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Cycling for a Cause

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E’town grad plans bike trek across the country

By Joshua Coffman

 

By JOSHUA COFFMAN jcoffman@thenewsenterprise.com ELIZABETHTOWN — Every pedal she pushes on her bike this summer, she will be thinking of how she is helping someone else. Sarah Mather, a recent graduate of Transylvania University and former Elizabethtown High School basketball player, will ride her bicycle across the country beginning next weekend — from the coast of Yorktown, Va., to the bay of San Francisco. As part of Cycling for a Cause, she will raise money to combat poverty and AIDS through charities World Vision and Save the Children. “This is what God called me to do,” said the dual degree holder in religion and exercise science. “Everyone wanted to know how I was going to combine the two majors. This is, I guess, how I’m doing it.” Mather is unsure of her next step in life. She is considering attending seminary or graduate school. She hopes the long days she spends on the bike pedals will give her time to figure it out. While writing a reflection paper in class on the book “God and Politics” by John Wallis, she concluded that Americans have the ability to fix many problems but lack the motivation to do it. That motivated Sarah, and she began planning her trip in February. Her sister will drive alongside her in a support vehicle during one leg of the trip; a pair of retired teachers will drive during other segments. Friends and family have been skeptical but supportive. “They kind of think I’m crazy,” Mather said, “… but they’ve been most supportive, especially friends here in E’town. … It’s been awesome to see that.” So far she has raised $5,300 for the two charities. Her goal is $8,000. In addition to local support, she has gotten help from two churches she attends near her school, Northeast Christian in Lexington and Thoroughbred Community in Nicholasville. Depending on weather, Mather plans to finish the trip in 40 days and 40 nights, traveling about 100 miles each day. Her venture largely will be an uphill climb. “It’s going to be kind of miserably bad in terms of hills, but what are you going to do?” she opined. Trips to basketball games while in college took her to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and she did a 600-mile tour on a bike through France. Still she expects this trip to be one that is life changing and shows her more of the American countryside. “I’ve kind of missed the middle part of the country,” she said. “I’ve heard Kansas is flat, so I’ll enjoy Kansas. Then I have the Rockies ahead of me.” The organization through which she planned her trip — which will take her through Sonora — lists hotels, campgrounds, churches and houses where she can stay along her voyage. She will snack on items like peanut butter and jelly that she will bring along, trying to keep the trip as inexpensive as possible. It will be a long journey for Sarah Mather, but it is one she is excited about. “Getting through it’s all mental,” she said. “Physically it’s draining but, mentally, its just staying positive.” Supporters can donate online at firstgiving.com/ sarahmather.   Biking Across America Distance: 2,943 miles Duration: 40 days Goal: $8,000 To Donate: firstgiving.com/sarahmather Help: Provide food, healthcare and education in parts of the world where human need is greatest     Joshua Coffman can be reached at (270) 505-1740.