:30 AM and I was sitting on my white horse, Willy, at the corner of Taft and Glassell in Los Angeles with Anaheim Stadium off to my left. I was waiting to cross eight lanes of rush-hour traffic, the exhaust stinging my eyes. Beside me was a man with a shopping cart full of junk, a young lady in a bright yellow running suit jogging in place, and an older man in a business suit, with a brief case. I let the reins drop a bit and began to peruse my street map. I was in no hurry – I still have 3000 miles to go.

We must have made quite a sight for those Friday morning commuters. I was wearing running tights, Nike running shoes, a baseball cap and a small backpack. Willy had two of my shirts hanging off each side of the saddle, a water canteen and lead rope tied to the back of the saddle. I'd already noticed that when the light changes, these LA drivers didn’t look left and right to be sure the pedestrian lane was clear before they hit the gas peddle.

When the crossing light went green, the others were off in a flash. It took me a moment to get moving. I tried trotting to make up time, but with steel shoes on, Willy had a slippery time of it. Better to take it slow, especially with all of the noise and commotion. Even if the drivers did honk their horns, gun their engines and stare. Welcome to The Long Ride.