After getting home and sleeping well, I unpacked and cleaned everything, then laid it out in my living room to dry. It took me 3 days before I finally packed everything up and put it in storage until the next trip. I realized as I was packing up, that I had waited so long to complete the task because it meant that the trip was officially over.
After taking about a week to process my thoughts, I figured it was time to get them down in writing.
When I first started planning the trip 6 months ago, my goal was to complete all of the portions open to bicycles, which would have me finishing the trail at Oconee State Park. Then upon looking at maps some more, I realized that Oconee SP is about 12 miles from the eastern terminus of the Trans North GA MTB route. I started thinking about linking the two and that became my goal.
I had 5-7 days to complete the trip. I misjudged SC and thought that I could to 90-100 miles per day since it would be flat. While I had high hopes, I was ready to adjust plans as needed and just get as far as I could.
My goals changed on an daily and sometimes hourly basis, reassessing where I was and how much daylight I had left.
Looking back at the experience/ adventure, I am satisfied with what I did. I am the first person, that I know of, to ride from Awendaw to Spartanburg and that feels pretty cool. I hope that this develops into another ultra endurance race. I'm sure it can be done faster by those who don't need sleep like I do!
I finished this trip satisfied with my performance, my nutrition, pacing etc. In the past when I finished a trip, there was a longing, like something was missing. This time there is only peace of mind, and a full heart, knowing that I tackled something this big, and looking on down the road with the hopes of one day attempting the Great Divide MTB Route.
So what's next? On tap is TNGA and the Allegheny Mountains Loop. The Allegheny Mountains loop will probably happen first as logistics for getting home from the Western terminus of the TNGA are proving quite difficult. Its not easy to ask my wife and kid to drive almost 5 hrs to pick me up. I'll have to keep working on options.
I hope this trip inspires you to get out and explore something for yourself. And if you have any questions about the Palmetto Trail, feel free to contact me.