Day 31: One Month In (Can You Believe It?!)

By: Emily O’Connell

They say times flies when you’re having fun – and, well, we have been doing just that for a full month now! Today, we said goodbye to our cyclists across the pond on both Europe Coast to Coast trips – they boarded a series of water taxis, buses and airplanes to head home while we were sleeping here in the US last night. Although we said goodbye to those guys, we have ten great trips enjoying big days on bikes or with backpacks. Let’s see what they did today…

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC2):

After an awesome day of rafting yesterday, this crew packed up camp and cruised back to Brunswick this morning. They spent the afternoon volunteering with the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, working in their community garden. This garden helps to provide locally grown, fresh food to those without access to food in the area. They are also getting pumped up for sea kayaking tomorrow!NEMC

Community service goes better with ice cream!

NEMC

NEMC2

Coast to Quebec A (CQ2A):

These guys were up and at ’em this morning in order to get started on their first day of riding. They are starting their trek north from Freeport with Canada in their sights! Once at camp in Wiscasset they had some time to play some games, enjoy the beautiful Maine weather, and do a little swimming!cqa

Coast to Quebec B (CQ2B):

To get their biking muscles warmed up, Kate and Zack’s crew rode around the beautiful Freeport area. They rode through farm lands, past a wooded state park and then into downtown Freeport! There the group got to enjoy some free time to explore and shop, and then headed back to camp.

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Montana Service Adventure (MSA2):

These guys are back on their bikes after service work yesterday. Annika and Christian’s gang continued to cruise through Montana with their longest-yet ride of 41 miles today. It was a wet, chilly day in Montana – but the gang was staying warm and making great progress towards camp when we heard from Annika this afternoon. Unfortunately, no picture by press time today. Tomorrow – pictures – and a bright, sunny forecast!

Northwest Explorer (NWX2):

After three days in the backcountry, Will and Becca’s crew have emerged safe and sound! They spent the morning hiking back to civilization in order to shower, restock on supplies and hit the road to their next campsite. You’ll see in the pictures that they enjoyed some classic Pacific Northwest drizzle over the course of their hike. Tonight they are preparing for a fun day of rafting tomorrow!

NWX2 NWX2 NWX2

Pacific Coast A (PC2A):

They have entered California! About halfway into their ride today, Abby and West’s group crossed the state line from Oregon into California.  That means they are that much closer to San Francisco.  Tomorrow these cyclists are hopping off their bikes, grabbing surfboards, and hitting the beach for some surfing!pca

Pacific Coast B (PC2B):

Mike and Sherry’s group’s 50 mile ride today included some truly spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.  Early in the ride the group climbed Cape Sebastian, a 500 foot elevation gain, making the rest of the day seem like a breeze.  These days our coastal riders are looking like truly professional bikers!pc2b

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PC2B Album Cover!

Alps Explorer A (AX2A):

Make Ready Day for these guys!  Noah and Emma’s crew of hikers is using today to do some laundry, resupply and rest up before they head out on the Tour de Mont Blanc tomorrow.  Tomorrow they will set out on their 12 day journey on the TMB that will take them through some incredible parts of the Alps and across 3 different countries!axa

Working out the kinks and gettin’ ready for the TMB!

Alps Explorer B (AX2B):

These explorers spent their second hiking the Tour de Mont Blanc todaythey got to learn about the local culture from their native French mountain guide.  Tonight they get a treat and will be staying inside at their first refuge, a French camping hostel, where they get to enjoy warmth and a 4-course dinner!  One thing this fabulous location does not have is wifi, therefore we did not get any pictures of these guys today.

Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

After an incredible 28 days, these guys are heading home.  Last night they enjoyed a final dinner together filled with laughs and a few tears as they say goodbye.  We are so impressed with you guys!

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ecca ecca

Now that is the way to do a final dinner!

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

Our other European riders have also headed home.  They got on their planes with lots of memories of beautiful views, yummy European pastries and great friends.  Congrats on a great trip guys!

America Coast to Coast (ACC):

Happy 1 month anniversary to our cross-country riders! These guys have been making their way to San Diego for 31 days and have made incredible progress.  Today Mia and Chris’ crew continued their expedition through Arizona, riding an impressive 86 miles.  On their ride today they had some 5 mile climbs and 5 mile decent to keep their riding interesting.  We hear though, that the views are incredible!

