It started in the mountains. 7 days. 750 miles. 30,000 feet of elevation. Then down into the desert. Temps up to 117 degrees. Winds that blew relentlessly for miles on end. We followed Route 66. The dilapidated remnants of America's post-war rush west. Cities that didn't make sense, shoved between parched peaks themselves between the scorched stretches of the endless desert floor. Then it stopped as soon as it began, on the 4th of July, at Lake Havasu City, at a sleazy resort, with an infinity pool and buckets of liquor with crazy straws and fireworks and bikinis and shitty dance music blaring over all of it.
Flying in and taking over leading a group of cyclists who'd formed a bond that's so unique, one that is forged from the mutual suffer-through-it mentality you settle into on a long, sustained, cross country tour by bike. Chris and Ben put it so well, that none of us could even remember the last time we'd done any activity for that many days straight. Even when you're training for a sport, or working, or doing anything, even routine, when do you do it non-stop for 37 days straight? You even miss brushing your teeth sometimes, I mean come on, it happens...
The brigade is unique, it's not a pleasure cruise. It's long miles, tough stretches of road that aren't the #roadslikethese type. It's hot weather riding in the middle of summer through the desert, it's pushing yourself to the limit. It's gas stations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's not friendly to Vegans. It's picking up where you left off the previous day when you were too tired to ride the 50 miles to the next town, so your day becomes 150, because you're on a schedule, and you aren't going to be late. It's waking up before dawn to get 100 in by noon, so you can get that last 4k of climbing in by 3pm. We're strangers who find a common bond out there on the road, and at the end of it all, you're friends for life. Even if you never see one another again, you're all bound together by that one summer you spent on the long road west.
There were countless moments where we were in awe, where we were too hot to think straight, where we were pissed at one another for any number of reasons, where things just seemed idyllic. It's a compressed ecosystem where your tired legs just keep on pedaling no matter what because that's all you want to do that day, just make it to the next stop. You take the scenic route when you're strong, you cut it short on the interstate when you're tired and it's getting late. The week is best summed up with by following photo series and a few little snippets of cheesy banter from moi. Enjoy, and be sure to check out Search and State for more on the #searchbrigade!
And before I forget, be sure to stop into the shop if you want to talk bike touring. It's a hell of a way to spend a weekend, or a week, or a month over the summer. We can get you set up with everything you need to hit the road in search of some adventure.