Friday, March 8, 2013

To Bent or Not to Bent, That is the Question...

Coast2Coast for Heart Health is 71 days away!  Can you feel the anxiety and excitment?  A major logistic of the ride has changed.  I have decided to change the mode of transportation.  Yes, I will be crossing the United States on the back of a dolphin.  However cool this would be, it's not the truth.

Nerve popping out of position
 Due to unforseen injury for both of my elbows I will be riding not just a bicycle, but a recumbent bicycle.  The nerves that run on the inside of my elbows has been popping in an out of the tunnel it is supposed to run through causing pain.  This is something I was born with, however cycling on a regular road bike has caused irritation of the nerve and pain even when I'm not riding my road bike.

Do not fear, the RECUMBENT is here!  A recumbent you say?  You may have seen these bicycles and wondered what in the world they are.  The concept is the rider is in a relaxed, near laying back position thereby taking pressure off the tailbone, back, neck and ARMS!  These bicycles are nicknamed "BENTS."

In using a friend's cruising recumbent, I found it doesn't effect my elbows.  So I have ordered a touring bent bike and will break it in, hopefully, on a three day ride this weekend to Temple, Texas.  This trip will take me to West, Texas the first night and on into Temple the next.  the third day I will head back to West, Texas and be picked up by my lovely wife, Liddy.

This is a big change just 71 days out from the launch of Coast2Coast, but necessary to even start the ride.  You'll learn of my adventures using this new bike and I'll post photos here and on the Facebook page @:

Keep Calm and Ride ON!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Welcome to the Adventures of Endorphin Man!

Hey all! 

With the Kemah Triathlon a week away (Yikes! Is it really?), I'm getting excited!  I've done one before in October, but this one has a few extra twists than my last with alot more people and an open-water swim.
First off, what is a triathlon? It's simple... You swim a little, you bike a little and then you run a little.  Think of it as a leisurely stroll through the park except you can drown, you can wreck on the bike, and you can run until your heart brakes.  My previous philosophy on these three events was don't do them unless you are being chased, AND you know you can get away or else you'll get beat up tired.  Not only are you not being chased, but you push yourself harder to beat other people! (What am I thinking?)

You have different distances in triathlons.  Many of heard of the Ironman and Half-Ironman.  These are long distance with the Ironman having a 2.4 mile swim, a 110 mile bike and 26.2 mile run.  The Half-Ironman is just that, a quarter of an Ironman.  (I hope you caught that, are you awake?).  The Ironman distance started in Hawaii when swimmers and bikers on the island had a ongoing arguement on whose event was harder.  So they combined them with a marathon and birthed the Iron distance races.  These take alot of dedication and training with upwards of 15 hours a week of training.  The next step is an Olympic distance with a mile swim, 24 mile bike, and a 6.2 mile run.  For beginners and fast races there are the sprint triathlons with a 500 meter swim, 12 mile bike, and 3 mile run.  This is what I am doing in Kemah.
The Kemah Tri is open-water, which is harder than pool swimming because there are the elements to contend with.  You have waves, wakes, currents, wind and pelicans trying to poop on you.  I can handle most of these, but those pelicans make me mad.  I did my first open water swim this week at Lake Benbrook in Fort Worth.  It was difficult because you have to look out of the water and sight where you are going or you'll be off course.  It is hard to stay level in the water with currents, waves, and wakes.  Also, in the Great State of Texas the waters are usually murky and you can't see your hand in front of your face.  This gave me some panic as I couldn't see what's in front of me, especially those Texas Lake Sharks.  Pool swimming is great, but it doesn't get you ready for open-water.
For open-water swims, you can usually wear a wetsuit like the studly man is above.  This gives you floatation and a sleeker body line.  For pool swims people will wear speedos, jammers (long speedos), or Tri suits.  Tri suits are shirt and shorts that you are able to swim in, ride in and run in.  They have some padding the butt area to help with the bike portion.

Here's my beauty.  She doesn't have a name yet, but good
ol' Marky Twain likes her.
For novices, like myself, you can do the bike on anything that has two wheels.  You see mountain bikes, cruisers, road bikes, tri bikes, and anything in between.  People use bikes that were free to those that cost thousands of dollars.  I started training on a Wal-mart Special last summer, but learned quickly it's easier if you use a dedicated road bike because it's lighter.  Needless to say, I stepped it up a notch with thanks to Ben Sciapco in Washington state for piecing together a great bike and sending it out to me.  I've upgraded the pedals and got cycling shoes that lock your feet into the pedals.

The run portion is just that, running.  Running is the least favorite part of mine in the Tri.  But the only equipment you need is a pair of shoes.  That's easy.  Check!

The last event in the Tri are the transitions.  These are T1 and T2.  With T1 being between the swim and bike and T2 being between the bike and run.  Athletes will train on their transitions alone to reduce the amount of time they are not racing.  This is wear a tri-suit comes in handy because you don't have to add or take away clothes, only your cycling shoes and running shoes.  Elastic laces on shoes makes it faster by not having to sit down and tie your laces.  Some will have their cycling shoes attached to the pedals, jump on after the swim and put their feet in the shoes as they race.

