To say I was emotional was an understatement of monumental proportions, I don’t even think there is a word to describe how I felt. I could barely sit on the bike that morning I was sick with excitement, but ultimately I was ready to finish.
I had lost two stone in weight, I had lost most of my toe nails and I had sweated an immeasurable number of litres but on Day 32, I finished my ‘Epic Adventure’. Under my own steam, I had made it across a continent. I had run 50 miles one day followed by cycling 150 miles the next across America, with my fantastic team behind me and a smile on my face (most of the time), I had done it.
I remember laying on my hotel bed that evening and I could stretch my legs out right to the bottom I could go to the toilet without banging my head or waking up 4 other people. I could feel the air conditioning unit cooling my skin but most of all I could lay there knowing that the next day I didn’t have run or cycle anywhere.
As cycling days go it wasn’t actually great, we pushed out of Pomona and there we were met with rush hour traffic – a concept that had become somewhat foreign to us over the last few weeks. It was stop, start, junction to junction, never really moving at all. The team shuffled through maps searching for ‘Bike routes in LA’. They were trying frantically to find me a better way to Santa Monica Pier.
Travel to LA Photo Gallery
I made a few turns, the radio in my pocket barking orders at me. As I moved through the streets we hit a slip lane and were heading towards a Freeway and 8 lanes of LA rush hour traffic. I dismounted quickly and jumped on the RV. I would run the remaining 20 miles down to the pier, Darren would be by my side on the bike to make sure I was safe and carry my water. The rest of the team would meet us on the pier, at the finish line.
As I ran, Darren tootled along on the bike next to me, we buzzed along the LA streets, necessarily avoiding the majority of the locals in the downtown area. The sights and smells of LA were mesmeric. The concrete jungle of buildings was eye-catching and somehow different from anything I had ever seen before.
We pulled over for a drink, hitting what can only be described as the more affluent area of LA. “Single digits, Sam,” Darren said with a little smile. “Single sodding digits!” I replied. We both then fell silent, thinking about the journey and how far we had come. 3,000 miles and we were down to single digits, we were almost there.
Off we went again, heading for Colorado Avenue and onto Santa Monica Pier for the finish. Darren pushed on ahead, he would meet the rest of the team on the pier and allow me to finish by myself, with my run onto the pier.
If you were there while I ran through those streets in LA, I can only apologise. I couldn’t speak and emotion had taken hold of me. Tears streamed down my face as I ran, I powered down the street towards the ocean, buildings, people and street names were and are still a blur to me. I was almost there.
I ran up the small foot bridge that connects to the pier but people were moving painfully slow on the pavement. I jumped the chain and sprinted towards the pier, as I moved I could hear the shouts and screams, I could see the team and the finish line, I was almost there.
As I hit the finish line I didn’t know what I should feel, an overwhelming surge of emotion hit me, I had done it, and I was there. As I embraced Kerry, I knew I had completed the toughest challenge of my life, America had thrown everything it had at me, but I had survived.
It’s a strange feeling to have completed something that took over your life for so long, to have done the impossible, to win. We had done it; The ‘Epic Adventure’ Team had made it across America. We are not a team of doctors, we are not sponsored athletes or even sponsored anything, we are team of friends, and we had done it.
To anyone out there who is dreaming of an adventure I say this to you – GO. Go and be amazing, listen to the 8 year old inside you, climb the mountains, ride the bike and run up and down the hills, and whilst you do it, most importantly of all, SMILE.
So for me, I bid you good night.