Josh was elated to finally be in America. He felt happy and lucky to be at the point where he was fulfilling a leg of the journey he had long looked forward to. America was a place for him to realise dreams. But those dreams wouldn’t come without their own set of unique challenges. Challenges that, if you’ve been following Josh for a while now, you know are imminent. With a Christmas goal in mind for his global completion, Elixinol’s CBD Ambassador had some serious cycling to do.
The first day of the final leg, Josh found himself stuck in L.A. traffic, just like most of the residents, and it took more than 7 hours for him to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. After a lot of stop and go and traffic light interference, he ditched the local appeal and, again, re-joined the open road. Kind of. After discovering that he wasn’t allowed to cycle on the freeway, Josh was forced to reroute. Which meant venturing in to the uncharted by navigating dirt roads and backroads for a change of pace. Josh recognised that these detours would certainly affect the overall ETA of his already gruelling schedule, but accepted them in stride and optimistically relished the opportunity to better appreciate the beautiful, natural scenery around him.
As the big city lights fell away, Josh pushed onward into the desert and into a rather scary situation. With still 5-6 hours to cycle before arriving in Phoenix, Josh became stranded in the pitch black of a cold, desert night, with a broken bike, and no obvious way out. He had punctured 4 times thanks to cactus barbs and used all his spare tubes and patches to no avail. Josh, who is usually good about keeping positive, was genuinely very scared. Drivers raced past him instead of stopping to help and he began to fear the night ahead given the perilous circumstances he’d have to endure. Admittedly, there was a moment amidst the fear where the significance of the journey he had worked so hard to finish was replaced only by the significance of his own safety. It was a reminder that he would unknowingly revisit sooner than later. One that would alter the grandeur of his scope and simplify the appreciation of his accomplishments for months to come.
But for now, Josh felt relieved to finally be rescued and resting at a nearby hotel.
The following day some good Samaritans came to Josh’s aide and he managed to temporarily resolve the issue of his problematic punctures. Then he gratefully rode 120 miles to Phoenix where a fully kitted bike shop gave him the parts he needed to continue. And the next two days Josh saw himself breaking personal mileage records averaging 250 mile days back-to-back from Globe, AZ to Lovington, NM. Pleased with his achievement, Josh acknowledged its significance in two different ways. First, by recognising that reaching this achievement was a direct result of him setting goals for himself. Goals that are “big, audacious and outrageous” even, because he genuinely believes he can do it. And completing his best day yet clocking 270 miles provides nothing more than validation. Secondly, Josh highlighted the importance of being able to achieve such high-mileage days consecutively saying “You can cycle 270 miles one day and be in the bed the next day recovering. I need to get up in the morning and do it all again tomorrow. That is the important thing. It means nothing if I can’t wake up and do it again tomorrow.”
But the body can only give so much and after battling 4 hours of a brutal head wind the following day, Josh was exhausted. Physically, but mentally as well. The intense whirlwind that had been the last year of his life came to a head simultaneously and Josh knew that rest was in order. Giving way to his immediate needs meant sacrificing his initial timeline for completing the cycle. Although he would no longer make it home by Christmas like he had originally planned, he remained positive about maintaining a New Year’s deadline, despite the mounting variables that seemed to be against him. The weather, even in the southern part of the U.S. through which he travelled, proved to be colder than he anticipated. So cold that his bottles of water kept freezing, which prevented him from hydrating properly. And he had planned to finish his global adventure in New York, a destination much farther north and certainly much colder. Bearing in mind this knowledge, there was only one choice to make: adapt. The most sensible re-route was to Miami, an end point that offered the same distance to complete with a much more manageable climate.
And so it was.
Nine days in to his bid at making history in America, Josh was forced to accept the inevitable and relinquish his dream of being home for Christmas. From pesky punctures, to time-consuming work arounds, from scary possibilities to relying on the goodwill of strangers. From monumental personal achievements to respecting the needs of his mind and body, Elixinol’s Champion of the Bike found himself reflecting. He was in good spirits, soaking in the friendly American culture, giving thanks for the best year of his life, and, once again despite the challenges he faced, feeling like the luckiest guy in the world.