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Cyclists back in the saddle for Samaritan House

Team Samaritan House hopes to raise $75,000 to support the homeless in northern Colorado by cycling 465 miles in seven days during this summer’s Ride the Rockies tour.

Team Samaritan House, created by Tom Schwein and Tom Dea in support of the men, women and children at the Samaritan House shelter of Catholic Charities, is in its fifth year. It has grown to 19 members who are in the process of seeking individuals and corporations to sponsor their participation in the ride that begins June 13 in Grand Junction and winds through Hotchkiss, Gunnison, Crested Butte, Salida and Cañon City before finishing in Westcliffe June 20.

“When you get on a bike to ride 465 miles to raise money for the poor, every pedal that you push reminds you of a plight much worse than your own,” according to Larry Smith, Charities’ president and CEO and Team Samaritan House member. “It puts you in a position to really appreciate how hard it must be to live as a homeless person, without income, without a place to live.”

Samaritan House provides overnight shelter as well as intensive case management for longer-term residents. It is one of four Charities’ shelters in the archdiocese including the Father Ed Judy House in Denver, The Mission in Fort Collins and Guadalupe Community Center in Greeley.

“It’s humbling for the Team Samaritan House riders to know that while we’re experiencing God’s beauty and creation—albeit from a very sore saddle and aching legs—we’re doing it for people living a life on the streets that many of us can’t comprehend,” Smith said.

During the ride, in its 30th year, participants will visit two natural wonders, Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa; ascend a total of 40,537 feet including Cottonwood and Hardscrabble passes, travel over Royal Gorge Bridge, and navigate the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

Each member of Team Samaritan House committed to a minimum of $1,500; with a goal to raising $5,000 each. As of May 8, they had received pledges of more than $14,000. For more information, visit http://ccdenver.org/rtr.

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