When I was fourteen years old, I loved riding my bike with my friends Eric and Andy. Every weekend we would go out and explore as far as we could from our front doorsteps.
We kept tabs on all the professional cyclists and came up with nicknames for ourselves… I was Eddy Merckx, Eric was Greg LeMond, and Andy was Lance Armstrong… in 1995 before he won a single Tour De France.
Our eighth grade science teacher, Mr. Hilaire, was also into cycling – having done a long tour and occasionally commuting to school. He planted the seed for this trip – we would always ask him questions about his ride to Colorado and dream of going across the country for ourselves. At the end of ninth grade Andy moved away, Eric took up other interests, I got my driver’s license, and basically bicycling ceased to be an active hobby of mine.
It was some time during high school or shortly thereafter when I dreamed up three things that I would really like to experience and accomplish in my lifetime… a personal triple crown of sorts. They were 1)run a marathon 2)bicycle across the country 3)hike the Appalachian Trail.
At the end of my first and only semester of college, I made what turned out to be a pivotal decision. I quit school and decided to go after the important things in life that make me happy – as opposed to what my family, friends, strangers, and society in general expect of me. I thought I ought to do these things now while I have my youth, health, and freedom from mortgage/children, etc., rather than getting old dreaming and never doing. Besides, I was paying for college on my own and it was expensive!
In November of 2000 I finished the Philadelphia Marathon. On October 8, 2002 I reached Mt. Katahdin in Maine and finished the Appalachian Trail.
It was on April 3, 2001 when I took my first step north on the trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia, so I thought today, exactly five years later, would be a fitting day to begin this journal.
Thanks for coming along for the big ride.
April 3, 2006