ACCLooking good, feeling good….

Day 30: Support Sunday

By: Izzy Janzen

With many trips finishing up yesterday, we have a much shorter blog for you this afternoon. That being said, our Coast to Quebec rock stars start their trips today, and we couldn’t be more excited for the adventures they have ahead! In other news, we have deemed today Support Sunday in order to honor some of our hardest worker bees; those who live behind the scenes , quietly buzzing away to make their respective trips run smoothly. To put it simply, we couldn’t do it without them. Our support staffers are truly the unsung heroes of the Apogee summer; they get down and dirty with the nitty gritty of the trips to make the magic happen. Below, see our wondrous support staff members highlighted: Emily, Doig, Nate, and Aaron. Thanks, Support folks, for all that you do! You’re the glue that holds this bad boy together and the grease that makes the gears spin (both literally and metaphorically).

East Coast Support (ES):

ES stands both for East Coast Support and Emily Sturtevant – this bundle of sunshine has been a participant on a whopping 5 Apogee trips of her own, and we’re so excited that she agreed to join us in the office this summer! Emily works tirelessly to organize all manner of paperwork; write the blog; and, well, support Apogee trips both near and far. Thanks Emily, we can’t imagine the summer without you!

ES

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC2):

Today NEMC went white-water rafting in The Forks, ME! Pom told us that it was an epic day and that the group was absolutely amazing. They enjoyed a relaxing afternoon before a big and delicious dinner to cap it all off. It sounds like another wonderful day to be on NEMC!

nemc2

Coast to Quebec (CQ2A & CQ2B):

Today is the big day for both of our new CQ groups: the day the adventure begins! Spirits are high and energy is flowing. Everyone did some meeting, greeting, and breaking the ice today. We’re so excited for the wonderful journey these groups will have over the next 15 days, creating great friendships as they bike coastal and inland Maine on their way to Quebec City.

Montana Service Adventure (MSA2):

Our Montana folks spent the morning in Helena doing some service work in community gardens before spending the afternoon resting their legs and enjoying the day off. It sounds like the group is getting down to some good hard work and enjoying every minute of it!

MSA2

Northwest Explorer (NWX2):

Today finds our Northwest Explorers fully in the Olympic back country, so we won’t be getting any pictures from them. However, if you close your eyes and picture majestic snowy peaks looming in the distance, perfect purple flowers blowing in the breeze at your feet, and maybe even a mountain goat looking fondly at you from the next hillside over, then you’ll have successfully put yourself in their shoes (or hiking boots, as it were).

Pacific Coast A (PC2A):

Well, you’ve done it again PCAwesome. The pictures below of the group giving superhuman-support-machine Alex Doig the glory he deserves are priceless! Doig you are a rock, thank you for all of your hard work! (Geo-pun intended – for those of you who don’t know, Doig studies Geoscience in college.) We’ve also included a picture of the colorful PCA family in front of the blue and sparkling ocean they rode along to get to last night’s campsite.

PCA PCA PCA

Pacific Coast B (PC2B):

After crushing the Seven Devils yesterday, this group cycled another 40 miles today and enjoyed some spectacular scenery as they went. This ride could be described as “quintessential Oregon” – including some stellar views of the Pacific, as well as a variety of other great viewpoints.

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Doig’s “spirit fungus” is mushrooms- here is the gang holding his favorite food!

PCB

Chillin’ on the beach after crushing the Seven Devils yesterday

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Stopped to pick up some fresh and local strawberries and blueberries!

Alps Explorer A (AX2A):

AXA spent the day trekking atop the epic Aletsch glacier. This glacier, the largest in the Alps, is a UNESCO heritage site, which means it is recognized and protected as something of special physical or cultural significance. The pictures below speak for themselves; this group had a stunning day.

