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Fitness Skating and Training Forum Discussions about on-skate and off-skate training, hydration, sports nutrition, weight loss, injuries, sports medicine, and other topics related to training and physical fitness for skaters.

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Old January 13th, 2008, 06:29 PM   #41
Bryan
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I haven’t donated to him yet, but Jenn gave very generously on Friday. Perhaps I should send him a headset for his cell phone.

D’oh! I hate having my comment end up the first one on the second page!
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Old January 13th, 2008, 09:02 PM   #42
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Well Bryan, I'll help you a bit. You might have the first post on page 2, but this will be the second

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Successes and Near Catastrophies
Current mood: sad
Category: Sports


The past two days have revolved around meeting our new friends Ed "Fast Eddy" Wachter and his wife Lolita. We were put in contact with them through Glenn Koshi. As part of the Bont family, they offered us food and shelter on our journey. We received so much more. We have been blessed by the generosity of strangers. Seperately, we have also become witness to the dangers that we face on this journey. We are constantly aware of the dangers faced here. We are as careful as we can be.

We resumed our appproach to Casa Grande, from 16 miles out, only to be routed off of the highway two miles before the 1-8/1-10 interchange. We spent valuable time, from our point of view, trying to find a new suitable route around the junction. We were finally able to find a route up into Casa Grande and around to Eloy. Friday night traffic began to escalte as we became car-bound to finalize the approach to Tucson.

Within moments, we were travelling behind a driver that was exhibiting failure to maintain speed and direction. As he veered into oncoming traffic, Hillary pulled hard to the right to avoid the collision. I am glad that she is a defensive driver. She saved us from being involved with the melee. Being witness to many accidents, including one that almost ended my life, I can say that one was ugly. She was understandably shaken, and I aquiesced to making the drive to Tucson with no qualms.

When she is vocal about her concerns, I am considerate enough to listen. She was still shaken later as we recanted our stories to Ed and Lolita. Fortunately, our moods lightened as our stories began to revolve around skating and sharing a meal.

From my family and upbringing, I learned that one of the most intimate experieinces that you can have is to break bread with another human being. Having someone share food and resources is akin to welcoming someone into your family. I have learned to be very picky about the people that I share meals with. I would give those two people the last food that I have in my cupboards to show my appreciation for their humanity.

I awoke early the next morning to make my final run into Tucson. We found the roads relatively empty until we were closer to the city. I floated to Tucson on squishy wheels. I felt like I was being pulled there by the knowledge of people waiting for me, and waiting to skate with me. I smiled as the physical and mental fatigue of my journey faded into a wanting to rejoin my compatriots in Tucson.

My energy level continued to escalate as passers-by began to point and honk. I felt a particular surge as I passed a motorcycle officer who waved. I waved back and then he looked over at our car. He waved back with more and enthusiasm. I couldn't help but wave back wildly and smile. He returned my energy with arm pumping and hooting. It's those little things that are refreshing me.

I had a bit of a wipe out as I made the turn to Eddy's home. I hit a barrier wall and spun kind of hard. A random sand bar had formed in the road, and I just missed seeing it. Nothing hurt but pride, I made the final series of turns to Eddy's, only to find him and his wife waiting for me in front with cameras flashing. I felt victorious. Another small challenge overcome. As if 60 miles is a small challenge.

We shared yet another meal. This one was of prize-winning tamales. I also received a gift of a banana nut bread loaf from Eddy's mom. I can only describe this bread as decadent. Apparently, Glenn Koshi teases Eddy if he doesn't show up with a loaf to share at the races. They are so good!

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mike, Florence, and Marybeth of the Tucson Sk8 Club, later on the trail. Everyone was careful not to pass in front of me to ensure that I was never drafted. They took turns coming to the front to skate beside me on the trail and share stories. We parted ways at the end of the trail, and I continued my run.

I was struck by profound saddness while I continued my skate. I had spent time with amazing, compassionate, warm people. I had grown accustomed to their company over the last 18 hours. I became all too aware that it would be some time before I would have a chance to see their friendly faces again. I hope to at least hear from them again while I am on the road. I hope that they know what an impact they just my made on this skate, and on my life. I am amazed how the brief contact with the people that I have made on this skate has changed my life. Good people have that effect on you.

Hillary called the run early, as I skated up Broadway. I am glad that she is my voice of reason. I was a little upset that I wasn't going to skate 100 miles. She said we needed to check the rest of the route. She also pointed out that it was Saturday and we were in a continuoulsy increasing traffic as we passed through the heart of Tucson. I reluctantly joined the car as we found our route out of Tucson in the familiar skate and then preview the next route routine that we have fallen into.

