Why am I doing this?

credits to Justin Bond of Star Talent Events for the audio.

Thanks for stopping in! This summer, I'll be biking 2500 miles from San Francisco to Gibson City, IL to raise $4000 for the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Ford County Youth Soccer Club. My route map.

There are so many reasons. As a youngster growing up in central Illinois, playing soccer, as rare as it was for the area, was an activity that really shaped me into the person I am today. Not only combining the importance of fitness and teamwork, but also leadership and discipline. I have always wanted to have the opportunity to give back to this organization (FCYSC), and I feel that this is my chance.

Living just outside of Gibson City causes every child to be an avid cyclist to survive that stretch of Route 9 to make it into town. As I've progressed into my current career as an urban planner, I realize how much of an impact cycling can make in certain parts of the United States, in reducing our dependence on vehicles, increasing our health, among other benefits. Atlanta is the place that re-energized my spirit for transportation planning and I hope to be able to return some gratitude to the ABC, a cause that I still feel has an uphill battle in that town.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at supawanich@gmail.com

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 21 - On Top of the World - Salida, CO (now with photos!)

[note... I added the photos and video a bit late... sorry if they are sporadically placed!]
Greetings friends, I hope you are all doing well this weekend! Since my last posting (I believe it was in Dolores, CO?) I've covered some serious ground and have broken some records for my ride. A funny coincidence happened. A high school friend (Beth Wurmnest) just happened to be in Montrose, CO as I would be passing through, and her mom back in Sibley, IL put us in contact. It was perfect timing as she was only in town until today, but I was able to stop in and hang out with her on Thursday evening/Friday morning.

But getting there was a bit of an ordeal. Montrose, CO was about 120 miles (over two mountain passes) from Dolores... Well I'd never tried to go that far (with or without a trailer, or with or without elevation) in my life, but hey, I thought I'd give it a go. I got out of my campsite around 7AM and was on the road. Surprisingly, the first mountain pass was over 10,000, but it felt relatively painless since the roads here in CO are far more gradual
than anywhere else I'd been. Also, I think I'd been mentally preparing myself for a marathon day since the night before. I made it over the 1st pass then back down for lunch. I didn't actually have a chance to stop for lunch until around 2:30PM. After a quick stop in Sawpit, I headed back up to Dallas Divide for the 2nd pass which I summited around 5PM, all in all, I was able to make it into Montrose by roughly 7pm. Whew. Beth treated me to a great dinner and I got to hang out with her co-workers too!

The next day was from Montrose to Gunnison (all of these little cities have been awesome btw, would love to come back and hang out). On my way out of town, I stopped by Cascade Cycles in Montrose to get a top-off on air for the tires. I got chatting with Alan, the store owner, and found out that he had spent a good portion of his life in Rantoul, IL (about 20 minutes from Gibson City). Furthermore, he was a land-use planner out in California for a while too. So after a late start, I got moving for Gunnison. It was a beautiful ride aside for the 25 minutes of which I got poured on (in the middle of a canyon btw). It was a bit percarious with traffic, but things turned out ok. After the sun came back out, I rode by the Blue Mesa Resivoir (beautiful) then drifted into Gunnison, which is a cool little town which is the home of Crested Butte (ski resort). I stayed in a small motel run by a Polish guy from Chicago and went over to the Flying Burrito for dinner where I had the opportunity to debate politics with one lady, then talk to another couple's adventures in Ecuador.

Today, was another 65 miler from Gunnison to Salida, CO. The big deal for today was that I'd be climbing over the infamous Monarch Pass (11,300'). So as far as I'm concerned, once I get pass that, the Rocky's are toast. Well during the climb today, I definately could feel the altitude and had to take a few extra breaks, but again, the grade wasn't too steep and I made it to the top around 1:30. The BEST part was the descent back down to 8000' (Salida). I didn't have to pedal one bit for about 22 miles as it was downhill and I had the grace of a 20 mph tailwind rollling into town.

So I just got to Salida and it again seems like an awesome little outdoors town. I'm staying in a hostel (Simple Lodge). My host John seems like a nice guy. I'll be hanging out here in the Library until my stomach tells me otherwise.

(late insertion) - I can't remember the guy's name, but this guy owns this tiny little bike shop here in Salida. I stopped by just in time for their evening get-together where he and his fellow friends offered me a beer and some of their evening bbq! The folks in this town love their bikes!

Also, I looked at the calendar. I want to say the date that I'm shooting to arrive in GC is September 7th.

Hope to chat again soon,

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