In the middle of Texas, a blonde woman in spandex is cruising down the shoulder of the highway on rollerblades. With the nearest town miles away, she happily skates along.
Cal Poly alumna Kacie Fischer is attempting to shatter five world records as she rollerblades across America, all while supporting the Special Olympics by raising awareness and donating money raised during the trip.
The Special Olympics was founded in 1968 and strives to make a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people through the power of sports. They offer year-long training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Though spreading awareness for the Special Olympics is one of Fischer’s main goals, she has also trained her whole life to be in the best physical condition for her journey across the nation. Being a fitness enthusiast and crossfit trainer, her body is fit and capable enough to attempt the more than 3,800-mile trip from California to New York in less than 90 days, she said.
“We are in Texas now, and the roads are absolutely hell,” Fischer said. “We cannot go over five miles without reaching a section that is not skateable. The wind has also started up, so we’re not skating as fast as we want to.”
Fischer recently passed the halfway mark of her journey, and is on schedule to crush the current world record for fastest inline skater to cross the country. She plans on finishing the first leg of the trip from Solana to Jacksonville, Fla,. in 67 days, which would crush the current record for this trip by four days, Fischer said.
In addition to breaking the speed record, Fischer is attempting to break four other world records, including being the first female to cross America on inline skates, traveling the longest distance on blades and the greatest distance traveled on inline skates in 24 hours, both forward and backward.
“Jacksonville is the biggest stop of our trip, and one I am looking forward to,” said Fischer as she skated down the road going 20 mph. “If we get there on time, as scheduled, I will be the first female to rollerblade across America, and the fastest out of all who attempted this.”
Though Fischer wants to set new world records, she could not have come this far with her goal without the help of her fiancé, Cal Poly alumnus Adam Cleveland. Cleveland follows Fischer and her team in an old school bus that he modified for the trip.
The bus is painted bright blue with an image of America on the side and a large pair of bullhorns on the front of the bus. This beast holds extra supplies, food and sleeping space. As the temperatures rose outside, Cleveland decided to cut open the roof and install a fan; Fischer welcomed the addition after skating in 100-degree weather.
Cleveland’s support for his fiancé’s goal is through the roof. He handles contact with sponsors and follows behind his fiancé and her two teammates, Kevin Crossman and Melinee Fischer, to assure their safety. Perhaps more importantly, Cleveland is in charge of scouting ahead for hazards.
“A lot of the roads are just torn apart,” Cleveland said. “I’ve had to go ahead and check out conditions to warn the team. We hit a spot where there was a soft shoulder; I had to cruise behind Kacie on a motorcycle with a warning sign on the back, so cars were aware of us.”
In addition to soft shoulders, Fischer and her team have faced more strenuous road conditions. While crossing Arizona, Fischer had to hike in her rollerblades across sand and dirt.
“I was literally stepping my right foot in front of my left, and sinking down in sand,” said Fischer, who felt this situation was tempered by the fact that sand can easily ruin bearings. “That was a rough point of our trip so far. One of the best moments was when were crossing New Mexico; we were right next to the border, and as I was skating, I could see Mexico and their flags all over. It was amazing.”
Though Fischer has seen some awe-inspiring scenes, she still has a long way to go. When she reaches Jacksonville, she will begin her trip up north to New York City. Once she reaches the city, she will hold the world record for longest distance traveled on inline skates.
Fischer could not accomplish these extraordinary feats without assistance. She has gained sponsorships from Rollerblade, Promax bars and other athletic companies.
“Our bus is full of supplies,” Fischer said. “We have extra wheels, bearings, Promax bars and other necessities. Thanks to the support, we have — I have —been able to keep my equipment fresh, even though I extend the life with most of it. New wheels help maintain my form and keep me feeling healthy for this long journey.”
Fischer’s biggest sponsor is Inline Warehouse; the company has supplied her with rollerblades and cases of wheels and bearings, said Stan Chaves, chief operations manager at Inline Warehouse. He has been working with Fischer for the past two years, ever since she proposed her plan to rollerblade across America.
“(Fischer) brings an unparalleled passion and energy that is contagious,” Chaves said. “She inspires people to get up and workout; whether it is skating or something else. (Fischer) is always, and in all ways, staying active and influencing others to do the same.”
Fischer is using the same work ethic on her journey across America. She has been going strong so far, and is not slowing down anytime soon. She has been facing 100-degree weather, cracked and crumbled roads, but keeps skating. She is determined to reach her final destination and crush all standing world records.
“We are at the halfway point, anything could happen,” Fischer said. “We have no idea what we will hit. There is still a lot of skating ahead of us, and I’ve been keeping my body in check and I feel great.”
Visit LiveGiveSkate.org to follow the team blog or donate funds to support Fischer and the Special Olympics. Those who donate will receive a 15 percent discount at Inline Warehouse.