A call came into my cell phone at 5:09AM this morning.
Unfortunately, I was outside with the dogs and missed it.
I saw it was Frank (Fumich) that called, but left no message. I immediately thought he was calling to tell me that he was tapping out. That, although he had covered over 2,300 miles biking across America, climbed the Continental Divide, overcame desert temperatures of 120 degrees, and who the hell knows what else he did, that the last 700 miles were out of reach… It was just too much for any man, even Frank.
It didn’t help knowing that, of all the racers in his group, roughly 40% have already have already quit!
I resisted the urge to call him. I didn’t want to break his stride, interrupt a rare break, or wake him from an even rarer sleep. I texted him this instead: I see you called me earlier. I must have been outside with the dogs. Please call back when you can.He called back IMMEDIATELY! Now I was damned sure he didn’t finish. I also knew, if that were the case, he was hospitalized because that’s the only way he’d ever quit. I exhaled deeply and braced myself.
I was wrong. Thank goodness, I was so wrong!
Still, I could clearly hear the exhaustion and desperation in his voice. The first thing he said was “I’m struggling and need motivation”. It was as if he were talking in his sleep. Mumbled. Shallow.
Right then, without thinking it through, I told him that I’m heading to Clarksburg, WV and I’ll wave and shout to him as he passes by me in the morning. It seemed to help his spirits. Well, for a moment. His voice soon fell off and, honestly, I didn’t understand most of what he was saying. The best way I can describe it is like when someone is babbling in their sleep in the midst of a horrific nightmare.
I believe he was going in and out of delirium.
Folks, please believe me when I tell you, Frank needs your support! Maybe post an encouraging message on his Facebook page. Perhaps, if so inspired, visit his website that has raised close to $74,000 for Ryan already. If you’re along the route, make a sign and come out to cheer him as he labors by you.
Here is a table that estimates his location for the last 571.40 miles:
If you want to track Frank’s progress, here is a direct link to his results; on the official Race Across America page.
Everyone should be interested in what Frank plans to do after he reaches the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland… but he asked me not to tell you.
It will blow your mind, for sure!
The one thing I can say is he arranged an all-are-welcome (except the Vantrease or May families/contingents; who are expressly forbidden), informal event at Seacret’s (Ocean City, Maryland) when this is all over. Likely on the evening of June 29th. Frank graciously made his nearby apartment available to me and my daughter so, barring something unforeseen, we will be there.
If you’re on the Del-Mar-VA coast, please stop by!!!