Category Archives: Before my B&B summer!

These are blog posts that document my preparation for the summer that lies ahead!

Oklahoma and Kansas

Days 32 & 33: Build days in Bartlesville, OK! I spent both days working on building a new warehouse for the Habitat affiliate. We put up trusses and those of us who would carry the trusses over to where they needed to be would be called “truss team”. Someone would call out “truss team, assemble!” (like in the movie Anchorman) and we would run over to the trusses, pick it up together, and haul it up to the Bartlesville Habitat leader and two of our riders who were up on ladders. They set them up and the warehouse really started to come together!

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We weren’t too happy with our days spent working there because we weren’t given enough do. Many of the tasks they gave to us were quick jobs, and when we were done they wouldn’t have the next task ready for us to work on yet… Which led to a lot of time wasted sitting around. The team of Habitat leaders were all nice, but they didn’t do a very good job of utilizing all of us at the worksite.

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We did get to take a quick tour of the town. Because the buffalo is a sacred animal to the Native Americans that lived in the area, they had many buffalo statues all over town:

There was a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (who I had never heard of before):

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It was nice to stay in Bartlesville for a few days. It’s really exhausting to constantly be on the move, so getting to settle in for a bit is relaxing and rejuvenating! Host sites usually have great food and games for us to play. They served us delicious breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and they had a ping pong table, which the boys LOVE:

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Overall, Bartlesville was very good to us. The church members threw us a picnic on our last night there and we frequented the local Braum’s, which is a mid-west fast food/ice cream restaurant that serves HUGE waffle cones with a tower of ice cream for $2!!! It’s likely that this is the best thing about the mid-west.

Day 34: Meg and I rode sweep! We had great conversation as we cruised through beautiful country roads. About 30 miles into the ride, Meg was telling me a story, and I interrupted her to say “Meg, we are LITERALLY in the middle of nowhere right now”. It was the most middle-of-nowhere that I’d ever been, and I had to express that feeling out loud.

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It was nothing but the one road we were on and green pastures surrounding us for what seemed like days. It felt like we had left civilization forever. Even though it was pretty at first, Meg and I agreed that it got boring and monotonous pretty quickly. All of our teammates disagreed and later talked about how beautiful the ride was. To each his own, I suppose. We met up with a two-time B&B alumni in Ponca City named Bryan who told us that the pastures we rode through were only green because of the large amount of rain they had just gotten. Usually these fields were yellow-brown. I guess we should have been more grateful for the greenness.

We got to go to a lake!! It was called the Kaw Lake and it was just outside of Ponca City. It was so much fun to meet up with our teammates and swim around with them, cooling off after a hot day. Since we’ve been in the mid-west, where trees are few and far between, the amount of shade has decreased substantially, so we’re always hot in the sun.

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I love sweep days where we get to meet up with people and we don’t feel so isolated from the rest of the group. That was exactly what this day was!!

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In the beginning…

Whew! What an AWESOME 4 days it’s been! When I think about the fact that I met all these people in Nags Head less than a week ago, it absolutely blows my mind. I’m so thankful for the friendships I’ve made thus far and I can’t wait to become even closer to my teammates. I’m SO happy that we still have miles and miles to go because I’ve loved every second of my time on this trip, and I can’t even let myself think about this having to come to an end.

Since I’ve been MIA these past few days due to no phone service in all three towns we were in (thanks for nothing, AT&T), I have a bit of recapping to do. I’ll try to share what I feel is most important and spare you the boring details.

Day 1: We all dipped our back tires in the Atlantic Ocean and started our journey!!!

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The first day was about 70 miles to Swan Quarter, NC. It was a mentally tough day for me. Flat roads in the middle of nowhere were pretty boring and I was ready for a change in scenery. The landscape definitely improved as we made our way into Swan Quarter, which had many more cute little farm houses! When we got there, we were served dinner by the church members. We got to set up hammocks for a bit and just enjoy the feeling of accomplishment after our first day.

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Day 2: We rode about 30 miles to Belhaven, NC! Felt good to have a short ride on the second day!

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The people of Belhaven took us in with open arms!

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I had the pleasure of getting to spend the day at the house of a lovely older couple named Dewitt and Jan, who welcomed us into their beautiful home right on the water!

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We got to take warm showers and do all our laundry, as well as eat delicious food prepared by Jan (her lemon pie was TO DIE FOR!). We also got to take a boat ride with Dewitt…

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Shortly after the picture was taken, the boat broke down, with an impending storm staring us down in the distance. We called someone at the marina to come pull our boat in, so everything turned out okay. We returned to the house to listen to stories from Dewitt and Jan about when they first met and other funny stories from their past. We ate a great meal at the church and went to a local bar at night, where we decided that we would play a game called buffalo for the rest of the trip… If someone catches you drinking a beer while holding it with your right hand, they will yell “buffalo!” and you have to chug the remainder of your beer. I’m excited to see what stories come from this game.

