Here’s the article from the Verdigre Eagle weekly newspaper that they wrote about our trip across America:
Traveling across America, cyclists stop for a kolach
Cyclists Ed Brown, left, Chris Ditmore and Matt Winnerton stopped for a kolach experience of their own.
In 1994, John Richard (Dick) Swinnerton was bicycling across the country, his route bringing him through Verdigre. When he wrote a book of his travels, “They passed this way,” he mentioned Verdigre and the kolaches he enjoyed at the Verdigre Bakery, then located where Vintage Rays now stands. Dick’s son, Matt, was reminded of his father’s “kolach experience” when he and his friend, Chris Ditmore, decided to cross “cycle across the country” off their bucket lists. On June 21, 2012, Matt Swinnerton and Chris Ditmore, both of Danville, California, dipped their wheels in the Pacific Ocean, under the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, to start their sixty-day journey across the U.S. When completed, they will have ridden 3,934 miles, climbing 112,269 feet during their cycling adventure across America. Their end point is Boston on Aug 19, where the trip will be concluded by dipping their front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean. Enroute to Yankton, S.D. from O’Neill on Thursday morning, July 19, Matt, Chris and fellow cyclist Ed Brown of Omaha took a kolach break at the Verdigre Bakery, inspired by the experiences of Matt’s father. The riders enjoyed their berry kolaches, the decided favorite amongst the group. Ed had joined the two in Custer, S.D., and planned to ride with Matt and Chris as far as Iowa where they will all participate in the 40th Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI XL), a bike-riding event started by the Des Moines Register newspaper. What does it take to cycle across the country? The first ingredient required is the desire. Matt and Chris have been dreaming of taking the ride for at least the last 15 years. Cycling had been a hobby of theirs and they knew they wanted to do something “big.”The youngest children they have are all in college now, so this summer seemed like as good a time as any. Another requirement is the ability. They’ve been training for quite some time to be ready for the physical demands of the trip. The help of friends and family sure doesn’t hurt either, when planning and accomplishing a large undertaking such as this. Besides having supportive spouses, Chris’ inlaws, Bob and Marilyn Kuckuck, have been trailing the two in a SAG (support and gear) vehicle. The SAG vehicle carries all the bulky gear, such as jugs of water, changes of clothes, spare bicycle parts and so forth. Just carrying enough water to get them through the 100+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing lately would make the trip improbable if it had to be carried by the riders. Some of the gear which they do carry with them includes essentials, such as water bottles, but also a GPS locator. If they found themselves in a region where their cellphones wouldn’t work, and had an emergency, a button on the GPS unit would make a 911 “call” for them, providing their location to emergency dispatchers. The locator also allows for their progress to be tracked by their loved ones, including the SAG vehicle if they were separated. The link to their GPS location is on their blog, chrisandmattcycleacrossamerica.wordpress.com, for anyone interested in their progress. You will also find on their blog several photos and stories of the places they visit and the people they see while on their journey. One of their stops included Yellowstone National Park, where both thoroughly enjoyed themselves and took several pictures. Chris updates the blog nightly when they stop at hotels to rest for the night. Now over 1,900 miles into their epic ride, we’re glad they chose to stop for kolaches at the “Kolach Capital of the World,” and to talk with us about their experiences. We wish them the best of luck in their incredible endeavor.