An "elite group"? Really? Well, yes. Not that it makes long distance touring cyclists special or anything like that. It just means that not too many others have done the same thing. I don't really have any idea how many people ride across the U.S. in a given year. Some statistics I've read say the number is around 350-500 annually. Is that accurate? Don't know. In 2011, the estimate is that about 40 - 50 million people rode a bicycle at least once during the year. So, let's say the number of people who bicycle across country is 1000 people. 1000 out of 50,000,000 is pretty small. Elite is another way of saying small.
When I rode my bicycle back to my high school reunion in 2010, what stood out the most for me were my classmates who spoke to me about my bike trip across the country. They all asked the same question or said the same thing: "Weren't you afraid?" and "I could never do that.". As to the statement, "I could never do that.", well, they're right. Henry Ford said it best: "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." Afraid? No, I wasn't afraid. Permanently optimistic? Probably. The mindset that you work with is what will guide you. I never doubted my ability to do the ride. I also tried to be prepared. Best you can do when it comes to handling life.
So, back to the "elite" thing. The question and the comment that my classmates spoke to me explain a great deal, really. It's why I use the phrase, "elite group". Long distance bicycle tourists are those people who, despite the question or the statement, don't let those thoughts get in the way of doing what they want to do. They have great confidence in the knowledge that they can do it. Otherwise, we'd all be home on the couch.
That's all I have to say about that. A tune to get on with the day...and get out of here. The Isley Brothers doing "Shout" back in 1959. If you aren't moving while listening to this song, call a doctor.