We were terribly heartbroken by the news that we received later on the news. Two young boys, that we saw riding bicycles on our route, were struck by a vehicle on Broadway. They were out riding and seemingly enjoying their night of freedom. They couldn't have been more than fourteen or fifteen. They looked so happy riding up the road in the bike lane. They were in the same bike lane that I was using.

Alcohol may have been involved, said the reporter. One of them passed away. That's twice in two nights that we have been witness to the perils of the road. That is twice that we barely missed catastrophy. Their families are in our prayers.


Tomorrow we return to make our final run out of Tucson. We do so with the gravity of the dangers faced. We also do so with the hopes and well wishes of our friends and families. We will also work as hard as we can to accomplish the goals that have been set forth. We have come so far. We have met so many people and been touched by so many lives. We will take every precaution to ensure our personal safety.


Here's the map to and around Casa Grande:



Here's the run to Eddy's



Here's the approximation of the run from Eddy's (We actually used a walking trail):
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Old January 14th, 2008, 12:23 PM   #43
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Leaving Tucson
Category: Sports


I completed the run out of Tucson today. I want to thank Robert Murders for the advice and help avoiding high traffic areas. I also want to thank him and his wife Ni, and Lolita Wachter for coming to cheer me on every couple of miles. The cowbells were a very special touch. You have spoiled me with your kindness.

We were unable to complete the run to Vail before dark, due to the roads not being passable. I will skate dirt. Dirt with large stones and undrivable for our car is, however, not an option. We drove around and were able to find a route through a new subdivision that is not showing on Google maps. We will make that run bright and shiny in the morning.

I am glad that I was able to spend the night in Benson last night at the benefaction of my friends Glenn and Kari Herbst. They saved us some important missteps. The roads in that region are unpassable, as they turn to dirt and rise and drop sharply in the valley washes. That is also because I will not be able to continue on I-10. Pedestrians are not allowed. I would consider a "ninja" skate, but the traffic and road conditions provide for a highly dangerous route. We have created a new route. We will have to drop close to the Mexico border and run to El Paso that way. It only adds 20 more miles or so, but removes me from the traffic. We are now obsessed with completing this run safely. We have come too far to be careless.

We may be out of contact for a few days. We will return to the closest towns at the ends of our runs. We may or may not have internet access. When we make El Paso, we will for sure update our progress. I put a projected run at the end of this blog. I have to cross one more mountain range as I make Bisbee, AZ.

We have returned to Fast Eddy's home, as he has been most gracious to have us again. We also have walkie-talkies now, to alleviate the need for a cell phone signal. Many of you have been quite vocal about our needs for a set. You were all correct. We are so lucky to have received all of the advice from those that know more than us. We are in your debt.

We will for sure be in touch as soon as we complete this last run in the mountains. I am dreaming of the flat open roads of the prairies. Even the Texas hill country will be a relief from the altitude changes that we have endured.

It seems that I have fought for the last two weeks to catch the record pace after the trials in the mountains. I was able to catch the pace on the run from Casa Grande. I am quite proud of that achievement. It was an amazing run. It has inspired me to be stronger than I am. I has let me prove to myself that I am capable of this test.

I am now faced with the next stage of this story. I get to start writing my new story of how the record was set. I get to write the next chapter of my life. I get to set the stage for anyone who ever attempts this feat again. Tomorrow, I make the final push out of the west. Tomorrow, I get to start an epic run across the United States.

I can't wait to skate.......

Here's the completed run out of the city of Tucson:



Here's the projected run to El Paso:
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:43 PM   #44
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Hi, I'm posting a couple of pics of Danny when he was in Tucson...

http://p196.ezboard.com/fbontskatesf...cID=3276.topic

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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:00 PM   #45
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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The desert and the mountains
Current mood: peaceful
Category: Sports


We spent a potrtion of Monday morning preparing for our run into the desert. Supplies were located and the car was unloaded and repacked yet again in our effort to stay organized. Doing this event in cramped quarters requires that we constantly reorganize our surroundings.

Skating into the desert requires that we check and double check our supplies.

The suburbs of Tucson proved to be even just as busy as Tucson proper, with tighter roads. Construction is every where in a town that appears to exploding in size. Vail, Arizona proved to be a test on my patience as I continued with the routine that I learned in California: Skate, wait on the side of the side of the road, skate/walk up the dirt shoulder. I managed 2-3mph on Monday.

Tuesday proved a recap with the benefits of moving farther from civilization. I made my way farther into the desert and up into the mountains.

