Cyclist completes the ride of a lifetime
His rear bicycle tire touched the Atlantic Ocean and his front tire touched the Pacific.
Dustin Orrick went on a three-month adventure as he rode his bicycle across the United States, traveling 3,743 miles. He began his trip April 23 and completed it July 22.
Orrick cycled about 65 miles each day to get from Virginia Beach to Florence, Ore.
He traveled on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail, which was established in 1976 as part of the U.S. bicentennial in 1976.
As an avid cyclist, Orrick, 31, was motivated to ride the trail. He wanted to pursue the journey for the past three years and was very headstrong about it, but it meant taking time off from his job at Hewlett-Packard in Austin.
'Bucket list' item
"It was one of those bucket list items," he said. "I had asked my bosses to let me do it, but also had to convince them that I was going to come back to work."
Orrick was not sure when he would be allowed to go on the trip and was anxious every time his excursion came up in discussion. Eventually, his bosses became amiable toward his goal and arrangements were made to allow him to take time off from work.
His family was not that surprised when he made it known that he wanted to ride the TransAmerica trail, although his father, Michael, who resides in Kingwood, was somewhat baffled when first hearing the news.
"He was always adventurous, but I thought that this was a big thing to do," his father said. "Then the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that he would want to do something like this."
Orrick said it was not the physical aspect of his journey that was the most difficult, but rather doing nothing but cycling.
"It becomes more of a mental game," he said. "I'm fine with the physical aspect, but you start to notice you're just cycling, and that repetitiveness can take a toll."
Orrick felt that he was in good physical condition to undertake the journey, and did not undergo a physical from a physician.
"I probably should have, but I knew that I wouldn't be pushing my body too much," he said.
His wife, Emily, agreed and said she was not too worried about his health.
"We're both very health conscious and active," she said. "Dustin still does marathons so his body is used to long-distance cycling."
He chronicled his trip on a blog where he posted photographs and entries of his travels throughout each day. Those who followed his progress on the trail also were able to send him messages.
"I think I won an award for the most messages sent," Michael Orrick said. "His mother and I were concerned for his safety, so it was good to see all the updates of his trip. It felt like we were there with him."
His wife was concerned as well, but luckily Orrick was accompanied by two other cyclists on his trip.
"I felt more comfortable that he had company there with him, and that people along the way helped all of them," she said.
Helpers along the way
Orrick said he was surprised from the people who let them stay at their homes or gave them supplies to help him and his fellow cyclists on their trip.
"It was wonderful to experience the kindness out there when going to a lot of these small towns," Orrick said. "You don't expect people to let you stay at their home or give you supplies for free."
'The bigger picture'
Orrick said he had to return to work quickly since his supervisors gave him 90 days. He said that coming back from the trip that quickly has been a period of adjustment, but the trip overall provided him with some clarity.
"I came back and being out there you do start to think about what is important," Orrick said. "You get a better sense of the bigger picture and don't let trivial things bother you as much and realize there are some material things you can do without."
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