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Uphill and Against the Wind - TransAm E-W
By Dave T

Final Preparations and Training: Sept 4, 1985 thru May 15, 1986

I finally purchased my new Cannondale Aluminum frame and started to decide what components I'll need for the Trans Am Trip. Searching through many magazines I selected a good set of touring components and started to assemble my new bike. Next up was to lace up a new set of wheels, and I choose a new sealed bearing hub set by Specialized. The old loose ball bearing hubs can be trouble if they don't receive regular attention so I thought it would be best to go sealed for the trip. The new wheels come together pretty easy as I was a pretty experienced wheelsmith at this point. The new bike rode like a dream, just as I remembered when I test rode one on the west coast.

The school semester seems to be dragging on as I look forward to next summer. My parents still have not been told of my intentions and I slowly massage my plans. A new tent is a must and I combed the local sporting goods stores for the proper accommodations I'll require for the journey. I settled for a nice big Eureka tent to fit my 6'7' body. (This tent will eventually get nicknamed "the condo") Sleeping bags have always been a problem so I purchased a new bag the kinda fit me pretty good. Cannondale had a nice set of bags (I hate the word panniers) so I purchased the heavy duty front and rear set. I used Blackburn racks and mounted the fronts in the low rider position.

Before Christmas 1985 I had pretty much purchased all my new gear that I'll need for the trip. Soon as I purchased the full set of Trans America Trail route maps from Bikecentennial (now Adventure Cycling) I broke the news to my parents of my plans. Getting no real resistance about the trip I started to think about training.

Being in a college dorm in the middle of Michigan didn't do much for my winter training. Every night was spent in the school weight room working on my legs, calf's, back, and neck. Training rides were pretty much out of the question and I had no intention of getting winter salt all over my new components. I came to the conclusion that I'll probably have to 'get into shape along the way'. This theory should not be much of a problem as I've always been a natural athlete in pretty good condition.

I'll need to pay for this adventure so I worked 2 jobs along with going to school full time. I worked as the drink man in the dorm cafeteria, a highly coveted job I received because I knew the manager. My second job was at Toy R Us at the local mall. I started working as a seasonal employee for the holidays and was kept on because of my knowledge of fixing bikes. The Winter semester just dragged on and on, I thought it would never end. Finally the semester was winding down and my exams were all early in the scheduling cycle so I got out about a week early. My plan was to leave on May 17, 1986 so I had about a month to train, work and save enough money.

Once out of school, my brother landscape company hired me to work until I departed. Once again I hated this job, but worked as much overtime as I could get (and boy did I get it). There was absolutely no time for any kind of on bike training and I did what I could on a Sunday or 2 before the trip. I worked so hard that I figured I'd be in pretty good shape just from work that I'd be ok. This month or so also went by pretty slow.

About a week before my departure, uncle Adam showed up for his usual surprise visit. Uncle Adam lived in Arizona and took the bus all the way to our town about once every other year or so. It was always fun to see Uncle Adam, he would sit in the back yard drinking beer all day playing with Scooby Do, the family dog. Uncle Adam was a real war hero, being in both WWI and WWII. I sat in the back yard many days with uncle Adam, listening to his stories. He wanted to buy me something for my trip so we went shopping one afternoon. I knew he didn't have much money so I just said I needed a lock, figuring it would be inexpensive. We found a good 6' cable and purchased it, along with a case of beer. (I still have this cable) I'm glad I got to see Uncle Adam before I left because he was getting old and this might be the last time I get to see him.

I am pretty much ready and It's time to start thinking about Yorktown. My dad volunteered to drive me to Yorktown and my grandpa also agreed to come along for the ride. This worked out pretty good as I had not really thought about getting to Yorktown..... one small detail I overlooked.


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