Student Veteran Biking USA Heads into the Desert

Kiersten Downs during a stop in Nevada.

Kiersten Downs during a stop in Nevada.

After a ride across California’s northern region and a dip in Lake Tahoe, Kiersten Downs has crossed into Nevada on her two-month journey across the USA to raise awareness and money for the Student Veterans of America.

She anticipated the first few weeks of the ride would be her toughest. Her only chance to train for mountain riding in “flat” terrain Florida was on the indoor cycles programed for steep climbs. And that’s what she did. For the past year as many as six days a week, you could find the doctoral student spinning her wheels at the University of South Florida recreation center.

But it was not the “real thing.” So,  she expected biking into the mountains would be her biggest challenge.

And that goes for the desert dryness too. There’s no way to eliminate Florida’s humidity to give a facsimile of riding in a desert. Yet, there is no telltale sign that Kiersten is struggling other than a photo of her thigh wrapped with an ace bandage.

And she is smiling in every photo. Could it be the satisfaction of setting a goal and the fulfillment one feels while working toward that goal. As many philosophers have pointed out – life is about the journey not the final destination.


The Nevada desert as Kiersten Downs cycles toward Falon.


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