First Year Athletes

If you are a first-time Face of America Gettysburg participant, here are a few suggestions on how you can have the very best experience before, during and after the ride from Arlington to the Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg.

Helpful Recommendations

Meet your Fundraising Commitment early

Each participant category has a category fundraising commitment that must be met or exceeded by participants by the commitment deadline of October 1st to ride in Face of America Gettysburg. Rather than waiting until the last few weeks to undertake your fundraising efforts, start early. Use your online User Center to create and send emails to your friends, family and colleagues asking for their support. Many companies offer matching funds for employees in charitable causes, which can provide additional support. But, be sure to plan ahead since matching funds often take a month or longer to be processed. Once you reach your goal, increase it to a higher level to encourage new donors to continue to donate. Learn more about fundraising through our special fundraising section, including suggestions and ideas on successful fundraising programs, as well as materials you can download to assist you in your effort.

Make your hotel reservations as soon as you can

Hotel properties often fill quickly in the late winter. This is not just from Face of America Gettysburg athletes, but from other activities and groups in the area. Make your reservation early so you’ll have the best choice in properties and the lowest rates. If you are a registered adaptive athlete or caregiver, you’ll be contacted by the World T.E.A.M. lodging coordinators to make arrangements for your lodging each night of the ride.

Plan on arriving early for the ride check-in

Although the Friday afternoon check-in is open from 12 noon to 6:30 p.m., take off early from work and arrive well before the final hour of registration. With more time, you’ll not be stressed and you can take the time to meet some of the other riders, explore the booths at the rider expo and check into your hotel room. In addition, arriving early avoids the Friday late afternoon traffic that can be so troubling, particularly in the capital area, giving you more time to relax and enjoy yourself.

Get to know the athletes

Face of America Gettysburg is meant to be a social experience. You’ll be riding alongside hundreds of other athletes with diverse and interesting backgrounds. At each Face of America, approximately half of the athletes are returning for their second, third, fourth or greater ride. If you’re a first-year athlete, take advantage of the knowledge and experience of your colleagues.

Pack with a plan

Our riders have experienced everything from hot, sunny weather with high temperatures in the upper 80s to cool, showery weather with fog, wind, drizzle, rain and temperatures in the low 40s. It makes sense to watch the weather forecast prior to the weekend. Always bring a rain jacket that you can stow away and plan for temperature to vary significantly from the early morning start to midday. See a list of our recommended items here.

Listen to the ride marshals

The Face of America Gettysburg route includes a team of skilled ride marshals who are dedicated to making the ride safer for the participants. These marshals are always on the lookout for potential dangers, and will take steps to make sure each athlete is safe. If you experience mechanical difficulties, including flats, a marshal will stop and assist you, including flagging down one of the SAG vehicles to transport you and your bike to the next rest stop if necessary or requested. Other marshals will assist adaptive athletes on hand cycles climb particularly steep hills. All marshals work closely with the moto team on motorcycles. The moto team watches intersections and directs traffic, sometimes with the assistance of local law enforcement officials, to make sure the cyclists are safe.

Take advantage of the rest stops

The entire ride will pull into each rest stop, scheduled every ten to 12 miles. These stops include porta-potties, quick energy food and beverages. A stop at about noon will have additional food, serving as a quick lunch. Be sure to take advantage of these stops. Take care of your physical necessities, refill your water bottle, and have a bite to eat. Rest stops will have a mechanic on hand who can help with any minor adjustments or issues with the bikes and hand cycles. If at the end of the rest period you are still feeling tired, you may take the SAG vehicle to the next rest stop.

Saturday evening dinner is on your own

After athletes depart the Frederick Finish line which will include food and beverages, the riders will be on their own for evening dinner. There are a variety of restaurant options from quick food to casual for individuals and teams to enjoy a meal. Larger teams should make reservations early for dinner, as restaurants do become busy. Adaptive Athletes will be invited to a meal at our host hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn Frederick. For more information on this please see our adaptive athlete page.