Cassville is stop on cross country journey

Thursday, July 10, 2008
Visiting Barry County has been one of the highlights of a trip that is taking 13 young cyclists from Savannah, Ga., to Santa Monica, Calif., this summer. The 16- to 18-year-old cyclists took a break from their six-week, 3,000-mile cross-country trip at Fastrip in Cassville on Tuesday. Pictured above, in the front row, from left, are: Brian Ash, of Ridgefield, Conn.; Stephen Neubig, of Annandale, Va.; Lizzie Leonard, of Westport, Conn.; Sarah Davenport, of Richmond, Va.; and Alexa Sellecchia, of Bronxville, N.Y. Second row: Nathaniel Wooton, Chicago, Ill.; Francisco Pinillos, Alexandria, Va.; Connor Finch, McLean, Va.; Igoe, of Chicago, Ill.; Margaret Spotts, of Richmond, Va.; Nicholas Sykes, of New Canaan, Conn.; Alec Norton, of Denver, Colo.; and Dan Kulla, of Newton, Mass. Democrat Photo

A group of 16- to 18-year-old bicyclists who are traveling across the United States made a stop at Fastrip in Cassville on June 8. The cyclists are one of four groups riding from Savannah, Ga., to Santa Monica, Calif., though Overland Camp's American Challenge.

Overland, a youth adventure organization based in Williamstown, Mass., offers a variety of biking, hiking and service programs each summer.

Through the American Challenge, the group of 13 cyclists will travel over 3,000 miles on an adventure that will take them across the Rocky Mountains, through the southwest deserts and to the Grand Canyon.

"This is a premiere cycling trip," said Bridget Igoe, who is serving as the group's leader. "We will be cycling around 80 miles each day. We get four days off during the trip."

The cyclists said that they intended to spend most of their free days relaxing and catching up on sleep.

"We camp in state parks, recreation centers and churches," said Igoe. "We have only camped indoors two times so far. Tonight, we will be staying in a recreational center in Neosho."

According to the Overland website, during the six-week trip the group members are required to travel, cook, eat and enjoy free time together, which enhances the adventure experience. Group members carry all of their clothing and camping essentials on their bikes.

Although cycling across the United States might seem like a grueling task, the group members are excited about the task at hand.

"Before we left, we dipped our wheels into the Atlantic Ocean and we will dip them into the Pacific Ocean when we get there," said Igoe.

The group members said that the Ozarks, including Eagle Rock, Roaring River State Park and Cassville, have been some of the most beautiful places they have visited so far.

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