Originating at King Neptune on 35th street at the Va Beach oceanfront, ending in San Francisco when they dip their bicycle wheels into the Pacific Ocean.
May is bike month, and all over there are more people cycling than ever.
Unsupported, Justin, Dan, and Adam will ride some 3700 miles from east coast to west to help raise awareness for Operation Smile, an organization dedicated to help children across the globe that suffer from facial deformities.
When asked what drives them to do this Adam replied with, “To have fun and accomplish something that not many other people have… To put smiles on children’s faces.”
Justin said he’s on this trek because, “I just got out of the Navy, and I wanted to see different places; the Navy didn’t do that for me. I also like to ride bicycles, so I thought this was a good way to combine the two. Not to mention, my wife, Ally, let me.”
The route the group chose is a bit unorthodox. The way Justin explained it is, “basically we pick out points of interest, family, and attractions we want to see, plug the address into the GPS, and follow where it says go. Most of the time its correct, and sometimes it isn’t. When its not we deal with it.”
They are staying in each city of interest for two days at a time to visit with family, and then they continue on, averaging about 120 miles a day.
Nutrition is a big concern with the group. They burn between 7,000 and 9,000 calories each day. Unsupported means that they must carry everything they need, or buy it as they can. Dan’s biggest concern going into this adventure was his level of fitness, knowing that they had two major mountain ranges ahead of them, but now that they have made it over the Appalachians he is more confident in his abilities.
Knowing that they have already traveled just shy of a thousand miles, I asked them if they have any lessons learned, and Dan said, “Keep pedaling! Its going to hurt, but the end result is worth the pain.” Adam came up with, “Don’t camp on top of mountains. Camp in the valleys, because the wind gusts and cold at the top is unbearable, and the ground you camp on is often harder the higher you go.”
The group is raising awareness for Operation Smile by handing out business cards and interviewing with local media as they go town to town. here goal is to raise enough money to make 100 smiles through Operation Smile. People can help by going to www.needtobike.com and clicking on the Operation Smile link.
The crew still has what some consider to be the hardest part of the trip ahead of them yet, the Rocky Mountains. As of last week they have made it to Louisville, KY, where they are staying with Dan’s parents. They continue to press on each day meeting interesting people and seeing places that you can only see on a journey such as theirs. Above all they will be biking and, of course, smiling.