Services Airman bikes to duty destination

July 7, 2008 -- In 2007, Staff Sergeant Alek S. Seams of the 127th Services Flight took a leap of athleticism by choosing to cycle 156 miles from his home in Midland to his duty destination at the Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich. with only sporadic exercising throughout the year as his means of preparation.

In 2008, SSgt. Seams took a more proactive approach to the planning of a repeat trip to Alpena. Starting on January 1, Sgt. Seams prepared with a total of 740 miles on the bike and 84 miles running to gear his body for what experience has taught him to be a taxing trip. An upgrade in cycling gear was also required, replacing his cross-over bike from the year before, a bicycle not engineered to be taken on such a long excursion, to a "Giant OCR-3", which is designed for professional cyclists and long trips. A bicycle trailer was in order as well, to help carry the 110 pounds of luggage required for his stay.

Traveling such a long distance took 2 days. Seams covered 80 miles on the first day and 76 on the second, averaging 14 miles per hour. Physical exertion of this magnitude calls for a lot of hydration as well; during the trip 28 liters of water were consumed by the thirsty Airman.

Long distance traveling has been full of dangers throughout history, and this trip was no exception. While camping after his first day on the bike, a heavy thunderstorm passed through, flattening his tent with winds at over 60 miles per hour, knocking down several trees in the park where he sleep, and struck one of the neighboring trailers with lightning.

What fuels a man to such action? When asked why, Sgt. Seams simply stated that he wanted to prove to himself that he could make cycling his sport and wanted to be able to relate to other athletes.