San Diego cyclist finishes cross-country journey - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego cyclist finishes cross-country journey

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CORONADO (CBS8) -  The roar of the waves crashing on the shore were no match for the crowd of people who gathered to welcome Russell York back home, ending a cross-country journey on a Coronado beach Monday.

The trip was more than three-thousand miles. It started in front of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C., and ended by dipping his tires into the Pacific Ocean.

"I hadn't biked a day in my life before I started this trip," explained York after walking his bike back onto shore.

For never riding a bike he did pretty good for himself. He admits he didn't have a plan for the 40 day adventure, that he points out on his blog is actually longer than Lance Armstrong's journey in the Tour De France.

Russell's dad Scott acted as navigator at times, trying to get his son on the safest roads possible.

"After the first couple days in the rain," he says. "With the flats, going over these ridges in the Appalachians I figured he just needed all the help he can get."

Other times those decisions were made by mother nature.

"There were a lot of tornadoes between me and Colorado," says Russell. "So I decided to go south and instead I got hit by a car in Arkansas."

A little banged up, but he pressed on.  But it wasn't the type of update his mom Mary wanted to hear. After all it's a trip she didn't want him go on in the first place.

"We actually prayed for weeks that he'd break a leg or something would happen and he wouldn't go on the trip," she said. 

But in reading his blog along the journey, she says she realized we can all be a little too cynical at times.

"We've fallen in love with this country again, total strangers have come alongside him every single day to rescue him to provide food and shelter."

One  couple fixed his bike up for him, others gave him food or a break on a hotel. Though most days he slept feet from the roadway near snakes, spiders and other critters.

And it's all to raise awareness for disabled orphans in the Ukraine.

"[Orphans] Are treated horribly and most of them die before they turn 8 years old from neglect," explains Russell. He's teamed up with Young Life Ministry to draw attention on the cause and provide these children a better life.

In his brief meetings across America his cause touched many, he made the front page of newspapers, and interviewed for radio stations.

The last two weeks of his journey was pretty rough. He faced 25 mile per hour winds and triple digit temperatures in the desert. As a result he only rode at night from sundown to sun up.

Now that he's made it back home to San Diego, he says God pushed him through it all.

This summer he plans to go to the Ukraine to work with the orphans at a special camp.

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