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July 26--  Cyclists from the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia hit the road this weekend for what has become the annual Paul Anderson Cycling Challenge.

The trip this year is a 600-mile trek through South Georgia and North Florida with lots of opportunites to meet and greet, according to staff member Matthew Henley.

"The guys share at night whevever we stay.  If we stay in a church, we'll have a gathering or may have a local community event with a civic club. They're sharing their stories along the way and the work of the youth home.  It's also a good funding event for us and we hope to raise about $75,000 during the week," he says.

{mosimage}Among the riders, 18-year-old David from Birhminham (center) reports they've been training hard.

"We did 52 miles Saturday and tried to stay hydrated and get our miles in.  It's a mental thing as well.  You've got to stay focused beyond the point where you think you're going to stop and just push on through," he says.

Paris (left) is an 18-year-old from Savannah who's proud to be riding for the youth home.  "You know it's changed my way of thinking completely.  I used to think in a totally different manner than I do now.  My priorities have changed a lot and I really have gotten my life together since I got here.  This place means a lot to me," he reports.

Another rider is Taylor, a 17-year-old from Conyers, who's been at the home for ten months.

"It's very important because it's helped me so much.  Everything has kind of changed and it's a good change.  Everything went from going south to looking up and it's awesome," he says.

This year's cycling contingent includes four youth home residents, two alumni, three staff members and several volunteers.  They're scheduled to return to the Sweet Onion City Friday, August 3.