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About Amanda Clark
Favorite Aspect: It is an awesome existence to wake up in a new place every morning where your main concern for the rest of the day is just eating, biking, and then sleeping. I loved meeting new people! I loved simple things (like a clean jersey or a shower) becoming special treats. I loved northern Idaho and Montana. I loved making a difference and seeing how much it meant to so many people on such a daily basis! Most importantly, this trip provides the greatest realization that if you can bike across the country, you can do anything.
Most Challenging Aspect: Weather conditions can be challenging, and they often determine the daily riding experience more than any other environmental factor, but ultimately every rider mentally defines their own day of riding. That can be tough when your knees are aching, or you keep getting flats, or the group needs to push on to different destination when you thought you were done for the day... but you can always do it. You can always drop into granny gear and keep riding up that mountain. And if your tire explodes (was that a gun shot?), you can always call the support vehicle :) That said, I found Virginia's terrain to be the toughest, Colorado's roads the most unpleasant to ride on, and Kentucky's dogs the worst!
Advice: Quarters for laundry. Warm biking clothes. Good rain gear (and be sure to test your tent out thoroughly beforehand so you don't have to buy a new one on the trip like me). Gatordade powder and pop tarts. CO2 cartridges and a good pump. Chamois butter! It really might be worth investing in dog repellant in the form of the ultrasonic noise makers, but at the least have strategies prepared for dealing with dogs (spraying with water, barking back, speeding up and slowing down). Through Kansas I wished I had brought goggles for all of our pool time. This group of fellow riders will be your family for the summer, so embrace that feeling of camaraderie and enjoy your time with them because these experiences are bonding and the group will share your joy and pain on a level that no one else will understand.