Mark rode into Rock Springs, Wy on Friday, July 29 lead by Scott Aldridge and John Lux from the Jim Bridger Power Plant. They arrived in town around 4:00 pm and we had the opportunity to finally catch up with Mark and see how things are going. Here’s what he had to say.
“I have been through the best and worst already and I’m only 1/3 of the way done. The second day of my ride was by far the worst and I am hoping I don’t have to go through anything like it again. I was exhausted, out of water, lost, and struggling with flat tires and the harsh conditions. Anything that can survive in that desert gets my nod. It was an eye opening and humbling experience. I wanted to just come home and call the whole thing off. My mind got the best of me and I couldn’t help but think that this whole this is just crazy. What am I even doing out here? Shouldn’t I be doing something else or being productive? The next morning I couldn’t move. I sat in the Farson Merc for 6 hours just trying to rehydrate myself and reconsider the whole trip. Three days in and I’m already giving up? I couldn’t let this happen but I was out of gas. My legs were dead, my drive was diminished, and my body was sore to the point where I couldn’t just ignore it. Then it hit me… I’m not doing this ride for me. I’m doing this ride for everyone who believes in me. I thought of everyone who is following the blog and reading the articles in the paper. I thought of everyone who has walked by the posters all over Wyoming. I thought of the people who have stumbled across the story on the internet. I thought of everyone who has supported me and ridden along. The journey has grown from a small idea to something larger than just me. I am riding for everyone who has other commitments, can’t get off work, or aren’t able to spend 12 hours in the blistering sun. I wanted to create something to inspire people and something for them to believe in. Who could ever believe in me if I gave up now? It was 4 pm and I hadn’t ridden a single mile. I collected my belongings and myself and threw my leg over the bike and started to pedal. The air had cooled but a strong cross wind had picked up. I could see a huge storm with lightening moving straight towards my path. I pulled over and thought about calling for help one more time. It was an easy decision. I had to keep going. That night I pedaled until the sun was too low in the sky to light the road ahead of me. I slept on the side of the road near an ant pile as the Wyoming wind sang me to sleep. The next day I met up with Emily Neal, Zach Phipps, and Chris Cook to ride with me to Superior, the Jim Bridger Power Plant, and then Rock Springs. It was great having friends to ride with and hangout after the riding for the day was done. We made it to Superior before noon and had a lot of time to kill. After exploring some ruins around the town, we finished the day playing catch with a football we found near our campsite in the city park. The cool shade and lawn in the park was amazing! It was the best campsite I’ve had on this trip until this point. The next morning we woke up early to climb the switchbacks out of Superior. This climb was brutal! It took everything I had to push the trailer up the road. I found myself scrambling to hold the trailer from pulling me back down the hill. Point of Rocks was an oasis when we arrived. The Varley family was very generous and allowed us to set up our tents in the shade of their trees. Once again, we were very lucky to have such a nice campsite. I have conducted interviews with Questar and Pacificorp. The next stop is the Flaming Gorge Dam. Riding into Rock Springs was an interesting feeling. I was one mile from my house where I grew up, but 400 miles from home. I had a momentary feeling of sadness about having to get back on the road but then I thought of the journey ahead and filled myself with excitement. Everyone has been so supportive and I can’t say thank you enough times. I am extremely lucky to be surrounded with so many great people. When it gets hard and all hope seems to be lost, I think about every one of you and find the strength to keep going. I will be riding in the Red Desert Round Up Parade on Saturday in Rock Springs. I hope to see as many supporters as I can before I set off into the infamous Red Desert. The hardest part of the journey is still to come. Here’s to everyone who believes in me, and especially those who don’t.”
That was straight from Mark himself. He seems tired and weary but as determined as ever. Keep checking back for updates as Carrie McCarthy joins Mark for the next leg of the journey into Utah.