'Holy Rollers' to race across AmericaCycling fans have called Race Across America (RAAM) "the world's toughest bike race, " but that doesn't discourage the four-person team of everyday riders from Valley Presbyterian Church in Portola Valley, who called themselves Team H4 or "Holy Rollers Hammering for Habitat Homes," says Kelly Brieger of Valley Presbyterian Church.
The bike team, which includes Rafael Ornes, Joel Phillips, Sally Phillips and Michelle Santihano, will take part in Race Across American's 3,000-mile ride from Oceanside, California, to Annapolis, Maryland, June 11-20.
The riders hope to draw attention to Peninsula Habitat for Humanity, the local nonprofit organization building affordable homes for low-income families. They hope their endurance efforts will raise $50,000 for Peninsula Habitat.
Rather than get "mile sponsorship," they decided to have a series of events to raise awareness about the ride. Recently they scheduled a three-day practice, starting from Peninsula Habitat's current construction site on Lincoln Avenue in Redwood City.
Valley Presbyterian Church has been hosting rest stops outside the church to provide refreshments to riders who follow the popular "loop" around Sand Hill and Alpine roads. The cycling team has also gone into local schools, such as Woodland School in Ladera, to talk about the race.
Cyclist Ornes of Menlo Park is Valley Presbyterian Church's minister of music. Mr. and Ms. Phillips have been members of the church since 2001. Ms. Santilhano, a Menlo Park resident, is a member of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. While the four riders consider themselves endurance riders, none are professional cyclists.
The support crew for the riders consists of Stanford student Mary Elting and husband, Matthew, church members Anne Hubble, Cathy Paniagua, Karen Russell, and Pastor Mark Goodman-Morris.
For more information, visit the Team H biking Web site and blog at www.valleypreschurch.org/TeamH4. To learn more about Peninsula Habitat for Humanity, visit their Web site at www.peninsulahabitat.org.