The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

2000 Miles Across America On A Bike: How Everything Wants To Give You A Flat (Part 2)

2000 Miles across America on a bike – part two. (You can read part one here.)

On the subject of training: “I hated every minute of training. But I said, Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali.


Training for any endeavor is important; likewise it can be a chore. I learned many things training for and then accomplishng an unsupported ride from our north border to south; much of those lessons can be applied to aspects of life other than bicycling.

I remember my first time running…literally leaving the house to, “go run.” I was trying to get myself ready for basic training after a year sitting in an armored car eating junk food every day. Needless to say it was not an easy or enjoyable experience (see also, ‘Fat kid chasing the ice cream truck’).

Basic training certainly helped me shed some of my old life and got me used to a regular physical fitness regiment, but it was not until I was stationed in Italy a year later that I decided to try my hand at becoming a “runner.”

That was 2002. Fast forward to 2007 where I was running 7-8 miles a day and had years of training to help me become a marathon runner. Sadly, unlike my marathon preparation, my endeavor to ride a bike 2000+ miles across America would only allow 4 months to get ready.


My first training ride was a 20 mile stretch. It was a ride that I whole-heartedly regretted the next morning (and for nearly a week afterward). I woke up the next day with excruciating leg pain and could feel the ride throughout my entire body. I made a classic ego-driven mistake that cost me roughly five days of training because I overestimated my readiness to jump into a new physical routine.

With my self-correcting action out of the way, I decided to make a plan. I would start with very short rides, gradually working my way up to back-to-back 100 mile days to prepare me for the month-long endeavor to come. I tried to train every day Monday-Friday but as with life, sometimes things get in the way. My “backup” rule was that I would train at least every-other day and that seemed to work quite well. If I had errands to do, I did what I could to make it a training ride.

Five mile rides that took less than 30 minutes turned to 10 miles that turned to 20 and then 30 and so on. About two months into my training, 40 mile training rides became the “norm.” The challenge I found at about this time was balancing training time with life as rides took up great portions of the day. As the start date approached, I had not come close to back-to-back 100 mile days even though I had somewhere near 2500 training mile under my belt.

My final training ride just a week before departing Michigan involved back-to-back 70 mile days. Even after months of preparation, I was truly unsure if I was ready to make cycling a way of life for a full month. However as they say, “There is only one way to find out…”

Continued in Part 3.

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About the Author: Erik “Trek” Utrecht is a RECOILweb contributor and HMFIC for the Michigan Defensive Firearms Institute (“You suck, it's not the gun.”) A former USAF 811X0 and savvy investigator, he recently rode a bicycle from the northern Michigan to the Arizona-Mexico border unsupported to raise awareness of the Brian Terry Foundation (Trek's Trek). He remains passionately involved with that organization and when not teaching classes for MDFI spends much of his time with the Brian Terry family and his friends within the USBP and regional LE agencies. You will see more of Trek's reporting on border issues and still unresolved Fast and Furious debacle in future installments. 




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