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County cyclists biking to support ministries

 

A pair of cyclists from LaGrange County are well on their way to Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada, in support of a ministry that works on suicide awareness and prevention.

Sarah Miller from Topeka and her nephew, Nevin Hershberger of LaGrange, set off on the 1,068-mile journey on June 18 from Emma. Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Canada is about 200 miles north of International Falls, Minn.

The idea started with a little bit of joking, Miller said. Nevin was visiting Sarah’s brother in Canada a while back and got the idea to ride to Canada. “He asked me if I wanted to ride with him and, thinking he was joking, I said yes,” Miller stated. “Once we both had thought about it for a little bit, we decided to go for it.”

But they also saw the opportunity to make the ride more than just an adventurous trip. “We know that we will feel an immense sense of accomplishment and victory when we arrive,” Miller said. “But we wanted the trip to be more than just about us.”

The pair decided to use the trip to raise money for Ashawaabic Ministries, based in Sioux Lookout. Along with suicide awareness and prevention, Miller noted that “they also provide support for families who have lost loved ones to suicide. We have some friends who lost a family member to suicide, so this is a cause that is very important to us.”

As of Monday morning, Miller and Hershberger were north of Eau Claire, Wisc., and heading north. Their route has taken them through Chicago, Ill., along Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisc., and is now angling northwest through Wisconsin towards International Falls, Minn. Miller said their route is trying to take advantage of as many bike trails as possible. “We’re getting to see lots of beautiful scenery,” she noted.

“We’ve had a great time so far,” Miller continued. “We’ve seen lots of wildlife and a lot of places and things we wouldn’t get to see if we were driving.” They’ve only been caught in rain on one day, but have managed to keep on schedule. Nevin is also pulling their supplies in a trailer, adding over 60 pounds to his load.

“So far, the wind and heat have been the biggest challenge,” Miller said. “The wind on day one slowed us down quite a bit and the heat was pretty intense for the next two days.” On Sunday, they went 106 miles through Wisconsin, according to Miller’s blog that she is keeping during the trip. The day included a brief stop for a small town parade.

There are still some challenges ahead, Miller noted, especially the next-to-last day with 118 miles with no towns or houses. “Nothing by trees and hills, so we will need to do it all in one day,” Miller said.

To track their progress and to donate to the Ashawaabic Ministries, check out Sarah’s blog at http://www.canadaorbust2012.blogspot.com/