Morgan Frazier, a graduate of Texas A&M, is now biking across the country with the 4K for Cancer from Baltimore to Seattle. Here she shares with us some excerpts from her journal on the road!
Day 1: Baltimore, MD to York, PA
At 6:30am we rode our bikes down the empty streets of Baltimore into the Inner Harbor, where friends and family welcomed us with cheering and excitement. I got chills as we rode past a car full of alumni who all ran out screaming and jumping up and down. At 8am, we dipped our back tires into the Atlantic ocean and set off toward the Pacific ocean, where we plan to dip our front tires 70 days later. Today was quite amazing. We broke up into smaller groups of 4-5 and made our way from Baltimore, MD to York, PA, totaling about 60 miles.
Day 3: Newport, PA to State College, PA
Today, we used the “sorting hat” to divide us into Harry Potter houses for ride groups. I was sorted into Slytherin, and while I’m 100% Gryffindor I went ahead and drew the dark mark on my arm and channeled my inner-Malfoy for the day.
Later in the day…we waited for everyone else to come up (the hill) and made sure they all knew how cool they were for climbing that monster. If anything, I’ve learned there’s strength in numbers. I heard a quote from the COO of Ulman that has stuck in my brain: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. Oh man, that’s becoming more and more evident. Group by group, we took off on the descent. I had no idea this would be my favorite part of the day. There was no stopping this bike. With my weight shifted to the back and upper body bent over, I relaxed my shoulders a bit and went for it. It was the perfect reward.
Day 9: Cleveland, OH to Mansfield, OH
Time flies when you’re on a bike! Our schedule revolves around biking, eating, and sleeping – what a dream. Each day feels like two, we never know what day it is, and we’ve settled into a routine that makes this life seem normal.
I was on host van duty today, so it was up to me and Austin to find food donations for the team. After a couple set backs, we ended up walking into a local, family-owned deli and came out with the best sandwiches in all of Ohio. The owner (Pierre) was so welcoming and started prepping food for us before we even asked. If you’re ever in Mansfield, go to Express Deli – it will not disappoint!
Day 10: Mansfield, OH to Columbus, OH
Low elevation. Sunshine. 75 degrees. Today felt a little too good to be true. We weaved through small towns of Ohio until we reached Columbus. At one point, I kept seeing signs for Fredericktown and the name sounded too familiar. I snapped a pic of a school and sent it to my dad. Sure enough, it was the high school he attended years ago. Pretty neat.
Day 14: Perrysburg, OH to Ann Arbor, MI
We woke up knowing there was rain and wind in the forecast – bleh. What we didn’t realize was there’d be an awesome tailwind the entire way – a cyclist’s dream. We booked through 71 miles like it was nothing. It’s been really cool to watch our bodies adapt to cycling every day. We’re getting stronger and sitting in the saddle feels normal. Never in my life would I have thought spending 70 days on a bike would feel right.
Day 15: Ann Arbor, MI to Lansing, MI
My team pulled off into a gas station bathroom where we huddled our soaking wet/dirty bodies around a space heater (why was there a heater in a gas station bathroom in Gregory, MI? I don’t know). We all passed a few cups of coffee around, taking turns soaking in the warmth. It didn’t phase me at all until someone whipped out there phone to capture the scene. Next thing I know, more teammates are filing in – some with their faces covered in mud and leaves sticking out of their helmets.
As if we weren’t laughing enough, a customer opened the door to use the bathroom only to find 10 wet bikers crammed into a single bathroom. She quickly shut the door and walked away. What a time to be alive.
Day 17: Grand Rapids, MI to South Haven, MI
We ran. We swam. We showered. We did laundry. We got coffee. We ate the best burger. We laughed uncontrollably over childhood fashion trends. We explored the town. And we watched the sunset over Lake Michigan. We were thriving, for sure.
Day 18: South Haven, MI to Michigan City, IN
I’d rather be on the road than in the van, but there are unique opportunities that van days bring. As we pulled into a gas station, an older man in a beat up truck pulls up next to us. When you’re driving a 15-passenger van with bike racks and window paint on the side, a lot of people stop and ask what we’re all about. This man was no different, so we chatted with him for a few minutes. Come to find out, he currently has stage IV liver cancer and is preparing for his time to pass. Carl seemed surprisingly at peace with it and spent the next few minutes telling us about the good life he lived. He particularly loved his mother and was thankful for the sacrifices she made for him. We asked him if he had any advice he’d like to pass on. Without hesitating, he told us life is gonna throw hard things our way, but in the end you can’t change it so “just deal with it.” Right on, Carl.
At the lunch stop, a woman asked to take a picture of us once she found out what we were doing. We got to chatting and found out she is a retired school teacher. She got emotional when she started thanking us for giving her hope in the next generation. “I wish I could just hug you all,” she said, to which my teammates responds “well, you can!” One by one, she gives us the biggest hug (and a couple kisses) before leaving.
These are just two encounters from today, but they happen everywhere we go. It’s amazing to meet strangers and bond over the same cause. This is one thing I could’ve never anticipated beforehand, but it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of the summer. You just never know what can unfold from a simple conversation.