Cross-country bike ride has a lot of ups and downs

  • Wednesday, June 13, 2012

By Chris Sokoloski


As if riding a bicycle across the country is not hard enough, James Brown is also climbing mountains.

The Waccamaw High School tennis coach left Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 6 to ride back to Surfside Beach. The trip is a fundraiser for the Ashley G Foundation, which is named for Ashley Gaines, a Waccamaw High graduate who died of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2008.

"The first day was great," Brown said. "The second and third days were very difficult. The third day was 100 miles and the first 13 were a mountain."

"The mountains were tougher than I thought and higher than I thought."

Brown has been starting his daily rides around 4:30 a.m. to try and finish before temperatures hit triple digits in the afternoon.

On Saturday, Brown and his wife, Sonja, spent the night at a 350-acre ranch in Salome, Ariz. The ranch's owners, Jim and Clare Downing, heard about Brown's trip through a mutual friend and invited him to spend the night.

"We've been real fortunate," Brown said.

On Monday, Brown rode into Phoenix, where he and Sonja will also be staying with friends.

He expects the mountainous terrain to continue until he passes Alamagordo, N.M., next Monday.

Before his next scheduled rest day next Tuesday he must pass through the White Mountains, where the elevation increases 5,000 feet.

"I've got a week of up and down still left," Brown said. "It's going to be a real, real challenge for me."


To follow Brown's progress or make a donation, go to theashleygride.com. You can also read the Browns' daily blog on the site.

For more information on the foundation go to ashleygfoundation.com.


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