In Amy Snyder's Book Hell On Two Wheels she describes Race Across America as "the toughest test of endurance in the world". She goes on to compare the 3,000 miles as the equivalent of 114 marathons, or 21 Ironman triathlons. In the 3,000 miles covered from Oceanside, California to Annapolis Maryland riders will climb more than 100,000 feet. Temperatures can range from 125 in the desert to 30 degrees in the mountains. Solo racers vying for the win do so on as little as one hour of sleep per day. Sleep deprivation can cause riders to hallucinate, become highly suggestible, confused, and angry.
I read her book and in my mind I thought "this is crazy!" but my heart was totally fascinated. Last year, Kacie rode as part of an 8-person team for RAAM. I tracked her every step of the way. I wanted to know what her riding rotation was, how they rotated crew, everything. The logistics alone of traveling 3,000 miles are tough enough without factoring in having to use a specific route and people on bikes. Once Kacie returned she started planting seeds in my head, and I knew that she wanted us to tackle RAAM as a two-person team.
In one of our first of almost a million e-mail exchanges Kacie said " we need to be on the same page about our goals, and why we are going this." Here is my response:
When I am thinking about taking on something like this I ask myself the following:
Can I get off the couch and do it tomorrow?
Am I overcoming some type of fear by completing it?
Does the idea of doing it scare me?
Will the experience outweigh the sacrifices to get there?
Can I use this experience to inspire others?
I saw on your wall where one of your former students posted about how proud she was of you. If I could get one kid to believe in themselves and their abilities by riding my bike, it'd totally be worth it to me.
And thus, Power, Pedals, and Ponytails was born!
I have to first of all say that the response that we have had to peoples reactions has been amazing. We are so very blessed to have such an incredible support system in our lives. I talked with Jason at length before committing to doing this. It's a huge sacrifice on his part as well, and I would never be able to do it without his unwavering commitment to me and his support. Everyone should be as lucky as I am to have someone like him! My dad totally rocked too. He said "Wow. 3,000 miles huh? Better make sure you bring some extra tires. And sunscreen." Many people have had questions about how it works, so the basics are that Kacie and I will cover the 3,000 miles as a team, so we will split the riding. Shorter shifts during the day, longer shifts at night. Someone will be on the road riding 24 hours a day. We will have a support crew, made up of 8-10 exceptional people that will care for us the entire time. For 8-9 days we will turn our lives over to them. They will be in charge of everything, when we eat, when we sleep, when we put on a jacket, etc. Our job is very simple. We will ride.
Kacie and I decided early on that we wanted to partner with an organization for fundraising that we really believed in. Camp Twin Lakes was an easy decision for us to make. I first learned of them when I was 18, and volunteered at a Camp they hosted for kids who had lost a sibling or parent to cancer. Camp Twin Lakes puts on multiple of camps and events throughout the year for kids to give them an opportunity to know that they are not alone in their individual struggles. Children with medical conditions like kidney failure can all play together, then camp stops and they can received dialysis treatments on site. The camps regularly puts on family retreat weekends too for everything ranging from kids with Type 1 diabetes, Lifestyle and Weight Management, Victims of abuse, and wounded warriors and their families. 80% of camp costs are covered by Camp Twin Lakes, the other 20% by sponsors of the individual camps. Thinking about these kids and the challenges that they so bravely face will be motivation for us as we ride across the country. THEY are truly the inspiration!
Camp Twin Lakes wheelchair accessible treehouse! So cool!
Your support of us as we tackle this adventure would mean a lot! We will be hosting several local fundraisers to benefit Camp Twin Lakes, so please make sure that you follow our blog at www.powerpedalsandponytails.blogspot.com You can find updates on our training and progress by liking our facebook page, or following us on twitter @PowerPonytails
Please visit www.raam2013.org to donate to Camp Twin Lakes!
I am excited about Race Across America. I have a team mate that is a strong cyclist, but more importantly, a passionate person. We are ordinary women, with extraordinary dreams, and our vision is being made a reality by people like you. Thank you all in advance for all the ways you support and encourage us! Stay tuned for some really cool news!