300 Miles for Mentoring | Ultra-distance cycling to support at-risk youth | SierraSun.com

300 Miles for Mentoring | Ultra-distance cycling to support at-risk youth

Special to the Sun

Courtesy Greyson HowardThis dedicated team will attempt to ride 300 miles non-stop together in support of Big Brother Big Sisters of Nevada County. From left: Carey Thrasher, Mark Hockridge, Scott Hanson, Ken Bossung, Chris Barry, Hardy Bullock. For 2012, Mark Hockridge will be replaced by Jeremy Schneir.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Six cyclists are each preparing to tough out 70,000-plus pedal strokes – the approximate number of strokes it will take them to ride non-stop from the mountains of Truckee to San Francisco on the Pacific Ocean.

Septemberand#8217;s ride marks the third year in a row a dedicated team of bicyclists, with ties to the Truckee-Tahoe region, will attempt to ride non-stop together for 300 miles to raise funding for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoeand#8217;s mentoring programs for at-risk youth.

Years one and two featured courses that took the riders from Fort Bragg to Truckee, and a loop route from Truckee to Sacramento and back, respectively. For year three, the group is excited to be heading west, traveling through the service areas of other Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, and finishing in Sausalito, Calif.

The ride will begin on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 a.m. from the Coffeebar, 10120 Jibboom St., Truckee and the riders expect to arrive at Cavallo Point in Sausalito to greet supporters on Saturday, Sept. 22 around noon.

According to ride organizer Hardy Bullock, the team is excited about this yearand#8217;s ride because, and#8220;Unlike years past we havenand#8217;t trained together much. This ride will give us a chance to catch up, reflect on the season and hopefully drum up some late night humor to keep it fun. Itand#8217;s weird at 3 a.m. on a bicycle, but thatand#8217;s part of the deal.and#8221;

Returning rider Carey Thrasher said, and#8220;Over the course of 24 to 30 hours we definitely experience some suffering on the bicycle. What makes this unique and most rewarding is the fact that our effort is chosen. The kids who we ride for do not get a choice in their situation. What suffering we experience out there on the road pales in comparison to some of the things children experience in their daily lives. Knowing this, it makes it much easier to ride through any suffering or pain.and#8221;

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Asked what motivates him to keep pushing his limits year after year, Bullock said itand#8217;s all about the kids:

and#8220;I feel a deep connection to kids who need guidance and support. I feel that as a community we can affect their lives in a positive way now and create a better society in the long run. It is also important that my children understand the value of helping others. They inspire me in a profound way; I want to be their hero. We enjoy the spirit of the supporters and the crew and we always seem to discuss things of real importanceand#8230; Thatand#8217;s what keeps us riding every year. Those connections that put our everyday lives in perspective are so valuable; they apportion whatand#8217;s truly important and what is just noise.and#8221;

The teamand#8217;s hero status extends far beyond their own families.

and#8220;The impact that Hardy Bullock and the riders have had on our ability to provide quality mentoring for at-risk children is significant! In just three years, they have raised nearly $40,000 and#8212; all of which goes to helping us connect kids facing adversity to caring and responsible mentors and friends,and#8221; said Dena Valin, executive director for BBBSNC.

This yearand#8217;s ride is being sponsored by TahoeStaff, Hanson McClain Independent Investment Advice, CoreLogic, Sara Zimmerman Design and local radio station KTKE 101.5 FM, which will broadcast live progress updates during the ride. In addition, the six team members will collect pledges in person and online, with a goal of raising at least $30,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Last year the athletes raised more than $20,000 for the local nonprofit.

To sponsor the riders and help bring Big Brothers Big Sistersand#8217; mentoring programs to more local youth, please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/300miles.

About BBBSNC

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Nevada County and North Lake Tahoe (BBBSNC) is a chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a national non-profit agency dedicated to creating a volunteer base where every at-risk child and youth who needs and wants a mentor can be matched with a Big Brother or Big Sister. BBBSNC serves children in all of Nevada County including Truckee, as well as the North Lake Tahoe communities of Kings Beach and Tahoe City. For more information visit http://www.bigsofnc.org or call 530-273-2227.