The 4th Annual Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge will be coming through Effingham County on Wednesday.
It is a seven-day, 500-mile bike ride through Georgia that benefits the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a Christian alternative to prison for young men 16 to 21 years old.
The ride began in Atlanta on Oct. 2. On the sixth day of the ride, Oct. 7, they will bike from Sardis to Pooler. Riders will be speaking at Rincon First Baptist Church on Wednesday evening.
On Thursday, the riders will bike to Vidalia, where the Paul Anderson Youth Home is located.
Paul Anderson, a 1956 Olympic gold medalist, started the Paul Anderson Youth Home in 1961. The PAYH is a Christian alternative to juvenile and adult correctional facilities for young men between the ages of 16 and 21, the majority of whom are court-ordered. This unique program has proven to be a haven for more than 1,000 adolescents and their families.
Forty-eight years of ministry to youth and families has produced a wealth of knowledge and experience from which the PAYH is providing downloadable information on their Web site, weekly e-mail devotions, and free parenting conferences.
At 14, Andy started abusing drugs and alcohol. After dropping out of two residential programs, Andy went to the Paul Anderson Youth Home as an angry 17-year-old.
Midway through his 20 months at the PAYH, Andy biked over 500 miles in the Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge, this accomplishment helped redefine his life.
As part of the rehabilitation process, the PAYH offers opportunities for young men to participate in events such as the Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge. This 500 mile bike ride through Georgia teaches fortitude, discipline, teamwork and endurance. The young men train for months prior and then set off on a journey they never thought possible.
A 2008 alumni rider commented, “I learned a life long trait on this ride and that was perseverance. The mountains and hills of life might get tough, but if you have faith in God and surround yourself with others that will encourage you, there will always be victory in the end.”
Three PAYH alumni riders will be joining for portions of the 2009 Cycling Challenge.
“Changing lives is the main reason for the Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge. This year’s participants will always remember what they accomplished during these six days,” said Drew Read, the youth home’s chief operating officer.
Each day of the ride, blog posts and videos will be updated on the Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge Web site.
Anyone interested in winning a Trek road bike can register at www.payhbikeride.com.