Around America for Cancer 2011

On April 8th, I tested my abilities to prove to both myself and others that I was capable of an endurance feat such as biking around the United States.  I wanted to do something out of the ordinary to get people’s attention regarding Infinity and Beyond.  I rode ~400 miles from Galveston, TX (where I attended College) to Argyle, TX (where I grew up) over 5 days(Find out more with Day 1).  The ride not only showed me that I could do it, but it showed me the generosity of people, and some of the problems I would face in the future.  Over the next month I became a regular at local coffee shops as I planned the 4400 mile journey around the eastern U.S

On May 23rd I began the cross country ride that for over 3 months I had been talking about.  Riding away from my family and friends in Argyle, the moment was quite surreal knowing that I was embarking on a 4 month bike ride through areas of the country I hadn’t even been to by plane.  The first day went well and after 5 hours of riding, I arrived to my first destination, called my parents, and in 45 minutes they drove to meet me for dinner.  This is going to be a long bike ride. (Denton,TX to Norman)

A month later I was about 1400 miles into the trip and arriving to Chicago, Illinois.  Thanks to dozens of donors, Infinity and Beyond was able to assist their first family here in Chicago!  $5,000 was donated through a local organization, Compass to Care, to a 14yr old named Christina who is over 2 years into her fight with cancer.  Her family travels from Chicago to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX to get her treatments, and the bills from travel alone add up. (Jump to the Chicago blog)

After 3 days in Chicago, delivering I&B’s 1st donation, and getting further planning done, I was back on the road heading east towards New York City.  Another month and 2400 miles total into the trip and I had my first hand glimpse of the Statue of Liberty!  With little more than the occasional commute on a bicycle being the extent of my cycling career, I had cycled from Galveston, TX all the way to New York City.  The body truly is an amazing thing and is capable of so much more than we give it credit.

A few days to get some sights in and some work done, and back on the road heading south along the coast!  I dropped by Washington, D.C. for a few days and to deliver another donation to some families fighting cancer.  10 families were each given $500 to help them with their bills.  Infinity and Beyond donated to them through a local cancer organization, D.C. Candlelighters, whom focus on helping families with a child fighting cancer.  I had the opportunity to meet 3 of these amazing kids, 3yr old Mia, 6 yr old Wilson, and 7 yr old Carol, and let me tell you, while very unique, all 3 of them were fighters and seemed unaffected by the scary disease.   They were all so strong, and thanks to all the donors, I was able to help these 3 as well as 7 other children. (Blog and article on donation)

Back on the road I headed further south going through Richmond, Virginia Beach, and along the Outer Banks of North Carolina before I began heading west towards Charlotte.  Somehow the timing on my trip was perfect.  I dodged an earthquake in Richmond and a hurricane in the Outer Banks.  In many occasions it was made apparent that someone up above was definitely looking after me.  Despite the small issues such as tire flats and getting lost occasionally, everything along the ride went too smoothly for it to have been 100% luck.  More than endurance and preparedness, strong faith is greatly needed for trips like this.

Once in Charlotte, I had the opportunity to stay with a friend who I had met the summer of 2010 in Galveston!  Being alone on the road for so long makes seeing those familiar faces so much better!  I spent 4 days in Charlotte planning out the last section of my ride and getting a much needed full tune-up for my bike.  New tires, new cycling shoes, and more spare tubes courtesy of Sun and Ski sports was much appreciated!  The days off flew by and I was back on the road for Athens, Georgia. (Charlotte to Atlanta Blog)

After a long 8 day stay in Athens, it was on to Atlanta where I dodged a tropical storm by holding out on the ride for a day and then on to what ended up being my last leg.  The end of the ride came about in a much different way than I had envisioned.  15 miles into what became my last ride, I was hit with sharp pain in both of my achilles.  Fighting through it for the remaining 45 miles was one of the hardest things I had done on the ride and I opted against doing that for the last and final 700 miles to Galveston.  I had completed 4300 miles over 4 months, and rather than risk hurting myself further, I called it quits  in Corinth, Mississippi and hitchhiked the remainder of the miles back to Galveston. (Details on Last Leg)

Sometimes things don’t end exactly how you envisioned, however, the whole journey happened better than I had hoped.  I had a goal of making it to Galveston, but the mission was to raise awareness and money for Infinity and Beyond, and that was a major success.  People were helped, relationships were made, and a good Infinity and Beyond following has been created.   New contacts, new friends, and a ton of new experiences which I will never forget, have made me a stronger and more knowledgeable person.  I had pushed myself past what I thought was possible and have done something few will ever do.    It was a success.

