About Me:

I used to weigh 375 lb. Mid July 2010 my grandfather passed away from complications with diabetes. I saw first hand what I was going towards. It was not pretty. In August of the same year I began this journey to lose weight and become more fit. Many don't know this but at first it was a journey to try and play College Football. (I know a long shot) Over the months of running and gym workouts I found a love for running and cycling. I combined that love and did my first Triathlon in June 2011. With that I pushed to see what the limit was. I have run more races than I can count, 5k's, half marathons, marathons, and Ironman Arizona. Doors have opened in my life that I never thought possible. Moving back to Maryland I trained as an EMT/Firefighter along with becoming a terp at UMD. There I joined the Maryland Triathlon team GO TERPS!! In the Summer of 2014 I will be joining others on a bike ride called the 4K for Cancer from Baltimore to San Francisco to help raise money for the Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults. Today I weigh 245 lb and life is good. This is my journey:

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Day 21-32

Day 21: St. Louis, MO

We biked into St. Louis and stayed at the Washington University of St. Louis. OMG Tempurpedic beds in the dorms! The first night we stayed in and Mr. Powell (Landis' dad) hooked up with dinner at the University. We then had a fun time team bonding with Elliot's sister Arlyn and her roommates.

The next day on the 22nd we had a rest day. Woke up late around 9am and hit a Crepe place for breakfast and continued to do some touristy stuff all day. Saw the arch and went to the City Museum. I highly recommend it for anyone ever visiting St. Louis. It's like an adult play pen of mazes and a 10 story building of just fun places to crawl around. I almost got stuck a few times but I made it through everything. If I can make it the team could make it and that was their motto. Some great times were had, then a bar for the world cup and back for a great night rest and onto Montgomery City, MO.

Day 23: Montgomery City, MO

HOME STAYS! We biked in about 85 miles and then had to shuttle because we didn't want to ride on a winding truck filled highway. My 4 person group of Tyler, Nat, Lauren and myself stayed with a woman named Ellen and her husband. They were amazed by our trip so far and made us some amazing home cooking. It was nice to get a home cooked meal for a change and a bed. OMG 3 days of sleeping in a bed in a row.

Day 24: Booneville, MO

Biked on the Katy Trail nearly all day. It was a rough day. Spirits were down, got into a YMCA in the small town of Booneville. However, we did stop at Mizzou during the day in Columbia, MO and had a great time checking that college town out. Got a few pics that obviously need to be posted with the Mizzou Tiger. Saw their athletic facility and hot damn the Mizzou women athletes ;). Got lost a few times on the way to the host. Long day about 90 miles.

Day 25: Sweet Springs, MO

Short day! Pick your own groups! We biked about 56 miles into Sweet Springs. It was originally supposed to be about 46 but the gravel roads made us reroute. The Delta 'Four'ce as we called ourselves were flying on the day going about 18mph avg in rolling hills. Damn was it hilly. We got ahead of the water van and ran out of water about 8 miles out. For the first time on the trip we stopped at a farm house to ask to use the hose. The farmer came out and said "nonsense I don't even drink that come inside and get ice and filtered water out of the fridge". We were amazed by the friendliness of the locals in this part. When we got to Sweet Springs we found the local biker pub and got a few drinks with the locals who loved our stories. Then we found a coffee house run by a church missionary group who were a non profit. They had cafe stuff and froyo. I was in love. Cool people and super friendly. It was a lovely stay at the Lutheran church where we were offered some cots and a mattress.

Day 26: Kansas City, MO

I forget what happened but I ended up in the van this day. I believe I broke a spoke. The church was nice and friendly but in the city and very poorly ventilated. It was super hot all night. We went out to the bar down the street and ran into a huge free country concert by a girl who was on THE VOICE. Was so unexpected but there were at least 1000 people there. It was a fun but early night as we had to get up at 5am like every other morning :)

Day 27: Lawrence, KS

Home of the Jayhawks! We had some amazing dinner at Dr. Val's house. A professor at KU. He is family friends with Landis Powell's family. Had those hookups! We rode with Sarah Ring's Uncle Kevin for the 50 mile trip and when we got lost he took over because he was the local GPS. Thank you Uncle Kevin for buying us all lunch at the Brewery.

Oh yeah, and we stayed at the wrong church. So we were supposed to stay at the Baptist church but ended up at the Lutheran church. We just kinda rolled in and took over and no one at the church knew who we were or why we were there. It was awkward. When we found out the mixup later that night we thanked them extra for letting us stay.

Day 28: Manhatten, KS

Home of Kansas State! We rode into Manhatten and met up with Bike and Build. Another charity riding across the country building houses along the way. They partner up with Habitat for Humanity. They were a group of 33 and we all stayed at the same church. Talked to a few of them extensively and became good friends with Alex Chiles. Got soaked at a park with water fountains. Had a great big 2 team dinner. Later that night 4K had an exam made by the men on the team for the women on the team for their draft order for 4K Prom. Their results determined the order of how they picked men from Team Portland for the "It's Colder in Boulder" Prom which will take place on July 9th in Boulder, CO. Hilarity ensued during the test and all results and questions are kept under lock and key.

Day 29-30: Salina, KS

Rode about 90 miles in the flats and wind into Salina, KS. The host was a really nice church with a projector for movies. We had a fun night.
During the 30th day we had a service day at the Tammy Walker Cancer Center. We had a dinner on the 29th at the cancer center with 150 people with live music and a lot of survivors. We all spread out and heard some amazing stories and sang songs. It was really moving to hear the struggles of so many cancer survivors and then some of their loved ones who didn't make it.

On the 30th we went back to the cancer center and had a tour of the Oncology and Radiation wards. We got to talk to patients all day and interact.

Day 31: July 1st. Wichita, KS

We stayed at Friends University in Wichita and got in just in time to hit the local bar to watch the USA World Cup game. Too bad they lost 2-1 however the locals bought us shots and had some stories to tell and we all shared ours. I had a bad day with a tire blow out and had to van it in after mile 60. I would later find I left my helmet in someone's front yard in the middle of Kansas.

Day 32: Pratt, KS

We just arrived today, July 2nd and getting antsy for July 4th just 2 days away. We are staying at the Pratt high school here. Big gym but no wifi. At a McDonalds.

Today was a 80ish mile day with an 8 mile dirt road that I didn't get to participate in. I had left my helmet and didn't find out until this morning and had to ride the van all day. I bought a new helmet at a bike store so i'm good to go tomorrow. The dirt road served the team tricky as both vans got stuck today at one point or another. The water van had to get chain pulled out of a ditch #sorrystephen.
Bikers fell but everyone is okay. There was no getting around this dirt road. 2 Teams ended up hitch hiking in a pickup until the end of the dirt/sand road. Anyways, leadership meeting tonight and I need to go. I will try and post pictures soon on facebook. Happy 4th of July everyone if I don't talk to you.

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