After over 4,000 miles, 72 days, 19 states, 3 new tires, 4 pairs of sunglasses, 15 flat tires, smiles, cries, sunshine, rain, sweat, tanlines, and endless amounts of peanut butter, bagels, cookies, and sunscreen, Bike and Build Maine to Santa Barbara made it. After a very late night and only 3 hours of sleep, the alarm went off at 5 and, more than 3 hours later, we hit the road ready for the Pacific Ocean. I rode with sweep today and about half way into our 40 mile ride, we saw the coast. The next 20 miles were spent actually going north along the coast to Santa Barbara. To be honest, it was slightly aggravating to see the ocean and the beach but still have 20 miles to go. However, it was pretty incredible riding along this picturesque ocean front with mountains in the background. All 32 of us met up 5 miles out so that we could ride the last little bit of our journey as one. It was absolutely crazy, a pack of 32 riders taking over the entire road. When we got to the beach all of the family and friends who had come out to tire dip cheered us on as we threw out bikes down and sprinted into the water. So many emotions were going on in my head right now. Excited, upset, happy, relieved, sad, longing. It’s hard to describe the beach celebration. So much splashing, jumping, yelling, laughing, hugging, crying. It’s the accumulation of all of the emotions you had over the past 10 weeks in just 10 minutes. After the craziness and excitement started to die down and riders had greeted their loved ones, we officially dipped our front tire into the Pacific. We made it Coast to Coast.
Everything after the tire dip just seems like added fluff. More hugs, crying, and champagne toasts followed. It was so funny to meet everyone’s family after having heard so much about them on our rides together. It felt like we already knew them before we ever actually did. Eventually, we made the 6 mile drive to our host, St. Mary’s Seminary. We could not have possibly had a more incredible final host. Situated high up in the mountains over looking the ocean with massive gardens sourrounding the property, its possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The next 36 hours were filled with exploring Santa Barbara and sad goodbyes as one by one riders left for the real world.
It’s hard to imagine that this whole adventure is coming to an end. Not only did I have an experience of a life time and create friendships that will last forever, but I was also part of a movement that is trying to solve the affordable housing crisis. I’ve learned so much over the past 10 weeks – whether it’s about affordable housing, bikes, or myself – that I will take with me for the rest of my life. There is no real way to describe how incredible my summer was. Sleeping on a floor for 72 days, going to bed at 12 and waking up at 4 to ride 80 miles, downing gas station slurpees, showering in hoses, reaching 50 mph on a 12 mile downhill, swimming in friendly strangers’ pools, saddle sores, tanlines, 118 degree heat, demolishing buildings, and sleeping in a room with 32 of my best friends laid down like sardines across the floor. I’ll have these memories with me for ever.
Thank you so much for following my journey. Without your support, my summer would not have been possible.
Until Next Time,