After the last day of spring football practice, most coaches and players take it easy. Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens took a plane from Hanover, N.H., to San Diego and started a three-week scenic tour across America back to Hanover on his bicycle.
After seeing the toll cancer had taken on his family and friends, the 50-year-old coach set out with a goal of promoting cancer awareness.
Along the trip "what I asked people was, 'Has anyone close to you or in your family been touched by cancer?'" Teevens said. "And it was amazing to me, every single person I asked, whether it was at a gas station, or a shopping mall, grocery store . they'd say yes, my mother, my aunt, my sister. It was really just overwhelming."
And if any player ever complained about being pushed to the limit by Teevens before last summer, they certainly haven't since.
Each day Teevens woke up at seven, and then rode straight until sundown, averaging 160 miles per day.
Last summer wasn't the first time Teevens successfully completed a long-distance bike trip; his first came a few years ago on a family trip to Michigan.
"I thought, 'It's not that far, I'll meet you there,' " Teevens recalled. "So I just hopped on a bike and it took me six or seven days" to get to Michigan.
After experiences like this, Teevens' impulse to take the cross-country trip came as no surprise to family and friends, who are used to his antics.
"He's always been this way," said long-time friend and former Dartmouh teammate Dave Shula. "He's always jumping up and doing crazy things, so I wasn't very surprised."
When Teevens asked Shula if he would accompany him on the first leg of the trip, Shula, whose mother passed away from breast cancer in 1991, heartily agreed.
"It was just a very nice way to see the country," Shula said of the trip. "If you're driving in a car or riding on a motorcycle you're just not going to see it the same way. When you're riding through at 10-30 miles per hour, you get to see the scenery and meet the people."
Shula parted ways with Teevens after they completed the first third of the trip, and before Teevens nearly got hit by a house in Kansas when a truck hauling the house on a flatbed swerved within six inches of hitting him.
After surviving the scare, Teevens became a country-road connoisseur, and even came to recognize the differences between the types of trucks that carry pigs from those that haul cows.
On his way through a small town in rural Kansas, Teevens came across a man who "looked down on his luck."
The man, intrigued by the grime and sweat-streaked Teevens, asked what he was biking for. When Teevens explained he was biking to raise funds for cancer, the man fished a $20 bill out of his jeans pocket for the cause.
"You could tell he didn't have any money," Teevens said. "But just the fact that the guy would give basically his last buck kind of blew my mind."
Three thousand miles and countless Skippy peanut-butter sandwiches later, Teevens pedaled safely into Hanover.
Don't count on him staying there long. He's already planning his next adventure.Comments powered by Disqus
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