|7/24/2018 12:11:00 PM|
Veteran stops in Sisters on trans-America trek
|Brythnie Tobar, 28, |
stopped in Sisters on a bicycle trek across the U.S. photo by Craig Rullman
By Craig RullmanSan Jose, California native Brythnie Tobar, 28, is no stranger to challenges. After six years in the Navy conducting combat intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions as a radar operator on P3-Orion aircraft, she has already tackled the Pacific Crest Trail, and on Monday morning she rode off from Sisters and over the Cascades on the last leg of a 4,320 mile bike ride across the United States.
Travelling as a member of Warrior Expeditions, Brythnie's cycling feat began on May 16 in Yorktown, Virginia, where Lord Cornwallis surrendered British forces to George Washington in 1781, effectively ending the War for Independence.
Tobar has triumphed over a number of challenges on her journey, from vehicles unwilling to share the road to torrential rains and extremely high winds in Kansas.
Early in her adventure she suffered a terrible crash in Kentucky, and later was forced to deal with an exploding can of bear spray that she treated by applying a pint of ice cream to the painful burn.
"I actually bought two pints of ice cream," Tobar told The Nugget with a smile. "One to lather my legs, and one to eat."
Brythnie credits her mother and her experiences in the Navy for the grit required to complete the trip.
"My family doesn't know how to quit," Tobar said. "I just keep telling myself there is no quitting, you just have to make it to the end. And a lot of that comes from the military. There is a sense that we are all suffering together, but we are going to make it."
Prior to her trans-America bike ride Brythnie had very little cycling experience, but after another veteran dropped out she was happy to step up and take the opening.
Warrior Expeditions, founded in 2012 by Marine Corps veteran Sean Gobin as a means for qualified military veterans to unwind their experiences in the outdoors, provides all of the equipment necessary for the trip, and Tobar has "fallen in love" with the Trek 920 that has carried her across the United States and, miraculously, without a single flat tire.
Tobar is grateful to the many people who have assisted her across the country. She has bunked in churches, fire halls, private residences, city parks, and a few hotels while cycling through Appalachia, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and finally Oregon.
She has benefitted from numerous small acts of kindness, too.
"Sometimes just a small thing, like a thumbs-up from somebody passing in a car, gives you that second wind to just keep pushing."
Brythnie isn't sure how she will process all of the thoughts and emotions from such an enormous undertaking when the ride finally ends on the beach in Astoria.
"It's a lot," she said. "It may take a while, but I think being able to finish the whole ride, and still wanting to ride after, is a good start."
When she finally steps off the bike and into the cold Pacific Ocean Brythnie will return to her studies at San Jose State University, where she is pursuing a degree in nursing.
Before kitting out her bike and riding out of Sisters early Monday, Tobar offered a few quiet words of advice for the rest of us: "Do something for yourself. Challenge yourself. Don't give up."
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