Hows it going? Swimming coming along well. I thought I'd ask your advice on something as you've inspired me somewhat. Firstly I work for Forward and was avidly following your progression on your world cycle. I'm a biggish cyclist and love doing 100mile sportives. After hearing about your adventure I wanted to do the same. Now I've settled that I can do Coast to Coast in 3 weeks from LA to Miami (2800) miles and it will still fit in my annual leave. So my questions are... is it a good idea? Are the roads safe in america? I'm aware you had an accident and I'm not interested in damaging myself. I intend to go in January, does that sound wise? (I'm not sure what to research for in regards to weather)... anyway this is all I've got to so far but after reading your book the bugs well and truly sunk in.
Firstly! Yes, It's a great idea. You'll love it. 21 days to do 2800 miles will be tough but doable. (Are you sure its thats short. I think it's more like 3000 miles) Don't worry about getting run over. Its very rare and I was pushing 190 miles per day so had to stay on busy roads. You'll be fine.
Firstly you need to recognise what the risks are that might make you not do the distance in the time.
- 1: Injury. Get the fitness in, strengthen your muscles and tendons. Don't worry about cardio. That will come. Also stretch, stretch and stretch some more.
- 2: Not getting enough miles in per day. You'll need to average somewhere near 140 miles per day to do it in three weeks. In order to do that you need to live fast, not necessarily cycle fast. Minimise stopping if you can. Eat on the bike as much as possible. There are loads of service stations that do protein shakes etc. Try keep time off the bike to below 3 hours per day. A lot easier said than done.
- 3: Don’t cycle too fast. Keep a steady pace. Its the speed that kills, not the distance. I suggest not going above 14mph on the bike. Even 13mph. As soon as you go too fast your muscles start to break down and take a lot longer to recover.
- 4: Use a cycle GPS with a well thought out route. Not having to faff around with maps saves a lot of time. The Adventure Cycling guys do some good routes which keep you off bad roads etc. I'd recommend looking into that. (http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/southerntier.cfm)
- 5: Keep south. If you follow the Southern Tier then you'll be fine. Heading north in January gets really cold. It was even snowing in the Dakotas in April when I was there. Cold and snow keep your average low. Stay south.
- 6: Eat properly. As of now stop eating ALL sugars while cycling. Sugar is bad. Get your body used to burning fat and then eat a lot of it. Butter, full cream, fish, avocado, nuts etc. Get some advice. Give this guy a call. He sorted me out. He's a legend. http://freedom2train.com
- 7: Eat on the bike. Buy three foot-longs at Subway - Italian BMT - and put one in each pocket of your cycle jersey. Cut a two litre Coke bottle in half and tie it to your try bars (get try bars, very important) See an example here. Cut Off Bottle Photo
- 8: Don’t carry too much water. It is heavy. Research your route. Use google maps to find services etc. Google is good out there.
- 9: There are motels EVERYWHERE so you don't need to camp. Camping is more fun though. They range from $30 - $50 per night
- 10: Work on your Hugh Grant accent. Americans love it.
- 11: Hit the ground running. NEVER think. "Oh I can make up lost miles later when its flatter" You never do and that puts loads of pressure on the end of the ride. Get some big miles in early. (without killing yourself) That said the first part is the hardest with the Rocky's
- 12: Remember to have fun. Look around, take photos and take a voice recorder for diary entries.
In all I think if you started cycling at 7am and kept time off the bike to 3 hours then you'll be done by 9pm each night which gives you 10 hours rest. If you can do that then that'll be an epic achievement.
Good luck and let me know how it goes.