Picture this one: You stumble out of bed; grab a cup of coffee, throw on some biking clothes and get ready to head out for a little ride around the neighborhood.
Only thing is, your neighborhood happens to be the United States of America. At 7:30 a.m. this morning (Pacific coast time), you and 16 fellow bike riders will head out for the adventure of the summer.
These intrepid riders are off on a 3,300-mile journey that will take 48 days and wind up on the Mall in Washington, D.C. August 4.
Along the way, the riders will cross over the breathe-taking Cascade Mountains of Washington; the mountains of Idaho, bike all the way across Montana; down into Wyoming then the Badlands of North Dakota; then South Dakota and a swing through the upper Midwest of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland before ending in the Nation’s Capitol.
This ride will net the American Lung Association somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million. In the middle of the pack is Larissa Powers, a 29-year-old science teacher from Mary Institute Country Day School.
She learned about this ride from a student she was teaching a couple of years ago in a boarding school in Upper New York.
She suffered from asthma as a child, so maintaining clean air always has been one of her favorite causes. Powers, a co-coach of St. Louis’ only varsity bike team has trained seriously for this ride since early February. Over Memorial Day weekend, she went for a 100-mile practice ride.
The amount traveled each day varies. It can be as few as 42 miles (their last day in Maryland) to a 109 mile jaunt in flat-land Indiana.
Riders get the luxury of six days off to rest up, work on their bikes, catch up on their laundry and correspondence. Many of the riders are blogging their experiences for their followers back home.
At 7 a.m. this morning, the team gathered behind Emerson Hall on the campus of Seattle Pacific University (now abandoned during the summer) for a brief ceremony, then the launch of a 3,300-mile ride. The crowd was small, a handful of well-wishers, officials from the American Lung Association Pacific Northwest chapter, and a member or two from the media.
The main thing that lies ahead is a lot of road for 48 days and the adventure of a lifetime. Powers will blog her experiences from end to end.
She has personally raised in excess of $7,000 with a goal of $9,000 ($3 per mile). Here is where you can still help sponsor her ride.