Published on 6/29/2012
By Chris Sokoloski
James Brown's six-week cross-country bicycle trip nearly came to an end on Wednesday, 1,317 miles short of his goal.
"[Wednesday] was not a good day," the Waccamaw High School tennis coach said. "The last couple of days have been more challenging because of the heat and humidity."
Brown is riding from Huntington Beach, Calif., to Surfside Beach to raise money for the Ashley G Foundation, which is named for Ashley Gaines, a Waccamaw High graduate who died of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2008.
When he finished his 70-mile leg on Wednesday, Brown told his wife, Sonja, who is driving the route with him, he wanted to stop and go home.
"I am homesick. I'm ready to get home," Brown said. "I can't wait to see my kids and sleep in our own bed."
After a few hours of rest he decided to continue, but will alter his route. Last year he rode from Dallas to Surfside Beach and will now follow a similar route south of what he had originally planned.
The weather during the first three weeks of the trip through California, Arizona and New Mexico was hot, but in Texas Brown is dealing with not only triple-digit temperatures, but also humidity.
"Every town we're in they're setting heat records," Brown said. "I'm getting acclimated to the humidity again. Until the last couple of days I haven't sweated."
When the Browns stopped on Tuesday night in Breckenridge, Texas, the temperature was still 106 degrees at 8 p.m.
Brown's been averaging five or six hours of riding a day with very few breaks, but said he'll probably take more frequent breaks and start his rides earlier to try to avoid the hotter temperatures in the afternoon.
"It's kind of hard to believe I've cycled more than 1,300 miles," he said. "Last year at this point I was done. It's gone by very fast. I can't believe we're halfway home."
To follow Brown's progress or make a donation, go to theashleygride.com. You can also read a daily blog by Brown and his wife, Sonja, on the site.
For more information on the foundation, go to ashleygfoundation.com.