Well the TAC has started and I am aware that I have been a busy man, so here’s the first blog…
Santa Monica pier was being rained on when we arrived. Me and my crew had travelled to the pier in the VW Touaregs and made good time, but fell foul of the traffic. The guys from a certain media company turned up (and are still filming this week!) and in all the fuss for filming the start and getting the bikes sorted, no one noticed Sean (one of the crew medic) who had gone to the “Forrest Gump” shop and returned with an appropriate sign….thanks mate.
With the later start and the traffic, the trip out of LA was long. The journey was fantastic, passing landmarks such as the Manns Chinese Theatre, Universal Studios, Hollywood, Sunset boulevard (which is slightly different than what I had envisioned back in the 80s but nonetheless eclectic), and Beverly Hills. Highlights of the day were people passing in their cars or on the street that wanted to stop and talk and find out what I was up to. In particular mention has to be made of Anna Lise, who stopped her car in the middle of traffic blocking the lane, which probably annoyed the hell out of everybody else, and started up a full conversation about her life and what she was doing; eventually getting around to asking why I was riding across America. Also, the mother and son who not only tweeted while they were driving past but also stopped to wave. The end of the day I was 50 miles out of Santa Monica before my crew called a halt to riding for that day as the San Francisquito Canyon Road is exceptionally busy and dangerous to ride at night.
My Parkinson’s was a problem today and I had dystonia while on the bike. Quite a scary and hair-raising experience and I put this down to just being tired before I started. Note to self: get more sleep Alex!
Starting from where I left off I was determined to better the 50 miles and prove to my crew that I am up to the job. The day was solely riding! Talk about heat!! I was getting through litres of electrolyte and enough water to fill Lake Erie! The crew (note to Sonia – Sean is a star and thank you for letting him come on the trip) really started to pull together as a team, which is amazing as the guys have never met before.
When the wind got up over the Sierra Nevada mountains it felt like you are being pushed back by a big pair of hands. We cunningly found a way around this. The result was to draft behind one of the VW Touaregs. This allowed me in heavy wind to get up to speeds of 45 mph on the bike, which was amazing. But at 90 miles into the ride, with the wind buffeting me and forcing me into traffic and with the light fading the decision to break for the day was taken. My legs were on fire due to climbing the incredibly long hills. Everything is enormous in America! My PD was not there today! Excellent day.
Quick shout out to Rich from Block Bikes, Lancaster, California – thanks mate for the support and to your crew for the professional and kind service. The bikes are in tip-top condition! Good luck on the ride. Keep moving!
I have this guy called David who is filming TAC. He’s a pretty cool guy and produces some extraordinary camera shots. An example of his work on the TAC can be seen at http://youtu.be/hXPPSD2MNg0
This was a 72 mile day of just hard work and pain. Starting from the point where we left off the day before I was going to draft behind the VW again but a highway patrol officer decided otherwise and scowled at both my team and the car carrying the TV channel that are also covering the event. This meant that I had no protection from the wind. When I say wind, I mean full on gale! To top that, there was 45 miles of uphill riding in the gale which was hitting me head on. The Orbea SDi2 bike was fantastic and I just had to dig deep. I made it to Whitney Portal road 77 miles later but with my legs shot and my PD kicking in due to fatigue I could not ride up the hill all the way. The solution? Get off the bike and route march up the mountain accompanied by Sharky and Sam Fox from the MJFF.
I would be over the moon if you would send me messages of support as this is truly tough and they would really give me a boost. You can either email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @alexflynn01 or leave a message on my 10 Million Metres page on facebook. I’m really looking forward to hearing from you.
Next edition is the report of my ascent of Mount Whitney (I did it!!!! – more later)