PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 26, Thursday, October 5
To: Tybee Island, GA; 87 miles

We made it!
Riding Time: 4:45:09; Avg Speed: 17.9 mph; Max Speed: 28.3 mph

Started at 57°F and warmed to a 87°F under clear skies. Winds were light and variable.

Gently rolling first 20 miles then flat today.

 

Except for one-mile of construction on US 80 and some unavoidable urban riding in Savannah, the roads were great all the way to Typee Island.

 

The last luggage load of our tour. Denis and his wife Annie leading the way to the first SAG.
 

There was an air of celebration today as we rolled along on this final day.

Eamonn anticipating the finish. A happy Eamonn and Walter
These two photos were taken just east of Register GA (at 15 miles)

 

Brett had a gentle way of making everyone feel like you were his best mate. Simone was a pleasant and frequent dinner companion along with Dan Aaron and John Newton. Anne and Ken - two strong and outgoing riders. Ken is a fellow blogger (internet diarist) and we frequently discussed the ups, downs and technical challenges of blogging on the road.
Our last lunch SAG in Tom Triplet Community Park in Pooler GA (at 57 miles). A time for laughter and quiet reflection.

 

The sight of this marina and tidal marsh on the Bull River was the first visual indication that we were getting close (9 miles from the finish).

 

Let the celebration begin... The Three Amigos reach a milestone.
At the Tybee Island sign 4 miles from the finish.
This is where we waited for all the riders to arrive then we rode to our hotel on the beach in masse.

 

My welcome entourage of my wife Janine, daughter Holly (5 years old), mother and father (Jim and Evelyn), and mother-in-law and father-in-law (Joan and Steve) checked-in to our finishing hotel yesterday and were anxiously awaiting my arrival. Holly was up at sunrise today with the "can't wait anticipation" of Christmas Eve. I called Janine every 25 miles or so to keep her posted on our progress. My last call came just after we started our group ride to the beach.

During the final 4-mile push I rode near the front taking pictures of the group. About two miles from the hotel "Single-speed" Steve joined us. He had already ridden to the finish with Randy and Derek as all the riders insisted that he take this final stage. Now he wanted to join us all on our final ride in. I felt honored to chat with Steve in the final mile, then as we approached the hotel I dropped back so he could be seen alone in front.

As the Ocean Plaza Beach Hotel came into view my emotions ran high. I scanned the crowd lining the street for my wife and daughter. Then as Steve turned into the driveway of the hotel Janine, Holly and Joan came into focus on the outside of the turn. I drifted to the outside, unclipped a pedal and rolled to a stop in their arms. In those brief moments it seemed as though I was in a tunnel passing between two worlds.

I emerged from a highly focused world with one simple goal that demanded the cramming of 27 hours of effort and preparation into each 24-hour day. This rather artificial and somewhat arbitrary goal of crossing a continent had no relation to and little in common with the world that I was now entering; the familiar world of my home and family. As I stepped across that threshold I experienced the most intense outpouring of conflicting emotions I have ever experienced. I was relieved, proud, sad, elated, and deeply physically exhausted, but by far the most dominant emotion was the great joy of hugging Janine and Holly once again. Though the tears, all I could say was "I missed you so much".

Our parade 3 miles from the finish. Peter in white with Ken far right.

 

All the riders rolled through the parking area to the boardwalk leading to the beach for obligatory photos at the Alantic Ocean.

Janine, Holly and daddy together at last. Holly and daddy at the ultimate finish of the tour.
 

Here at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean though preparation, effort and no small amount of luck, I had indeed achieved all the goals that I set for myself 26 days ago in San Diego.

First among them was to cross North America entirely under my own power. Although walking was permitted at any time (for instance, due to a mechanical problem or very steep hill), in fact, I did ride the entire route on my bicycle, neither sagging nor walking any portion. Its also interesting to note that did not ride in a motorized vehicle at any time since my arrival at the Hotel in San Diego 29 days ago. Each day I either walked or rode my bike to restaurants and stores in the area near our nightly accommodations.

I also smashed my former record for most consecutive centuries (consecutive days riding 100 miles or more). I rode over 100 miles on each of the first 16 days of this tour as well as the 7 days prior to today (today was only 87 miles). My previous record was 4.

All the riders and staff of the 2006 Southern Transcontinental

 

Steve among other riders packing up bicycles for shipment home (or perhaps, for sale on E-Bay).

 

Upon accepting his plaque and congratulatory handshakes from Lon and Susan, Steve Rawiswer (a.k.a. "Single-speed Steve") received a spontaneous standing ovation from all of the other riders.
For the benefit of the family and friends attending the banquet, Lon said that the applause was well deserved since to his knowledge Steve is the first person to complete a North American transcontinental on a fixed-gear single speed bicycle in less than 30 days.

 

At the finish my mother-in-law Joan asked Steve if he would do another transcontinental bike tour. He told her, "Never!, in fact I am selling this bike on E-Bay tonight."

Our crew. Dan Aaron receiving his plaque for his seventh transcontinental tour.
 
With a winning bid of $1,700 Julie took home our map-of-progress. The money will go toward PAC Tour's charity work benefiting orphanages in Peru.

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