Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Mark Hebert

Road Trip

Teen cyclists traveling across country stop in Dodson


Mark Hebert

Wendy Hopkins, Oliver Van Everen, Jade Thomas, Reid Noch, Gabby Spurzem, Jacob Witt, Jamie Marshman, Webster Thompson and Kurt Spurzem. Front row: Deserae KillEagle, Gracie Sanchez Jazlyn Flashburg, and Kataya Flashberg.

Little did the eight cyclists from St. Paul's School (SPS) know when they woke up in Rudyard on Sunday morning, but Sunday afternoon would be the toughest day of peddling the eight high school students would endure thus far during their 3,800-mile, 48-day bicycle trek across the United States in support of veterans .

"It took us a little while," joked Jade Thomas, one member of the eight­ person crew. "And it is so cold out."

Thomas' latter comment was in regards to the thermometer sitting at 98 degrees as the riders entered Dodson Sunday evening. The reason it took the SPS cyclists 'a little while' to reach their day's destination was that for the first time since they started their bicycle journey, the team drove headfirst into strong gales.

"We thought if we woke up early we could get here really early and beat the heat," said Reid Noch. "But for the first time ever, we hit a major headwind."

Noch said that on a typical day aboard their bikes, the crew averages about 20 to 23 miles per hour. On Sunday, into the wind on the way to Dodson, the crew averaged nine to 13 miles per hour.

"It was brutal," added Oliver Van Everen.

Almost eight hours after departing Rudyard, the crew peddled into Dodson hot, tired and sun-beaten, but in high spirits.

"Now we can relax a little," said Thomas

The SPS Cyclists are taking part in their journey as a way to raise funds for Ride 2 Recovery, an organization that explores and promotes cycling as an alternative method of therapy for veterans suffering from PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury. The eight members of the SPS cycling team all attend St. Paul's School in Concord, NH during the year and come from variety of States in the U.S. including three from the Treasure State. The 16th stop for these eight young people was in Dodson on Sunday evening after peddling 112 miles on the day.

Welcoming the SPS riders to Dodson were about 50 Phillips County residents who converged at the Dodson cafeteria for Indian Tacos

and dance performance by Deserae KillEagle, Jazlyn Flashburg, Gracie Sanchez and Kataya Flashberg .

"I would like to thank the veterans who have come out tonight," said Kurt Spurzem, one of several adults overseeing the trek. "We would like to thank Wendy (Hopkins), the school and the community for your support tonight. Dodson is incredible."

St. Paul's School is located in Port Smith, NH where the riders will conclude their trip in late July . The cyclists hope to raise $100,000 during their 48-day ride. Thus far, the group has already raised $90,000. On Saturday in Rudyard the crew raised $500 . On Sunday in Dodson the team raised another $631. To follow the group's progress or to donate please visit www


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