Florida high school tennis coach embarks on 3,700-mile bike ride across America

Kevin Record has lost his mind.

That’s what he said Friday morning, a few hours before he followed tradition and dipped the rear tire of Trek 520 bicycle in the Atlantic Ocean near Yorktown, Virginia.

“It is my adventure and honestly, I will see how I feel as I go,” Record said.

“I like to go all the way but I am also a realist. I will take it a day at a time. I have been nervous for a month.”

Record, the 56-year-old tennis coach at Leon High (Tallahassee, Fla.), embarked Friday afternoon on his solo 3,700-mile bicycle ride across America.

Record’s really not sure why he wants to spend the next 60 to 72 days on a bicycle, pedaling along roads through Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois (only briefly), Kansas (seemingly forever at 500 miles), Colorado, Utah, Nevada and finally California.

All Record knows is that when he biked from St. Augustine, Florida, to Monticello (a flat tire ended the three-day journey short of Tallahassee) over the Christmas holidays, Record said he felt very much alive.

Pass the bucket list.

“Coach Record has a new obsession and a new goal,” he said and laughed.

“I am an all-in kind of guy. That’s my personality. I may have lost my mind, but we will see how it goes.”

For the record, Record felt the timing was right to bicycle across America.

As a teacher he’s off for the summer, taking a break from his summer camps for the first time in 20 years. He’s healthy despite undergoing neck surgery 14 months ago. He doesn’t have any major debt. And he’s now proficient at changing flat bicycle tires.

It’s a family affair, too, in a way.

Oldest son Kyle is an investment banker in San Francisco, where Record plans to end his trip at his son’s front door. And second son Josh, who played tennis at College of Charleston, graduated earlier this month and is ready to take the next step in his life.

The old man is ready, too.

Record averaged 200 miles per week on his bicycle in preparation for his ride that will follow the TransAmerica Trail until he catches the Western Express in Colorado.

At night, Record plans to either camp out under the stars, stay at low-budget hotesl or at a welcoming firehouses along the way.

Record won’t have far to look for motivation.

He also wants to raise money to “Beat Cancer” in honor of five people, including his mother, who have beaten or are in battles with cancer. That list of his heroes includes Tallahassee’ Marshall Fisher, 14, whom Record designated as his head coach for his bike ride.

Record had a “Team Marshall” T-shirt made and he plans to wear each night on his journey. Marshall lost his right leg to cancer two years ago, but that didn’t stop him and Record from a bike ride last Sunday.

“He told me if things get tough, think of him or call,” Record said.

In the same breath, determined Record says he’s got this, despite the anxiety that accompanied him on his drive from Tallahassee to Virginia Friday morning.

Record hasn’t lost his mind.

Best yet, it will be cool to see what he discovers along his adventure, which started around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon.

Readers can follow Record’s journey on his daily blog.


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