Dean and Taryn Hatcher, a father-daughter cycling duo, traveled across the country in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the needs of today’s military families. To raise funds and awareness for Hope For The Warriors®, they biked over 4,000 miles across 12 states, beginning in Blaine, Washington on September 8 and finishing in Key West, FL on November 23.
We asked Dean and Taryn to reflect on the highlights of their incredible journey and here's what they had to say.
Taryn - We knew that there wasn’t really anyway to prepare ourselves for this kind of ride, so we looked at the trip as being part of our training. I never was a biker before we decided to do this trip but we slowly just tried to work our miles up and test out our new gear with each ride.
Dean - After the purchase of our bikes our first goal was to get comfortable riding them. Then we rode different distances (10, 20, 40, 60, 80,100 miles). This really helped us both mentally and physically prepare for our trip.
What were your greatest mental and physical challenges along the route?
Taryn - Physically, I was not as strong of a rider as my dad was, so it was frustrating when my legs would get tired and he could go on forever. Mentally, it was an adjustment to wake up every morning and hop on the bike over and over.
Dean - I prefer to ride in the mountains, so the first month and a half was awesome! It was when we turned South that I was challenged with the mental part of the trip, especially the days we rode for hours into a horizon that changed very little!
What was your favorite state to travel through by bicycle?
Taryn - I have a lot of highlights throughout the trip, but Montana was one of my favorite states to pedal through.
Dean - Every state had its unique beauty, but South Dakota and Avery Island, LA would be at the top of the list.
What was your favorite memory from the trip?
Taryn - Before we started this trip I could barely run a mile without getting winded and tired. In Louisiana I had the opportunity to run a 5k. I ran it in 30:39 and felt great. I felt pretty accomplished and it was really cool to see how much I improved.
Dean - Spending time with Taryn and seeing her power through some really tough days made me so proud of her!
How did the support you received along the way encourage you?
Taryn - Visiting and seeing familiar faces along the way was so encouraging; after each visit we would feel ten times more motivated to finish our journey. I had many friends I would call and talk to while pedaling every day that made the days go by a lot quicker.
Dean - Having my wife (Lorna) and my Dad along to share each day with us was huge!
How did you and your family feel upon finishing the journey?
Taryn - Accomplished, blessed, and thankful. I wouldn’t have wanted to do this adventure with anyone else but my dad. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity we took and the memories we made.
Dean - It's hard to explain how it felt to roll into Key West. It was kind of bitter sweet. We were glad we survived the trip but sad it was over!
The team is still seeking donations to support their mission to honor service members and military families. To learn more and donate to Hope For The Warriors® on behalf of the riders, visit their fundraising page at www.hopeforthewarriors.org/SaveItForTheDay.