Participants in the 5th annual "Going the Distance" ride for the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro on June 28th.(Submitted photo)
Participants in the 5th annual "Going the Distance" ride for the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro on June 28th. (Submitted photo)

BRATTLEBORO -- The 5th Annual Going the Distance Ride for the Boys & Girls Club of Brattleboro was on June 28, a perfect day for a long bike ride.

The 53 riders, who raised more than $41,000 for the club, left the Marlboro College Graduate Center that morning, on routes of 40, 60 or 100 miles.

"We were a pretty eclectic group," said Dr. Robert Nassau, President of the Club's Board and main organizer of the Ride. "Riders from Rhode Island, New York and Massachusetts joined our local riders and we even had a father-son duo just back from a year in Kazakhstan. There were 12 riders doing their first ride for the Club and many who have done this fundraising Ride 3, 4 or even 5 times in the past. We had 3 young boys, ages 10-12, riding with their parents and 6 riders over 70 years of age."

Many people helped make this ride a great success. Club staff, board members, community volunteers and club members staffed the four rest stops. Other volunteers drove the route to help any riders who needed assistance. Many local businesses donated gift certificates that were given to riders who raised over $500 for the club.

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital was a major sponsor of the ride for the second year and a team of 12 riders consisting of BMH staff and spouses raised over $7,000 for the club. Other major sponsors were: Trust Company of Vermont, Hotel Pharmacy, MetLife, C&S Wholesale Grocers and, for the fifth year, the Marina Restaurant provided lunch for all the riders and volunteers. Leader Beverage and the West Hill Shop donated drinks and snacks for the rest stops.

"I've always felt giving something back to the community is important," said Cindy Howes, a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Just So Pediatrics. "Last year, I was excited to do this ride for the Boys & Girls Club. I love biking and meeting the needs of children is dear to my heart. It was a win-win opportunity. A fall on the railroad tracks last year prevented me from finishing the 100-mile ride. After recovering from a dislocated shoulder and a fractured arm, Jim Guerra, my fiancé, and I signed up again and, this year completed the 100 mile route. What a treat it was. The volunteers and sponsors were like good friends. The bikers were a wonderful, supportive group. And the ride benefitted local kids. We can't wait to do it again."

"This year's Going the Distance Ride has been extremely successful for the Club and donations are still coming in," said Beth Baldwin, Executive Director of the Club. "This is our major fundraiser of the year and the response from our community has been terrific. We're very fortunate to have so many riders and donors who support our programs for community youth. They let our members know that this community cares about and supports the Club."

Donations to support the ride are still being accepted at the Boys & Girls Club, 17 Flat St., Brattleboro, VT 05301. You can also donate on line at: www.firstgiving.com/bgcbrattleboro/GTD2014.