Well, that was a challenge different to anything I’d ever done before! When Katie and I originally came up with the idea of racing across America, we knew that we’d be relying on the support of everyone around us. But I don’t think either of us ever imagined quite how important they’d become, working their arses off whether riding, driving, navigating or even negotiation with race officials!
But it wasn’t just the 13 members of the Ride for your Lives team who made this possible. We were fortunate to have a fantastic group of sponsors backing us every step of the way. You can see exactly who they are by looking at our “Sponsors” page. In addition to our two principal sponsors, Levi’s and Kinetico, there are two other companies who were integral to us getting across the US, and allowing you to follow us every step of the way.
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When I started riding in Oceanside, CA on 18 June, I didn’t have much with me. However, one of the things I did take was a little Sony Ericsson phone, and it wasn’t just so that I could have a chat if I got bored at any point. Some of you may have noticed that, as we were riding across the US, you were able to track our progress live online, through the Endomondo website.
We always had an intention of getting some form of live tracking for the race; both Katie and I were followed by thousands through satellite tracking when we rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. Initially, we were expecting it to be a logistical nightmare; it turned out to be anything but.
All we did was make sure we had a cellphone in our back pocket and, before we started a shift, make sure we clicked “Start” on the Endomondo app. That’s it; the rest was taken care of. Our position, our speed, our cadence and even our heart rate was uploaded live to the Internet for the whole world to see. That meant that any of you could have seen exactly how much we were struggling as we crawled up the Rockies, or flew along the plains (or maybe noticed when we were taking it a little easy on the downhills!).
So, how did we get hold of this kind of special coverage? We didn’t actually have to do anything! You just need to get your phone, download the Endomondo app and you’re good to go. But please don’t go comparing your training rides to mine; you might realise I’m not as fit as you thought!
If you do, please take one thing into account: it always takes a little bit longer than it should. That’s not because I’m going slowly, but simply because everybody wants to stop and talk to me about one thing: me bikes.
You may have noticed in the photos and videos that the bicycles I was riding don’t really look like your everyday steed. And that’s because they’re not. They’re made of wood!
Renovo Bikes are a small company based in Portland, Oregon who craft these beautiful works of art out of various types of wood. Mine was made from Walnut, Yellowheart and Padauk. I’ve got to admit, I’ve never even heard of Padauk before getting hold of my Renovo R4, but trust me when I say it does the job. Don’t be fooled into thinking these are delicate works of art to be looked at and admired. They’re made to be ridden. They’re made to race!
Everything we threw at them, they took in their stride. 3,000 miles in fewer than 8 days? No problem. Being thrown in and out of cars and RVs? Absolutely fine. And the results speak for themselves. Despite the obstacles that fell in our way, we managed to complete the race in just 7 days, 16 hours and 59 minutes, over four hours faster than we’d original targeted.
So, yes; you could buy a Renovo to put on the wall and it would look incredible. But what a waste that would be! Take it out and ride for your lives. That’s what it’s made for after all.
[More photos will be added to this blog in the next few days. I just need to find them first!! In the meantime, have a look through the Endomondo and Renovo websites, as well as viewing the final incredible video produced by the Conscious Minds team on YouTube. There's plenty there to keep you occupied for a good few hours.]