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Ride 2 Recovery cyclists to land in North Hampton

Union Leader Correspondent

July 24. 2013 6:40PM

BEDFORD — Some teenagers will arrive in North Hampton Saturday, but it won't be just another day at the beach.

The SPS Cyclists, a group of students at St. Paul's School in Concord, will be recognized for completing a cross-country bike ride to support wounded U.S. veterans.

Bedford resident Max Vivado, along with seven of his fellow classmates, organized the 48-day adventure that raised $160,000 for Ride 2 Recovery, a nonprofit organization that supports rehabilitation programs for wounded U.S. veterans that feature cycling as a core activity.

An Honor Ride will begin at Gus' Bike Shop in North Hampton at 8 a.m. and it will include the young riders as well as veterans and the general public.

Once they reach the beach in North Hampton, the SPS Cyclists will participate in a common tradition in cross-country rides, dipping their bike tires in the Atlantic Ocean, after doing the same thing in the Pacific Ocean at the beginning of a 3,500 mile journey.

The students started out in Oregon, and made their way to Idaho, then Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, before heading north to Canada, then southeast toward New England.

Vivado's mother, Katy Cutshall, said parents have been supporting their young athletes in weeklong shifts all summer, meeting up with the group to provide meals, snack breaks and moral support along the route.

Cutshall said her family took two "support weeks," one in the Oregon/Idaho stretch, and one in South Dakota and Minnesota.

"Each family gets a little taste of what it's like on the road with the kids," Cutshall said.

The group from St. Paul's School will meet up with participants in the Honor Ride in Lee Saturday morning, Cutshall said, and will travel as a group to Gus' Bike Shop, then continue to North Hampton.

While Vivado had previously acknowledged that goal of raising $100,000 was ambitious, Cutshall said they were elated to have surpassed that goal by $60,000.

Vivado said the ride was a great way to spend the summer, and give back to the community.

The group sent out more than 1,000 letters to families and friends, asking for financial support, reaching out to every contact possible, Vivado said.

Cutshall said the ride gave the students some valuable experience in philanthropy and gave her son enthusiasm for a sport that he will continue.

"Coming to the end has been bittersweet," she said. "He has really come to love cycling, and I'm sure he's going to continue with it."

The Honor Ride is open to the public, and riders can choose a 20- or 50-mile course. Pre-registration is required.

There is $75 fee for individual riders, and injured veterans ride free.

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