Another Cycling BHAG, 2023 Edition

Alan Gilbert
3 min readJun 18, 2023
Photo by Rob Wingate on Unsplash

Last year, I rode my bicycle from coast to coast, from Oregon to Georgia. It was a wonderful and profound life experience, driven by various factors including self-exploration, retirement, the desire to do something very significant, the need to venture out into the world post-COVID, and Pelotonia (a fundraising event for cancer research). If you enjoy reading this, please donate generously.

This year, I am raising the stakes by riding the climbs of the Tour de France in the Alps, Pyrénées, and Mont Ventoux. Although this year’s journey is much shorter (eight riding days instead of 34), each day is as challenging as my toughest day last year. Moreover, this year’s trip is primarily for enjoyment rather than a spiritual quest. Nevertheless, I may return surprised by the transformative impact it has on me. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have the time and health to embark on such an amazing journey. And just maybe, I am thumbing my nose at turning 60 this year.

Another distinction from last year is that I am joining an organized tour, in contrast to the previous year when I planned and managed everything myself (with the help of another rider and our two support angels). This time, I can simply “show up.” Even the bike is provided. Of course, I must arrive in the best shape of my life, as we will be riding 40–80 miles and climbing 6,000–12,000 feet every day. Training for mountains in Columbus was no easy task. I have already covered nearly 2,500 miles on my bike this year and explored some of the hillier regions of Central Ohio, such as Utica and Mohican State Park, to focus on hill work. Towards the end of my training, I designed an 80-mile, 8,000-foot route near Mohican, which I rode three times. My goal this year was to transform myself from a proficient endurance rider who could climb when necessary into an accomplished climber. Only time will reveal if I have achieved that objective.

Similar to last year, I intend to document this trip through a blog. I will be undertaking and witnessing incredible things, and I want to share these experiences with my friends and family. However, I am uncertain if I will provide live updates every day. Unlike last year, when I stayed in places like Kingman, Kansas, and Mountain Home, Idaho, I will be visiting locations where I will want to venture out and explore with new friends rather than confining myself to a hotel room. Nevertheless, I will share stories and photos, even if it’s a few days after the actual events, so please stay tuned! I will include links to new posts in this article as I publish them.

Here is my planned itinerary, courtesy of Trek Travel. Most days have three options to choose from, depending on how ambitious I feel:

And here are the day-by-day posts: