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Students Cycling Across USA For Water

A dedicated group of college students are about to start a journey to cycle across the USA from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds to bring clean water to those who don't have it.

The riders will be completing around 130-160kms per day and documenting their journey via Instagram, Facebook & Twitter. The ride is now in its fifth year and involves 2 groups of riders who will each complete a different route. The team will be fully "Quad Locked"up for the ride so they can keep track on the route and we will be following them closely! We were very fortunate to get some further insight into the ride from one of the female riders, Paige before she headed off.

It's great to see such a young, passionate group of College students participating in this ride. Can you tell us a bit about the team?

We are all currently students at Azusa Pacific University, a small school in Southern California. Ride for Water is composed of 14 women and men who are insanely passionate about the water crisis. Everyone brings something different to the team! We have divided the group into two smaller teams for the ride: a Women’s Team and Men’s Team. There are two drivers and five cyclists on each team. As the cyclists are riding 80-100 miles every day, our drivers will be finding places for us to stay, contacting local businesses, and offering any support that we need along the way. The ride would not be able to happen without them!

As students, our schedules can be quite hectic! All of us are at various points in our education some are juniors, some are graduating in May, we have a variety of majors, are involved in various leadership positions, and working all over the place. Due to that, a lot of sacrifice is made by everyone in order to make training and planning the trip a priority. A lot of hard work goes in to preparation, but it is all so worth it. It is inspiring to be on a team of individuals who are willing to sacrifice time and energy to make this ride happen.

Have you done much training for this ride and what is involved in your training routine?

Training has been so much fun! Our group is composed of people with various levels of experience on the bike, some who have been riding for years and years and some who have more recently picked up the sport. We try to go on large group rides together a couple times a week, hitting up early morning rides on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s and our favourite, Saturday Spins. We hold it of great importance to ride as a cohesive team. When we are not doing that, some are cross-training by lifting weights in the gym or getting in some long runs.

We are extremely fortunate to have access to some great cycling routes, with a bike path that goes 40 miles out to the beach (perfect for logging miles) and some killer routes in the foothills behind the city of Azusa (perfect for climbing up)! My favourite part of training, despite the physical appeal, is getting to bond as a team and riding with past Ride for Water members and local cyclists. Long hours on the saddle bond people, and we are so fortunate to be able to have met some amazing people in the area!

How did you plan out the journey and appropriate routes to take?

The day-to-day route planning is something that we are in the process of finalising right now. We are researching different bike paths that are along our route, as well as consulting state bike maps that show details about highways (how busy they are, what the shoulder width is, etc.). Google Maps is also an extremely helpful tool to be able to use to create an interactive day-to-day map with!

For the past four years, the men’s teams have taken a northern route across the US, starting from Anacortes, WA and finishing in NYC. Last year was the first ever Women’s Team and they blazed their own route, starting from Florence, OR and finishing in NYC. What I am so excited for is to be able to finish together in New York City as a cohesive team. We will be riding in to Liberty Park in July together and visiting charity: water, the non-profit we are raising money for, upon our arrival.

Women's Route:

Men's Route:

You've divided the team into a females and males and you are each riding a different route is this for any particular reason?

We have found that by riding in two separate routes better enables us to connect with more people. So practically speaking, it made the most sense to take two routes so that we can meet double the people! That being said, we didn’t want to do the entire ride separately, so we will be riding from Chicago to New York City together. That way we get best of both worlds! One of our main goals of the ride is to raise awareness of the water crisis. The ride offers a great avenue to connect with people from across the US! We recognize that the more people we meet, the better!

Women's Team:

Men's Team:

A lot of work goes into planning a ride like this. What has been the most challenging part of the process??

I think that one of the most difficult parts of planning has been having to plan for the unknown. On a long trip like this, there is a lot that will happen that cannot be planned for. An example is there can be terrible weather one day where it is unsafe for us to ride, a rider can get injured, a car can break down, etc. These things are difficult to plan for, as is common in any outdoor endeavor. With that being said, I have found the unknown and the unplanned moments to be some of the best! We have also been so fortunate to have been given great advice and guidance by past team members, making the planning process be as effective as it can be!

What fuels your training? Do you have any special food requirements that help to boost energy levels?

The best part of training is…food! As athletes, it is vital we keep our bodies healthy! Training requires a large amount of fuel, but thankfully we have been sponsored by some pretty amazing companies. Picky Bars have graciously sponsored us with some incredible bars that help fuel our rides, as well as tasting delicious! These bars help fill our bellies while fuelling us on long rides. Another important source of fuels that are offer quick pick-ups are gels. We love our Huma Gels and the fact that they are all natural make them our favorite gels! Another energy product that helps us keep going are electrolyte drinks! Our favorite on the market is the Hammer HEED Sports Drink. The mix allows us to keep at a strong pace but also stay hydrated. We could not train like we do without these products. They are truly life savers!

The problem of water scarcity is a growing one. Can you explain how it is affecting parts of the world and what you hope to accomplish by riding across the USA?

We think that charity: water puts it best. “663 million people in the world live without clean water. That’s nearly 1 in 10 people worldwide. Or, twice the population of the United States. The majority live in isolated rural areas and spend hours every day walking to collect water for their family. Not only does walking for water keep kids out of school or take up time that parents could be using to earn money, but the water often carries diseases that can make everyone sick. But access to clean water means education, income and health – especially for women and kids.”

We believe that everyone deserves access to such a basic human right. Clean water truly changes everything! Our hope for our campaign is to first, raise awareness of the water crisis and second, support charity: water in the amazing work they are doing. We could not be more stoked on the work they are doing in so many communities.

What sort of advice would you give to other teams who might want to do this ride and how can they get involved?

As of right now, Ride for Water members (past and present) are working on making Ride for Water a movement that expands beyond what has already been done! Joining a Ride for Water team as a cyclist or driver is a great way to be involved, but there are other ways to get involved as well. This movement would not be possible without the people who have shown extreme generosity through sponsorship and financial support. The Ride for Water family goes beyond just the riders and drivers! My advice for any team that is looking to join the movement is to reach out to us via our e-mail, rideforwater@gmail.com. We would love to talk with anyone interested about the movement!

For more information about this charity or if you want to help out with a donation please visit their website www.charitywater.org.

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