Katie Spotz to Race Across America in support of Blue Planet Network

Katie Spotz to Race Across America in support of Blue Planet Network

[click “Play” to hear Katie’s conversation with Susan]


(ed. note: Katie suffered a broken pelvis in a fall during a training ride last Friday, barely a week before the start of RAAM. Here’s the “indomitable spirit” part: As of today, Sunday, June 12, she is looking for a handcycle, in the hopes of starting the race and putting in at least a few miles.)

kicker: Youngest solo rower ever hopes for world record, switching gears to bike for safe drinking water

Katie Yes, this story has ties to Telluride. In fact what we’ve discovered over the years is that most roads lead to our remote mountain town, so read on. The overriding theme of Mountainfilm in Telluride, a key driver of world traffic, is “Indomitable Spirit,” which the event celebrates. Katie Spotz certainly qualifies.

Katie Spotz is the youngest person – she was 22 at the time – ever to row an entire ocean solo. Katie performed that Herculean task, a 2,817-mile journey to raise awareness and funds (more than $100,000) for the Blue Planet Network – and here’s the rub – a nonprofit that grew up in Telluride and now finances safe drinking water projects around the world. Part-time Telluride local Jin Zidell is the founder and chairman of Blue Planet Network, now assisting 1,031 projects benefiting 750,000 people through 77 partners in 24 countries.

“It’s been 1 year, 1 month and 10 days since embarking on what should have been the most challenging journey of my life; spending 70 days alone at sea with little more than two sets of oars, 300 chocolate bars and a lot of determination. Perhaps the biggest challenge in the last year has been finding a way to top the last adventure,” wrote Katie in her blog.

RAAM, Race Across America, widely known as “the world’s toughest bicycle race,” became Katie’s answer. To compete, Katie Spotz partners with her friend Sam Williams, riding together in support, once again, of Blue Planet Network. (Katie is being sponsored by Levi’s, who will be posting videos on Telluride Inside… and Out so we all can follow her progress.)

 Katie nor Sam are not professional athletes, but Sam also completed a record-breaking solo row across the Atlantic. Between them, the dynamic duo spent nearly five months alone in 20-foot boats, traveling 6,500 miles through treacherous conditions. Together they have cycled more than 10,000 miles across North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and swum the entire length of the 325-mile Allegheny River in Pennsylvania. En route, they have received worldwide acclaim.

The Race Across America is a 3,000 mile bicycle ride across the country, on the face of it, pretty tough, considering the Tour de France is under 2,300 miles long. But that’s only the half the story.

From the minute the race starts on June 18, 2011 in Oceanside, California, the clock will keep ticking, 24 hours/day, until Katie and Sam cross the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland. Relaying as they go and cycling through the night, catching a bit of sleep whenever they can, they are aiming to complete the race in under 7 days 21 hours, setting a new two-person record. During this marathon attempt, they will have to climb over 170,000 feet (almost six times the height of Mt. Everest) and cope with searing temperatures as their bodies tell them, time and time again, that this shouldn’t be possible. Thankfully, they’re pretty stubborn.

To learn more from Katie about what motivates her and how she came to choose Blue Planet Network as the beneficiary of her actions, click the “play” button and listen to her interview.


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