A ‘Big Ride’ for a big cause

Bethy DeLong

Kent State student to participate in 48-day, 3,300-mile bike ride

Katie Spotz, first-year nutrition major, will be biking cross-country from June 26 through Aug. 12. She and 50 others are participating in the Big Ride sponsored by the American Lung Association. She will travel over 83 miles a day from Seattle to Washing

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

Many students may spend their summer working, traveling or just relaxing. But for one student, a plan of riding her bike across the country is at the top of her priorities.

Katie Spotz, first-year nutrition major, will ride her bike from Seattle to Washington this summer in the Big Ride, a 3,300-mile bike ride, to raise money for the American Lung Association.

“I think this will be a great learning experience,” Spotz said. “It will be eye-opening for sure.”

The Big Ride will last 48 days and contain of about 45 participants.

Spotz said she came across the Big Ride program by searching the Internet. As soon as she saw the goal of the Big Ride, she said she was ready to sign up because it was close to her heart.

Her grandmothers, Mary Mullee and Joy Spotz, both had lung diseases.

“My grandma Mullee gave up smoking the day I was born,” Spotz said. “I feel lucky that I got to spend so many years with her.”

Spotz said it was hard to watch her grandmothers struggle from lung cancer. She hopes this bike ride will prevent others from the suffering.

“I am doing this bike ride in their memory,” Spotz said.

Spotz said she also enjoys the physical challenge. She finished her first 26-mile marathon last October.

“After that, it opened my mind that I can do a lot of these things,” Spotz said. “I just knew this was something I wanted to do.”

Spotz has been busy training for the Big Ride.

“I basically bike a lot on the weekends,” Spotz said. “During the week I do different things, like swim and weight train.”

While biking across the country, the participants will bike an average of 83 miles a day – a challenge Spotz said there is a simple answer for.

“If your heart is in it, you can do it,” Spotz said. “The battle is believing in yourself.”

Spotz needs to raise $5,500 for the Big Ride, and she is $650 away from her goal. Xerox, Dedicated Logistics and her family and friends have been her been her biggest sponsors, she said.

“Down the road I want to show that I am not a talented athlete,” Spotz said. “I’m just somebody who tries hard. You need determination, and you can’t let the bumps in the road stop you.”

The money Spotz raises through the Big Ride will go directly to the American Lung Association to be used in the research for a cure for diseases such asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and lung cancer.

Donations directed toward Spotz’s journey, starting June 26, go to http://alaw.org/support_alaw/big_ride/across_america/riders_2006/KatieSpotz.

Contact room and board reporter Bethy DeLong at [email protected].