Going cross countryPublished 11:14am Tuesday, March 26, 2013
M State – Fergus Falls Student Life Director Dave Jensen will look to do just that on May 14 as he rides his bicycle across the United States in hopes of raising money for the newly established Dream Big Scholarship.
Jensen plans to start from Huntington Beach, California and travel to Jekyll Island, Georgia — a trip that is nearly 2,500 miles long. The journey will take him from the Pacific Ocean, through dry deserts, numerous mountain ranges, the coastal plain and finally to the Atlantic Ocean.
Jensen will attempt to do the ride in 15 days. Considering a professional rider would complete the same route in around 10 days, Jensen’s schedule is particularly ambitious.
“This ride will be a chore,” Central Lakes Cycle Manager Clark Grotberg said. “It is a very aggressive attempt to do the ride in 15 days.”
Jensen, who competes in triathlons, competitive mountain biking races and other outdoor recreational challenges, first came up with the idea as a bucket list item. But after working at M State, Jensen wanted to give back to the school in a way that will benefit the students attending the college. So the idea of the Dream Big Scholarship was born.
“I saw how impactful scholarships are to the students,” Jensen said. “This was something close to my heart and I really wanted to support something bigger than myself.”
Jensen’s goal is to raise a minimum of $20,000, in hopes of creating a self-sustaining annual scholarship Jensen would like to award the scholarship to a student that is ambitious and pursues their dreams academically, as well as personally.
Working full-time at M-State does not allow for long vacations or breaks for the Student Life director, so the planning for the ride had to be well calculated. After discussions with administration and funding for the trip by Central Lakes Cycle, Jensen was ready to get the wheel spinning on the trip.
“It was something that I always wanted to do,” Jensen said. “I never thought that it would be possible, but after the administration gave me the green light I was ready to go.”
Being active in several different events throughout the year, Jensen did not need to start fresh with his training, he just needed to amp up the intensity for the trip. In order to prepare for the ride, Jensen spends 12 to 15 hours a week on a bike, mobile and stationary. Over M State’s spring break, Jensen went to Florida, where he rode bike all day for five straight days.
“I’ve done long bike rides before, going from Fergus Falls to Duluth or Minneapolis, but I have never done long riding on back-to-back days,” he said. “It was a real challenge.”
His biggest challenge, however, will be mental. Riding for over 14 hours a day for over two weeks can put a toll on anyone, but Jensen has a strong motivation to help him fight through the malaise.
“When students’ future is at stake, it keeps me pushing on.”
Jensen will not be a lone on the trip as he will be accompanied by support driver and M State student Aaron Christensen.
“Aaron is very others minded and is the right guy for the job.”
Christensen will carry most of Jensen’s supplies on the trip, except for a few fluids, food and energy gels. The support vehicle will travel ahead of Jensen and will be within an hour away in case any problems — including flat tires, unrideable weather or an injury — should occur.
“Some of the issues that he may face are trash, like broken glass, animals, both domestic and wild and vehicles,” Grotberg said. “You are taking your life in your own hands when you bike on several different roads with motorists.”
Jensen doesn’t want his feat to overshadow the true nature of the ride as he hopes that it will draw attention to the scholarship.
“There is no scholarship quite like this one,” he said. “I think that the story behind it is what will really make it special for the student that is awarded it.”
Asked whether he would do this trip again, Jensen said he would prefer to do it with another person and help them achieve the challenge. “I love to inspire people to pursue outdoor adventure and fitness and I would love to make this dream possible for others,” he said.
If you would like to contribute to the Dream Big Tour, you can contact Dave at 218-736-1537 or at the event’s website, www.dreambigtour.net