I knew Bar Harbor to Key West was a long way, The Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) has the route at 2,655.4 miles to be exact. That assumes I don’t take a wrong turn, that I can find somewhere to sleep without going off route and I don’t add on any of the spurs/additions that take me into Boston, New York, Philadelphia or the Outer Banks. I think we can assume it’s going longer than 2,655.4 miles.
It didn’t really hit home just how far it is until I sat down and started trying to map out the daily milage. I’m trying to balance a couple of factors in this equation. The need to cycle far enough each day that ensures I get to Key West before Christmas, that I need to stop somewhere where there’s accommodation (ideally a couple of options) and finally there’s only so far I can cycle, fully loaded with kit in a day. Couple that with the uncertainty of the weather and any unforeseen mechanical issues the “planning” portion of this ride is a logistical nightmare. Don’t book accommodation ahead of time then I may have nowhere to rest my weary bones, book too many days ahead and I may not make it to the accommodation in time and a domino effect of non refundable cancelations blows my accommodation budget out of the water.
At this point I should reiterate this ride is just me, no other riders, no organizers, no support vehicles, no nothing. Me, my bike with some panniers on the back, my cell phone and a credit card. I’ve called the ride The Atlantic Coast Challenge which has conjured up an air of formality, established and organization – this is not the case. Whilst the route has been mapped out by the ACA I will be relying on good luck and a bit of self determination for everything else.
That said if anyone would care to join for a leg or two of cycling I published my draft itinerary below. You never know I could be swinging by your town! I would certainly welcome any company along the way and if cycling isn’t your thing perhaps you’d like to join me for a 6,000 calorie, carb ladened, dinner and a glass of wine! Other options include a spot of lunch or just come out for a picnic with the family and cheer me on.
So here it is. I’ve moved up the start date to August 27th and will address my promise not to miss Josie’s birthday by meeting Jules and the kids in Washington for a birthday weekend in the nations capital roughly halfway through the ride.
Milage is shorter at the beginning. I want to give my body time to adjust and test out the gear not to mention I can’t get to Washington any earlier. There are also more hills in the first half. By the end of the trip I plan to be notching up regular 100 mile days giving me 35 days of cycling with 8 rest days (including an epic 11 year olds birthday extravaganza).
I hope to see some of you out there.
Fundraising update – we are half way to the goal of $10,000 so if you do have a few spare pennies please help support here. If not, don’t worry, I know it’s tough out there for many so just sharing this as far and wide as possible and following the novice cyclist instagram account (found on this page) would be very much appreciated and please, enjoy the ride!