Local cyclists coming through Columbus tonight on national ride

A team of local cyclists is expected to pass through Columbus about 10:30 p.m. today en route to Bloomington as part of a national biking event that the local riders are using as a fundraiser for an area Christian ministry.

Some supporters plan to gather near the Bartholomew County Jail, 543 Second St., to cheer on the group, which is expected to stop briefly.

Their journey is part of the Race Across America event that began Saturday and ends this Saturday. Teams of eight cyclists each are riding from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland.

The local team has been collecting pledges and outright donations for its Dolby Endowment Fund for the nonprofit Southern Hills Youth For Christ, which operates Campus Life ministry.

The ministry with a Columbus office will use donations to reach local middle- and high-schoolers in Bartholomew County with God’s love and the gospel message, organizers said. Their ultimate goal has been to raise $300,000 over three years. About $50,000 has been raised so far, said Jennie Hession, executive director for Southern Hills Youth For Christ.

Columbus resident Tim Hoeflinger, Campus Life middle school director who launched the idea, is among Race Across America participants.

People can help the cause sending a donation to Campus Life, P.O. Box 1527, Columbus IN 47202 or by visiting southernhillsyfc.org.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.