I am glad that I had my practice on Old Highway 80. The familiar crumbling pea gravel asphalt gave me shudders as I remembered the trials on Texas Hill. I plodded my way to Highway 83. I couldn't help but laugh and then pump my arms in victory as I rolled unexpectedly up to another cattle grate. I cleared this one in a victory jump. Fast Eddy told me ther are used to keep free range cattle from wandering up to the highway. My coach, Mike, says that they have some with wider grates in Oklahoma to keep the Bison from being Highway-bound.

The desert is beautiful and harsh. It is elegant and unforgiving. Even the wildlife here seems to barely hold on to life. Proud and majestic cactii loom next to it's withering brethren. Mesquite trees dot the landscape with their thorny arms as if waving in defiance of the infernal sun.

I made my way up the mountain as I battled with my fatigued limbs. There must be a mining operation nearby, as giant earth movers were being shipped with the aid of local sherriffs and highway patrol. Those officers repeatedly caught us and asked us to move to the side for 10-15 minutes at a time as massive loads of equipment and parts crawled up the road.

I climbed and peaked repeatedly as I made my up to 5200 ft. I actually had a DPS car behind us around 5000 ft, lights flashing, and cars piling up behind us. I was in full sprint mode trying to make the next clear corner so that cars could pass us. I skated for 4 tenths of a mile like that before I could pull over and wave the traffic by. I gasped for air as I stood doubled over waving at the car in appreciation for putting up with me. The officer waved back smiling, as he passed, shaking his head as if thinking, "stupid, stupid, stupid..."

Hillary radio'ed me when the lane cleared, "I guess this is the wrong time to tell you that you are on a 6% grade" I panted, "Yeah, I know" but thinking, "I will not throw up. I will not throw up."

The runs down provided for some much needed recoup time. I made the next town and was able to pull a nice 20 mph run before sinking into the valley. It's nice to get to break loose after battling at a slow pace.

Finally, with the lights of Fort Huachaca in sight and ankles burning, I called it a night. We found a much deserved motel and shower and packed me in ice.

We are still on the same path that I listed on the last blog. If I have to vary, I will post a new run, until then........
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Old January 19th, 2008, 09:50 PM   #46
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Friday, January 18, 2008

Story to Douglas
Current mood: anxious
Category: Sports


I finally made Douglas. It looked like a gleaming jewel at the bottom of a black lake as I descended from Bisbee in the late night hour. I felt a surge of relief as I made the pass and the valley opened up in front of me. It had been a long run from Huachuca. It's been a long three day run from Tucson. I have passed three more mountain ranges.

I have been nursing what felt like a high ankle sprain in my left foot since the grates on Old Highway 80. My right ankle, actually both, have had a general intense burning inside the joint. I have been using ice therapy to control the swelling. Three out of five toenails on my right foot are a solid purple. I know, there are medical professionals out there reading this thinking about the miniscus tearing and joint damage. I promise to stop when I can't walk anymore. Well, maybe when I can't skate anymore. Ok, when I can't can't crawl in my skates I promise to stop. Actually, that might be a lie too...

I did the mountains outside of Tucson and skated the rolling valley to Huachuca. Well, I was actually about 16 miles from there. I just thought I was closer. I was only able to make Huachaca yesterday. I'm not sure where all of the traffic came from. There's just not a whole lot out here. I mean, I guess I am on one the only roads in the middle of nowhere, and people have to drive somewhere, but for Pete's sake. I felt like I was inching along the road before I had to get off to let vehicles pass.

Thursday began with more promise. I could see the first mountain of the day. I felt a burning desire to cover the distances in front of me. As I skated the road to Sierra Vista, Hillary noticed the clouds swirling around the peak. "Those clouds look crazy", she said. "Looks like it's raining on the peaks", I replied with a sense of foreboding doom. We watched the clouds build and swirl as we neared. Once I was sure that it was raining, we took a short break to see if it would clear.

We watched the lazy grey fingers of precipitaion dance on the town of Hereford, Arizona in the distance. It's companion cloud system cleared the peak and I knew I was going to have to skate or be stuck another night. I decided that now or never was the only viable option. I cleared Sierra Vista and the clouds loomed closer. I started the long incline for the first mountain as I radioed back, "I can feel the rain on my face."

It wasn't so much rain, at that point, so much as I was skating through a cloud at elevation. Traffic increased and the temperature decreased. I grew nervous. It was getting absolutely frigid. I put on my cold gear and prepared to continue. Robert Murders called Hillary on the phone to warn us about the storm system passing over us. Snow was in the forecast with an over night low of 18 degrees Farenheit. Hillary fretted and told her that I needed to get as far as I could before we called it. Mist turned to rain as I made the peak. "Is that snow?", I heard from the walkie talkie. "I think that is actually snow flurries", I said as I looked up from the road to see the white clumps floating down. I crossed the top of the mountain and did my best to clear the clouds. The roads turned black from the precipitaion, and I started the long run down to the San Pedro river Valley.

