“The Gauntlet” has started.
For the next ten days we will be cycling non-stop, accumulating almost 900 miles into Lubbock, Texas. Today was arguably one of the hardest rides on South route, but almost the entire team made it to Globe, Arizona. The day tested our determination to finish the 85 miles. Tomorrow will test our will even more, as we are cycling the Salt River Canyon; the climb is estimated at 95 miles with 12,000 feet of climbing. We’ll have a very early bedtime tonight before waking up extra early to cycle.
Since we’ll be staying in smaller towns in Arizona and New Mexico this stretch, we won’t have as many friendship visits along the way. If we can survive The Gauntlet, we will certainly make it the rest of the way Washington, DC.
“Don’t count the miles, make the miles count.”
Halfway up the climb to Globe, AZ
First and foremost, if anyone has been keeping up with my blog lately, I apologize for not writing more often. I’ve been so busy lately with cycling and programming.
To recap on the past couple weeks: the trip has been amazing thus far. The team is beginning to mesh very well already. Our biggest stop of the trip has definitely been in Las Vegas. We were hooked up with some excellent lodging and hospitality from The Mirage and Russ Faulkner. We’ve also been to so many amazing friendship visits along the way.
Today, we arrived in Wickenburg, AZ after a 108 mile day on the bike. It was the first day we completed over 100 miles because of previous inclement weather conditions. I could not have been more proud of my pace line today because we worked as one cohesive unit. We have sponsored dinner tonight, and if it’s anywhere as good as last year’s, it should be delicious (as all of our meals have been). We’ll be in Phoenix for two days tomorrow, so I’m definitely off to bed early tonight.
First century ride complete: 108.1 miles in 6:19:14
Me and Greye at a friendship visit in Las Vegas
Day 2: At the top of the climb
Yesterday, we had a 65 mile ride into Victorville, CA. Because of safety reasons, we had to rack in the middle of the ride for about five miles. I swept along with Shad and Trey from UNC-Chapel Hill. The 4000 foot climb was both physically and mentally challenging throughout the day, especially with the multiple stops due to sweeping.
Once we arrived into Victorville, we stayed at a community center (where our friendship visit also was). The night can be summed up in three words: lots of dancing. The hits of the night were a photo booth and a talent show dance performance by a few girls in the area. They rocked the stage, and invited us to join them in dancing. That will be a night that I’ll never forget; the entire place was electrifying up until the time the friendship visit was over. Seeing the smiles on the girls’ faces made us forget how tired or sore we were from the long day of cycling. Needless to say, all of the team fell asleep quickly.
“The A-team” – JP, Dan, and me
Today, we had a quick 60 mile ride into Barstow, CA. I rode with JP and Dan (“A-team”) through some Breaking Bad-like scenery in the desert. The heat was ridiculous by the time we finished (100 degrees)! Luckily, we finished quickly enough to avoid anything hotter.
SEGS I & II
There wasn’t a friendship visit today, but we toured the Solar Energy Generating Systems I & II (SEGS) nearby. Luckily for me, this was right down my alley as an electrical engineer. We’re staying in the local community college tonight before we head off to Pahrump, NV bright and early!
Journey of Hope – South Route 2014
Today is the day; we finally made our way towards Washington, DC. After approximately 57 miles, we arrived in Ontario, California from Long Beach. The ride itself wasn’t terrible, besides a few miles of mountains. I think that the entire team used this day to figure out what works best for them on the bike, as well working together in pacelines. We’re fortunate enough to stay in the Embassy Suites of Ontario tonight before a 70 mile ride to Victorville, CA tomorrow.
Tonight, we are headed to the Garcia’s house for a sponsored meal. We won’t have a friendship visit today, so we will have plenty of time to rest up for tomorrow!
Paul Swenson, Kevin Cowan, and me after Day 1
“Together we shall grow, appreciate, support, and live as a family. Never settling for the status quo, constantly pushing to be the best. We will spread our message and confidently say that we left it all on the road–no regrets.”
- Journey of Hope, South Route 2014
Banner made for us by AbilityFirst
Today marked the first day that I’ve been on the bike for Journey of Hope. We were fortunate with a late wakeup at 7:30 this morning. Once again, we practice packed as if it was our last morning on the Queen Mary. The morning started with a crew chief breakfast, followed by a bicycle skills assessment session. Nothing was too difficult compared to what we will experience in just a few days. We then took a quick stroll to the Long Beach Lighthouse and took our official team photo. It was a surreal feeling knowing that we will begin cycling towards Washington, DC on Friday.
At Long Beach Lighthouse with Kevin Cowan (Florida State)
We also had our first friendship visit of the trip at AbilityFirst. All the guys had a blast hanging out at the friendship visit; I was in charge of making snow-cones for a carnival. The kids we hung out with were really receptive to us hanging out with them. The friendship visit ended with an excellent sponsored meal.
Serving Snow Cones with Josh Stroud (California – Berkeley)
Our next training ride will be bright and early tomorrow morning. With a wakeup time of 5:30, we’ll be in bed extra early tonight. Kickoff is just right around the corner!
After seven hours of flying, I’ve safely arrived to California. I’m very anxious to see what orientation week has in store for us, but I’m sure that it’ll be a blast until we kick-off on Friday. Now that I am finally here, the idea of cycling across the country is becoming more daunting. I know that my training will pay off when we begin riding (even though I haven’t been able to ride since my bike got boxed).
The first day of orientation was great; we did a few ice-breakers and team building activities to get to know our teammates a little better. After a quick night out, I immediately fell asleep before lights-out. I am still adjusting to the time change, so hopefully I’ll be ready to go by the time we kick off.
This morning (Tuesday) we had a very nice sponsored meal from Whole Foods. I think it’s safe to say that the whole team was stuffed and satisfied by the end of the meal. We were also able to make a Target run to pick up a few personal items. The rest of the day will consist of safety and risk procedure programming with the highlight of the night being a sponsored meal at In-N-Out Burger!
It’s pretty late, and in just a few hours I’ll board my plane to Los Angeles. Throughout the summer, I’ll have a few opportunities to receive mail. If you’d like to send me anything, please be sure to include: “Attn: Journey of Hope – Kevin Quan”. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!