Bump in the Road

Like all things in life, sometimes things don’t work out as planned.  The community in Colorado and the community in Texas both showed amazing support for Infinity and Beyond’s goals and mission, however, after 2 months of feeling it out, we have decided that Texas is our home and the best place for the organization to grow and continue its mission.

Lessons have been learned, money has been raised, and we will continue full steam ahead towards our mission of helping fight this terrible disease.  While in Colorado, Infinity and Beyond made a notable change.  Our mission is still to help fund cancer research and assist less fortunate with the costs of care, but we have broadened it a bit to encompass something we have a huge passion for, Inspiration & Encouragement.  This opens the door  just a bit wider for us, as far as how we can help those battling the disease.

Once back in Texas, our goal is to use some of the money that has been raised ,to help fund cancer research at MD Anderson!  We are very happy to have the ability to do this and can’t thank you enough for your support!  This will be our 2nd research donation to Md Anderson and we couldn’t have done it without you.

If you haven’t already, please donate what you can, spread the word of the organization, and continue to follow us!

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please feel free to contact me!

-Sam Davenport
940-206-5232
sam.davenport@infinity-beyond.org

The Big Step for 2014

 

It is that time of year when you look back and evaluate what you have accomplished over the last year and what you are going to change in the year to come.  At Infinity and Beyond, we are taking a look back on our first 3 years of operation and how we want to make a bigger impact in the future.  Over the past 2 years, the organization has been very quiet.  As the founder, I have taken this time to educate myself and learn more about what it takes to put on large events. During years 2 & 3, ~ $10,000 was raised compared to our first year which raised ~$25,000, but starting in 2014 there will be some very big and exciting changes!

As of January 1st 2014, the organization and myself will be relocated to Colorado in an effort to better run Infinity and Beyond.  With confidence in this decision I have left my job, sold my things, packed up, and prepared the organization and myself to make this big step. Colorado is one the healthiest and most active states in the U.S.A. and I believe that this will translate to better event participation which will in turn give us the ability to make a larger impact in the world of cancer. The mountains and snow will allow us to put on different fundraising ideas such as snow runs, snow shoe walks, snowball fights, etc, which can’t be done in the south.  The organization will be run from Colorado, but we have every intention of maintaining a presence in Texas and continuing the support of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX.

In addition to the change in scenery, Colorado is also the home to a great friend of mine who is willing to commit a large portion of her time to running the non-profit with me.  With our combined efforts I have a few goals:

  • Increase program awareness through better communication& community outreach
  • Engage both past and present supporters
  • Coordinate fundraising events in Texas and Colorado for 2014

By pursuing and attaining these goals, the organization will grab a solid foothold in our new Colorado community, as well as maintain and increase our efforts in Texas.  The next few months are going to be very busy and exciting as we put more time and effort than ever before into our mission and fight against cancer.

Please aid us in the fight by sharing our goals and mission, donating (Click Here), and following along with us as we grow as an organization. With your continued support, we can all take part in the fight against cancer.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Sam Davenport
Founder/Program Manager

Mission: To help Fund Cancer Research and Assist indigent patients with the Costs of Cancer Care.

 

MD Anderson Video & Article on Infinity and Beyond

An infinite desire to help

Cyclist pedals cancer awareness

By Victor Scott


Barely able to walk and 700 miles from home, Sam Davenport was forced to accept defeat. But the severe pain from riding his bicycle thousands of miles and pushing his body beyond its physical limits didn’t end his personal quest to fight cancer.

Davenport’s inaugural 4,300-mile bicycle ride last spring throughout the eastern United States was a means to promote his nonprofit organization, Infinity and Beyond. It may have ended a few hundred miles short, but it fully met his goals to raise money for cancer research at MD Anderson.

In May 2010, Davenport was completing a degree in marine biology at Texas A&M University in Galveston. His dad, a nonsmoker, was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer. After graduation, Davenport decided to put his career on hold and establish Infinity and Beyond to fund cancer research and help cancer patients with expenses not covered by medical insurance.

“I wanted to do something to give back and fight it based on what I could do,” says Davenport. “I scuba dive, I sail, I surf. I love the outdoors. This was something to share my love of adventure and to help people.”

The long journey begins

Last May, he said goodbye to his family in his hometown of Argyle, Texas, near Dallas, and cycled north.

