The idea was to average around 55 miles per day along the same route I had successfully run across the United States -- although I would be going the opposite direction. I had many school assemblies lined up to do along the way and the idea was to visit schools and try to encourage kids toward greater health and fitness, as well as setting personal goals. If I had been successful, I would have become the first person to ever run solo and bike solo across the United States within one year. Those who find remnants about my 2007 bike attempt online often wonder what happened with that project and why it was never completed. This blog entry is designed to explain that undertaking.
As most people know, since running across America solo ten years ago I have also run solo across Alaska, Germany, and the Mojave Desert. However, it is P.A.C.E. Bike 2007 that seems to raise questions now and then.
The National Weather Service reported 7 1/2 inches of rain in Central Park by midnight of April 15, the second heaviest rainfall in 24 hours on record, and indicated that this storm caused the worst flooding since Hurricane Floyd in 1999. Airline and rail transportation was disrupted and power failures affected several thousand people. On April 16 the storm caused sustained winds of nearly 100 mph, with gusts topping out at 156 mph. High winds during the storm prevented emergency medical services from using helicopters for evacuation of the injured at the Virginia Tech massacre -- which happened at this time and was somewhat close to my location. During that tragedy, 32 people were killed by a gunman, and many others injured.
Active.com was reporting updates about P.A.C.E. Bike 2007 as it was happening. Here's the final report that Active.com made:
Last week, Paul Staso canceled his transcontinental-campaign, P.A.C.E. Bike 2007, due to a series of unfortunate events. Less than one week after returning home, Staso has vowed to continue promoting youth fitness in America. Staso’s real life struggle during his attempt to cycle across the country has created a more endearing persona. Instead of Staso being viewed as an athlete that is capable of the extraordinary, he now has more human-like characteristics associated with him. This new platform will allow Staso to reach a greater audience of children who have experienced a similar struggle with setting and reaching goals. Our thoughts and support are with Staso as he continues Promoting Active Children Everywhere.
So, that's the story of P.A.C.E. Bike 2007. You may think to yourself, 'I would have continued'. However, you were not in my shoes. Until you have your children to consider... until you run solo across America... until you're facing the challenge of crossing a continent again only months after having already done it... until you've dealt with a bike collision with a vehicle, a raging storm, a near robbery, and the emotions of a massacre of students... until you've sat alone with all of that on your mind and heart and considered the long road before you... it is not possible for you to understand the position I was in and the seriousness of the decision I made in April 2007 to cancel the bike trek.
P.A.C.E. Bike 2007 was a moment in time which actually enhanced my perspective of endurance challenges and sharpened my resolve to always do my best, but not to sacrifice my life on a bike seat or in running shoes. I will never do a P.A.C.E. journey unless I am completely in the game... mentally and physically. In April 2007, I was still physically in the game -- although nursing cuts and bruises from the taxi collision -- but was not mentally where I needed to be to continue. Fortunately, my prior endurance experience gave me the wisdom to make the right decision to cancel the transcontinental bicycle trek.
Always pursue your goals and dreams, but always be wise when making decisions along the way.
Keep reaching for life's mileposts!
Paul Staso, Founder & President
The P.A.C.E. Fitness Foundation, Inc.
P.A.C.E. is a non-profit organization aimed at Promoting Active Children Everywhere.