I completed the TransAmerican route Aug. 2nd. It was, without a doubt, the single most spectacular time of my life!!!! I rode with a couple of folks I met online at the adventure cycling site. However, my mentality, from the very beginning, was to pack and prepare as if I were riding solo. I was fortunate to enjoy the company of my fellow riders, yet I was prepared to go it alone. Because you have a year until your ride, maybe you can find a group, but be prepaired, if necessary, to ride alone.
Before my ride, I assesed my weaknesses. My sense of direction is atrocious. I honestly believe I could get lost in a paper bag! I ordered the Adventure Cycling maps, studied them before I left, and found my way without worry. Also, I'm from Houston, so my camping experience is limited. I did research, bought a one man tent, practiced setting the thing up in my room, and all worked out well. As far as limited riding experience, well, go ride, you have a year. I considered the first ten days of the trip as training and allowing my body to adapt. I say go dream and don't be afraid to fail. As a cancer survivor, I have discovered a healthy urgency to life. Now saddle up and go grab a handful of adventure. I wish you well.