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Breaking the “cycle” of poverty – one mile at a time.

In just a week and a half, Craig Blasingame and Sue Steven will go for a little spin – literally. On March 9, the pair will embark on the adventure of a lifetime, cycling across America – from coast to coast – all to support Haiti. Not only is their tour de ‘Merica an incredible way to see the country, but they’re using the ride as a platform to raise funds for Hope for Haiti Foundation. We caught up with them before they channel their inner Lance to learn more about their trip, their connection with HFHF and how they hope to use the bike ride to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of Haitians.

How did you find out about Hope for Haiti Foundation and what has your involvement been with the organization?
Sue worked at the same company as Jean Elade Eloi (HFHF founder), and they became friends. Jean invited Sue to join him on a medical mission, and Sue’s husband Craig didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so he joined as well. We went on the trip in January 2007, and Craig made the first GPS survey of water sources near Zorange. After spending time in Haiti and seeing how little people had to eat, upon our return we were inspired to join Weight Watchers and be less gluttonous ourselves. We each lost 40 pounds and have kept it off.

So you decided you wanted to get more involved with HFHF. What gave you the idea to bike across America as a way to give back?
The goal to ride across America on our bikes was Sue’s dream. She had bicycled to work for 30 years and always wanted to do a longer trip. Our friends asked us if we were riding for a charity, and the idea to use it as a way to raise funds for Hope for Haiti Foundation came out of that. We selected HFHF because it is a charity whose mission is aligned with our own values: Christian-based, education-centered, self-supporting infrastructure and most importantly, efficient use of donated resources.

Tell us a little bit about your trip. What route are you going to take and how many days do you plan to be riding? What kind of support system do you have?
Our trip is approximately 3100 miles long from San Diego, California to San Augustine Florida. It will take 9 weeks, 44 days of riding, averaging 63 miles a day. We are in a group of 27 riders and 12 support staff. The staff set up our tents each night and cook for us, so we only have to concentrate on the ride. Given that the average age of the rider is 62 years old, that is enough!

What kind of preparation and training goes into a trip like this?
The main preparation for our trip is training to ride about six to eight hours a day. For us, we ride at least one hour a day on our bicycles to make it routine, take spin classes three days a week for our aerobic and muscle strengthening, and then take at least one or two long rides a week for developing stamina. We have been testing new equipment, gear, and clothing for a variety of weather too.

What are you most nervous about and what are you most excited about?
We are excited about being close to nature and seeing the sights of the southern U.S. along the way. We are most nervous about any injuries that might interfere with our ability to finish the mileage each day… and also lightning in the middle of Texas!

How much do you hope to raise for HFHF?
We have not set specific goals since we don’t want to limit our thinking. However we are excited about getting the message out to our own network and the people we meet along the way. Wouldn’t it be nice if people would give at least a penny a mile?

How can people support your trip and HFHF?
They can support the trip by following us on our website adventure and post encouraging comments. Our website already has some of our training rides and photos posted and will be updated weekly once the trip starts on March 9th.

What would you say to someone who wants to help HFHF (or any other cause for that matter) but isn’t sure what to do?
Don’t let your worries of not achieving your goal (like finishing the ride!) stand in the way of helping others. The need in Haiti is so great that whatever way you can help will be needed and appreciated.

3100 miles? Ain’t no thing! Be sure to keep up with Craig and Sue’s ride by checking in on their website here: http://www.spotadventures.com/trip/view/?trip_id=291320! You can also support their ride and HFHF by donating online and mentioning the C2C bike trip in the comment section, or if you get inspired, plan an adventure of your own! Our biggest thanks to Craig and Sue for partnering with HFHF and we wish them the best.