deCycles Mexico to Canada 2013
Journal Entry
Date: July 13 & 14
Days 23 & 24: Saturday & Sunday
Van travel from: Bismarck, ND
Arrival: Bloomington, IN

Distance:  Approximately 4100-miles total including 1620-miles on the bike.
Climate:  Sunny and beautiful.  Mid-80s upon arrival in Bloomington.
Overnight:  City Church, Madison, WI

Cycling from Mexico to Canada is now finished.  The deCycles covered 1620-miles including the practice ride in El Paso and the Bloomington escort into the courthouse square.  What remains is the roadtrip from Bismarck, ND to Bloomington, IN with an overnight stop in Madison, WI.  Packing all the bikes and luggage in Bismarck required a couple of hours and was completely smooth and efficient.  One bike had minor damage during transport but was rideable.  It was a 12-hour drive to Madison for the 3-vans and 2-trucks.  A 6th vehicle drove straight through to Bloomington and arrived after midnight.  Many many thanks to parents BIll Oliver and John Turner for bringing vehicles out to Bismarck for the road trip back home.  The roadtrip on the second day took 7-hours with arrival at  BHSN at 2:45pm.  This allowed 45-minutes to unpack the bikes, slip into riding clothes, pump up tires, and get in double file escort formation for the jubilant ride into town.  The roadtrip was very successful and the cargo truck drivers (Dan, Richard, Jeff, & Robin) can be congratulated for getting those trucks to the destination before the student-cyclists.  That really facilitated a quick and smooth staging for the final homecoming celebration.

The Bloomington Fire Department graciously provided a firetruck escort into town.  The riders were excited.  The smiles can be seen on the photos coming into the courthouse square.  With sirens blaring, the streets around the square were surrounded with friends, relatives, and interested townspeople cheering these courageous student-cyclists.  After circling the square, the riders stopped and were mobbed by their loved ones.  You could see the pride beaming all around.  This was a major collective accomplishment.  The bikes were racked, the riders sang their theme songs (although not a strong performance) and the banquet and fun began.  Many thanks to parent Mark Figg for organizing the banquet and award ceremonies.  He and his crew went to a lot of trouble to get a DJ with sound equipment and microphones, tables, food, ice, beverages, banners, gift certificates, posters for adult volunteers, a beautifully decorated sheet cake, and a big bouquet of flowers for Cricket.  This was a very festive event focusing on the group achievement of an unusual nature.  The adult volunteers were introduced, then the group leaders, and then those who received special awards including the Triple Crown winners.  Rookies of the Year included David Linn and Cherryl Ellison.  Veteran Riders of the Year included Nick Perhala and Maggie Kennedy.   Chris Moore received the Mapman Award.  David Linn and Emily Carrico received the Most Improved RIder Award.  Cricket Houze closed the evening with words of inspiration, but unfortunately with a failed launching of Chinese lanterns.  It was too windy for that to work.  Within 30-minutes, the entire area was cleaned up and cleared of people.  The deCycles Mexico To Canada 2013 bicycle trip is now history.

Thoughts and Reflections:  A great cross-country accomplishment.  A condensed mini-lifetime.  Too tough?  For some yes, for others no.  Successful?  Absolutely!  Could we have done it better?  You can always improve on anything.  Safety?  It was probably the safest trip ever with no trips to the hospital, no major crashes, sickness, or injuries.  However, there were isolated cases of everything ranging from 3-crashes involving 7-riders on the final day, some gut aches, some airborne and foodborne allergies, and 3-4 cases of adverse medication reactions.  Drugs often don't mix well with strenuous exercise, heat, dryness, dehydration, sun exposure, stress, caffeine, and decadent eating habits.  

The people?  Wow, a bumper crop of talented young rookies from 13-16 years of age.  The adult riders?  Super individuals who sacrificed a lot to help the students get down the road.  The adult road support volunteers were equally impressive in supporting all riders on the road.  The group leaders were the most experienced in the history of deCycles including 34-trips among them.  The parents and community?  The best!!  They supported their kids and held them to their training requirements.  This deCycles trip was a community effort.  The success was due to everyone acknowledging the purpose of the deCycles mission in doing something really different and unique.   in addition,  we couldn't have done any of it without those outside our immediate community.  Churches in 20-different communities along the way provided shelter, bathrooms, sleeping space, kitchens, and in some cases, a prepared meal for all the riders.  This was unbelievable.  They are now an extended part of the deCycles family and we are deeply grateful for their generosity.  We hope the deCycles  had an equal impact on them as well.  

Now it's time to continue on with our other lifetime.  We have the memories.  And we have the fitness.  Everything physical seems easy right now.  Hopefully all the riders will maintain what they've gained.  But most of all, the young riders have seen the world and can come back to find a better place in that world.  They now know that cycling is life, on or off the bike.