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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • 68-year-old pedals across nation for relative

  • Jeanne Powers of Haslett, Mich., rode her bicycle through McPherson this weekend as part of a 3,415-mile journey across the nation to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
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  • Jeanne Powers of Haslett, Mich., rode her bicycle through McPherson this weekend as part of a 3,415-mile journey across the nation to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
    The 68-year-old began in Los Angeles May 12 and traveled through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma before she arrived in Kansas. She traveled from Great Bend to McPherson Sunday as she reached her 1,500-mile mark. By Wednesday, she had reached her halfway point in Topeka.
    “It's unbelievable,” she said. “It's hard to believe we're already half way there. I think my legs are in better shape than they were at the beginning.”
    Powers is riding on her 2007 Scott CR-1 bicycle with about 25 others from CrossRoads Cycling Adventures, a group that organizes long-range trips for serious riders. She has been cycling for 25 years and enjoys it because it allows her to go long distances and see the outdoors more closely than riding in a car.
    Although she has completed other long treks, this will be her farthest. This is also the first time she will pedal through a mountain range - the route takes her through four.
    She will be motivated by her cause, chosen because her 27-year-old great-nephew, Blair, has Cystic Fibrosis. The disease leads to mucus build up in internal organs, and results in life-threatening infections and digestion problems. There is currently no cure.
    She is shouldering the $10,000 cost of the trip and hopes to raise $100,000 for the foundation.
    "Blair has been an inspiration to me because of the way he has lived his life, with faith and courage and as actively as possible,” she said in a press release. “CF research has advanced to the point where there may soon be a drug to benefit older CF patients like him.”
    During her ride through the Sunflower State, Powers said she didn't know what to expect, but discovered there were more hills than she thought. But this does not stop the Kansas winds.
    “When you get to Kansas, it's comparatively flat and wide open,” she said.” You don't have anything to stop the wind.
    She also found it refreshingly colorful.
    “I'm amazed at how beautiful Kansas is,” she said. “I didn't really picture that at all. You picture it as one of the plain states, one of the wheat belt states, and you don't see it as the rolling hills and the green. That was a happy surprise.”
    Following her time in Kansas, she will pedal her way through Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, and arrive at her destination in Boston June 28.
    Powers said she is pushed every day to ride again because of the peer pressure of riding in a group, and also because of her own stubbornness. And, of course, Blair is always on her mind.
    Page 2 of 2 - “On days when don't feel so peppy, I try to remember that's a big reason why I'm doing it,” she said. “It helps me get through some days.”
    In addition to contributing to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Powers hopes individuals who hear about her story are inspired.
    “I hope people will get an idea of something they can do on their own that they hadn't thought of before,” she said.
    More information about Powers' ride can be found at http://www.jpsrideforcf.com or on Facebook by searching “JP's Ride for CF.”
    Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel

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