Over the next four months, Davenport made stops in Chicago, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before arriving in New York. Then he headed down the East Coast to Washington, D.C., to Virginia Beach, Va., through the Outer Banks of North Carolina and on to Atlanta.  He was 90 miles east of Memphis, in Corinth, Miss., when he ended his journey, forced to stop riding due to painful injuries to his Achilles tendons.

Though Davenport didn’t finish in Galveston as he’d planned, he’s proud of the awareness he generated along the way, plus more than $27,000 through 5K fun runs, an outdoor concert, a golf tournament and other activities. Davenport donated funds to 11 cancer patients he met during his ride and delivered a $5,000 check to MD Anderson in October.

“I want to inspire people to act,” says Davenport.  “Hopefully, everybody doing a little can add up to something big.”

Davenport’s dad, Jim, is pleased that his son is dedicated to raising funds and awareness to help cancer patients and their families.

“I did my research and decided to come to MD Anderson,” he says.  “It’s a place of hope.”

$5,000 Grant for research at MD Anderson

Below is the proposal we received from Dr. John Heymach at MD Anderson.  Thanks to dozens of donations from individuals and events put on by Infinity and Beyond,  October 2011 we were able to make a $5,000 donation towards this groundbreaking research.  With non-small cell lung cancer being the disease that is harming my father, I found it only fitting to make Infinity and Beyond’s first research donation towards fighting it.  -Sam Davenport

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, with an overall five-year survival of less than 16% and upwards of 1.5 million deaths annually. In advanced disease, chemotherapy provides only a modest overall benefit in most patients, and promising targeted therapies have not yet substantially improved survival benefit.  Better treatment of NSCLC is a major unmet medical need that can only be ameliorated by a better understanding of its molecular underpinnings. Thus, there is an urgent need for the development of targeted therapies that allow us to individualize NSCLC treatments and improve patient outcomes.

KRAS and LKB1 are the second and third most frequent genes that are mutated in NSCLC, with mutations in  20-30% of NSCLC patients. We currently have no effective therapies for treating patients with these mutations. KRAS is a known “driver” on cancer when mutated and was one of the first oncogenes discovered. LKB1 functions as a tumor suppressor by activating AMP kinase (AMPK). Loss of LKB1 by point mutation or deletion suppresses AMPK, leading to increased cell survival signaling. We have previously shown that down-regulation of LKB1 was associated with shorter cause-specific survival in stage III/IV NSCLC patients. 8-chloro-adenosine (8-Cl-Ado) is an activator of AMPK which suppresses downstream cell survival signals, and we believe that is as a potential therapeutic strategy for targeting tumors with LKB1 loss. We are currently examining targeting strategies to impair the growth of LKB1 mutant NSCLC. To do this, we will leverage a subset of well-characterized NSCLC cell lines, treat them with various compounds, and examine their sensitivities by reverse phase protein array (RPPA).  The RPPA will allow us to simultaneously probe the activation of multiple cell signaling pathways.  These experiments will help us to identify cell signaling pathways that may be involved in either sensitivity or resistance various drugs and drug combinations.  Our overall goal is to identify an effective therapeutic regimen to treat LKB1 mutant NSCLC.

-Dr. John Heymach

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

 

 

Why Positivity Matters?

It is no secret that positivity matters, yet for so many people with significant life challenges the importance of this mental attitude often fades.  Why is it so difficult for us to be positive in the face of adversity and what can we do to maximize this?

Emotions are processed in our brains by an “emotion” circuit.  One of the most important components of this circuit is the amygdala.  The amygdala will process emotions based on what is “necessary” to process, but very often, “fear” is at the front of the line.  From an evolutionary perspective this is very protective, as processing fear means that the brain will be on alert-looking out for danger to prevent us from being in trouble.  When a person carries the burden of a cancer diagnosis, there are many conscious and unconscious fears to process.  Apart from the obvious fears of being sick or dying, people who have cancer also fear what will happen to their families, whether they have lived the fullest lives possible, and when that fateful day might come when they will no more be part of this world.  These thoughts activate the amygdala, and for such people, the amygdala is probably hyperactivated.  Fear takes over, and all the brain can do is focus on threat.  While this is understandable, it is not in the best interest of any of us, for using up all of one’s attention to look for danger means that there is very little attention left for other things.  Here is where being positive is so important.

When you are positive, you are allowing your brain to stop being on hyperalert.  As a result, you may give yourself a greater chance of noticing unusual solutions to your daily problems, or even finding solutions that you might otherwise have been blind to in the hyperalert state.  Positivity “displaces” fear from the front of the line of emotions.  Thus, your attention is freed to be more solution-focused.

