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The Suburbanite
  • Mountain biker plans 2,745-mile trip to help raise funds for Alzheimer’s

  • Aaron Hershberger, a 2008 New Philadelphia High School graduate, is going to tackle the world’s longest mountain bike race to raise money for research on Alzheimer’s — a disease that has affected two members of his family.

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  • Aaron Hershberger, a 2008 New Philadelphia High School graduate, is going to tackle the world’s longest mountain bike race to raise money for research on Alzheimer’s — a disease that has affected two members of his family.
    Hershberger will fly to Calgary, Alberta, on Tuesday to participate in the Great Divide Mountain Bike Race, which begins in Banff, Alberta, on Friday. The 2,745-mile route will take him along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to Antelope Wells, N.M., on the Mexican border. During the race, he will climb the cumulative elevation of Mount Everest seven times.
    He plans on completing the race in 25 to 27 days, bicycling between 12 and 16 hours a day.
    “I hope to bike 100 to 120 miles a day, depending on how I’m feeling,” he said.
    Hershberger, who graduated this spring from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, is the son of Terry and Linda Hershberger.
    During the race, participants will be on their own when it comes to finding food, water and shelter.
    On some parts of the route, those necessities may not easily be found. Hershberger plans on camping out most of the time.
    “I may end up staying in a hotel one or two nights just to recharge the batteries and get a taste of civilization,” he said.
    He will be bicycling the route with a college friend, Louie Nicholson. “We’re doing it mainly to motivate each other, and it will also be safer that way,” Hershberger said.
    He started bicycle racing in his sophomore year in college and raced for the Miami University cycling team. He is currently in training for the race next month. “I’ve done much shorter rides like this, but nothing quite this long.”
    Any money Hershberger raises will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association. He has set a goal of raising $2,000.
    His great-grandmother, Ruby Bozman, had the disease most of the time that he knew her. His grandmother, Ruth Raber, developed the disease when he was young.
    “Watching my family deal with that disease has been a hard thing,” Hershberger said, noting that it is challenging to family members and friends of those with Alzheimer’s.
    Hershberger is looking forward to the trip.
    “As long as I don’t get eaten by a bear, it’ll be OK,” he said.
    In August, he will begin working for Excel, a distribution company.