I took that free ride for 4-5 miles and waved at all of the people who stared, honked, waved, or just smiled. Small victories is how I am measuring my progress. The asphalt was pristine and I took the chance to slow plow my way down and recouperate.

The next climb up to Bisbee was the one that had me worried all day. My original run had me going up S-80. That highway is just too steep and dangerous to skate safely. I ended up coming around to S-92. It added about 10 extra miles, but provided a safer shoulder to skate. I climbed until my legs burned. Then I climbed some more. We made an overlook to Nico, Mexico as I ran out of electrolyte water. We took pictures of the valley in the distance.

If you haven't seen "The Wall" at the border, I recommend it. It is a dose of reality that makes you understand how precious our freedom really is. People are willing to risk life and limb to come here. They are willing to give up everything they have to have a chance for what we have. At night the wall is an ominous sight. It looks like a glowing string of pearls with it's lights. The guard towers are spaced accordingly and remind me of a high security prison. I am positive that I was being watched as I paused to take snapshots of the vista.

I continued my climb and found the Bisbee city limits. I repeat, I measure this journey in small victories. I celebrate making cities, counties, rivers, washes, whatever I can. I held my right arm in the air like Rocky as rolled past the city limits at 5300 feet in altitude.

I'm sure that the people in Denver will laugh at me, but there is just not enough air up here. I have fought successfully to control my asthma. I have watched my breathing and kept my emotions in check. So far, I am the victor. I think the mountains have made my breathing stronger. I have been able to make each range that I attempt in a single day. Today, I made two.

I crossed Bisbee and Hillary and I discussed the descent. She was worried about doing it at night. We had previewed it previously and it wasn't easy, however, it wasn't as dangerous as the run out of the Granite mountains. I was worried that with the temperature dropping to 18, the roads would frost overnight. I still felt good and wanted to outrun the weather system. Hillary conceded, albeit reluctantly, with considerations. We agreed that we would completely remove ourselves from the road and shoulder as traffic approached from behind. I began my descent into darkness.

Several miles down we came across another Highway Patrol. "How are you doing?", he said with spotlight blinding me. "I'm freezing!", I half laughed in response. "That's because it's 36 degrees out", he laughed back. We discussed our trip and he wished us well and safety. He said it was another 22 miles of descent to Douglas. I appreciated the info. We made our way as the valley opened up and the lights loomed on the horizon. The sense of accomplishment removed the chill from my body and I no longer noticed my sweat dampened wind chilled clothes. Having another goal loom in the distance has that affect on you.

At the end of the run, I met Curtis. I had another signature for my log book. I met another great person on my journey. He helped us with information, directions, and the transfer of energy that you can only get from another human being.

I will find the border of this state today. I will kneel down and kiss the ground again when I enter New Mexico. I will, however, unlike the California trials, truly miss this part of the journey. I feel that I have grown stronger here. I have made friends and family here. I can see why people live here, and would consider making a home here myself. It is a stark beautiful land that makes you appreciate the life you have. I appreciate every second that I have spent here. We have appreciated every second of it.

Here's the run from Tucson to Huachuca (the hardest 55 miles so far):



Here's the run to Douglas:
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Old January 21st, 2008, 03:19 PM   #47
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Monday, January 21, 2008

Delirium
Current mood: exhausted
Category: Sports


I skated Sunday in absolute delirium. I have never experienced anything like that in my entire life. The first ten miles were the result of me force firing every muscle group in my body. My head throbbed with pain. I was nauseated, I was dizzy, and Hillary didn't know that until after I was through skating.

Nix what I said about the roads being flat here. The Pyramid Mountains ate me alive. We reached the Continental Divide, and I rolled silently up to it. I stood there as Hilllary got out of the car and we held each other in silence for several minutes. We came down through the next valley and I collapsed on the side of the road. Hillary was able to talk me to my feet, and I started the trek out of the valley.

At the next peak, Hillary recieved enough of a cell phone signal to recieve a call from my parents. She stopped me so she wouldn't loose it. I proceeded to assume the fetal position on the side of the road. I twitched and rolled on the sandy shoulder as my body screamed at me. I have never experienced that before. All I can figure is that I had run my body completely out of glycolgen from the previous runs. It is a state of delirium just short of panic. Your mind is trying to will your limbs to do things that they absolutly refuse to do.

Hillary tried to talk me through it, "I don't understand, but I am trying to." "I don't want you to ever have to understand what this feels like", I said as I lay curled on the ground. I stood up resolutely one more time. I rolled across the top of that peak, and down a couple more miles. That was 27 miles for the day. That took me 4 1/2 hours.

