Well, the trip has finally come to an end. I am writing this last blog from my home in South Dakota, and it has definitely been a bittersweet ending. I will talk more about that later, though.
From Santa Monica, we made our way to Huntington Beach, CA. I was in the food van that day, meaning I got food donations for the team along with Lisa. We ended up getting $100 to Whole Foods donated! The manager there was very generous. Unfortunately, I do not have any pictures from that day, but it was only a 45 mile day I believe. Once we got there, we stayed in two different homes in a nice neighborhood. Tyler knew the daughter of one of the hosts, which is how we made the connection. The hosts were very welcoming and hospitable, and we had a delicious dinner of sausages, salad, breadsticks, and numerous other grilled foods along with beer and wine. That night was also quite the special night. Kiersten, on our team, took the time to write down “spotlights,” or positive messages, to each and every person on our team! She read those all in front of the fire, and it was great to hear the amazing things she wrote about everyone. It was also a reminder that the trip was winding down to an end.
From Huntington Beach, we rode to Encinitas, CA. The ride was 70 miles, and we passed through very rich areas of CA, especially Newport! The scenery was also beautiful. Here is a pic from the ride:
I had a great group that day, and we had a bucket list we wanted to fulfill, which included showing up to a water stop with our jerseys on backwards, riding on another person’s handlebars, switching bikes for a stretch, and much more. We also rode with members of the church we would be staying at that night, so they showed us around well!
That day, we were also very fortunate to receive cupcakes thanks to the workings of Heather’s mom. This is the cupcake place:
The owner there was extremely nice, and I seriously had the best cupcake I have ever had in my life there. It was a great pit stop before we finished the end of the day.
We finally arrived at our host, Santa Fe Christian High School, in Encinitas. It was a beautiful high school that looked more like a college campus in fact. We met the program manager, Stephen Hersey, there. He told us the routine for the next day in San Diego, and we fulfilled all the duties before the final leg of our trip (including cleaning out the vans, cleaning bikes, signing jerseys, etc.). Others got tattoos of the 4K as well. We also intended to stay up quite late since it was our last night together, but I honestly couldn’t survive past 11 PM.
Anyway, we woke up the next morning, jerseys on and ready to go to breakfast at the luxurious time of about 8 AM. We took our final group photo and did one of our most powerful dedication circle, then headed out in a large group for our 17 mile day to San Diego at around 9:30 or so. Besides the 2 mile incline at a 15% grade, the ride was not bad at all. It was a very loud ride, with all of us screaming chants through busy streets and causing quite the ruckus. Here are some pictures:
We also went through some rich areas, which is why you can see the lamborghini in the picture on the right.
Our destination that day specifically was Mission Beach, but we stopped at Mission Bay park to gather as one large group beforehand.
At around 11:50 AM, we rode together for about 1 mile and showed up at Mission Beach to meet all our friends and family! It was a very emotional, exciting time.
After all that finished, we made our way to the beach to get our diplomas, flags, and say some positive things about a teammate we were assigned. It was a great bonding time for the group, and also a great way to wrap up the journey. This is me talking about one of our ride directors, Eric Knapp:
After all this, we did the cheer one last time. It was probably the loudest and most passionate we had ever been. Here’s a picture:
Next, it was finally time to dip our tires, or our bikes, in the Pacific! We dipped our back tires in the Atlantic Ocean, and it was finally time to mark the end of the journey in the Pacific. It was a very exciting time. Here are some more pics:
My cousins also surprised me on the beach as well! I had no idea they’d be coming, and I was so happy to see them:
For this day, I had quite a few dedications:
First was my grandma. She passed away last year from throat cancer, but she was the motivation for my ride. She inspired me the whole way through, and to start and finish the ride with her is what I intended for the trip. I am sure she is proud of all our work as well.
I also dedicated my ride to my mom, dad, and brothers. They were the biggest support team of mine, and made everything I could do possible.
Lastly, I dedicated my ride to Team San Diego. They provided me with such a great summer, and I really met some wonderful people. Biking across the country is not easy, but when there are such great people on your team, you are motivated to finish. I will keep all these friends for life, and I am eager for the next time I get to see them.
This summer was probably the craziest summer I have had yet. Between storms, 120 mile days in 115 degree heat, and some of the most fun days I have had with great friends, I will remember this summer for the rest of my life. Biking across the country has given my the mental, physical, and emotional strength to be able to pursue almost anything in my life. I am so glad 4K has supplied me with this skillset and an opportunity that I will cherish forever.
Thanks for tuning into my blog this trip! I know I wasn’t too frequent about it, but I highlighted everyday of the trip. I hope I may have inspired some of you to pursue similar endeavors!