Eagle Scout to Cycle for History in Race Across America

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Fifteen year-old cyclist Cees Hofman, from Boise, Idaho, hopes to be the youngest person to ever complete the solo Race Across America (RAAM), a world-famous, coast-to-coast cycling race. Cees is racing to raise funding for Dreams for Kids, to assist children with disabilites.

With dreams of becoming the youngest solo cyclist to complete a cross-country cycling marathon, 15-year-old Cees Hofman can qualify for next year’s solo “Race Across America” ultra marathon by completing the same journey beginning June 13 with his father and two other teammates.

As motivation for the grueling event, the Boise, Idaho native and his teammates will ride on behalf of Dreams for Kids, a Chicago-based charitable organization that provides programming for children with disabilities.

Competing in the four-person men’s division, Hofman’s crew is one of a dozen teams registered for the 3,053-mile journey that begins in Oceanside, Calif., and ends in Atlantic City, N.J. As part of the Race Across America (RAAM) event, teams ride one-at-a-time in “tag-team” style. Each team is followed by its own RV complete with food, bedding and other supplies that allows three cyclists to rest while the other pedals.

RAAM is the longest annual endurance cycling event in the world. Unlike most multi-day bicycle races, RAAM has no stages or designated rest periods. Instead, the clock runs continually from start-to-finish. The winning team usually finishes in under six days, riding 24 hours-a-day through the varied terrain at about 22 mph.

What sets the Dreams for Kids’ team apart is the fact that — unlike other teams — this one has elected not to ride on Sunday, June 18, due to religious reasons. While this will likely hurt their chances of winning, Hofman doesn’t seem to mind. Perhaps that integrity comes from his previous experiences that include building an orphanage in Cambodia, or riding his mountain bike to Chicago to raise money for Chicago’s Shriners Hospital, where his little sister has received medical care for her bone disorder.

The other members of the Dreams for Kids’ team include: Craig Clarke, 50, an accountant/consultant in Boise, Idaho; Terry Patterson, 53, a college professor in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Hofman’s father, Cory, who raised $25,000 last year on a similar bike marathon for Chicago’s Shriners Hospital for Children.

“I’m proud to ride alongside my son on this important milestone in his life,” says Cory Hofman, who adds that his son is helping to organize the Dreams for Kids cycling team as part of his ongoing Eagle Scout project. “When we cross the finish line in Atlantic City, no one will be more proud of Cees’ accomplishments than me.”

Dreams for Kids is a volunteer-based, non-profit charity that provides children’s programming funded by individual and corporate donations and foundation support. As a grassroots organization, the group provides assistance to kids with disabilities and those who have suffered hardship. Founded in 1989, the organization’s goal is to give every child access to life by responding to their special needs and helping to eliminate the isolation from which most children with disabilities suffer. In 2000, the organization helped the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago to establish its “Super Summer Sports” program that provides daily activities for disabled children throughout the summer.                        

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Tom Tuohy
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