Our Adventure Begins Tomorrow

Tomorrow, at 12:18PM PST, Team Sea to See will cross the Race Across America start line in Oceanside, CA. We ride in relay format (see my last post for details), 24/7 until we reach the finish line in Annapolis, MD. Together, we will cover 3080 miles and more than 175k feet of climbing.

Our team began arriving in Oceanside earlier this week. In addition to our 8 cyclists, we will be traveling across the country with 20 crew members and an entire film crew. We have two RVs for riders and crew, plus two follow vans that will drive behind our riders as they ride in shifts across the U.S.

Our film crew also has a van and an RV for sleeping. People have asked me how much it costs to do Race Across America. To give you an idea, our gas cost alone will be $12,000.

If you were to put together a bare bones team, with limited crew and fewer vehicles, you might be able to race for under $30 or $40k. Cost is the biggest barrier to entry for a race like this. If you want to read a breakdown of a RAAM budget, check out this link.

You may ask why we wanted to take on a challenge like this. Is it worth the time, money, and energy? Why did we even decide to assemble a team of four tandems with blind stokers? Our mission is much bigger than a cross country bike race.

Team Sea to See is committed to proving that people who are blind can succeed in any field. We believe that demonstrating this capacity to succeed is critical to empowering others in the blind community and changing society’s perceptions of the blind.

We believe that lack of exposure to and understanding of blindness plays a major role in keeping employment rates so low for the blind community. Employers aren’t intrinsically hostile to the blind; they just don’t understand how people who are blind can, through ingenuity and adaptive technology, enjoy the same success as their sighted colleagues. We’re taking on the high-profile challenge of the Race Across America to show what blind success looks like, on and off the bike.

On a personal note, anyone who knows me is aware of my passion for racing as a guide for blind and visually impaired people. But it’s not just about guiding. Many of the men and women I’ve had the pleasure of training and racing with are now some of my closest friends. I live in a bubble. And in my bubble, it’s totally normal to be surrounded by accomplished, talented, successful blind/vi people, both in their professional and personal lives. But when I tell people what we’re doing and I tell them about the careers of the men and women on our team, I’m often met with surprise. This week alone, I’ve heard three people tell me that they didn’t know that blind people can be lawyers (!!!).

We want to change people’s misconceptions about the blind/VI community. We also hope to become the first team of tandems with blind stokers to complete the hardest endurance race on the planet.

This is a photo of me and my stoker, Jack Chen. Jack is a Harvard grad, an attorney at Google, and a loving husband and father.

If you want to track our progress, you can do so on the live RAAM tracker. I’ll be posting updates along the way.

Thank you so much for following our journey!

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