I appreciate everyone’s support through out the creation of Infinity and Beyond and ask you all to please share my journey and our mission to help fund cancer research and assist less fortunate people with the costs of care.  With out everyone’s support, I would’ve never been able to make the impact that I did.

Sincerely,

Sam Davenport

 

 

Last Leg!

Depart:Stone Mountain, GA
Arrive:Galveston, TX
Dates:9/6/11-9/14/11
Miles:263 miles

After an unexpected extra day off due to the tropical storm, I continued on the road from Stone Mountain through Georgia’s capital, Atlanta, before making it to an amazing rail-to-trail, the Silver Comet.  It was a 84 mile day, 61 of which was done on the Silver Comet trail.  The trail was great, but an occasional downpour and an almost continuous drizzle throughout the day made it slightly uncomfortable, and slowed me down a bit.  I should’ve made it prior to dark, I ended up having to ride an hour into the night.  With rain, came slippery roads and a very slick railroad track which did all it could to try to end my ride.  I rode over the tracks just as I had all the dozens before it, yet unlike the other tracks, didn’t make it to the other side on my two wheels.  I believe my Facebook post that night read, “If my bicycle were a golf club, it would be bent over my knee and chunked into the woods..Good night.”   With a scrapped up knee, elbow, and hand, I continued to a Holiday Inn a mile off the trail and quickly called it a night.  Exhausted..

 

Day 2 of the leg took me to the end of the Silver Comet and the beginning of the Chief Ladiga trail.  With no rain, cool weather, and a flat trail, the day was a breeze minus 2 flats.  I have come to realize, to expect a perfect day  when it comes to bike touring would most-likely only end up in disappointment.  Just smile, pump up the damn tire, and keep on…  :D  The day ended withme staying with  a family friend whom I had been a neighbor with as a child.  He had a nice cold brew, a juicy warm steak, and a great comfy bed for me.  I really appreciated all of his hep.

The next day was a 55 mile ride to a somewhat middle of the road town, where I once again used my hotel points to crash at the local holiday inn!  These comfy beds are beginning to spoil me!  When am I going to sleep on some hard dirt again?  Meh, not really a concern, I’ll stick with the comfy beds where I can get them! A good night sleep, and back to the road!

This day was definitely a surprise… I was about 15 miles into the ride, when a terrible pain in both of my achilles had me slowed down and stopping nearly every 5 miles.  With a goal of 60 miles to the next destination, I really wasn’t sure if I’d be able to finish the day.  Thoughts of hitching a ride came up multiple times throughout the ride, but despite the pain I finished the day.  The question came the next morning when I got out of bed with every step hurting just as much as the last.  How could I finish with this much pain?  Would it get worse if I continue?  With a bit of research into cycling injuries, I am pretty certain I had achilles tendonitis, treatable only by rest.  My goal of riding 700 miles in the next 2 weeks was not in my best interest.  Fortunately for me, my hosts for the night were actually going sailing in New Orleans, LA and were able to bring me along for the ride.  This allowed me to be closer to home if I chose to call it quits, and gave me a bit more time to rest.

Unfortunately, 3 more days of rest didn’t do the trick, and I made the ultimate decision to cut the ride short.  700 miles and 2 weeks short of the goal, Galveston, TX, I had to stop.  While it was far from what I had wanted to do, my achilles wasn’t going to be better anytime soon, and to push the injury could’ve made things much much worse.  Regardless, the ride was 4300 miles long, and took just under 4 months.  It was a great experience and did a great job in spreading the word of Infinity and Beyond.  Reaching Galveston was a goal, but informing 100′s of people of the non-profit and raising money was the cause, and it was a success.

Over the winter months, I will be learning more and more about how to make this non-profit a success.  There are events and rides in the future, and with your participation and help, Infinity and Beyond will continue to help fund cancer research and assist patients with the costs of cancer care.

Please donate today, and help us remove cancer from the race!

Thanks for following,

Sam Davenport

Founder/Cyclist

 

 

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