I have been asleep since then. I gorged on carbs. I hope it was enough.

Here's the map:
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 03:37 PM   #48
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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rebirth

I am heading back to do my final run in to El Paso. Bob Wiggs has graciously opened his home to us. He says that he may be the only inline speed skater in El Paso. He has helped us find a better route through town. Having local input has been a life saver on these runs.

I was still tired yesterday, as I prepared to do a new run. I decided to pull out a uniform that I have been saving for a very special day. I found the time worn and faded skin suit rolled up in a side pocket. Lord knows it had seen better days, but the magic was there when I donned it for the very first time. It had been given to me some 9 months or so ago by the toughest human being I have ever met. He's probably only half human, the rest is a combination of sun-dried rawhide and twisted steel. I'm not sure why Coach gave me his old skin suit. Maybe he knew that I would need it someday. I needed it yesterday. It was the luck that I needed.

I skated out of three valleys on notoriously bad New Mexico roads. I was blessed with a tail wind that only briefly would wrap around and become a side wind. My vibration numbed feet pleaded with me to stop, but I felt a burning in the pit of my stomach that said it wasn't time yet. Hillary kept calling mileage to me. "There's 18, 25, 30, 35, 45. When do you want to break?" "I'll break at 50", I called back.

"There's 50.4, and I need some water", she radioed. We talked it over and I wanted to push until the sun started to set, besides we were stating at Mexico on our right. Every once in a while I would pass rocks piled up vertically like indians would use as path markers. I knew that we were in an area that was used as an illegal crossing. I later pointed it out to Hillary who questioned why they were out there. We pushed until sunset.

67 miles total is what I got yesterday. That's not bad after hitting "the wall". I've never found my wall before. I've seen it on tv when a triathlete stumbles and can't function again. I never knew that I could find that point. Something happened to me when I passed the continental divide. I left part of me on the other side. I don't feel like I was reborn or anything. I do feel like I broke into a thousand pieces and then I put myself back together again.

I don't remember who I used to be anymore. I don't remember how I used to function before I started this skate. It seems like a story that I read a long time ago. I remember the pictures like a story book. I remember the plot line. Somewhere I let go of all of the pain. I have been reliving my entire life on this skate. I have let go of so many things. Somewhere along the way I found myself and what I am truly made of. The I looked over and found this amazing woman accompanying me on the biggest adventure of my entire life. I don't know how I managed to make it this far. I do know how I am going to find the end. Pain is just dream. I will wake up someday and I won't hurt anymore. The pain will end. I will have made it through this. I'm almost to Texas. I've found my way home. Now I get to burn a new trail.

I'll post a map later.....
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Old January 28th, 2008, 12:16 AM   #49
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Not again....
Current mood: confused
Category: Sports


I have skated another 17.8 miles as the wind has now decided to die down. I have run into the same red surface as the road before. I don't understand. The highway is black and smooth, and now the shoulder has changed to this red crap. I know it goes out for at least another 15 miles. I drove that far and have come back to look at some satellite imagery. This stuff is vicious. I need to find out how far it goes. If it goes a hundred miles, I will have to figure out how to route around it.

We only stopped because Sunday afternoon traveler traffic has increased. Everyone is going home from their weekend trips. We are going to try to do a run later or early in the morning. I am currently shaking my head in disbelief.....
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Old January 28th, 2008, 07:07 PM   #50
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Nice story on inline planet http://www.inlineplanet.com/08/01/transusa-2.html
Posted after some +800 miles of skating!
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Old January 28th, 2008, 09:22 PM   #51
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I went to his blog and read some of the previous ones that you had not pasted in here. Amazing...
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:01 PM   #52
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Monday, January 28, 2008

Fear and Frustrations
Current mood: relieved
Category: Sports


We started today, after breakfast, for the last point of progress. I approached my march of pain with a cold indifference that I hadn't felt before. It was more of a lackluster distaste for the road surface that was waiting for me. Hillary prodded me with the usual humorous taunting, without result.

We gassed up for the trip out near our start, and upon exit, bottomed out in a pothole. The car shook and shuddered. I instantly noticed the powersteering fail. "Why is the battery light on?", I remarked. We pulled over and I got out of the car, looked under the hood, and saw the frayed remains of our serpentine belt. My heart sank into the vapid void that once was my stomach. Panic set on as I realized our 20 mile distance from Van Horn. I returned to the driver's seat, turned on the car, and told Hillary, "I will drive as far as I can. I'll skate to whatever I have to." Hillary's face was pale, as panic set in to her expression. We drove non stop to the edge of town, parked at the Love's Truck Stop, and turned off the car.

