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What would cause an individual to want to ride a bicycle for 43 days or 2,594 miles from San Diego, Calif., to Saint Augustine, Fla.?
For Dry Ridge resident Ed Lorenz, the answer is simple, "It was something I wanted to do."
"I've been bicycling for years and wanted to do a long trip. When I retired as county attorney and took a sabbatical from my private practice, the time was right. I knew that if I ever was going to do it, I had to do it now," Lorenz said.
Lorenz said he felt physically ready for the trip as a result of training during the winter months, however, there were several mental doubts.
"Even up to two weeks before the ride, I was unsure if I wanted to do it," Lorenz said.
But he overcame his doubts, opting to travel to the west coast for the beginning of his trip.
In March, Lorenz began his journey to San Diego, but the trip did not begin the way he would have preferred. On March 24, Lorenz boarded a flight but it was not until his third attempt that he finally arrived in San Diego. Upon arrival, Lorenz retrieved his bicycle, only to learn that the wheel had been damaged in transit.
Two days later, Lorenz began his trek.
Within three weeks, people began questioning Lorenz on what he was doing and why during his trip.
"A guy on a bike with a bright yellow trailer attracts questions and people," Lorenz said.
With the questions came people offering lodging for Lorenz and other travelers, who were taking part in other trips.
"It was really special how ready people were to reach out if you asked," Lorenz said.
Lorenz rode 50 miles or more each day, however, he said there was not a lot of time for thinking.
"You always have to keep one eye on the road. You get on the bike and think youre going to solve all your problems, but all of lifes issues come back in a day or two. I never woke up saying I had to get on the bike and I hated it," Lorenz said.
Rather than let the idle time of riding get the best of him, Lorenz had a plan during his trip.
"If my goal was to get to the end, it was probably going to be a miserable trip so I decided to do two things. I decided the trip was a journey and that each day, I was going to try to meet someone interesting," Lorenz said.
On his 14th day of traveling, Lorenz embarked on the highest climb of his trip—8,228 feet to Emory Pass in New Mexico. Lorenz said he had been dreading the climb since he started, but to his surprise, he arrived at the top of the mountain by noon.
"I came over one peak and felt the entire world was beneath me. It was kind of spectacular," Lorenz said.
Two weeks in, Lorenz advanced to Texas, the toughest part of his trip.
In two days, Lorenz traveled over 150 miles in terrible headwinds.
"I took a day off and I didn't know if I wanted to continue. If there was any emotional downside, it was during this time. I decided to get back on the bike, and when I did, I knew I would be all right," Lorenz said.
The decision proved to be the right one, as Lorenz found himself at the halfway point several days later with nothing but a few hills holding him back.
On his 30th day of the trip, Lorenz reached Louisiana after riding 1,100 miles alone across the state of Texas. Two days later, Lorenz had to count on the courtesy of Louisiana's residents when it came to crossing the Mississippi River. With no berm, high speeds and high traffic volume, Lorenz said crossing the bridge would have been suicide for bicyclers. Lorenz found an individual who refused money, citing he was doing the "Christian thing" and agreed to take Lorenz across the Mississippi River, dropping him off a few blocks from a library in Baton Rouge. While in Baton Rouge, Lorenz found a woman who said she had a nephew who was a cycling fan and opened a portion of her house to Lorenz and other cyclists.
"Pam Dyer is at the top of my long of nice people I've met on this trip," Lorenz said.
During his stay in Louisiana, Lorenz was able to see some of the destruction from Hurricane Katrina.
"All the damaged properties had mostly been vacated, but there were miles upon miles of vacant beach front property that gave me a small sense of the impact of that storm," Lorenz said.
On his 38th day and one week after leaving Texas, Lorenz made it into Florida.
On Wednesday, May 7, Lorenz completed his journey, arriving into St. Augustine on King Street, feeling numb, but happy to know that he would see his wife, Beth.
"If I had one regret it is that I didn't spend more time on the trip. At the end, the motivation was wanting to see my wife and hurrying up," Lorenz said.
With the trip behind him, Lorenz has entertained thoughts of doing another next year, but for now, he is soaking up what he was he was able to accomplish.
"It was rewarding to know I could do it. I am proud of myself. I had so many people think what I did was great. There are amazing people doing this, and the only thing holding people back is themselves. If you want to do it, it can be done," Lorenz said.