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

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

utah, oh so bittersweet. (boulder, hanksville, lake powell, blanding, ut)

So from my last post, my parents are off and away, safely back in Georgia. But before they went they sent me off on my bike. Here we are enjoying some crisp 10,000' air in Cedar Breaks National Monument (just to the east of Cedar City, UT).
So sorry for the lack of posts over the past few days. I've had no access to a computer and my legs have been in agony over what is the state of Utah. Someone should put a big asterisk next to the welcome sign that says "cyclists: bring lots of icy hot". But despite the big climbs, unmarked cow-catcher things, and hot arid air, Utah still is awesome, and is probably my favorite place of all to camp and be outside.
So I've been on the road for about 3 or 4 days since my last post, and when you're on the bike for about 8-10 hours a day... you keep thinking to yourself, wow. I sure can't wait to talk about this or that, but now that I'm sitting here comfortably in the Blanding, Utah library, with my sandals and non-bike clothes on, I can't seem to remember all of those good ideas. Luckily, I took lots of pictures, which will hopefully help paint an interesting picture of the last few days.
So the trip to Boulder was a doozy, 95 miles and about 4000 feet of climbing that day. Not to mention I was scolded by the elderly postmaster at the post office in Henrieville, UT for "picknicing" on their property... apparently against federal law, but she wouldn't have known that I was even there had I not come in to chat with her to be friendly. strange. Apparently, Boulder, UT was the last town in the United States to have its mail delivered by automobile. Why you ask? Because building a road there was nearly impossible! When they did build that road, they decided to make it absurdly steep as indicated by the photo below. (they should add a yellow sign that shows a guy pushing his bike up the hill)...

Here I am trying to climb the "grand staircase" at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. There were quite a few summits that day, but the overall riding was really great as we were riding the outskirts of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park.
Here I just decided that jumping was getting boring and I needed a new approach. I actually tried to jump off of my hands, but as you can see that didn't get me too far. Notice too, that I have lots of layers on in this photo because it was a brisk 40-50 degrees at the top, as compared to my ride today which I was baking in the Utah desert.
So I finally made it to Boulder, UT! (this was on the 8th I believe), it was a great little outdoorsy-earthy town. I met some local hikers on my trek in that evening and that steered me clear of any motels and instead to this little primitive campground just outside of town (literally, an unmarked dirt road off the highway), but it was a great little spot that even came with a small mtn creek nearby (which was my bath for the night)

My next day would be to Hanksville, UT. Which would be about 80 miles away after a monster climb out of Boulder from 6700' to top out around 9600'. I stopped in Torrey, UT on my ride in and chatted with a group of motorcyclists who seemed interested in my ride. One of them even gifted me a beanie (I told them it was cold in Boulder), and then a sticker for my bike. They were both really nice and they interviewed me for a blog site they go to called itsallaboutthebike.com. They headed back to Park City that evening.
People ask me alot if its lonely riding solo. Well, on the ride itself, it can be a bit boring. But even people that go riding together don't usually ride side-by-side. However, I've really had a great chance to meet and talk to a good number of people on this ride so far. In combination with my couchsurfing hosts as well as random people along the way. In Boulder, I met a young guy named Matt who just had graduated from University of Denver and was camping for the night right before starting a 14-day outdoor adventure school in Boulder, I met Mike and Paul, who were from Luxembourg who were on a 3 week adventure through the Western national parks of the US. Last night I met Pete who was from South Africa who was motorbiking with his wife across route 66 and back, then there was Al who was from Monterey, CA who was passing through Utah. Everyone really has been really nice and it's great being out here where there are plenty of other passers-through who are curious to swap a story and have a conversation.

The other day I passed through Capitol Reef NP, which is super impressive, but looks similar in nature to the other NPs of Utah (Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches), below here I am riding in Capitol Reef with a mere feat of camermanship.... not really, but I just hope that no one runs over my camera as it sits on the side of the road with the self-timer on.

I spent the night in Hanksville, UT, which is a little town of about 400 people. I was pretty beat when I got to town and I was really hoping for a small little motel. When I rolled up to one, the sign said no vacancy, so I proceeded to turn around. However, a woman came out and told me to come in and let me know that they were closed on sunday... but they had a room available, and it would be no charge.. talk about a reward at the end of a long day! (Whispering Sands Motel in Hanksville. thank you so much!) In addition, my friends from Luxembourg of whom I mention earlier were staying in town as well and they came over and we chatted for a bit.
The next day was supposed to be a rest day... but it ended up being a still challenging 55 mile ride down to Glen Canyon and Lake Powell. Here's route 96 crossing over the Colorado River as it feeds Lake Powell (which is held back by the Glen Canyon Dam a few hundred miles away in Page)
I was able to run down to the lake to wash some clothes and take a nice swim for a while. I got there pretty early (around 2pm) and was hoping to take a nap, but wow. It was hot, so there was no chance of that. For lunch, they had a small ranger station up the way with a snack stand. I haven't had a hot pocket in at least 10 years.... but when you're hungry....wow those things are good. (I had the pepporoni pizza kind) Below is a picture of my setup for the evening with lake behind me, it was a great quiet site with a great view of the stars in the evening.

I couldn't help myself but get a jumping photo with the mtns in the background.
So my friends from Luxembourg mananged to pass me again in their travels around the West (I'm pretty slow compared to their ride), so we snapped this photo on the incline on the way to blanding. I think they're on their way to the Grand Canyon, so I wish them the best!
So thats the story so far. Tonight I found a motel for $28 in Blanding, Utah, so I'm taking advantage of a warm shower and a bed to sleep in for the night. I'm pretty exhausted at the moment and am contimplating a rest day (I've biked every day since Carson City on 7/30)... But, maybe I can make a little progress towards Colorado tomorrow. We'll see. It's a slight climb up to Monticello, but then It'll flatten out for a day or two. I hope that the blog has been interesting to read so far, I wish I could post more often and put up more video, but it's been difficult getting access to a computer and better yet, a computer that works properly.
For the moment, I'm still thinking that I can make it to Gibson City around the 6th of September... but who knows what the weather will bring between here and there. The weather so far aside from a day in California has been perfect. I look forward to the days ahead and hope to hear from you. Feel free to email me or txt me if you have questions!


  1. Supaman, you amaze me! So, you want a question? You've talked about your back and your legs... what about your tail? Mine hurts just reading the blog and looking at the pix and maps...

    Looking forward to seeing you in GC
    Miss R

  2. Hey Miss Riley,

    Great question... well that tends to get sore too. However, the bigger concern is chaffing, and I tell you, nothing hurts worse than having a chaffed behind then trying to get into the shower. There is this stuff called Chamois Butt'er (Chamois is typically what bike shorts are called), and the stuff works wonders. It's about as important as having water!