Being more positive can also help you feel less pain.  Studies show that when people are anxious, pain feels like it is greater.  Two groups of people who are given the same amount of pain will differ in how they report their pain based on whether they are anxious or not.  The more anxious group reports more pain even though they have the same amount of pain as the other group.  This has been proved in many studies.

Positivity Puts the Brain in Possibility Mode

Also, positivity puts the brain in possibility mode.  The brain that is in possibility mode seeks solutions.  Take for example Roger Bannister.  He ran the mile in under 4 minutes. Before he did, nobody thought that this was humanly possible.  After he did, in the next year, several people broke the record as well.  How could this be?

Once the brain believes that something is possible, it reaches out for this more.  The positive brain benefits from this approach that things may be possible. It reaches for and often finds solutions.  When you tell your brain that something is impossible, it effectively goes to sleep.  It says, “thank you, goodnight” and checks out.  However, when you tell your brain that something is possible-that perhaps you could feel better-or that your prognosis may be different form the average, it raises the possibility of solutions.  The answer may not be immediately obvious but this allows the brain to work “under the radar” (in the unconscious) to try to come up with solutions.

Positivity is Contagious

Positivity is contagious. Because our brains are capable of reflecting other people’s emotions automatically, being positive means that we will automatically affect the brains of others around us with these emotions.  This can enhance the degree of community and cooperation.

This said, it is important to recognize that this does not mean that you have to be stressed out about being positive.  There is no point in forcing the issue, but there is a lot to pressing the reset button when negative emotions are high.  This re-engages the positive brain-which is the solution-focused brain that seeks out possibilities for problems that might not otherwise be obvious.  In my book “Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear” (Rodale, 2010) I emphasize this issue and provide detailed methods to move away from fear and dread.

I do so because I believe that in life, we all deserve the chance to live the best life possible.  And even when life presents us with cloudy days, we need to seek the light that can lift us from despair to our greatest capabilities.

 

Written By:

Srini Pillay, M.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
He is also the award-winning author of:
Life Unlocked: 7 Revolutionary Lessons to Overcome Fear” (Rodale, 2010)
The Science Behind The Law of Attraction (NBG, 2011.)

 

Charlotte, NC to Atlanta, GA

Dates: 8/26/11 – 9/05/11
Distance: 280 miles
Depart:Charlotte, NC
Arrive:Atlanta, GA

Leaving Charlotte, I knew the weather was going to HOT.  I had a 3 day trek to Athens where I would take a few days break to stay and hang out with some long time friends.

The first day was basically a long, hot haul into the middle of no where.  Shortly after leaving North Carolina I entered South Carolina, where I continued 71 miles to my “camp site”.  I “camped” out behind a church where I found some comfortable(sarcasm) dirt to set my tent up on.  After setting up camp, I proceeded to make my evening check in with my parents and after, planned to retire to my sleeping bag.  However, the fire ants thought differently and decided that it was time to eat my dinner (a PB&J).  So for another 30 minutes I cleaned up their mess and mine…and once again tried to go to sleep.  The ants weren’t full yet.  They wanted a midnight snack and found some crumbs that I had missed.  This time my body was also part of their meal, and after being fed up with the damn ants, I climbed on top of the AC box on the outside of the church.  Noisy, but ant free, I got an awesome(sarcasm, again) 3 hours of sleep before heading off the next morning.

Day 2 of the leg was pretty scenic, as about half of it was through Sumter National Forest.  For a total of 65 miles, I cycled further into South Carolina towards Georgia, finally finishing up in Greenwood, SC at a Holiday Inn where I used some built up hotel points from previous trips!  W0w.  After last night, that bed felt so so so amazing. With a good nights rest, I woke up early to beat the heat as I headed into Georgia towards Athens, home of the “University of Georgia”.

85 miles was the mileage for the day, and about 80 of it was absolutely amazing!  Slow, shallow rolling hills and a surprisingly cool breeze were with me up until the city limits of Athens.  I’m not sure what happened but cool breeze turned to dead heat, and small hills turned to what I’d like to call hilltains(hill thats like a mountain=hilltain).  Added onto that, was a “thrilling” experience of riding on an interstate blocked off to cyclists..Maybe locals are aware of this, but to foreigners, the sign reading, “Cycling Prohibited” was about 1 mile too late.  I quickly took the next exit which gave way to hilltain numero uno(followed by dos and tres), which accompanied by the heat, nearly took my life(exaggeration).