AXA

Casual backdrop…

AXA

AXA

Alps Explorer B (AX2B):

Here are some cozy pictures of AXB gearing up for the Tour du Mont Blanc. This quaint pink church the group is posing in front of is an iconic feature of the adorable town of Trient, where their TMB adventure begins. Remember this church in 12 days! Let the magic commence…

AXB AXB

Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

ECCA spent today exploring Venice and enjoying every last minute they could together. Tomorrow morning the gang will head their separate ways. We can’t believe it! It’s been such a journey. Unfortunately they weren’t able to get any pictures to us from their Venetian exploration, but we heard that it’s been a great way to cap off such a fantastic trip. Please see below for a tribute to our wonderful support star Nate, who has worked some very long days to help make ECC run smoothyl.

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

Below you will see ECCB with the heart and soul of Europe, Nate Repass, and his trusty steed of a gear van. Nate has been very busy supporting ECCA and ECCB this summer, and we can’t even begin to express how much he’s done. He appears to have a limitless knowledge about bike maintenance and he’s done it all in order to make things run smoothly for our champion ECCers. Thanks Nate! Also below, see some beautiful photos of ECCB getting down to some straight Venice chillin’! Today was the final day for this group to enjoy each other’s company amidst the beauty of Venice before their departures tomorrow.

ECCB

While taken in the evening and therefore not the most clear of pictures, above is Nate, his majestic steed of a gear van, and the crew from ECCB!

ECCB

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eccb

America Coast to Coast (ACC):

Our Coast to Coasters are lucky enough to have Aaron Lapkin out there with them. Aaron puts in long days and big miles to facilitate smooth sailing for these champions. Thank you Aaron, you are the man! Today ACC covered 70 miles of ground, bidding a fond farewell to Pie Town and heading on towards Springerville, AZ. That’s right, the gang crossed into Arizona today! Today marks the 30th day of their epic adventure together and yet another state line to cross off their list. Below are some pictures of their border crossing, as well as of their adventures in Pie Town yesterday.

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Note support staff superstar, Aaron being held proudly!

ACC

Our ACCers have become regulars over the years!

ACC

Chris reported that the number of pies consumed was near seven (7)…

ACC ACC

 

 

Day 29: O Sole Mio!

By: Izzy Janzen

Today we had a big batch of fond farewells and one set of huge milestones in the Apogee world. Our Vermonsters, Capers, College Essay Writers, Downeasters, Caribbeaners, and California mountaineers all parted ways this morning. We can’t believe those thirteen days have gone by so fast. While the goodbyes are always sad, the memories are always sweet. And on the milestone front, our European cyclists put their final miles behind them, crossed the Venetian lagoon and are dreaming in the ancient city of Venice as we go to press! Our biggest congrats from across the globe to ECC! And let’s not forget all the other trips shifting into the higher gears of their adventures together. The ebbs and flows over the course of an Apogee summer are truly amazing. Let’s see what the festivities, whether for farewells or just for fun, looked like today…

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE2):

After a wonderful week together, this crew has explored and enjoyed Maine, sea kayaked, hiked, made some great friendships and completed two college essays. Wowza. Puts our week here in the office to shame! Below is most of the group, after their goodbyes to airport-bound friends, exploring Freeport and the gigantic and incredible Bean Boot before their departures.

MCCE2

Cape Cod & the Islands (CI2):

After a glorious day exploring Boston yesterday, the group enjoyed one last breakfast together this morning before saying goodbye. Below you will see a slew of photos- some of the gents enjoying Boston, their delectable final dinner, and some stimulating and serious chess matches as well as the awesome CI ladies at their trip end, some in their new Apogee gear! It was a wonderful trip; the group explored the marvels of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod, learning to surf, ride, and operate as a strong team as they went.

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And you thought they were just humble bike riders!

ci2 CI2

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC2):

NEMC had a day chock-a-block full of fun, games and transit. They hit the road towards their white-water rafting spot for tomorrow, stopping along the way to do some swimming, swinging, and much more. Tonight the gang is enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving-themed dinner. Look at all these happy faces!

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nemc 2

nemc2

Vermont to Montreal A (VM2A):

Below is Jessi and Jonathan’s happy crew enjoying a celebratory dinner in Montreal at Frite Alors last night! We can’t believe how the trip has flown by; they’ve enjoyed some magical moments traveling all the way through Vermont and into Montreal together. This morning the group bid adieu to Montreal as they crossed back over the border. They had happy reunions with their families and hit the road, fond memories in tow.

