Lintott will ride nearly 4,000 miles across from Seattle to New York City for Team Red, White and BlueHave you ever had an idea sit in the back your mind and the longer it sits the larger it grows?
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Have you ever had an idea sit in the back your mind and the longer it sits the larger it grows?
Alex Lintott, who is 31 and lives in Chicago, had one of those ideas and will soon be embarking on a nearly 4,000-mile solo cycling ride from Seattle to New York City starting in the middle of July. His journey will take him through Dickinson.
“I just graduated from school and with the summer coming up, I had a couple months off before I start my job,” Lintott said. “I wanted a way to give back. I figured if I did something like this and did it solo, I’d get the most publicity and most wow factor in raising money for this organization.”
The organization that Lintott is riding for is Team Red, White and Blue. Team RWB is a non-profit organization that works with wounded veterans to help them reintegrate successfully back into civilian life.
The organization struck an important chord to Lintott, who has had friends and family members return from the military.
“I’ve sort of seen first-hand that it’s a difficult transition to make coming out of the military and going into civilian life,” Lintott said. “This organization does a lot of work and does help to bridge that gap, especially when you are a veteran.
“It’s really one of those things where one day they are in the military. This is their life and they are serving their country. Then all of a sudden something happens and they are back home, where they are from originally, but now they’re no longer with their unit, they’re no longer with everybody who they were with and now they’re dealing with injuries that they are having. I saw that as an issue.”
The first reaction when Alex told his family and friends about his idea was the typical reactions that anyone would get that when the ride is nearly 4,000 miles.
“The initial reaction from most people was honestly, ‘Well, why are you doing this? You are insane,’” Lintott said with a laugh. “My wife was a little bit concerned about it too, but people have seen that I’m serious about this stuff and training a lot for it. I’ve gotten a tremendous amount of support from people.”
One of Alex’s biggest supporters has been his wife, Angie. She has been there every step of the way.
“I think the minute someone says that he can’t do it, he wants to prove them wrong,” Angie said. “I think that’s really inspiring.”
Though the mileage and riding alone (for the most part) will catch everyone’s attention, Angie said there’s more to this ride than just a defying task.
“I hope other people don’t see this just as a crazy challenge,” Angie said. “I hope other people think that they can go out for a bike ride or something. When you push yourself, you are redefining what heart is.”
Alex initially told his idea to some friends, while sitting around a bar having a beer. He knew he wanted to make a difference for an organization.
“I know other people have done cross-country cycling trips, but this really wasn’t something that I had really planned to do until probably about four or five months ago,” Alex said. “I knew I wanted to raise money for this organization, I tried to think of the craziest thing that I could do to get the word out and raise money for this organization.”
When Alex presented the idea to Team RWB, they couldn’t have been more supportive in his efforts. Team RWB supplied him with gear, logos, a little flag for the bike and wristbands that I can handout along the way.
“It’s this amazing organization that started in 2010, so they haven’t been around for a long time,” Alex said. “They’ve gotten a lot of traction and built a lot of chapters throughout the U.S.”
Once the group and idea was put together, then came the hard part — training. Alex plans to ride at least 100 miles a day and has the hope he can travel 150 miles a day.
“With school and everything going on, it was basically impossible for me to train as much as I would be riding when I go on this trip, so there is still kind of this unknown,” Alex said. “I’m planning to 100 to 115 miles a day. That’s pretty hard to squeeze in every day. During the weekdays, I’ll do 30 miles a day and then on the weekends I’ll do two 100 miles rides, one on each day.
Spark of enthusiasm
After Alex showed people he was serious about the training and riding across the United States, his initial email to friends bounced around the Internet.
“One of the examples is when I launched fundraising a month and a half ago, I sent an email to a couple hundred people,” Alex said. “I had about 3,000 hits on my blog in like a week, which is insane. People were passing it around and it was something that caught a lot of people’s attention.”
The blog that Alex can be found at is http://c2cteam
rwb.blogspot.com/ and he plans on updating his blog and the Facebook page C2C for Team RWB whenever possible during the ride.
“I’m going to update every day that I’m on the ride, maybe every other day as long as I can find Wi-Fi,” Alex said.
For Angie, she’s had the same question asked to her over and over, “Are you nervous? Are you worried? Are you scared?” Her answer is simple, not at all.
“I don’t worry about that boy at all,” Angie said. “He can do anything he sets his mind to. I know that if he gets into any sort of situation, he’ll be able to figure his way out of it.”
Motivation when exhausted
Riding two or three times a day can be exhausting, but Angie is there to pick him up.
Alex said having a support system from his wife has driven him more and more as each day passes.
“She’s been incredibly important,” he said. “She’s my training partner and she’ll ride with every day. She’s really the one that’s keeping me on task and making sure I have the appropriate foods to eat.”
The diet that Alex is experiencing is the basic fruits, vegetables, grains and lean meat, but he said the most important at this point is staying continuously hydrated.
He knows that diet won’t be the same once he hits the road.
“On ride it’s going to be a little bit different, because I may not be around cities, so it’s going to be a challenge to get as many calories as I need every day,” he said. “I will try to eat as healthy as possible, but I realize I’ll have to eat whatever I can find.”
Alex’s friends, Phil Jung, will bike with him from Chicago to Michigan. Alex said he can’t let him down and not show up.
“I think he will be incredibly motivational,” Alex said. “It’s one of those things where if I’m going along and I know someone is waiting for me in Chicago to meet up with me, there’s no stopping. I have to be there.”
The biggest moment for Alex may be a couple miles outside of New York City. A Team RWB chapter from upper New York will finish out the ride with him.
“They’ll have Team Red, White and Blue members and veterans run with me into the city,” he said.
The trek across the US
Alex will start in Seattle and travel across the country to New York City. The reason why he’s starting in Seattle and working his way across the northern part of the United States is because of cooler temperatures.
On his map, he’s marked off potential camping sites. Alex has packed a small tent that’s big enough to fit a sleeping bag in.
“The route that I have planned out has campgrounds marked on it, so my goal is to make above 100 miles each day,” he said. “Whenever I run out of sunlight, I’ll look at the map and find the closest campground that I can either a state park or a KOA.”
Alex has spoken with people that have cycled across the United States. He hopes to soak in their knowledge and use it to his advantage.
“I’ve talked to about four or five folks that have actually done cross-country cycling,” he said. “I haven’t found anyone that’s done one solo. One of things they were saying was to build a rest day into the trip. I’m hoping every five days to take a rest day, where I can just let my body recover.”
Being that Alex and Angie are living in Chicago, he doesn’t get to experience the mountainous terrain of the northern plains. However, Alex is confident.
“Chicago is pretty flat and there are no hills or no mountains,” he said. “It will definitely be a challenge, when I come out up to it. I know it will be harder than anything I’ve done before.”