Our journey started at the Atlantic ocean in Charleston, SC on March 7th and ended 3,500 miles and 66 days later at San Gregorio Beach, just south of San Francisco, on May 11th. Along the way we met some amazing individuals and discovered parts of America we never knew existed. We developed this project as a unique opportunity to give back to the world community by raising awareness and funds for the charity, “ Food for the Poor” while incorporating the sport we love. Along the way we spoke to church congregations, school groups and individuals as we spread “Food for the Poor’s” information and fundraising materials.
Day 66, Mile 3500, May 11, San Gregorio Beach, California
Why: We had become frustrated that between the focus and selfishness that is necessary to chase international caliber ski racing dreams, and the full time job requirements needed to pay for this pursuit, little time was left to give back to the community. The idea of skiing across the country had been in our head for a few years, beginning when our friend Abe Clark ran across the country for the charity,” Living Water”. We thought this was a wonderful idea that would allow us to incorporate the training for our sport, with reaching out and giving back.
We decided to focus our mission on raising funds and spreading awareness for the charity “ Food for the Poor”. With over 96.8% of every dollar going directly towards their projects, “ Food for the Poor” is one of the most efficient charities in the world. It is also the largest international relief non-profit agency in the U.S. The charity focuses its efforts in 17 countries in Central America and the Caribbean where it feeds over two million people a day.
Rollerski used : We used all V2 roller skis with speed reducers and breaks. The speed reducers and brakes proved to be a necessity on many of the mountain descents. The pneumatic tired 150 Aeros were the ski of choice. We probably used these 98% of the time. The pneumatic wheels rolled very well over rough roads, and with a ratcheting front wheel, we could even stride when we encountered busy roads.
Ski boots used : We used Salomon S-Lab and Carbon Pro boots. We both used our skate boots the majority of the time. They proved to be comfortable along the whole journey- no blisters to speak of. I have put over 8,000 miles on my boots now over the last 3 years and they are still holding up strong!
Poles used: We used the Salomon S-Lab carbon poles. 3,500 miles on the stiff racing poles and no elbow injuries! We attribute it to the awesome grip design.
(We have a full review of the pole/grip at http://www.skiacrossamerica.com/sponsors/
Tips : V2 ferrules
Replacement wheels: We only went through two sets of wheels on the Aeros.
Any broken equipment? : We “ broke” some equipment by accidentally driving over it with our car. The accident squashed one of the speed reducers and chipped the binding. However, after bending everything back into place they worked just fine!
Longest day : We had several 10 hour days of roller skiing. On our best day (I believe it was the day we crossed from Alabama into Mississippi) we covered 107 miles!
Shortest day : The first day, as we tried to get out of the busy Charleston area, we covered 30 miles. This was pretty discouraging, but the days only improved from there. We also had two short days where we encountered thunderstorms in Mississippi and Oklahoma. Fortunately we were close to family and friends in the area and were able to take the remainder of the day off!
Greatest vertical worst pavement : We ran into some sandy gravel roads. These were the worst, because it meant we had to take the roller skis off and run. After the ski racing season, the legs weren’t quite ready for it! We went over several Mt. Passes along the way. The toughest ones were from Cimarron, NM to Taos, NM and then skiing up from Panguitch, UT (6,500ft) towards Brian’s Head ski area 10,500ft. The combination of strong headwinds, rain/snow, and elevation made for tough days.
I believe the roughest pavement we encountered was in Mississippi. The shoulder was an inch or two wide and there was heavy logging truck traffic. We were constantly looking behind us and having to jump into the ditch to avoid the trucks.
Interesting People met : We met many wonderful people along the way, (too many to name). Many opened up their homes to us and provided us with meals. We even had people slow down their cars while we were on the road, pull out their wallets, and donate directly to the charity.
What’s next for racing : With the completion of the Journey, we are jumping right back into ski training. We have begun doing speed and threshold to get back up to speed. We plan on jumping into a few half marathons, 5k’s, and some duathlons throughout the summer and fall. After this we will jump right back into ski racing, both SuperTours and marathons.
What’s next to share/grow “Food for the Poor’s” mission: We will continue to speak at churches and schools about the trip and the charity. We will also conduct small fundraisers for the charity throughout the year as opportunities arise.
Greatest lesson: Constantly worrying about what the day/future will bring is pointless and deconstructive. A much better way of facing uncertainty is to tackle the situation at hand to the best of your ability, then pray and maintain faith that God will take care of the details. He always did for us. This also means we have to be flexible. Being too stubborn and plan oriented can make the “details” more difficult in coming together.
Best Images: We have many good photos of wonderful places along the journey. Even these, though, don’t capture the grandeur of the breathtaking scenery across the country. The ones that stick out in our mind the most are the climb up to Mesa Verde, CO in the evening, the mountains along the Burr Trail in Utah, the vast valley expanses in Nevada, the views of the mountains and Pueblo village in Taos, NM, the cathedral like mountains In Yosemite, and the national forest just outside of Yosemite.
Visit skiacrossamerica.com/ for more details and many more images or to reach Carolyn and Santi and to make your donation to Food for the Poor.