FOLLOW Dan's Progress as he crosses the US !


After James Brown stops singing,

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The article below was lifted/stolen/copied from the Courier Post....

A South Jersey college student is going to spend his summer vacation raising money for a worthy cause: cancer

But what sets Dan Esten's goal apart from so many other similar efforts is the length to which he's willing to go to achieve it.

The 21-year-old Esten, a 2005 Cinnaminson High School graduate and Indiana University of Pennsylvania student, will bike 4,500 miles from Indiana, Pa., to Anchorage, Alaska.

He and biking partner Michael Frederick, 22, will leave June 1 and travel along a route commonly called the "Northern Tier," which extends from Maine to Washington state. They'll continue up the Western Canadian coast to their destination. The entire trip is expected to take close to three months.

"There are some nerves, but it's mostly excitement right now," said Esten, who's named the effort the Tour for the Cure.

Esten said he and Frederick have both lost loved ones to cancer, so they felt it made sense to dedicate their trip to that cause. They have raised about $2,000 toward the $30,000 goal. Donations can be made through the American Cancer Society.

Esten's mom, Lorraine, said she found out about the planned excursion in an e-mail.

"The subject line just said, "I want to help people,' " she recalled, laughing. "So I open it up, and he tells me about this plan to go across the country on a bike to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I said, "Dan, that's wonderful, but couldn't you just volunteer and stuff envelopes instead?' "

She admits she wasn't crazy about idea, at first.

"I was so glad he wanted to help people, but I wanted him to do it safely," she said. "I worried, and I'm still worried."

Esten and Frederick aren't too concerned, though. Time will be their biggest challenge: To finish by the start of school, they'll need to ride about 70 miles each day -- and that will be cutting it close.

Esten began cycling about two years ago and has taken several 100-mile trips. Frederick has more experience with trips of this magnitude. He and a friend rode 1,500 miles across Eastern Europe two summers ago.

"I think we'll have better support for this, a lot more people behind us," he said.

Eating properly will be key to their success, Frederick said. To that end, a friend has agreed to donate and ship food to locations along the bike route.

"That was the biggest problem I encountered on my (Europe) trip," he said, noting he lost almost 40 pounds then. "We have to eat well -- that's my biggest concern."

Esten's dad, Marc, said he's concerned about what might happen when the pair travels across some of the more remote parts of Western Canada.

"I wouldn't be nervous at all if they were finishing in Seattle, but people have told me there are some long stretches between towns as you get out there," he said.

The pair will carry their cell phones with them, but they'll likely lose service later in the trip. To compensate for that, they'll carry a GPS unit that will allow family and friends to track them on their personal Web site. The pair won't be able to navigate with the device, but they'll be able to signal if they're in trouble or if their supplies run short. They'll also post periodic updates on the Web site via Esten's brother, so they won't have to carry a laptop.

They'll also have to carry their supplies: a small tent, a sleeping bag each, a few T-shirts, an extra pair of pants, some rain gear and a small camping stove, Frederick said. They'll bring mace to ward off wild animals, and eventually they'll pick up some bear spray. They'll worry about warm clothes as they approach higher elevations.

Most nights, the men will sleep in tents, but they also hope to find shelter along the way through Web sites like Warmshower.org, where people offer hospitality to touring cyclists.

To prepare, Esten and Frederick are cycling three times a week, doing some weight training and lots of cardio work, and playing a lot of Ultimate Frisbee.

Still, Frederick expects the first three or four days to be tough.

"There's no real way to prepare for this," he said. "It's just kind of being in the best cardio shape you can. We are planning a few weekend rides as we get closer, but it's kind of impossible to prepare for 60 or 70 miles a day."

Although the pair won't have time to sightsee, Esten said he was looking forward to crossing the Rocky Mountains. Frederick is, too, despite winds that promise to be fierce.

"It's going to be really awful riding, but it's going to be beautiful," he said. "A lot of people do (the Northern Tier) from west to east so the tailwinds are behind them, but we'll have the wind at our face."

The pair will fly back for their return trip.

Lorraine Esten said she's grown more supportive as she's seen her son plan and train.

"Dan is a really genuine person and he just wants to combine contribution with fun," she said. "And he does want to make a difference."






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