Troy woman to bike 3,600 miles for a good cause - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Troy woman to bike 3,600 miles for a good cause

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Leah Spurlin (Source: Fuller Center website) Leah Spurlin (Source: Fuller Center website)
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TROY, AL (WSFA) -

"There is not a day that goes by that something doesn't remind me of my hike through the woods," says Troy native Leah Spurlin as she prepares to set out on a 3,600 mile bike journey to raise money for a worthy cause. Spurlin will make the cross-country trek this summer to raise money for the fight against poverty housing.

The journey to this point started 11 years ago. "I was able to break away from the fast pace of life by thru hiking the Appalachian Trail (from Georgia to Maine)," Spurlin says. "The hike took six months to hike over 2,100 miles." She didn't know if she would ever get to live an experience like it again.

Fast forward more than a decade and Spurlin and other cyclists are readying to take part in the Fuller Center Bicycle Adventure, which begins in New Jersey on June 5 and ends in Oregon on August 10. The journey will take participants across 15 states at an average rate of 75 miles per day. Riders will have several "build days" along the route with other Fuller Center covenant partners.

You don't simply get on a bicycle and go. She spends hours on her bike seat in training with a goal of 1,500 practice miles before the real event starts. "Anytime you take on an extended adventure the mental preparation required is often just as important as the physical training," she admits.

The passion for cycling took a cross-country journey of its own. Spurlin graduated from Troy University 2006 with a Bachelor Degree in Sport and Recreation Management. She moved to Montana for a U.S. Forest Service job and two years later moved to Kentucky where she decided to go back to school for a Master's degree.

"When I moved to Kentucky a group of women from the church I attended took me under their wings and introduced me to road cycling," she explained. "They invited me to come along on some of their bike rides through the neighborhoods every morning around 5am. For some reason I agreed."

What started for her as neighborhood rides morphed into longer rides and she, "caught the bug and road cycling became a new passion for me." She's long wanted to make a cross-country ride a reality and found that she had a "small window" to do it after earning her Master's degree.

"It is amazing how many quaint towns and beautiful small treasures I have seen through biking on Kentucky's back roads." she says. "I am hoping to see the United States from a different perspective from the seat of my bicycle."

The ride is a fundraising event for The Fuller Center for Housing, founded in 2005 by Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller and his wife, Linda. The couple wanted to find a way to continue the affordable housing ministry they started 40 years ago.

"I have been able to go on several mission trips with the youth group from my church," Spurlin says. "This summer I will get to combine ministry with biking! What an amazing way to share Jesus with others!"

In the years since it was started, the Bicycle Adventure has become the organization's biggest fundraiser, pulling in $950,000 in the past six years. The money goes to further the fight against poverty housing around the world, and organizers hope to hit the $1 million this year. The cyclists must raise funds to participate on an individual level. Spurlin's fundraising effort is available HERE.

ON THE WEB: http://www.fullercenter.org/bikeadventure

ON THE WEB: leahspurlin.blogspot.com

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