The attendant said that there was a parts store a mile up the road. We nervously walked to that store as the rain clouds let loose. It couldn't have been more perfect. Here we were, stuck in Van Horn, again. It was raining, the car was broken, the wind was gusting, and I was doing my best to keep my wife from having a complete meltdown. To top it all off, our first donation check from Active.com arrives on Wednesday. After purchasing a belt, we had a grand total of $24 left to our name. If you want to talk about fear as a motivational tool, there it is. 500 miles from home, 1500 miles from your goal, $24, and the whole world is watching you. "Are you stressed out yet?", I asked Hillary. I for sure was. I wanted out of Van Horn so bad. Everywhere we have been, we have fought to get to. Everywhere we have been, we have fought to get out of.

I could see the stress build in my wife's eyes, as we walked in the increasing rain. I struggled with how to soothe her. Someone, had decided to build a log cabin on downtown main street, Van Horn. I jumped upon the chance to do the only thing I could think of to brighten my wife's day. "Come with me", I said as I brought my wife up onto the porch deck. I stuck my thumbs in my armpits, tugged on imaginary suspenders, and said, "Yup, look like it gonna rain...." That was all it took. Hillary burst into an uncontrollable laughter. I could feel the mood ease as we continued our rain soaked walk back to our broken car.

I have thought ahead, and have brought a complete tool set. I could just short of replace the entire engine with what I have brought. I had the belt fixed, after removing obtrusive accessories, within the hour. A quick call to Mom and Dad, and Hillary had aquired more cash. A solid shot of fear had just motivated us better than any swift kick in the a** ever could. It didn't end there, though. On the purpose driven drive back, it became all too aparrent that the overdrive was no longer working on our transmission. "I will go as far as I can, besides, we don't need overdrive at 20 miles per hour", I said, trying to relieve some more tension.

I donned my skates and gear, kissed my wife, and began. Today I found the trick to these roads. The faster you skate, the less effect the terrain has on your wheels. I entered into a 2 hour arms pumping, teeth grinding, spitting, growling, hateful sprint. I poured pure hostility into the ground. It was then that I realized that all of the people that I have known throughout my life that were hostile to others for no reason, were just hiding their fears. Hostility is a byproduct of fear. I took the fear that I felt and returned pure unadulturated hostility.

I sprinted for 14 miles before my feet throbbed too much to continue. Then I skated a drainage ditch. I am not kidding. I think that is why the DPS came by with their lights flashing. I began my usual story. I offered identification, and at that point they both put up their rights hands, shaking their heads no, and started walking backwards as if to say, "No sir, we just deal with bad guys, not crazy people."

I found the end of that ordeal around Kent, TX. We stopped to admire the crumbling bluestone Kent School House, that was refusing to return to the earth. For years, the citizens of Kent, TX had sent their children to this proud building. It is now a fading landmark, a tribute to its citizen's devotion to their children. I will remember you.

I wish I could say the smooth road was the ecstacy that I hoped for. I wish that the tailwind was the tailwind I have been praying for this whole run. I wish that finding the end of the Texas mountains would have happened in the daylight so I could have properly said goodbye.

In all actuality, I found myself faced with a gusting tail wind as I decended from 4600 feet to 2300 feet. The winds channeled me through the canyons with force as I decended into the Texas Desert. Hillary commented on my ducked position, asking if I was trying to go faster. I replied that I was trying to allieviate the effects of the wind. I rode my brakes and slow plowed for 20 miles. My muscles grew fatigued as I maintained my squat position. My calves burned. My quads burned. The wind roared, and the mountains disappeared into the night.

As I leveled off, I found myself finally beginning to push, not to continue movement, but to have movement. Maintaining that position for so long has its own detriments. I longed to move just to move.

We found Pecos, Texas at the end of that run. It is another small forlorn West Texas town. It is the home of the first rodeo. It us a the proud landmark of our western expansion of Manifest Destiny. It is 69 miles from our last forward progress. I can't wait to say goodbye.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:28 PM   #53
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Thank you all for caring and reading. This journey was more of an ordeal than I could have ever anticipated. I have learned so much about life and myself on this skate. We are honored that you have all joined us on this journey.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #54
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Keep it up Dan, you're the man and we're all pulling for you.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 02:48 PM   #55
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This might make a good book when the journey is finished.
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Old January 29th, 2008, 03:28 PM   #56
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What an experience! I hope you guys are getting plenty of pictures.

