For now, Truckee’s Andy Bavetta has had his fill of “floor flopping” in high school gymnasiums across the country.
Same goes for setting up camp on high school football fields (the other alternative for a night’s rest), then waking up in the wee hours of the morning, setting out for a six- to eight-hour bike ride, then doing it all over again.
For 63 days this was Bavetta’s routine, his life, as the 69-year-old embarked on a 4,200-mile cycling journey from Marysville, Wash., to Gloucester, Mass.
“I think once across is enough,” Bavetta said of his cross-country ride, which culminated on the rocky shores of Massachusetts on Aug. 18.
“When I got back I hung up the bicycle and didn’t ride it for about a week.”
Bavetta was one of 26 cyclists who started and completed the nine-week trip, which was supported by Cycle America ” a private organization that leads long-distance bike tours for a fee. Bavetta, a retired aerospace engineer who now works as a ski instructor at Northstar-at-Tahoe, said the Coast-to-Coast tour cost him $100 a day.
While Cycle America provided the meals, carried his gear and scouted and marked each day’s route, Bavetta said the ride ranks as the most difficult physical activity he has done in his life.
“Just sitting on the bicycle seat for that long, day after day, six to eight hours a day,” was most difficult, Bavetta said. “The hot weather was tough, too. Also getting up so early.”
The group rode six days a week, relaxing on Sundays. Most days Bavetta and his cohorts woke up at 4:30 to 5 a.m. and were on the road by 6:30.
On average, they covered between 70 and 90 miles a day, Bavetta said, although they rode as many as 100 miles three times during the first week and as few as 49 miles one day.
“It was a bonding experience, much like boot camp, and a great way to see the country up close and personal,” Bavetta said.
In addition to the original band of 26, anywhere from six to 20 riders joined weekly ” sort of a “changing of the guard,” Bavetta said ” to take part in one of the nine cross-state segments.
“On a typical day there would be maybe 50 people cycling, and we were constantly adding and losing people,” Bavetta said, adding that the group would string out over the course of the day.
Highlights included stops at several points of interest, including Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Yellowstone National Park, Niagara Falls and the Adirondack Mountains, Bavetta said.
South Dakota’s Custer State Park perhaps was Bavetta’s favorite because of the lack of tourists, and because he had never been. Bavetta said that while Niagara Falls was a spectacular sight to behold, he didn’t particularly enjoy being surrounded by hordes of people.
“It was like Las Vegas at the top of a waterfall,” he said.
When all said and done, despite a sore posterior from the extensive seat time, Bavetta had shed 6 to 8 pounds.
“I’m wearing cloths I haven’t worn for quite a while, so that’s a good thing,” he said.
To view more photos from Bavetta’s cross-country ride, visit his Web site at http://www.coasttocoastin2007.blogspot.com/.
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Jaime Alessio took this video of a bobcat wandering around Kings Beach in broad daylight.