September ’12 Update
My apologies for the long wait in between posts. I have been very busy, and at times feeling pretty worn down, so I thought I would take a break from posting. I’d much rather post things that matter, than post just for the sake of posting, so I hope you understand. 🙂
It’s been a different lead-up to this project in comparison to last year’s Pacific Crest Trail hike for human trafficking. For the hike, there was 10 months from the moment I realized I’d be taking the hike to the first step on the trail. The learning curve was steep in terms of hiking knowledge, understanding gear choices, finding sponsors, and the trail itself. I’d never even blogged before, so just setting up the blog was fun and yet time consuming. Oh, and YouTube….can’t forget that I’d never made any type of videos for YouTube before either…Everything just came so fast and furious, I was consumed and before I knew it I was standing at the PCT’s southern terminus monument, looking at the border fence just a few feet away that divides the United States and Mexico.
I realized that I would be doing this current project in Late October of 2011, not long after I got off the trail. (For more backstory on the inspiration for this project, click here). Along the way, I realized that this would be a much more involved and complicated project to undertake, and it soon started taking on a life of its own. Of course, I had to make it more difficult by my choice of a vehicle. I’ve gotten many questions on why I chose a bamboo bicycle, and why I had it made in Brazil. Currently, the importation of the bike is a bit of a headache, but one I believe will be well worth it for all involved. (If there’s anyone with knowledge of importing wood product into the United States, please contact me!) 🙂
Much like my PCT thru-hike, I have been asked how I am training for the ride across the U.S. For my hike, I walked. A lot. I had a car, and a motorcycle that I could have used to get to work, but I chose to walk every day. It wasn’t a long walk, just 5 miles there, and 5 miles back, but it gave me an opportunity to just walk. Think. Get used to the idea of walking, and build an important base layer of muscles that are strictly “walking specific.” Yes, my boss and fellow employees thought I was a bit nuts, and yes, walking in the wonderful 100+ degree Sacramento heat wasn’t all fun. But I would be there with my running shoes, big brimmed floppy surf hat and 2-liter soda bottle of water with my backpack strapped to my back and Garmin GPS tucked away so that I could check my speed for each 5 mile jaunt.
In a similar way, I am training for this ride. It will be a much shorter, much more intense daily experience physically. For the actual hike, I walked for 4 1/2 months with a backpack on my back. The terrain was tough at times, especially the snow-covered Sierra, and I lost 30 pounds, and I hiked as far as 30 miles a day at times. I covered 2,000 miles. For the upcoming ride, I will be on the road for only 2 months, but my mileage will be a minimum of 100 miles a day, with a total of 5,000 miles. Since I will be stopping at certain cities to give presentations on human trafficking, keeping this 100-mile-a-day pace will be tricky. I will be juggling daily mileage, fatigue, possible injuries, weather, against the backdrop of making it to certain locations on time. What I think is funny is that the farthest I have ever ridden in my life on a bicycle is 50 miles – and that was when I was about 13, doing a fundraiser for my church youth group! But again, that is similar to my PCT experience: take the “jump in and do it” route. The longest hike I had ever done was maybe 9 miles, and the first day of my PCT hike was 16 miles….with much longer days ahead. So I am not really worried. Curious to see how my body responds, definitely!
So at this point, my training consists of me riding my bike. A lot. It’s not the same bike I will be riding on my trip, or even the same style, but it’s a bike and so far it has worked out great. I sold my car in December (I wasn’t driving it anyway) and I put my motorcycle in storage. So for the last 10+ months, I have used my bike and my feet (with the occasional skateboard thrown in for good measure) as my only modes of transportation. So my hope is that, with the cross-country journey beginning next August, I will have a solid bicycle fitness base to carry me through to New York, where I’ll dip the bikes front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean.
I’ve been doing a LOT of research for the trip. For the hike, I did research on gear, hiking, and the like. Not so much along the same vein for this trip. For this trip I have been researching human trafficking from more angles, and also piecing my presentation together. Concurrent to that, I have been slowly piecing together the foundation I am starting, The Oasis Projekt, and have found that, again, it is slower going and more difficult than I expected, but exciting as heck. I’m really stoked at the direction it’s taking, and what it may look like in the end. Ultimately, God willing, all it does is help victims of human trafficking while getting people aware and involved along the way. So there is a LOTgoing on, and at times I feel a bit overwhelmed, but that’s ok. 🙂
I will be doing more updates from this point forward, including videos, and things will be ‘ramping up’ from here on out. Eleven months may seem like a long time, but from my previous experience, I know that’s not the case at all!
If you are reading this and are interested in the possibility of me stopping to give my presentation to your school, church or organization, please drop me a note at the bottom of this page, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be putting up a sample of my presentation within the next few months for those interested. All I request is that you provide me with a nice spot to set up my tent, and a hot meal! 🙂
Also, there have been some really incredible stories coming forward lately regarding human trafficking. One of those is from Carissa Phelps, who’s book, “Runaway Girl,” just came out in July. I recently did a write-up on the book, and hopefully be able to have an interview with Ms. Phelps if possible. Amazing story, and very tough book to read, but one which I believe should be required reading for anyone interested in the issue of human trafficking. Of course, my opinion is that if you are human, you should have an interest in the subject!
Until next time, blessings, and be well!