On June 11, 2012 I leave for a 12 day, cross-country adventure following and documenting Hopecam.org founder and cyclist, Len Forkas’ as he competes in Race Across America (RAAM), considered by many to be the toughest bicycle race in the world. My job will be to provide video documentation of the day-to-day race events, which will include daily reports fed to Hopecam’s social media outlets (Hopecam, Facebook, and Tumblr). I’ll be among a crew of 13 people supporting Forkas as he pedals a minimum of 250 miles a day. He is one of 40 solo riders in the race this year. Participants have 12 days to cross from Oceanside, California to Annapolis Maryland and 30% of the rookie riders will not make it to the finish line. The winner typically crosses in 8 days, but I have a hard time saying that any of these racers is a loser after completing this challenge.
Many racers ride for a cause, but not all do. Forkas rides for Hopecam.org the charity he started over ten years ago after his son was diagnosed with leukemia. Hopecam supports children homebound because of treatments for life threatening illnesses by providing computers and a link to their school friends. This is an aspect of serious illness in adolescent children often overlooked by schools, doctors and family, but not by the kids being treated. Hopecam provides a much needed social connection for these kids who can become totally isolated from their friends during treatment.
The race begins on June 13 in Oceanside, California and ends June 25 in Annapolis, Maryland. Personally, I have always wanted to drive across country and photograph the landscape and people along the way. I became connected with Hopecam.org this past winter when I produced a promotional video for the organization.
I’m looking forward to working with my fellow crew members, and watching the events as they unfold. I anticipate that I will get to know these people very well. This is a 24/7 event as soon as we cross the starting line, so there will surely be highs and lows for Forkas as well as the crew supporting him. Weather, lack of sleep, cramped and unpredictable conditions will be working on the athletes and crew members alike. We will operate as a caravan with three vehicles–2 vans and 1 RV–only stopping when Len stops, and sleeping in shifts.
There are a number of ways that people may follow our progress. Through the Hopecam.org site viewers will be able to pinpoint our progress in real time. Every ten minutes our position will be fed via a GPS system and pinpointed on a map. Those interested may also send Len and the crew messages of support and encouragement. I will be documenting the daily events of Len and the crew and then uploading a daily video report which will land on the Hopecam’s YouTube Channel as well as its Facebook, Blog and Tumblr sites.
I think it’s fair to say that there probably isn’t anyone who will read this that hasn’t been effected by cancer or a serious illness through family or friends. It’s made all the worse when that patient is a child. Hopecam hopes to raise money, awareness and broaden its reach through Race for Hope. Please follow along and share our adventure with your friends and family. If you feel inclined please donate to Hopecam, but just as important share the idea of Hopecam with as many people as you can, so when and if someone in your circle becomes ill, Hopecam will come to mind.
I look forward to sharing my experience with you, too. Right now my biggest concern is making the trip out to California and not forgetting any vital piece of equipment. I’m also prepping some video graphics for intros and outros, so I can plug them in as I edit my segments. Uploading my video reports will also be a challenge along the way as wireless connections and data rates can be very spotty in some of the remote sections of this course. Lot’s to think about. Would love to hear your input and advice. See my personal blog on the event here and on pawpromedia.tumblr.com