San Diego to Alpine, California
September 24, 2021
Distance: 43 Miles
Elevation Gain: 3,511 Feet
Moving Time: 4 Hour 14 Minutes
Conditions: Mostly Cloudy, Evening Rain
Today’s Takeaway: A Sleepless Night
In a single night, I was transformed into my nine-year-old self. It was as if Christmas Eve had arrived and I couldn’t sleep as a result of the anticipation of what lay ahead early the next day.
For hours, I tossed and turned, counted sheep, attempted to empty my brain of the details of what had led to this moment. Nothing worked, and before I knew it the sun had signaled the beginning this new soon-to-be exciting chapter of my life.
The date of my TransAmerica Bike Tour from the Pacific Ocean beaches of San Diego to the Atlantic Coast of Florida was now at hand, an event I had been planning and preparing for since 2019. It would mean I would ride with more than a dozen others, complete strangers, for two months over mountains, across deserts, the expanse of Texas, through the Deep South and finally northern Florida.
The numbers involved in the adventure were staggering — 3,160 miles (5, 085 km) in a little more than 50 days with the longest single day of riding being 101 miles ( 162 km). The accommodations would be mostly camping and preparing our own daily meals. The tour would not be for the faint of heart, and that’s why it was a perfect fit for me.
Our team of cyclists and a few family members and friends gathered on the beach in San Diego on that sunny, breezy Friday and almost like magic, we were off. We rode along the waterfront for a few miles, continued on the busy city streets of the city and eventually entered the suburbs before beginning our climb into the hills to the east.
We randomly splintered into groups of threes and fours who pedaled at the same speed, and reconnected a few hours later at our first overnight camping spot in the small town of Alpine, CA 43 miles from where we had began our day’s journey.
We set up what would be our new individual homes for the next several weeks — tents of all shapes, colors and sizes. We prepared and ate dinner and had a group meeting to discuss the details of the next day’s ride as darkness fell. I slept better that night, thankfully.
And so it had begun, a series of collective moments of joy, pain, smiles, frustrations, friendship, anxiety, loneliness, and eventually what we hope to be great thrills as we arrive at the Atlantic Ocean in late November.