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Five guys, big trip

From left: Brian Wongkanalasai, Chris Ahn, Casey Fittz, Andrew Zhao, and Andy Petram

Brian Wongkanalasai age 24 of Chicago, Chris Ahn also 24 of Mayland, Casey Fittz 21 of Maryland, Andrew Zhao 24 of Minnesota, and Andy Petran 24 also of Minnesota left Cresent City California nearly eight weeks ago with their sights set on arriving in Assateague, Virgina in nine and a half weeks.

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They call themselves Wolfspank, thanks to Ahn, and you can follow them on their adventure on their blog site at www.wolfspank.wordpress.com. When asked why they were riding, they said “Just to get to meet and know people.”

The young men have been friends for years, some of them since high school. Fittz, the youngest of the bunch is also the mastermind behind the trip. He started talking about taking doing a cross country trip about a year and a half ago but he and Zhaor only got serious about six months ago.

A lot of planning went into this trip. “We went to Adventure Cycling Association to help plan our route” said Zhoa. Adventure Cycling’s mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle but they help with trip planning as well.

“And before we left, I took a class in wildness and emergency first aid,” Petran added.

The group assembled the gear and had everything shipped to California. The first part of the ride through the mountains was tough. The group took turns pulling two small single-wheeled trailers, or B.O.B. trailers. These trailers attach to the back of their bike and carry camping and travel gear. After they made it through the mountains they sent some of the gear and the dreaded trailers back home with family members.

The group has met many helpful people along the way. People who open their homes to the group to stay and eat. One person gave Zhoa a place to stay while he nursed his wounds after a bad bike wreck. “While coming down the mountain my front tire blew and I just went over. I had a pretty bad road rash that laid me up for about eight days. I was lucky that nothing broke.” Zhoa described.

Fittz quickly added, “Yeah, but I did have to spend a few days in a nearby bike shop basically rebuilding his bike.”

After the accident, Petram stayed behind with Zhoa to help attend his friend’s wounds. When Zhoa was well enough to care for himself, Petram took a bus to catch up with his buddies. Zhoa followed six days later. With the gang all together again they continued on covering an average of 90 miles of road a day.

“While we were traveling through the mountains, we only averaged about 65 miles a day but now we can do around 90.” Zhoa said. “It was a little rough going through Missuri with the record high temps they were having. We were getting up some mornings at like 3:00 in the morning to going so we could avoid the heat.”

Some of the members of Wolfspank took a hiatus from life, quitting their jobs for the adventure at the other end of the trip. The others were just ready for a little adventure and plan on returning to the same position when the ride is over. For now, they are in no particular hurry for the adventure to be over and they enjoy keeping track of the number of passersby that honk and wave as they go along their journey.