Skate hard, man!
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Old January 29th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaterdog View Post
This might make a good book when the journey is finished.
Amen!!!
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Old January 30th, 2008, 12:57 PM   #58
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Headwinds
Current mood: peaceful
Category: Sports


So, I got up today and decided to fix the overdrive issue with the transmission. We absolutely have to be able to drive. I was finally able to track down a disconnected cable in a switch on the gear shifter. I must have hit that pothole harder than I thought to have shaken a plug loose inside of the car. We are going to give the car some more love tomorrow. It's time for an oil change. I also get to use the road hazard clause on one of our tires. A whole slew of mesquite thorns are imbeded in what was our right front tire. It expressed it's sadness back in Fort Stockton, TX. Fortunately, we bought the warranty with the new set before we left. It's little things like this that we spent so much time planning for. We missed lots of little details, but, we prepared as much as we could. If anyone else ever plans this run, use this blog as a guide. The maps are here, even though not all of the routes are completely safe. Just remember, this ain't no wussy skate! It's hard every single day! It's relentless and grueling! It's also the most satisfying thing you could ever do on a set of skates.

I spent the rest of my day fighting with a brutal headwind. It was coming out of the north, and I was heading north east. There were times when I came to an absolute standstill. I kept trying to motivate myself to move forward. I gave myself every pep talk I could think of. Hillary kept telling me how great I was doing. I couldn't help but feel dejected as I skated with my head turned right and down, trying to shield my eyes from the incessant wind. I had read online that the gust would be upt to 25mph. Later on the news, I found that it gusted up to 40mph. I had 29 miles before I broke for a meal for Hillary. We got another 11 after that. As we were packing up I couldn't help notice the wind begin to die down. It felt like a cruel joke. The wind laughed at me all day. It was now tired and would rest before testing me again tomorrow.

We have entered oil country. The pumpjacks litter the landscape in their dance of perpetual motion. The air here is tainted with the smell of sulfur. It is the smell of crude oil, black gold, Texas tea. Hillary noticed the smell and frowned asking, "what is that smell?" "That is the smell of money, dear", I replied knowing that once, not too long ago, all of these jacks sat motionless. We are all affected by the rise in gas prices. It bleeds over into the cost of every item and service we purchase. At one time recently, it cost more money to pump the oil out of the ground, here in Texas, than we could sell it for. That has changed. The smell of sulfur is the smell of progress, employment, and paychecks. It's not a pretty smell, but it feeds people. It gives hope to the West Texas communities that have waited for their chance to breathe easy again. All of the associated businesses are finding reasons to prosper too. When there is work to be done, there is hope.

Maybe, before we run out of the precious commodity that is below our feet here, we can harvest new ones. We can try to tame this infernal wind that beat the crap out of me at every turn today. Or, how about the sun that has been cooking me for the last four weeks. Heck, we could collect all of this cow poop that I have been skating over and brew up some methane to burn. I mean, it's everywhere out here!

We did 40 miles today and made Monahans, TX. After that we headed to Midland, Tx, to preview our routes. We will stage here for a couple of days. I have spent time here. It is almost like home. Our friends Robert and Ni have provided us with a hotel room. We weren't going to be able to afford one until tomorrow. The first set of donations that were so graciously provided clear tomorrow. Our original plans were to skate all night, but it has been almost a week since my wife has slept in a bed. I ask so much from her. Tonight it is time to let her feel like a human being. She has been so amazing though this. If anyone out there ever decides to do this run, hire a professional crew. It is a superhuman undertaking that she has endured. I am lucky that she continues to be so very supportive of me through this. It is the least that I can do to stop after 40 miles and let her sleep in a real bed.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 03:16 PM   #59
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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Entrada al Pacifico and More
Current mood: grateful
Category: Sports


This is two blogs. The first part is yesterday's. The second part is this morning's.

I awoke Wednesday in a lethargic lactic acid induced haze. I struggled to achieve conciousness to begin my day. It became apparent that I had spent more energy battling the brutal headwinds than I myself had realized. Hillary commented later, that when I went to get coffee, I put one sock on, then sat down and waited another five minutes before I put the other one on. That was the morning I was having. I had slept for eleven hours without moving.

I hobbled down the stairs to the breakfast area at a snail's pace. It took two hours for me to get ready to leave. Hillary kept asking, "How are you doing over there?" My only response was, "Yeah...."

I then did the only thing I knew to do, to alleviate the problems I was having. I ate. We went and sat down in a restaurant to breakfast for the first time since our team took us out to a farewell dinner. I had orange juice, coffee, hashbrowns, an omelet, and three pancakes. The eating didn't end at IHOP. I then had another half gallon of orange juice and followed it with a pound of chocolate. I have never had much of a sweet tooth, growing up. When everyone else was asking for candy, I was the kid asking for another sandwich and maybe a pickle, but there I was eating sugar, like I was answering a 911 call from every cell in my body. When my headache began to subside, I knew I was making progress.

