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Sarah Weiffenbach 700 mile Bike-Packing Mountains to the Sea Ride

Sarah Weiffenbach is setting out on an epic 700+ miles bike-packing independent challenge on the Mountain-to-Sea Trail in North Carolina. Starting this month, Sarah will be section-biking through the three regions of North Carolina. She will experience the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, the plateau of gentle hills through Piedmont, and then finish in September 2023 in the Coastal Plains. We chatted with her about her preparation and more before she sets out on her adventure!

Climate Ride (CR): What made you decide to take on this Independant Challenge with Climate Ride?

Sarah Weiffenbach (SW): I am section biking the MST bike route to explore all three regions of North Carolina. It is a unique state because it has the Blue Ridge/Appalachian mountains in the western range, and then spans across the piedmont, to the coastal plains. I appreciate the beauty of having these variations of landscapes within one state. I decided to participate in Climate Ride because I am very devoted to bringing awareness to my audience on environmental issues. I aim to educate others on the importance of conserving the land and protecting the environment.

CR: Love it! Taking on a challenge to explore the beautiful planet that you’re passionate about protecting! When you’re not taking on the world by bike, what are your profession/job/life passions?

SW: I have seen challenges in the months of preparation and driving logistics of my start and end points. I plan to seek out help from the local communities in the area of my start point to shuttle me from my endpoints of the segments I will bike. I am actually starting my trip in the mountains at the trailhead in Murphy, NC. I feel starting in the mountains on this adventure holds true to the “Mountains-to-Sea” route title.

SW: I am a professional Senior Photo Retoucher. I am also a conservation photographer with a passion for educating my audience on environmental issues. I want to educate others on protecting the environment and land conservation. I will be documenting my whole trip through my photography.

CR: We are looking forward to seeing the photos! Are there any personal challenges you’ve confronted or foresee in preparing for this event? How did/will you overcome them?

CR: We can imagine there has been a lot of planning that has gone into this trip! Has preparing for and participating in this event spurred you to take any action on climate (personal, locally or nationally)?

SW: I try to do my part to help the environment by limiting my use of plastics. If I eat out somewhere, I will bring my reusable water bottle for my drink and bamboo utensils rather than using single-use plasticware and plastic straws. I have joined local cleanups to eradicate plastic and trash pollution in my community. I buy biodegradable and non-harmful cleaning products for my house. I also practice food composting to decrease the amount of food waste found in landfills. It’s also the best organic material for plants!

CR: Those are awesome habits to form to make protecting our planet an everyday thing. How has climate change impacted you and/or the area you live in?

SW: I see the impact of climate change in the area that I live in through single-use plastic pollution in the waterways and abnormal weather temperatures. I live in the Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway where the rivers have pristine water and the trails are lush with rhododendrons. Over the years, I have seen an increase in plastic/trash pollution on the trails, rivers, and roadsides of the BRP. Is there anything else you think we should know about? SW: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Promote a Circular Economy!

CR: It has been so great having the chance to talk with you about your independent challenge, Sarah! We can’t wait to see all the photos from your epic adventure!

You can support Sarah’s efforts here AND we’ve just secured $500k in matching funds from the Algorand Foundation, so anything you give will be doubled until we exhaust those funds!