The four teens participating in Race Across America will face the biggest challenge in their short bike-riding careers.
Ahwatukee Foothills residents Hannah Coffman, Abby Smith, Jake Crown and Meghan Crown will ride as a team with four other adults across the United States, from Oceanside, Calif. to Annapolis, Md. They will switch off over the course of the ride in what is expected to take a week to compete, but someone will be riding at all times during their trek.
“Along with the stories of how cool of an adventure it is, you also hear how dangerous it can be,” Jake Crown, 16, said.
Jake and Meghan’s father, along with Smith’s father, completed Race Across America for the first time in 2008. They raised money for their own organization, as this group is doing now, to build orphanages in Haiti.
“My dad did it twice and he always told us cool stories, and then this year I kind of jumped at the chance to do it myself,” Jake said.
The team this year, which includes their fathers, looks to raise up to $30,000 to build three new facilities in Haiti — a school classroom, eating pavilion and a water supply building — through the Global Orphan Project.
Team Stormwind begins its adventure on June 16.
“Everyone talks about how great it is to see the world at 15 miles per hour,” Smith said. “We take the back roads, which is good and bad. But we are only on the freeway for one small portion of the race.”
The teens said they have been training on-and-off for six months and more seriously over the past two. Now with school being out, the teens, who all attend Xavier or Brophy high schools, have picked up the pace even more.
“I’ll do about two hours of riding each day, but sometimes do four hours of really hard training,” Coffman said.
They will be trailed by a bus that will offer necessary amenities along with a crew that includes four Army Rangers, one of them a mechanic. Overall, each member should ride at least 100 miles of the trek.
“I’m just looking forward to riding and seeing the country up close,” Meghan Crown said.
To find out more or to donate to their cause, visit www.theglobalorphanproject.org/give and designate “Team Stormwind.” To follow their progress beginning on June 16, visit www.facebook.com/teamstormwind.
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