Pool @ the Condo. Ahhhh!
There's alot to a Tri.  The number one rule of doing a Triathlon is have fun.  "If you ain't hav'n fun, get out!"  The atmosphere with the excitement, anticipation, and competition makes it a wonderful day.  All you have to do is "Tri It!"

After the Tri, I'll lounge at the pool in Galveston for a few hours and head back home with the family.  I'll tell you all about it next week with plenty of photos!


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Where is Coast2Coast?

Where is Coast2Coast?  That is a good question.  The ride will go through 19 states.

Border Field State Park (Border Fence)
We'll start out in San Diego at Border Field State Park, where the Mexican Border meets the Pacific Ocean.  Over several days we'll head into Northern Arizona and New Mexico.  The desert section will be the most difficult as it will have the most altitude at 5,000-6,000 feet.

Skirting my the Northeastern portion of Texas and Oklahoma we'll pass through in less than a day.  I never knew it was possible to get through Texas in less than a day.  Usually if you enter the state you are required to travel through for two days.  I received a Congressional Exemption for the pass-through.

Going Northeast through Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and onto into Chicago.  I hoping for good media coverage in Chicago with it being a large city.  I've never been there before and am looking forward to riding the L after being in the saddle for several weeks.

From Chicago we'll head due East to Pennsylvania while passing through Indiana and Ohio.  Pennsylvania is the highlight for me during this section.  The history in the state is amazing with the Civil and Revolutionary Wars being fought throughout this area.  On the way back from Maine we will be stopping in Gettysburg.  I want to stare down from Little Round Top and across where Picket's Last Charge took place.  I can only imagine the physical and emotional magnitude of the place.
View from Little Round Top to Devil's Den
Next is one night in New Jersey, followed by entering New York via a ferry.  Is this cheating?  Well, no!  I'll be sitting on my bike the whole time. Does that count?  I want to see the bay from the water as I enter the city.  Being able to see Lady Liberty, the skyline sans WTC, and Ellis Island will be amazing.  We'll stay a few days in NYC.  I want to pay respects at the WTC Memorial and be a tourist.  New York is where I hope to hand a check over the the American Heart Association on national television.  This is what we are working towards.

After New York, the trip gets quiet as we don't hit anymore large cities.  We skirt the coast in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and into Maine.  Lubec is a small town on the border with Canada and will end the cycling portion of the trip there.  After Lubec, we will turn on our heels and drive on back to Fort Worth and take a rest before heading back to work.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Who is Coast 2 Coast?

Liddy with the Baby Cheese!
The ride from Cali to Maine is essential a solo supported ride. Supported means the wife, Liddy, will be close by in the RV if I need something. I might need a milkshake, a cold Gatorade, a back massage, someone to put chamois cream put on me, on just someone to yell at me to pick up the pace. She very good at "motivating" me.  Just so you know I will get hit for even suggesting she'll be my butler on the ride... Ouch!  Liddy is a great support for my "ideas," and just rolls her eyes when I come home injured.  It's love, I think.

The downside of this being a solo ride, is being by myself for extended periods of time.  Most people can't tolerate me for short periods of time.  I'm not sure if I can handle myself on the open road.  I'll start telling myself jokes, which I will in turn laugh at.  I may mentally write a romance novel in my head.  I hope I don't start crying from it.  Or I may just get distracted ... SQUIRREL!

I have an open invitation for people  to come out and ride with me for a day, a week or a state or two. The more riders the merrier, the faster the miles fly by and the more mischief I usually get into. Let it be known mischief will happen.

My kids, Anna Victoria and Zach, are a huge part of Coast 2 Coast. Without them tagging along we wouldn't be scheduling time to sight see and making sure there is something fun to do. It's going to get tiring for two kids in an RV for 60 days, but we'll made due.
Kid Stew!

Everyday while out on the ride I will be riding for individual people who have or did have cardiovascular disease.  If you know someone who does let me know an I will ride for them.


1) As many of you saw on Facebook I wrecked at Trinity Trails, I found one of the cardinal safety rules of cycling: WEAR YOUR GLOVES, DUMB BUTT!  This is what happens if you don't:
Needless to say, I have gloves be shipped out.

2) Thanks to the help of Megan Brooks, PR Extrodinarie, I did interviews with The Star-Telegram and the Cleburne Times-Review.  The message of heart health is getting out and persistence is the key.

3) Ouch!  The ground is hard at Trinity Trails.

Friday, March 23, 2012

When is Coast 2 Coast for Heart Health?

Over the past two weeks you found out about the what and why of Coast 2 Coast.

This week is the big question of "WHEN is Coast 2 Coast?"

I'll be setting off from San Ysidro, California in June of 2013 on the 2nd or the 9th.  You may be asking yourself, "Why is God's green earth is Rob taking of in the heat of the Summer?"  The answer is my daughter is starting kindergarten this year and for the first time in our lives have to work around her school schedule.

