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By Sam Alcorn
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Day Four of the Bucknell-Penn Alumni Bike Race Across America for Scholarship is seeing Team Bucknell make steady progress through Arizona's mountains and desert — with cooler temperatures and encouragement from U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama.

Today's destination is Kayenta, Ariz., and, after about 150 miles of pedaling, the cycling squad will have completed 666 miles of the 3,050-mile coast-to-coast trek. The goal is to complete the ride in 19 days and raise $1 million each for scholarships for Bucknell and the University of Pennsylvania.

As the three generations of Bucknell alumni report on their Web site, Tuesday's ride was much cooler than the 100-plus-degree temperatures they faced early in the ride.

Refreshingly cooler
"Amazingly, the 92 degree midday sun was refreshingly cooler than the previous day," the team posted. "With camera’s flashing and bike brakes screeching, the riders marveled at the surrounding vistas."

"From the arid, cactus-laden deserts, up through mountain forests, and across a massive expanse of cliffs exposing veins of red and gold rock, Arizona provided the Alumni Bike Race team with pleasantly diverse backdrops and an exciting third day," the post added.

No incidents were reported on Day Three, but their Web site noted that updates were sporadic because of the lack of Internet access in remote areas.

Barack Obama letter
The group, too, received a letter from U.S. presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) wishing the riders good luck on their trek.

"I applaud your efforts to help educate the youth of America and wish you continued future success," Obama said, noting, with obvious pleasure, that the riders would pass through 14 states, including his home state, the "great state of Illinois."

Walter McConnell '53, who will turn 76 next month, blogged about reaching the summit of Prescott National Forest and seeing a sign saying the next 12 miles were down hill. "Wow! Winding curves with speeds up to 38 mph. Talk about a thrill and the scenery of colorful mountains across the valley," he wrote. 

Back at Bucknell
Kyle Rosendale '07 noted in his blog that before he left people asked how he'd get through some of the tougher riding, which would include climbing more than 100,000 feet in elevation during the course of the trip. "Just knowing that we are en route to Bucknell will get us through whatever we encounter," he wrote. "We would ride Fisher-Price tricycles from the Himalayas just to come back to Bucknell."

The other riders representing Bucknell are Frank Arentowicz '69 and Pat O'Malley '07. (Recent updates: Sept. 11, Sept. 7, and Aug. 20.)

Check back here for updates throughout the ride. For more information, visit www.alumnibikeride.com.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted Sept. 12, 2007

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