I stared at the enormous tail wind that I was missing out on with coveting lust. There it was, and I was battling crippled limbs. It sickened me. It was 3:00 before I felt that a skate was going to be in my day. We headed towards Monahans, but stopped at the Odessa meteor crate for sightseeing and we took a walk. It helped. Walking forced my limbs into action yet again. I finally knew that I could do it.

We finally arrived for the skate at 4:30. I was ready to skate at 5:00, and wouldn't you know it, the wind started dying down. I couldn't help but laugh. It served me right. I don't get free rides. It's not part of my life. I struggle. That is my lot in life. It's why I appreciate the smallest things. Every small advance or gain I get, I have to fight for. It's who I am.

I could take take this time to complain about the rough 31 miles of road that I encountered. It would go something like this, "Whine, whine, gripe, complain, moan, bi***, and whimper." I could go on and on about not having a tail wind. It wold go like this, "It's just a little breeze now, where did the gusts go... complain, moan and bi***."

The truth is, I skated a hard skate to Odessa. I earned every mile that I skated. I skated for six hours. I made it to the Entrada al Pacifico. That's the Entrance to the Pacific. I finally left the west. I am now in the eastern half of the United states. It has taken longer than expected, but is faster than the current world record. Where I wanted to be and where I am are two different things. That sounds alot like life. Sitting here in the truck stop parking lot where I stopped skating last night, I have an uncanny sense of the reality of my situation.

It is perfect. I couldn't ask for more. I wear the pain that I am feeling like an albatross and like a trophy. It is an honor to be here. I am so proud to have slept at a truck stop with the only human being that I would ever consider doing this with. It is perfect immaculate.

The following is my skate to Midland:

I awoke this morning to a crosswind that rivaled the headwind of Tuesday. I felt better. I felt as if I had skated enough last night to offset the fatigue from yesterday. The cold wind bothered me less today than on previous mornings. I knew there was a job to do, and prepared for it. There was around 20 miles to do before I could break for lunch, so it was time to get moving. I reentered the highway and proceeded on my skate. At times I was felt as if the crosswind was just another test. It was. It is. This whole thing is a test. It is a test to see if I am worthy of the goal that I have set forth. Hillary and I read a sign on the highway later that stated, "Success is a journey, not a destination." Proverbs are becoming clearer the longer that I struggle.

We pulled off of the highway at one point, when the traffic was too thick. I was standing there talking to Hillary and noticed a news van making the intersection going in the other direction on the sideroad. "You just missed us", I said to Hillary as the van drove away. I have seen so many news crews on this skate. It was the usual fare for me. We got back on the highway and fought the sidewind on my quest to make Midland. Cars and trucks continued to honk for me in raucous fashion. It felt good to have some motivation. Out on the longer stretches between towns, the drivers have been paying less attention to the struggle that I am having. Odessa residents were showing love in record fashion. I was waving and pumping my arms for the drivers every minute.

Then the news van passed me again... and pulled over. "I guess I better stop for this", I radioed to Hillary. Turns out he was looking for me! Someone had called the station about the guy skating up the side of the road with a car following him saying it must be something.

Jay is a cameraman and reporter for the local NBC/Telemundo affiliate. We had a great conversation. Hillary parked the car and we did an interview with it as a backdrop. We were so excited. We have managed to miss every chance that we had to get some media coverage. Now, here in Odessa, the residents wanted to know what was going on. I had told Hillary repeatedly that we would get more recognition the farther along our trip we got. Here we are at the half way point, and it finally happened.

Jay followed us and filmed for five miles as I made my way up the road. I worked the wind as best I could. I did the best skating I could in front of that camera, with the wind doing it's best to hinder my progress. The last I saw Jay, he was filming from an overpass, as a DPS officer passed us. I hope I gave you enough of a show. Every step of the way was killing me. I tried to keep my form in spite of the pain. I tried to sprint in spite of the refusals coming from my limbs. True to the spirit of the skate, every time Jay was filming, the cars were honking, I was waving, the wind was blowing, the sun was shining, and I was having the best time of my life.

It doesn't get any better than this. Even after struggling yesterday, and stopping short of my goal, I still felt as if everything was the way it was supposed to be. It is.

It is perfect immaculate.



Here are the last few maps:


Here is the second half of Sunday's run:



Here is the run to Pecos on Monday:




Here is the run to Monahans on Tuesday:



Here is yesterday's run:



Here is the first half of today:
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Old February 1st, 2008, 04:58 PM   #60
Bill in Houston
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I didn't see video here yet, but it would be worth checking every so often...
http://www.kwes.com/
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