Crossing America for a Good Cause

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As of last week, Katie Spotz and Sam Williams were planning to cross America by bicycle. They would set out this Saturday, June 18th, and in little more than a week, traverse the continent, challenging a world record.

They had their route planned out, their sponsors on board and their charities picked–Katie and Sam’s feat of endurance would raise money for a project (led by Blue Planet Network and FARM-Africa, organizations which have worked with the two athletes before) that will bring safe drinking water to a pastoralist community in northern Kenya.

Katie and Sam hoped to earn over $50,000 for the project with their ride.

“I’ve ridden through northern Kenya, so I know exactly what that situation is like,” says Williams “they’ve been suffering through a drought for years and this will really help.”

As of last week, everything was set. And then Katie had an accident and fell off her bicycle, cracking her pelvis and putting the event in jeopardy.

This week, Katie decided that giving up was not an option. Amazingly, Katie will start the trip on Saturday with Sam as planned, using a hand bike, and will ride until until she can no longer carry on. At that point, her friends Kevin Malone and Anne Miltenburger will ride her shifts. The team’s goal remains to complete the race faster than the current mixed pairs record holders, although they will no longer be eligible for a world record. The organizers have stayed out board and the show will go on, which is good news for a certain community in northern Kenya.

Katie and the rest of the riders will be using Endomondo throughout the race. You can help Katie and Sam by following their trip with Endomondo’s progress map here.

Says Spotz, “Encouragement always helps, especially now. It will be nice to know that people are following my progress. I’m sure it will keep me going.”

I have a feeling it would take a lot to stop her from going…

Katie Spotz is an endurance athlete who has achieved more in her 24 years than many people achieve in a lifetime. In 2010, she rowed solo across the Atlantic, setting a new world record as the youngest person to row an ocean solo. The expedition raised over $100,000 for Blue Planet Network.

Prior to her ocean row, Katie’s achievements included cycling 3,300 miles from Seattle to D.C., becoming the first person to swim the 325-mile long Allegheny River and running 150 miles solo and self-supported across the Mojave and Colorado desert. She has also competed in numerous endurance events including an ultra-marathon and a half ironman triathlon.

In 2010, Katie was named as one of Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year.”

Sam Williams is an adventurer who dedicates most of his time to expeditions that most of us wouldn’t dream possible, let alone attempt.

In 2008, he rowed the Atlantic solo to raise funds for the charity FARM-Africa. Then, in 2009, he spent four months cycling from London to Kenya to visit the project for which he’d raised money.

Sam’s experience as a competitive athlete is limited to a brief stint on his university rowing team. But, as with everything he does, he is throwing himself in at the deep end by taking part in one of the toughest endurance races on earth.

To learn more about the charities go here.

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