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Ignacio’s Big Cycling Adventure: Across the USA in 30 Days

Back in late September, The REI Blog shared the story of Ignacio Anaya, a 44-year-old father of 2 and an avid REI member from Tijuana, Mexico, who was riding his bike from New York City to Tijuana, in part to raise funds for Fundacion Castro-Limon.

We’re happy to report that Ignacio safely completed his big ride and has graciously provided us with a follow-up report about his trip. Many thanks go to Jose Gonzalez, REI’s outreach coordinator for the San Diego area, who translated this from Ignacio’s native Spanish into English.

igancio on roadside break

REI: Congtratulations! How many miles did you ride?

My route from New York City to Tijuana was 3,337 miles. It took me exactly 30 days.

REI: Where and when did your journey end?

I ended the trip in Playas de Tijuana (Tijuana Beach) after crossing the international border from San Diego on Sunday, October 14, at 2pm.

REI: What was your longest day of riding?

My longest day of riding was in Missouri. I started at 7am, passed through St. Louis and kept riding until 11pm to sleep in the woods close to the highway.

REI: Where did you usually spend your nights?

I spent 19 nights in motels, and the rest I camped not far from the highways.

REI: What were your biggest obstacles along the way?

There were winds, rain and a very steep section in the state of Colorado, between the city of La Junta and the little town of San Luis. It took me 5 hours to ride those 27 miles!


REI: What kinds of mechanical difficulties did you have?

I had 9 flat tires, which is not a big problem considering that I rode 3,337 miles. I didn’t have mechanical problems with my triathlon bike; I just had minor adjustments made at the REI stores in Pittsburgh, St. Louis and near Phoenix.

REI: Did you have much bad weather or headwinds along the way?

On 3 days I had very bad weather—rain and winds in Ohio, Kansas and Colorado. In Arizona, I had a cold night and some winds in New Mexico. In general, though, I think that the fall weather was great!

REI: Was it difficult for you to cycle across an English-speaking country?

I don’t have too much difficulty with spoken English. And many people spoke Spanish. I must add that I was never questioned, harassed or investigated by police, sheriff or agents of migration despite crossing dozens of cities and towns. I was always comfortable with my safety.

REI: Did it get lonely for you at times?

Not really. I am glad I did this alone, and I had a smartphone plus free wi-fi in many places (such as McDonald's restaurants) to call family and friends.

REI: What were your feelings at the finish?

I was happy, but a little sad because the trip was over!


REI: Why did you ride? What good will come from it?

I believed that it was possible to make this journey using a triathlon bike and carrying my backpack because I had previously made such a trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. One motivation was to show others that with commitment, enthusiasm, patience, discipline and passion that anyone can achieve great adventures in this country. Another was Fundacion Castro-Limon, an organization that supports children with cancer. We have similar parallels: perseverance, patience, courage, enthusiasm, etc.

REI: What did your wife and kids think about your trip?

My family likes to do outdoor activities (camping, biking, climbing), but it is also difficult for them because this time we parted for many days—even though we talked almost every night by phone. The ones who most resented my absence were my children. But by the end they were very happy that I did it!


REI: Do you share your stories back home in Tijuana?

Sure, I love to share with children, youth and adults, because I am convinced that everyone can make their dreams come true. It is very important to share this kind of event to help motivate people.

REI: What advice would you give others doing such a trip?

Try to be self-sufficient by solving problems for yourself as they arise along the way. Be patient, too, because this venture depends on weather conditions. I want to share that I had never ridden so many days on a bike before, but I think that my training in the mountains, my Ironman competitions and my participation in marathons were important.


REI: What will be your next big adventure?

I'm thinking of running an ultramarathon across Baja California from north to south. It is 1,000 miles, and I think I can do it in 33 days. I am studying this project. Also, I have in mind climbing the 50 high points of the United States within a period not exceeding 4 months. I believe that one can achieve this by starting with McKinley in Alaska, which I already climbed in 2011. I’d design the route to continue to Utah, from there head east and to the north culminating back in California. This would have to be between the months of May to August.

Thanks for sharing, Ignacio, and good luck on all your adventures!

Photos courtesy of Ignacio Anaya.

Posted on at 9:00 AM

Tagged: Cycling and bike touring

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