My visit to Athens, which was originally was planned to be a 3 day  venture, turned into a 7 day venture when I found out a best friend of mine was coming into town on the weekend.  With the whole trip taking less time than predicted, a short vacay wasn’t going to be a problem.  I managed to get quite a bit of work/planning done in the next few days and the time off was definitely worth it.  After some good times with friends and meeting alot of new people, I continued 59miles on to Stone Mountain, a town on the outskirts of Atlanta.

Here I stayed with family friend for ANOTHER extended visit due to the arrival of a tropical storm……

After a day extra of rest, I once again headed off on another leg of my journey, towards Memphis, TN.

Sincerely,

Sam Davenport

Founder/Cyclist

Next Blog-> Last Leg

 

 

Virginia Beach to Charlotte

Dates:8/15 – 8/25
Distance:475 miles
Depart:Virginia Beach, VA
Arrive:Charlotte, NC

Leaving the beautiful beaches of Virginia Beach, I headed straight down the coast towards the Virginia/North Carolina Border.  The first day’s ride out of VA Beach was definitely one of my favorite.  I started off going through False Cape State park, where I had to time my ride with low tide to make sure the water was low enough to ride on the hard packed sand of the beach. I rode on the beach for about 15 miles,  7 of those miles without a person to be seen.  Talk about peaceful!  I rode a short 37 miles for the first day, and stayed with some very good family friends where I got to enjoy the beach and some great food.  The scenery on the outer banks is absolutely amazing.  I really wish I could have visited for weeks.

Riding along False Cape National Park

After a night staying with family friends and relaxing at the beach until the next afternoon, I headed back to the road going a short ~20 miles further south.  I stayed with a couchsurfer, whom to my pleasant surprise worked for a boat rental service.  He and some co-workers took me out for a few hours to enjoy the bayside of the outer banks.  It was GREAT and a nice end to an easy day on these beautiful islands.  After a short night, I was on the road cycling 67 miles along seemingly endless, beautiful national seashore.  I love this area.


Sand Dunes at Outer Banks

Biking along Hateras Nat’l Seashore

After 4 days of riding through the outer banks I was off the islands and in mainland North Carolina.  I was definitely missing the coast, but now I was heading west in the direction of my final destination, Houston, TX.  In less than a month, I would be done with this long and tough, yet very rewarding journey.  I was on the final leg of Infinity and Beyond’s first adventure philanthropy mission.  I have already met so many amazing people.  Cancer survivors, entrepreneurs, adventurers, college students, and dreamers.  In all of the states that I had visited, I met people with visions of being something bigger than themselves.  One of the most enjoyable parts of doing an incredible adventure like this, was the opportunity to hear about others’ crazy venture ideas.  It’s amazing how when you really pursue what you love, no matter how crazy it may seem,  those with the same crazy ideas come out of the woodwork, and you realize that your idea wasn’t as crazy as you thought.  The crazy part of the idea was that it took so long to turn it into reality.  Now my crazy idea is almost completed.

If you think an idea is crazy, unattainable, too vast and big of a dream to attain, ask yourself why?  Break it down into multiple steps and pursue them one at a time. When I was telling people that my goal is to cycle 4400 miles around the U.S.A., it just seemed crazy and too long, but when broken down into legs, days, and smaller goals, it seems much more attainable.  Dreams aren’t achieved over night.  For example, when people ask where I’m headed, I reply with, “I’m going ~60 miles today to (insert city)”.  Their response is usually something to the effect of, “Oh ,wow, thats a long ride”.  (but a believable goal)  Do that 60 mile ride and repeat daily over the course of 4 months, and you just bicycled around the eastern United States!  Easy as pi!

After a few days, one of which was my longest day thus far, 128 miles, I had arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina!  I wanted to test myself to see where I was as far as endurance on the bike, and was pretty happy with how it went!  Despite a very sore butt, the ride went very smoothly, and my legs held up well!  The ride definitely made me realize it was time to invest in some new bike shorts.  Thanks to my sponsor, Sun and Ski Sports in Charlotte, NC, I not only got new shorts, but also new tires, new shoes, and a a much needed tune-up on my bike!

I stayed in Charlotte with a couch surfer who had stayed with me during the summer of 2010, and it was great to hang out with a familiar face!  She was a great host, and i enjoyed my stay, but after a few days rest I was back on the road and heading towards Atlanta, GA!

