This summer Alexa ’11 will bike 3,000 miles from the country roads of Savannah, Georgia to the teeming streets of Los Angeles.
Alexa will embark on the “American Challenge,” a rigorous, six-week bike tour by Overland Adventures, biking across the country with twelve other high school students. They will bike 85 to 100 miles per day, camp at state parks, and sleep in churches and community centers.
Alexa is following a pre-trip training workout, biking a few days a week for increasing hours as the trip gets closer. She is building endurance throughout the training because she doesn’t “want to be the person who doesn’t have the momentum to make it up a hill.”
“I’m scared we’ll be biking, and I’ll just stop,” Alexa said.
With no access to an iPod, cell phone, or other electronics on the trip, Alexa will fully be able to embrace the open road and the small towns of America.
Overland’s Alec Norton, who is planning this year’s route and has led the trip in past years, said that as opposed to an enclosed car, experiencing the middle of the country from a bike allows one to truly engage with her environment.
Besides the physical challenges of surmounting the Rockies, drastic weather changes, and temperature fluctuations, the program emphasizes group living. Bikers must carry all of their camping gear and clothes with them on their bikes. To keep energized, they will stop to have six meals each day, the first being at 5:30 am.
“It’s truly a mental and physical challenge,” Norton said.
Alexa said that she wanted to find the longest, most challenging summer trip available. She said she is more excited than nervous about the trip, because she is athletic and highly motivated.
Alexa’s teacher for two years, History and Social Sciences instructor John Langdon, said that
if Alexa has the same determination on a bike as she shows in class, then she will rise to the occasion.
“She works harder than any girl in the class,” Langdon said. “She realizes that in order to learn the material, she has to do the work.”
Langdon also said the trip demonstrates Alexa’s natural curiosity. He said that in class, Alexa goes beyond the scope of the course by taking risks in the classroom with unique questions and observations.
Norton hopes the bikers will learn to tackle challenges as a team.
“I hope they come away with a new sense of self-confidence and pride in what they completed,” Norton said. “It’s a life experience.”
Article by Rosie and Colleen.