By Jonny Long published
Most 17-year-olds will have spent the summer fretting about the final year of their schooling starting in September, or maybe just tried to blank it all out by recording TikToks, but Adrian Mace had other ideas.
From Florida in the USA, but attending Ardingly College in Sussex, UK, Mace has spent his summer riding 3,158 miles across the United States in 45 days.
Starting out from Savannah, Georgia, the state just north of Florida, Mace spent six weeks heading west on his cross-country bike tour.
Accompanied by 13 other high school and college-aged students as part of the Overland Summers 'American Challenge', Mace rode through the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave Desert before eventually arriving in Los Angeles, California.
Along the way, Mace suffered 12 flat tires and four broken spokes, but that was far from the toughest part of the journey, he says.
The trickiest moment was riding through the Mojave Desert in high temperatures, while also having to carry the weight of his equipment on his back.
Riding across America was something Mace had been thinking about doing since he was 15 years old, eventually deciding to go for it this year.
In the months leading up to it, he spent 10 hours a week training for the ride. The roads near his boarding school are busy and narrow, so he instead opted to train on a stationary bike in his school's gym.
After arriving home in Florida for the summer and before the trip, he spent eight days riding on local roads before the journey across his homeland.
More impressive is that Mace has managed to raise nearly $2,500 for Smile Train, the world's largest cleft charity that empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive care to children globally.
"My family and I have been regular contributors over the past 17 years and feel that Smile Train deserves as much support as it can get," Mace wrote on his fundraising page.
"Due to the rather common nature of the cleft birth condition, we believe that it is important to be grateful for our luck in health and help those who are less fortunate. I ask that you help me reach my goal of $1 donated for every mile I bike. That $3,000 will help give at least 12 kids their smile back."
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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