Day 3: The ride was about 50 miles to Greenville, NC, home of East Carolina University. The day started out with Amelia, “regular” Ryan (as opposed to “leader” Ryan), and myself singing Billy Joel classics. Later, regular Ryan, Tim, Meg, Tyler, and me found ourselves in a pace line going 17-18 mph for 20 miles or so. Totally didn’t plan it but it felt great and we were kicking ass!! After lunch, we found a flea market to stop in and browse around, but we didn’t find anything good. We cruised into Greenville and spent the night at Covenant Church, which opened up their huge youth room to us. We spent the night playing ping pong, fooseball, dodgeball, and spike ball! When else do 20-somethings have an excuse to play goofy, childish games like that with one another?! I laughed so hard I cried when Conor (debatably the manliest man on our trip) got taken out HARD in dodgeball by Sean (the skinniest guy on our trip). A couple of Bike and Build alumni, Dre Antono (SUS’11) and Brandon Casper (CUS’12), decided to hitch a ride from Raleigh to Greenville so that they could ride with us to Wake Forest the next day!

Day 4: After my first good night of sleep, we headed off on our longest ride yet – 84 miles to my hometown of Wake Forest, NC! The day started our awesome because Dietlinde (pronounced Deet-Linda) and I were cruising through country roads, having great conversation about our families, beliefs, and things that influenced us to do this trip. When we stopped for lunch, we saw ominous clouds in the distance. It soon began to pour rain for about 15 minutes. We cruised in a pretty big group through Wilson, NC and soon hit some rolling hills as we pulled into Wake County.

We all keep chalk in our pockets to write arrows and other fun notes to each other while we’re riding. My favorite chalk notes of the day were “YOU LOOK FABULOUS” written at the top of a killer hill, and then later an arrow pointing forward with a note that said “Kim’s house” right beside the Wake Forest town limit sign. Both made me so happy!!!

My family got the pleasure of hosting my entire team for dinner at my house. My friend Anna Stokes (B&B alumnus SUS’09) made us DELICIOUS pasta and my mom provided several beverages, both for hydrating and dehydrating.

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It was an awesome night and I’m so happy to have been able to share my home with my new B&B family!!

Chapel Hill bound today! An easy, but maybe hilly, 39 mile ride!

Ready or not…

This is it! It is 10:30pm on Thursday evening, and I’m sitting in a dark room with my teammates, as most are getting ready for bed. We have a 5:15 wake up time for the morning so that we’re not rushed to pack up our stuff in the van, eat breakfast, and do some final bike maintenance before we head out to the beach to dip our back tire in the Atlantic Ocean at around 7:00am. We have 66 miles to ride to our first destination of Swanquarter, NC.

These past two days have been full of ice-breakers, safety info, health and hygiene talks, bike maintenance talks, etc. What’s funny is that even though these two days have gone by SO fast, it’s hard to believe that I’ve only known these people since yesterday. This is a photo of half the team getting ready to spend our first night (Wed night) on Thermarests and in sleeping bags.

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I love the way our bikes look when they’re all stacked up together!!

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Today, a very sweet older man (now our designated Grandpa) named Jack led our huge group of about 30 riders on a “Shakedown Ride” of about 23 miles to the Bodie Island lighthouse. Jack is 73 years old and rides with a group of older men and women (whose youngest member is 58) and they call themselves the Silver Riders. We practiced taking group photos in front of landmarks…

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I am SO pumped for tomorrow, but so incredibly nervous. I don’t think I’ve been truly able to wrap my head around what we’re committing to. What I do know is that my teammates are AWESOME and HILARIOUS and there are so many great memories to be made!!!! May 17th is the day I’ve been looking forward to since December, and it’s TOMORROW!!! We’re comin’ for ya, San Diego!

Why? Because I CAN.

Whhaaaaat?! April is already half-way over?! My journey begins in 25 days?!?!? THIS IS HAPPENING, PEOPLE. May 17th is right around the corner!!

I am SO incredibly close to raising my goal of $4,500 for affordable housing!! Asking people for money is a difficult and admittedly awkward thing to do, but I’ve had so much support from family and friends that I have raised $4,111, which is 91% of my goal! THANK YOU again to those who have donated! Your support means so much to me and to the families that will benefit from the money raised. If you can, please donate!

SO… what does it feel like to be 25 days away from starting this once-in-a-lifetime journey?? I’m nervous, anxious, excited, READY… but maybe not-so-ready, worried, PUMPED, a little sore from training, …whew! So I guess I’m feeling a lot of things. I’ve been trying to put some more miles on my bike whenever I can, as she will essentially become my new body part this summer! My great friend and fellow B&B teammate Sarah Barrett came home to Raleigh for the weekend, so we biked about 30 miles on Saturday afternoon up in Wake Forest, where we found some back country roads that made us feel like we were in Boone, NC (the hills certainly added to this feeling). Here’s me attempting to act strong and fierce while Sarah just looks cute:

30 mile ride with Sarah!

