4,563 miles on a fixed gear bicycle…

I asked myself one day, “How can I, a coach from Colorado Springs with so many inspirational athletes and coaches, make a difference in thousands if not millions of people’s lives?” December 30th, I set out to fulfill a few goals for what is to be an outstanding year in using my life to shape others. The following represents a short synopsis of my bike ride across the Southern United States during one of the worst winters in decades.

End of December finally arrived, but my journey was only beginning. I packed up my bike, affectionately named Hidalgo, and headed to San Diego, CA where I planned to start my quest. I wrote out a list of goals I wanted to accomplish on this short adventure:

Open Road Observatory

-Raise $25K for a “Blind and Type 1 Diabetic” training

for the 2016 Paralympics.

-Ride a 48/16 Fixed Gear weighing 40 lbs (with gear)

self-contained 22 days coast to coast.

-Be the first to ride across the country in 2014.

-Ride over 4,000 miles for the month to reclaim the Strava

Challenge I bested in 2012.

-Most importantly, do something I love, ride my bike

daily!

Recharge my heart, soul, and mind by stepping out of

society for a short period of time, while embracing

every moment!

After many months of planning the bike, the logistics, and mentally preparing to spend hours alone, I landed in sunny California. I rode coast to coast in 22 days finishing up with wonderful friends in the Florida Keys. The weather played to my favor; however, I was challenged with a temperature spread of 5 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Winds, rain, snow, and a lot of sunshine brought mixed emotions daily but I kept moving forward. With daylight being short, I continued to ride in the early mornings, through the day, and late into the evenings no matter what. Riding on cold dark highways alone in America can be mentally tough at times, not to mention scary; however this was my charger, my plug-in, my freedom.

IMG_1026

Riding self-contained 10-12 hours a day with the inability to coast and towing camping gear, clothes, tools, and a small laptop is no easy vacation. It’s simplification, wrapped up in work, and that’s what it took to accomplish the goals I set forth. The physical, emotional, and mental demands experienced while out on the open road didn’t allow for much sleep, especially while camping out. But there was no stopping me, I had set out to live in the moment and set the stage for the rest of the year. No matter how tired, mentally confused, hungry, thirsty, or battling the continuous thoughts that brewed from within, I was determined to succeed.There was no quitting, no calling a sag wagon to pick me up, no catching a greyhound bus to take me home. In this moment, I was strengthening my belief that being comfortable, while uncomfortable doing something I love, would allow me to accomplish the unthinkable!

Covering seven states in a little over 3,000 miles coast to coast I fulfilled goals number two and three, and most of number five. However, there were 9 days left in the month. With the comforts of society tempting to derail me from all my goals. I stopped, took in a deep breath, and said, “NO WAY! I MUST FINISH WHAT I STARTED”, so I pressed on. I rode south to ensure weather conditions would allow me to complete my quest. At this point, leaving St. Augustine, FL I reflected on what I had accomplished before starting this journey: three degrees, successful college athletic experience, and working for the largest privately held firm in the US. I thought, “What more do I have to accomplish?” Than the realization hit me, the moment is now, the past is gone, move forward into the dreams you have dreamt, and create the life you want to live!

Into the Unknown

Living with the passion and love I hold for cycling, has opened more doors for me than anything else I have experienced. This journey, like the one I experienced in crossing the TransAmerica Route in 2010 has cleared my mind and prepared me for the journey ahead, flooding me with happiness, and allowing me to press on. Though not all my goals were accomplished in January, I was able to accomplish four of five and besting the challenge, the Strava challenge of 67,000 cyclists worldwide was pretty cool. I’m going to continue to “Move Forward” with the confidence gained, and faith in knowing all my goals and dreams will be lived out, either this year or next. There is only one way to sum up this adventure – it was one “EPIC JOURNEY.”

Matt covered 4,563 miles during January, pedaling 1,166,149 (+/-100) revolutions which compares to doing two Tour de Frances distances in 31 days.. For more information on “Matt’s EPIC JOURNEY”, please visit www.mcendurance.com -thank you!

About Matt Carnal

I love riding my bike, and helping others achieve the goals that they've laid out for themselves.