This is a good time to introduce my crew chiefs.
This is Anna Victoria (we call her by both names).  She is the Crew Chief and resident elephant trainer as you can see.

Here is Zach drinking a large protein shake at Texas Health Burleson Gym.  He is a crew chief in training.  He mainly eats all our food and sleeps.  I wish I had his gig.

Liddy, my wife, is the Chief Financial Officer.   You don't want to cross her, just look at her sweatshirt.
Back to the WHEN:

The trip will take anywhere between 50-60 days depending on weather, injuries, mechanical problems, interviews/lectures, and rest days.  Interviews/lectures and rest days are fairly easy to schedule as we know where we want to sightsee and will know by the time we leave where we will have interviews.  We are definitely at the mercy of Mother Nature and I'm not crazy enough to be riding in a storm.

I'll be carrying extra bike parts to change out if there is any failure.  I'm expecting a dozen flats along the way.  (I say this to psych the bike out.  If I take a dozen tire tubes I'll only have to use one, where if I take one extra I'll need a dozen.  I'm smart like that.  Please don't tell the bike).

As for injuries, we won't have any, but will be taking plenty of medical supplies and meds along with us to take care of them on our own.  We'll keep a physician available by phone just in case we need some extra help.  This will be a great ride, but will not be pain free.  I wish it was, but that would be just fooling myself.  I'll have to push through and get her done.  Resting along the way will be key to keep my joints and muscles in top shape.  This is a marathon, not a sprint.  I'm going for distance, not so much for time.

The ultimate goal would to have national media coverage of Coast 2 Coast in NYC as I pass through.  A opportunity like this would serve as a platform to educate people on a large scale than I can by myself on my bike.  Handing over a check to the American Heart Association in NYC on TV would be a great accomplishment.  I'm shooting for the Today Show, David Letterman, The View or anyone else that will help.

I will have a time constraint due to my work.  I'll be taking two months off of work, and will have to be back at the end that time.  With driving time back to Fort Worth, I'll need to finish in 58 days.  This is doable.

This next week, I'll start blogging twice a week.  One post will start giving health tips, interviews with people (medical types, people with heart problems, families), and photo tours, with the second continuing to talk about the logistics and training of the ride.

Thank you to all who read my posts.  I appreciate your support.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why Coast 2 Coast?

What does this picture show?

Other than a cute 1970's family it shows heart defects, heart disease and death.  I bet that caught you off guard.

Yes, you're right.  That little chubby baby is me.  I was born with hole in between two chambers of my heart.  It wasn't caused by anything outright, I was just born with it.  After birth I spent several months in the ICU at Navy Balboa Hospital in San Diego until my heart was cleared to go home.  Annual check-ups with the cardiologist continued until age 8 when the hole healed on its own.

The lady there is my mom.  She died at the age of 29, four years after this picture was taken.  Yep, it was related to her heart.  A blockage in the circulation to her lungs and a subsequent stroke caused her death.  Morbid obesity, smoking and birth control pills led her to have a blot clot in her legs dislodge and block oxygen to her lungs and heart.  I found her having trouble breathing in bed and called my grandparents, who called 911.  She died several days later.

And my dad passed away at 42 from a heart attack.  He was overweight, ate poorly, and didn't take care of himself.  He too was born with a heart defect that was operated on when he was a boy.

Cardiovascular issues and poor health habits decimated my family at a young age.  This is why I am a cardiovascular nurse, so I can make a difference in the lives of those who have heart disease.  But I find working with patients in the hospital is too late.  They are already set in their ways and mostly will not change.  We do damage control to what has already been done.

I am tired of sitting on the sidelines and decided to make a difference in the lives of younger people so they can learn early on the causes, risk factors, treatments and healthy choices and help them live longer healthier lives.

This is the mission of the Coast 2 Coast for Heart Health endeavor is.  Carrying the message of lifestyle change to better oneself and their family.  Had my parents know differently in their 20's and 30's they may have been around now.  It is my hope to plant the seed of change so people will think about what can help them in the long run.

This is WHY I am taking on the United States next year.  Together we CAN and WILL make a difference.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What is Coast 2 Coast?

What is Coast2Coast for Heart Health? It is a personal challenge and adventure that I am embarking upon.

The Adventure: It kicks off next summer, 2013, when I leave the Pacific Ocean at the Southwestern corner of the United States and cycle to Lubec, Maine in the extreme Northeast of the United States.  It'll take 50 days, with an average of 95 miles per day.  I'll be going though the deserts of the Southwest, the Great Plains, the Great Lakes, through the Appalachians and on to New York and into the Northeast.  IT WILL BE AN ADVENTURE.

The Challege: To raise money for heart health education and research through the American Heart Association and to raise awareness of heart health to the public through the media before, during and after the adventure.  I'm planning on using local radio and tv, with the hopes of capturing national attention along the way.

How can you help?:
1) Like the Facebook page for Coast2Coast @
2) Tell people about this Blog so they can learn more about heart health and Coast2Coast
3) Donate to the American Heart Association, where 100% of your donation goes directly to them @
4) Follow me on Twitter @