 

-Sam Davenport

Founder/rider of a bicycle

Next Blog-> Charlotte to Atlanta

D.C. to VA Beach

Date: Aug. 10- Aug. 15
Depart:Washington, D.C.
Arrive: Virginia Beach, VA
Distance: 204 miles

Washington, D.C. was one of my favorite places to visit, and I had only touched the tip of the iceberg before I was heading out of the Capital.  It was one of many of the places I will be needing to visit again.  Usually my low budget is the limiting factor in the places I visit, but in D.C. there are so many amazing museums that are FREE, the public transit is very convenient, and there are bike trails everywhere!  I will definitely be back.

My days ride took me by George Washington’s home in Mt. Vernon, and my planned 1-2 hour visit turned into a 4 hour one.  From his extravagant living quarters to his Delaware river crossing to his amazing gardens, the tour was very informative and I highly recommend it.

Mt. Vernon- George Washington’s Home

The ride south of Mt. Vernon was along an absolutely terrifying highway on the way to Fredericksburg, VA.  I was told Hwy 1 was a good road to bike on?  I guess they were correct if you love not having a shoulder to ride on and enjoy the gentle breeze of semis as they whizz by.  To add to the havoc of the ride, the cleat on my right shoe ripped out while riding, so I was stuck riding for about 20 miles with one clip-in pedal, and one broken shoe.  Luckily I came across a bike shop which was happy to help.  I am now riding, one clip in pedal and one standard pedal which I plan to fix in Charlotte in about 600 miles.  My extended stay at Mt. Vernon and my pedal issues slowed me down quite a bit, making the last part of my ride along Hwy 1 occur during the night(I do not recommend riding busy roads at night).  By this time I had quite enough of this road, decided I wanted to ride another day, and called to see if my host would be willing to come pick me up about 6 miles short of the days goal.  As much as I hated to do so, I figure I’d rather hurt my pride than risk hurting ALOT more.  Luckily my hosts were very kind and didn’t mind coming to pick me up for the last few miles.

The next days ride was 65 miles to Virginia’s capital, Richmond.  Minus the heat, the day went much smoother than the previous.  I chose a different road which was less traveled and lined with an absolutely gorgeous forest, the same forest George Washington and his troops marched through so many years ago.  I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have been like with out this black top road, riding horses and hiking through these trees on the way to battle the red coats!  There were historical markers around each curve and I took a lot of time trying to soak in the knowledge.  Times like these make me wish I had paid just a little more attention in history class.  The day went by pretty quick and I was in Richmond with my couchsurfing host.  He took me for a quick tour of the capital before I had to call it a night and retired to his couch.


Richmond, VA Capital Building

The next day was yet another beautiful ride on the way to Williamsburg,VA.  About 1/3 of the way was nicely maintained bike paths, and the rest was a relatively low frequented highway through the same gorgeous forests as the day before.  Here I stayed with a good friend of my dad’s whom he used to fly planes with.  They treated me to dinner in Colonial Williamsburg, an area that takes you back in time to the 1800′s.  The employees of the local restaurants, the cashiers, violinists, flute players, everyone was dressed up in 1800′s attire, and it was a really neat experience.


Building in Colonial Williamsburg, VA

The plan for the next day was changed due to the Dismal Swamp fire that was occurring in the Suffolk area.  Suffolk is south of Williamsburg and was directly in my planned route.  Despite being over 20 miles away, the smoke was like a fog through out the town of Williamsburg and I was not about to subject my lungs to that for  4 hours of bike riding.  My host in Williamsburg was nice enough to volunteer to take me straight east and across a tunnel/bridge, where I would continue my ride without the hindrance of the smoke.  From there it was about 30 miles to my destination, Virginia Beach.

In Virginia Beach I stayed with another friend of my dads who I was excited to meet and stay with.  I also had the opportunity to meet the guy who has helped me along the way with my non-profit, Scott Ringo.  He’s a very knowledgeable man in the non-profit world, and has helped me in numerous ways through out the creation of Infinity and Beyond.  From my website to my business card to the creation of the organization itself, he has been an invaluable source of information for starting up my own non-profit.  If you are looking to do the same, please dont hesitate to go to his website, Simplenonprofit.com.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to enjoy the beach, but the break from the bike seat, and the work I got done was needed so that I could enjoy the upcoming Outer Banks!

I’m going to leave you with an excerpt from an essay by Albert Einstein, which I believe gives a good take on the need for charity.

“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…”

 

Thanks for following along!

Sam Davenport

Founder/Program Manager

Next Blog-> VA Beach to Charlotte, NC


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