MANSFIELD:: Setting the bar high for his first major bicycle trip, a Mansfield teen has teamed up with two co-workers to ride across the country and raise money for breast cancer research along the way.
Clint Valentine, 18 and a 2008 Mansfield High grad, set out on his trek to California on Oct. 25 along with teammates Paul Dorr, 49, of Maine, and Jovanna Hart, 24, of Pennsylvania, whom he worked with on a tall ship in Maine last summer.
Starting in Rockland, Maine, Team Bowditch is planning to spend the next four to six months biking approximately 4,000 miles across the country as they raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.
The team took its name from the Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch, the ship where they all worked over the summer, and chose to raise money for breast cancer research because Dorr’s family has seen the impact the disease can have firsthand.
For Valentine, the trip marks the first time he’s done a trip of this nature after spending his younger years riding the trails of Mansfield, Norton, Foxboro and Sharon. “Cross-country seemed like a good start,” he said.
Traveling 30 to 50 miles each day, the team was pausing for a few days in Mansfield this week, staying with Valentine’s parents and catching up on rest and laundry before hitting the road again today.
From Mansfield, the team will head toward Woonsocket, R.I., before heading for the crowded streets of Manhattan, the next milestone destination.
In planing the route, Valentine put a greater emphasis on seeing as many sights as possible, rather than finding the most direct route.
“I pretty much just drew the route around all the cool stuff I wanted to see,” he said. “Half the fun is taking photos and recording the memories.”
The team plans to see Yosemite National Park, the Outer Banks, the Rocky Mountains and the Mojave Desert, the trip highlight, along the way to California.
The group has a Web site devoted to getting the word out about their travels, including blog and photo sections where people can follow the journey and see how the team is doing.
Team members said donations have been slow at the beginning of the trip, something they hope will change as they hit more populous parts of their route.
They held a fundraiser Tuesday night at the Congregational Church UCC in Mansfield, and hope they will make it through the trip on their own personal funding and donate all the gifts to charity.
“We’re trying to give most of it to the Susan G. Komen (Foundation),” Valentine said. The team is accepting donations on its Web site,www.teambowditch.com. Those who would like to donate, but do not have Paypal accounts, can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
While the journey might be Valentine’s first major bike trip, he said he doubts it will be his last.
“It will probably spur more adventures,” he said.
The Sun Chronicle, Mansfield, Massachusetts, November 12th, 2009