VM2A

vm2aAu revoir! 

Vermont to Montreal B (VM2B):

This adorable, matching group of Vermonsters posed for their final blog picture this morning, proudly sporting their own new Apogee t-shirts. After crossing back over the border early this morning while celebrating all they have accomplished together – they have said their goodbyes, reunited with loved ones, and headed their separate ways. It was a fantastic trip full of big rides, green valleys, and great friends.

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The gang enjoying their final, celebratory dinner!

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Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX2):

Below are our DEXsters enjoying their final dinner out in Portland last night. They had a phenomenal evening with full bellies, lots of sweet treats, and dance jamsin the van, listening to all of their favorite tunes together. This morning they set off to Freeport for their farewells. John and Erinn reported that the crew was phenomenal and they were sad to see them go after an awesome 13 days of exploring the wonders of Maine.

dex2

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA2):

13 days has gone by already? We can’t believe it! CSA has spent their time together getting down and dirty, contributing hard work and making positive impacts in Puerto Rico through a variety of awesome organizations. They had a blast while doing it and also saw some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We couldn’t catch one last shot of the crew – but we know the goodbyes were bittersweet, as they had a blast and will soon be reunited with their loved ones at home.

California Mountains and Coast (CMC2):

After 13 magical days of adventuring through California coastline, back country, and alpine trails it was a nostalgic but happy wrap for this bunch this morning. We couldn’t get any goodbye pictures from the group today but we know that the trip was tons of fun and that the group will be missing each other lots in the days to come.

Montana Service Adventure (MSA2):

Once again this lovely group absolutely dominated their mileage for the day, getting into camp with lightning speed. It looks like they are having oodles of fun together, enjoying some rainbows and beautiful views. It wasn’t an easy ride today, but they did it and are feeling good. They’ll get to give their legs a rest tomorrow, as they’ll spend the day doing community service in Helena.

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This group is the *gold* at the end of the rainbow!

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Learning how to use Annika’s selfie stick- nice work!

Northwest Explorer (NWX2):

Here are some photos from the gang’s beautiful hike yesterday and one aerial shot of the group getting ready to head into the backcountry this morning. Will and Becca’s dream team will spend the next few nights hiking along some of the beautiful ridges of Olympic National Park. Oftentimes our groups are lucky enough to see mountain goats and marmots during this section, not to mention the majestic snowy peaks and flourishing wildflowers. With their entry into the backcountry, we’re not likely to get pictures from these guys until Monday.

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Pacific Coast A (PC2A):

Abby and West’s gang had an amazing and speedy ride. Below is the group soaking up the vista from Face Rock View Point after an early start out of camp. The group is getting closer and closer as the days go on, getting really comfortable on their bikes as well as with each other.

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PcA

Some adorable group banners to keep everyone motivated

Pacific Coast B (PC2B):

Today PCB took on the Seven Devils road, it’s a hilly ride but they cruuuushed it! They got an early start and ate a big breakfast (below) to get them motivated and ready for the days adventures. The group has a lovely beach to enjoy at their campsite this evening. From what we hear spirits are high and bonding is plentiful.

pcb

Alps Explorer A (AX2A):

After some storms rolled through Zermatt last night, the AXA team was thrilled to enjoy 70 gorgeous degree and flawless, sunny weather in Fiesch this afternoon. After their train ride from Zermatt, they chowed down on a hearty dinner, and followed up with a rousing game of Nuke’em on the volleyball court!

axaVolleyball and the Alps – together at last!

axa

Alps Explorer B (AX2B):

Below are some images from yesterday’s magnificent day hike as well some adorable pictures of the AXB Tea Party. Look at that fresh fruit and chocolate! Today AXB took a morning train from Zermatt and enjoyed a prep day in Martigny. Tomorrow they set off on their biggest adventure yet: The Tour Du Mont Blanc. We know they’re ready for the excitement to come.


