get your mind off of whats hurting ( EVERYTHING)…the better off you are…..then there was the crash….the support Suburban that had my 2 support guys in it was hit from behind at about 70 MPH from a guy in a pickup truck.
Not sure if he was drunk ( the officer wouldn’t test him)..not sure if he was on his phone (officer didn’t check times ) but it would be essentially impossible for someone to hit us from behind on this road if he wasn’t impaired..see the picture of the highway
look at our safety vehicle….it had lights like a wrecker truck, reflective signs, caution stickers.. It looked more like we should have served cotton candy out the back window……so what do you think after looking at these pictures what should happen………TRENT, my brother in law and driver got a ticket for impeding traffic (there was none) .
We followed every Arizona bike law. Officer said we should thank him for not taking Trent to jail……REALLY?!…and followed that up with “y’all are city boys aren’t ya????” we had no chance….yep we got hit from behind and we got the ticket but THE SUPPORT VEHICLE AND CREW KEPT HIM FROM RUNNING ME OVER AT 70 MPH….yikes… we felt like it was too much to continue so, we booked a plane back to Greenville….so thanks for all the prayers and support. I couldn’t feel individual people, but I could really feel the support of a community of friends and family as the pain of pedaling 20 hours a day and sleeping 4 hours each night weighed heavier each passing day…..for those that know me there is a feeling of incompleteness after having trained for 2 years to do this.
It would only take me a 2 days to complete the 540 miles and 2 days of travel and could do with fewer supplies and probably only one bike ( one of my bikes attached to the car was totalled)…………..wanna go???????????? it obviously wouldn’t officially count as a record but would connect the dots and may inspire one child to go go somewhere in life that no one else in their family had ever gone by understanding the concept of setting goals and not allowing anyone to get in their way. I will do a couple of more blogs in the coming days and include more pictures… but a big shout out to those that helped me where I really needed the help and that was financially ( NONE FOR ME) all for the KIDS at the Boys & Girls Clubs…those that need us the most……………. I can do all things through Christ ( i was almost an angel)……………..Dennis.