I can’t believe we are in the third week of this incredible journey! Time flies when you are pedaling through this beautiful country. We crossed another state line and The Appalachian Mountains on this perfect Day 16 of riding.
We rolled out of Asheville around 10:30 after eating our bagels and pastries at a neat little spot on a door used for a table top. This town has some interesting character and I could totally see myself coming back to hang. They love cycling around here so the bike lanes and trails which led us out of town were well kept and flat!
We were doing an easy 20 mph pace most of the morning in cool 66 and cloudy temps. The Riverside Road along the French Broad River was so beautiful leading us to a Marshall, NC gas station about 30 miles outside of town.
We had planned on going to this place called Hot Springs about 15 miles up the road to soak our soar bodies and rejuvenate but we spoke with a local at the store who suggested we head northeast towards to Greeneville, TN instead because it would be the flattest route through the Appalachian Mountains. After climbing almost 3,000 ft on Day 15 we needed to avoid any more massive inclines.
We continued up down the road through the mountains in awe of their beauty and power. Seeing these peaks is scary and inspiring somehow. This whole trip we kept battling with ourselves wondering why came all the way south to Charlotte, NC because crossing the mountains in the north is usually the easier cross-country route people take and our route is about 700ish miles out of our way to SF.
The reason for this trip was waiting for me as I woke up this morning to an article posted by a dear friend and Street Soccer USA program director in Sacramento. I wrote this article while at the 2011 Paris Homeless World Cup. My interview with SSUSA National Team coach and Sacramento program director Lisa played a huge part in what led me to quit my job in Little Rock and move to NYC in the hopes of one day working for Street Soccer USA. Her passion for the game and for helping others through soccer was so inspiring I felt it spread into me. I left that conversation and tournament fired up about starting a program in Little Rock, AR my hometown but that is not the way the story goes. At least not yet!
I think I can speak for everyone who has ever been to a street soccer practice when I say that every city/state/community needs this program or something like it. The whole reason for this trip and the southern route we chose was to spread this passion and stop by as many Street Soccer USA programs as possible inspiring others to start their own program or something similar in their community. I encourage you to take a look at a whatever you are passionate about or whatever hobby you have that makes you happy and use this to do more to have a positive impact on those around you!
I am amazed when I look at the map and remember the mountains we’ve climbed, the roads we’ve flown down, the rivers, the bridges, the good food, the bad food, the kind people, the odd people and the 960 miles we pedaled so far. It’s just the beginning!
Can’t wait to see what the road has in store for us on Day 17 to Knoxville!