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Photobombed by the Matterhorn – that’s pretty sweet….
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Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

THEY DID IT! Today ECCA departed the mountains and cruised toward the Mediterranean. The crew flew about 76 miles and made it smoothly to Venice. Ah, Venice! The marshy Venetian lagoon is known for it’s architecture, canals, artwork and much more. The group  has made it to their final destination after weeks of excitement and hard riding. Tonight and tomorrow they will just enjoy, relax, and explore the beauty of Venice together, now that they are bonded as an Apogee family. We can’t believe what they’ve endured and experienced. It’s been an outstanding and unbelievable ride that took them through seven countries, four languages and two seas to get them to the amazing place and to become the amazing group that they are now.

ECCA
ecca

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

Today ECCB had a doozy of a day on their bikes- they crushed a whopping 156 km (read 97 miles…..!) to take them gloriously into Venice. The breeze of the Mediterranean ushered them along today, out of the mountains and into the beautiful canal-paved city. Welcome to Venice, ECCB! Similar to ECCA, this little Apogee family will be able to just explore and enjoy the delicacies Venice has to offer all day tomorrow before getting ready to say their farewells and head home on Monday. As we’ve said, but can’t help but say again, it’s been a truly magical adventure of seven countries, four languages and two seas that have gotten this squad to where they are now. We can’t even believe how much they’ve accomplished together. It was a long day – so they weren’t able to send us a picture by press-time – we’ll have plenty tomorrow!

America Coast to Coast (ACC):

Today our coast to coast cruisers flew 85 miles to Pie Town, NM. That’s right- Pie Town! We have some wonderful supporters of ACC in Pie Town and our lucky cyclists were greeted with a welcome party and a big potluck to celebrate their great success of making it this far. We, at Apogee, feel so lucky to have people out there taking such great care of our ACCers, We also hear, believe it or not, that Pie Town has some seriously unbelievable pie to offer. We feel confident that ACC is enjoying their evening.

ACC

 

Day 28: Thanks a Leap, Chad!

By: Emily O’Connell & Sturtevant

Today, here at Apogee, we celebrate the second annual “Thanks a Leap, Chad” Day. Our leaders have a longstanding tradition of sending in Chad’s favorite (read: least favorite) type of picture – the jumping picture. We’ve combined the jumping picture with “Thanks a Heap, Chad” – our favorite way to express gratitude to one of our beloved Directors, Chad Olcott. As such, we bring you seventeen gleeful groups, nine blissful bikers, six happy hikers, a silly service squad and witty writing wordsmiths who are almost all jumping for joy!

Maine Coast College Essay (MCCE2):

These guys are ecstatic to have completed some great college essays! Our brilliant writers spent the day putting the final touches on their essays and then sharing them with the group. Tonight they are heading to the big city (aka Portland, ME) for a final dinner together. Seven days fly by when you’re writing great essays and making great friends!

MCCE Essay

You can’t jump when you are this cerebral…

MCCE

But you can jump when you are dressed up this nicely!

Cape Cod and the Islands (CI2):

Our Cape kids sure love Boston! After two weeks of riding, four ferry rides and many beaches, Kevin and Alyssa’s group is off of their bikes and touring the city of Boston. They checked out some of the classic sights such as going to Fenway Park, home of the Red Apogee Shirts Sox.

CI2 Fenway CI2 Jump CI2

New England Mountains and Coast (NEMC2):

After conquering Mt. Washington yesterday, Isa and Aaron’s hikers were incredibly proud! Today, these guys were ready to master any hike they faced. They decided to hike up to Thompson Falls earlier today and have a talent show in the works for this evening.

NEMC Jumpin

NEMC2-Falls

NEMC2 - jumping

Hands in the air: a safe, fun, and worthwhile alternative to jumping when on uneven ground

Vermont to Montreal A (VM2A):

They guys adore Montreal! After completing their northern trek from Vermont, Jonathan and Jessi’s group got to become tourists today. They spent the day wandering the beautiful streets of the city and get to enjoy a great final dinner tonight.

VM2A  Hostel VM2A Arm in Arm

Vermont to Montreal B (VM2B):

We are sure these guys are jumping for joy in Canada – unfortunately they couldn’t find wifi to get us pictures in time. Freddy and Anna’s crew also gets to spend today enjoying some luxuries of Montreal. They explored some of the winding streets and will be getting a taste of authentic French-Canadian cuisine tonight at the dinner out on the town.

