Bittersweet (Day 23)

Day 23: Wilton, WI - Madison, WI

Distance: 90 miles

Vertical: 1,759 feet

Time: 6:00

Our initial idea for this bike ride came last Spring. In between checking Facebook and playing Clash of Clans as Matt and Nigel normally do when they "study" (actually that's entirely false, Matt's got some of the greatest study habits I've ever seen... Nigel's a business student) they decided this was their fate after seeing a post about it online. When they brought the idea to me, I chimed in saying that it would be a really great way to raise some funds for the Kyle Charvat Foundation which our Fraternity had been rather removed from that past year. Just like that the Cycle for Charvat was born... but you all know that.

The reason I bring that up is because ever since the moment I decided to tag along, the Cycle for Charvat has been an immensely daunting but also fanciful thing of the future. Last summer I longed for the days that I would get to ride a bike for miles on end with virtually no other obligations. This year when I studied, I would take breaks to do things for the Cycle for Charvat, but I would mostly just day dream about it.

In all honesty, we really struggled to get this thing off the ground. The task at hand was so crazy and such a huge wall to surmount, we didn't really know how to start climbing. We also had a lot of people that doubted us and I wouldn't necessarily say that they were wrong to. I recognize that I have a tendency to talk about a lot of ideas I have but never really go the full way to put them into place. It was entirely possible that this cross-country bike tour was just another one of those dreamy ideas of mine.

Fast forward to now: we're on day 23 of the trip, we've traveled 2,194 miles, raised nearly $12,000 and somehow managed to stay in one piece (well I guess three separate pieces). Matt asked earlier in the trip what the point of no return was. I didn't have an answer for him at the time, but I know that now, we're way past it. Sometimes I really struggle to believe that we've gotten this far. The three of us, with little to no prior cycling experience, and we've consistently been able to bike 100 miles a day? A century ride now is definitely much less intimidating than a century ride was before we had left but it is still by no means easy, instead they've just become bearable.

With so much time to think on a daily basis I sometimes find myself running into the idea of, "What if I had just stayed at home this summer and worked?" or even sometimes, "I'm really jealous of my friends back home." Those thoughts typically occur on the especially strenuous days when I really wish I could just be sitting at home eating a bowl of Cap'n Crunch and watching Silicon Valley on my laptop. It's a classic "the grass is always greener" scenario. I don't want to speak for them too much but I think I sometimes notice the same feelings in Matt and Nigel as well. What we're doing is hard, there's no way around it.

But then I remind myself that I'm biking across the freaking country. That I've been dreaming of this with my two best friends since last Spring. That we fund raised and got tons of generous donations from our friends and family to make this happen. That we've biked 2,194 miles. That we've raised nearly $12,000. That we've met people who we will remember and be indebted to (in a good way) for the rest of our lives. That we're doing something amazingly positive to help people who are fighting for their lives against cancer. That we've made some insane memories. And most importantly, that we are lucky that we get to have this experience.

I miss everyone back home. I love you Mom, Elsa, Nate, Kelsey, all my friends, everybody... but I'll be back soon. Right now I'm biking across the country and I'm going to enjoy every second of it.

I'm sorry I don't have much to say about the ride today, but this was what was on my mind and I felt I had to say it

Living in the moment,

Josh Bean