Fun fact: It is 3,440 miles from the Washington Monument in Washington DC to the San Francisco Bay in California.
About 5 and a half hours by plane and 1.5 days by car, seniors Nathan Smith, Alex Cole, Lukas Iriola, and Devin Jerrard will see every mile of this cross-country journey from their bicycles, in 41 days.
On the morning of May 12–with freshly printed St. Mary’s diplomas in hand–Smith, Cole, Iriola, and Jerrard will start their journey from the Washington Monument.
Though the quartet has planned their trip over 41 days, Smith mentioned that that is ambitious. According to him, that’s on average 85 miles per day.
“Traditionally, you touch your back tire to of body of water and your front tire in another body of water [on a cross-country trip],” said Smith. “So we’ll get the tidal basin [in DC] and the bay [in San Francisco].”
The route of their trek will take them through Western Maryland, up through Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Northern Nevada, and right through to California, according to Smith. “That is a ‘Race Across America’ route,” he said. “It’s a route with a lot of bike shops on it.” Smith also currently manages the SMCM Bike Shop on campus.
In addition to being an adventure of a lifetime, the four cyclists are currently raising money to support Alzheimer’s research. Each of the seniors will be aiming to raise at least $1,700 for the trip: $1,200 for their personal expenses and $500 plus to donate to Alzheimer’s.
After Smith noted that he and other riders had been affected by the disease, he also stated that numbers of those directly affected by Alzheimer’s are expected to increase three fold. “In our lifetimes, mental health problems will be major concerns. The organization we are donating to specifically does care-oriented research.”
According to Smith, Cole and Iriola came to him with the idea for the trip. After much consideration, Smith agreed and started planning. Smith mentioned that they have all gained support from friends and family, and even strangers via their social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get a better time in my life to do this,” said Smith. “The consequences of taking a risk like this at this point in my life aren’t very severe.”
“I’m really excited for people that we’re gonna meet, and the interesting food,” Smith added. “I’m excited for waking up in some amazing place, and I think there’s gonna be a lot of times when all of us go “what in the world are we doing?’ but it will be part of the fun,” he said.
Smith also mentioned that the SMCM Bookstore is sponsoring their trip, and has donated four St. Mary’s biking jerseys.
The four participants have a website for their trip in order to gain support via donations and advertise their trip: http://www.aridetoremember.net/.
In addition to accepting donations, the four riders are hosting an event at the Green Door on April 23. The SGA Programs Board will be hosting a Coffeehouse event in accordance with the Office of Service and Social Change on April 25 in the Grind to support the trip as well. All proceeds will go towards the trip.