Most people who plan to travel coast to coast usually book a flight, or at the very least, drive.
But, Mark Bryan, a retired Special Forces Soldier, will begin the journey on his bicycle, from Grayland Beach, Wash. to North Carolina, Sunday. Along the way,
he will raise funds for the Green Beret Foundation.
The foundation, according to its website, provides resources such as advocacy, casualty care and Gold Star Family support to the Special Forces community.
“My goal for this ride will be to raise awareness and support the mission,” said
Bryan, who retired as a captain in 1999, and then went to work as a command SF installation management officer before retiring again in 2012.
The idea for the trip originated just before he retired last year, said Bryan, who began training by riding a few short miles from his home in Hope Mills, N.C.
Eventually, he added time and distance, now reaching 30 to 40 miles per day, he said.
A typical route from his home to N.C. 87 and back, takes him through Cumberland, Bladen and Robeson counties.
But, Bryan does not ride for the scenery, he instead rides for the fitness opportunity, he explained.
“It’s like doing anything else,” said Bryan. “It’s not to go off and to dream, or bike from point A to point B or as a means to an end, but it’s good exercise,” he said.
Bryan doesn’t bother to follow the trend of listening to music. There is no playlist.
“A lot of people today have to have music, but that’s dangerous. I have to hear the traffic coming up from behind me.”
And he pays a lot of attention to his equipment.
The bicycle is equipped with gear such as flashing lights, GPS, solar panel to charge a cell phone as well many liters of water. In all, about 190 pounds, he said.
So, what’s Bryan’s biggest obstacle?
Humidity, he said. On a recent Friday, 63 percent humidity made 85 degrees feel more like 90 degrees, essentially making hydration a top priority.
To combat the heat and humidity, Bryan drinks one liter of water every five miles.
“With high humidity, the water doesn’t evaporate, so I sweat a lot,” he said.
The longest ride Bryan has taken so far was to Wilmington, N.C. about two months ago. The trip was divided into two days of riding nearly 70 miles a day.
Bryan said he will continue training until Sunday, the first day of his coast-to-coast journey.
His goal is to raise $2,500, and as of mid-July, he had raised $350, but said there is still plenty of time to donate.
For more information about the Green Beret Foundation, visit http://greenberetfoundation. org/foundation.html.