Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home away from Home


I'd like to introduce you to the chauffer, butler and chef for Cycle The West 2010. Meet Allan Smith... my dad.

When I told him of my dream to ride across America, he volunteered to support me with his 5th wheel trailer, and at the time, this meant up to six weeks. Still, he is always up for one of my crazy adventures.... He's come along for hiking at Yosemite; rock climbing, bouldering and hiking at Smith Rocks; bouldering at Avenue of the Boulders; living history at Homestake, Montana (think Cascades near Bend) his childhood stomping grounds; the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit and much more. And the best part of it all is that my wife and son can come along for the whole journey.

My Dad is in every important mental snapshot of my life. As a single father, he did the best he could to raise my sister and I without ever complaining. As I think back on it, I gave him 1000's of reasons to pull his hair out, but he taught me the love of Christ and service to your fellow man. I remember him buying something for full retail, using it briefly and giving it to someone less fortunate for free. If you know me, that drives me bonkers, but to Dad, it brings him great joy to give. He continues living to serve blesses others AND him.

The plan is for the five cyclists to roll out in the morning and an hour or two later, connect for a morning break for food, water, bathroom or clothing needs. Then he will drive ahead to set up that nights campsite at either an RV park, state park or a scenic spot on the route. If the weather doesn't cooperate, we'll have a rolling shelter to wait out the elements and he would be within 50 miles at any given time should a problem arise.

Now my dad and I see some things differnetly, but I am very fortunate to have a father who is devoted to me, my family and this goal. Without him, I wouldn't be doing this.
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Meet Zach

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Zach is the inspiration for this journey. Without him, no ride across the country.

In 5 days, he will have completed SEVEN YEARS of schooling to become a Pharmacist, just like his father, John. After completing his education, Zach wanted to ride across America from coast to coast. He bicycled across Washington two years ago, and since that was easy enough, why not the country? Since 6 weeks was too long, he and his father decided on the North to South route we continue to fine tune.

Zach loves the outdoors and a new adventure, as do I. Last spring, he, his younger brother & I summitted Mt. Shasta (14,162') on a perfect day. There was no doubt as to who the leader was...Zach had everything in control, had experience and we simply followed along. This was my second time reaching the top of this mountain and it will forever be a mental highlight.

Zach is one of the most focused, dedicated and determined young men I know. While riding 78 miles yesterday, he worked hard and bonked a little near the end. He never complained or made excuses, but did the hard work to get conditioned for this 1600 mile odyssey...and averaged 19 mph.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Way TOO Fast!!!!

Sometimes I feel like Forrest Gump...I have a friend who is an author and public speaker; another who is a State Senator and past Gubernatorial candidate; and today, another long-time friend drives up in a Lamborghini Gallardo. The exhaust note of this car coming up our street was music to my ears. I went for a ride and in seconds, the speedometer blipped 100mph before we slowed down (the Gallardo can surpass 200)! Brembo brakes provide serious stoppage and the low profile of the car grips corners better than any vehicle I've been in. The way my heartrate spiked, I must concede NASCAR drivers are athletes. The Italians know their art, don't they?

Well this is just way too fast! The kind of inspiration I am looking for is a steady 20mph for three weeks. When climbing hills, 7 or 8mph will have to do, but descending I am looking for 50-60, please. But, I must admit, getting mashed in the leather seat of a $200,000 exotic car feels great!
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