Maine’s Downeast Explorer (DEX2):

They crushed Katahdin yesterday and are proud of it! Today John and Erinn’s gang made their way to their final campsite of the trip. In celebration of all of their accomplishments, these guys are heading to Portland for an ocean-side dinner.DEX2 jump

Caribbean Service Adventure (CSA2):

Saludos, San Juan! This morning, our amigos in the Caribbean traveled back to the main island and settled into their hostel. They spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the beautiful cobblestoned streest of old San Juan. Our guys are taking time this afternoon to appreciate the city’s 500 years of history (and work in a sweet jumping picture) before they head out to enjoy some authentic Puerto Rican food for dinner tonight.CSA

CSA

California Mountains and Coast (CMC2):

This morning, Matt and Midge’s group helped the Rangers at Half Moon Bay State Beach for community service. Then they hit the road and headed into San Francisco to explore the city. Tonight they will enjoy a dinner out and then reminisce about their incredible 13 days together.  We know that in their hearts they are leaping!

cmc cmc CMC water

Watch out for the edge!

Montana Service Adventure (MSA2):

Another great day of riding for our Montana group as they enjoyed a ride through what can only be called quintessential high plains. The group got into camp before lunch, giving them plenty of time to walk around town and even get a chance to go swimming!MSA

MSA2-biking

MSA2

Northwest Explorer (NWX2):

This crew is getting ready for their first backpacking trip – this one in Olympic National Park. Today they prepped for their three-day excursion in the morning, giving them the afternoon to enjoy a local day hike – stretching and strengthening their legs for the tomorrow.

NWX Rainbow Jump

10 additional points for arranging the gang in rainbow formation!

Pacific Coast A (PC2A):

One day, twenty miles, seven hills. Abby, West, and their fearless riders conquered one of the Pacific Coast’s most infamous rides, aptly named the Seven Devils. These superstars crushed their ride, getting into camp before lunch – which is definitely something to jump about!

PC2A - Jumping

Pacific Coast B (PC2B):

Another beautiful day of riding for our West Coasters! Today the group will spend the ride continuing to get used to their bikes and weight as they enjoy cycling through Oregon. Tonight’s campsite is by the ocean, meaning ample opportunity to dip their toes in the mighty Pacific!

PC Jumping

Alps Explorer A (AX2A):

Today the Alps group enjoyed their last day hike in Zermatt, climbing up to Sunnega which offered beautiful views of the Matterhorn – so naturally they jumped for joy. Tomorrow they will move to Fiesch where they will continue to prepare themselves for the Tour de Mont Blanc.

AXA Jumping

AXA Lake

AXA - Handstands

We think this says something, but we’re just not sure what….

Alps Explorer B (AX2B):

Tim and Ally’s crew spent today doing another day hike near the Matterhorn as they prepare for their time on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB). They will leave Zermatt tomorrow, spending the day preparing themselves their journey and getting excited for two weeks of hiking along one of the most beautiful trails in the world.

AXB - Jumping

Europe Coast to Coast A (ECCA):

Happy second to last day of riding, ECC! This group is getting close to Venice and everyone is very excited! Jeannie, Kirk, and their bikers are in for an easier day of riding today, which is definitely something to jump for (even on the inside).

ECCA

We didn’t jump, but doggonit, we have bendy straws – and that’s pretty awesome, too.

Europe Coast to Coast B (ECCB):

After resterday (rest and yesterday, get it??), the group is back in the saddles for their last two days of riding, and man are they some big ones!  Today they will face some hills in Trento, but nothing that these rock stars can’t handle after their 25 days of riding together. The promise of a lake at camp will keep spirits up as they bike today!

ECCB ECCB Group ECCB Planking

ECC! I ECC it!

America Coast to Coast (ACC):

As it is another well deserved rest day for ACC, they did not do any jumping. After doing all of their errands, the group was able to sit back, relax and enjoy a day off the bikes. Tomorrow they will head to Pie Town (yes that is the town’s real name) where they will, of course, enjoy a piece of pie.ACC rest

From all of us – Thanks a leap, Chad (and Kevin, too)!