This past week was kind of a whirlwind for everyone, with the terrifying bombings at the Boston Marathon, then the explosion in West, Texas, and then the manhunt that ensued in Boston for the remainder of the week. As an athlete (although not yet a marathon runner) I sympathized with those runners who were severely injured. For these individuals, running is their passion. It’s what they do best, and they’ve dedicated hours upon hours to achieving greatness in this sport. But what if this terrible act of violence prevents them from doing what they love for the rest of their lives? Even if they choose to push onward (and surely they will, as marathon runners are intrinsically wired to do so), the road to recovery will not be easy.

Having two perfectly functioning legs and a healthy body are privileges that so many of us take for granted. This week, I was reminded that part of the reason for pursuing this adventure is simply this: because I CAN. I am physically healthy and I am strong-willed. I enjoy taking on challenges that others may never even consider simply because I am thankful to have the opportunity and ability to do it.

Biking across the country is not HARD. Running a marathon is not HARD. Losing a limb, combating severe, life-changing injuries, losing a loved one… nothing is harder than that. This the mentality that I will strive to have throughout the remainder of my training and while on my journey across America.

Getting so close… !!!

I CANNOT believe it’s already April!! In a little over a month, I will be heading to Nags Head, NC to meet for a 2-day orientation with my NC2SD Bike & Build team, and from there we’ll starting our incredible 70-day journey!! So far, I’ve managed to raise 79% of my $4,500 fundraising goal. I have just under $1,000 left to fundraise before I can go on this trip!! Please donate if you can by clicking here!!

This past weekend, I rode in the CNC Spring Ride in Edenton, NC, which was a 3-day cycling event. On Friday, my mom and I rode 60 miles! Then on Saturday, my new/great/awesome/HILARIOUS friend (and Bike & Build SUS’11 alumna) Jillian McMahon rode 110 miles with me!!!!! This is us at the starting line!

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Although my use of exclamation points may lead you to believe that we thoroughly enjoyed our ride on Saturday, the 15 mph headwinds didn’t really allow for too much enjoyment. Sure, it was fun being on our bikes and being outside in the sun, but fighting the wind for nearly the entire ride was actually pretty miserable. We started at 8am and did not make it to the finish line until 6:30pm! I was hoping to get my cycling tan off to a good start, but sadly the cold wing prevented me from taking off any of my layers. I wore cycling shorts, spandex pants, an under armor long sleeve shirt, a cycling jersey, arm warmers, cycling gloves, and a jacket for the ENTIRE 110 miles.

About half way through the day, Jill and I realized that we were two of very few riders who decided to tackle the century ride. It wasn’t until after we got back that we heard many people who were initially signed up for the 110 mile ride opted out because of the ridiculous wind… who would be crazy enough to suffer through that, anyway?? Only us and MAYBE 20 other people (our estimation) out of the thousands of people who signed up for this event. Jill and I each ONLY fell off our bikes once (I can’t speak for Jill, but I’m calling that a win!), and both instances were due to fatigue while coming to a stop and being unable to unclip in time. When we got back to the start/finish point at the end of the day, there was SUPPOSED to be a gigantic feast of seafood waiting for us. The thought of this feast is what kept me truckin’ along for the last 30 miles or so. About a mile out from the finish line, we were envisioning the meal that we were SO CLOSE to savoring. Jill requested that she be fed shrimp and fish “like a Seaworld animal”… but sadly we arrived too late and only got the last scrapings of cole slaw and popcorn shrimp as they were cleaning up what was left.It was pretty disappointing, to say the least. We made up for this misfortune by later consuming nearly an entire large pizza between the two of us. Here’s a picture of us chowing down on what scraps were available to us at the finish line:kim_jill2

On the bright side, we were only chased by one dog, who gave up the chase pretty quickly. My favorite parts of the ride included our brief cruise through a little neighborhood in Elizabeth City that was right on the water, and then that one time at around mile 70 where we caught some tailwind and rode that for, oh, maybe a few miles. My least favorite part, in case I wasn’t already clear, was the wind. I’m not really sure HOW we could have experienced headwinds the entire ride, given that we were essentially doing a big loop, but it happened… and it sucked.

Overall, I’m EXTREMELY glad that we completed the whole 110 miles!! It’s more than I’ll have to do in a single day on my Bike & Build journey, and it has definitely helped to mentally prepare me for the days ahead. When I was feeling tired and sick of pedaling,  I would try to talk myself through it.  I kept telling myself “the ONLY thing you have to do today is ride your bicycle. That’s IT!” This simple thought changed my attitude from negative to positive several times that day. After all, I know that I am incredibly lucky to be able to bike at all. I have a healthy body, two legs that have been trained over the years to endure just about any physical challenge, and a go-big-or-go-home mentality. Bring on the 3,600 miles!!!!!!

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Bike & Build, Summer 2013!

For 10 years, Bike & Build as sent young adults ages 18-25 out on a cross-country cycling adventure with the purpose of raising awareness for the affordable housing crisis in our nation. This summer, I’m ecstatic to become a member of the Bike & Build family! My journey begins in Nags Head, NC on May 17th and ends in San Diego on July 23rd. I have to raise $4,500 for affordable housing organizations before I can partake in this crazy adventure, so if you feel that you can, please go to my rider bio page by clicking on the map above and donate to my fund!! Thank you 🙂