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ND Cyclists to Race Across America in Support of Gaia Home

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Quartet of accomplished Bis-Man bikers will take on the world’s toughest race in June. 

Noted local athletes Melanie Carvell, Karin Gardner, Lori Klabunde, and Kilee Harmon will tackle the 3,089-mile Race Across America as a four-woman relay team called Love, Sweat & Gears. About a dozen local friends and relatives will caravan across the country to support the team throughout the race, which begins in Oceanside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland.

While Carvell, Gardner, Klabunde and Harmon are among the community’s strongest women road cyclists, they recognize the enormity of the challenge that lies ahead.

“We hope to complete the race, which starts June 18 and passes through a dozen states, in seven days or less,” said Carvell, an all-American triathlete, author and wellness speaker. “We are enormously blessed by the friends and businesses who have stepped up to support us on this adventure, our platform to raise funds and awareness for a uniquely worthy cause in Gaia Home.”

Today, there is no place in North Dakota that specializes in end-of-life care in a true home setting. For those in need of hospice care much of that time is spent in a non-home setting when in-home hospice care is not an option. This is the gap in care Gaia Home looks to solve.

To be built in Bismarck, Gaia Home, an enclave of residential units and community spaces, will be one of the first dedicated homes of its kind in North Dakota with qualified medical care specializing in the end-of-life journey. It will provide families and their loved ones with adequate space to live in, gather, connect, reminisce, and rest in privacy and peace, giving them the chance to treasure their precious time together during the final season of life.

“The 2022 Love, Sweat & Gears Race Across America team recognizes how fortunate we are to be able to take on the formidable challenge the race represents,” said Harmon, two-time Ironman Wisconsin finisher and executive director of Gaia Home. “In doing so, we’re celebrating every stage of life. We believe that dignified end-of-life care is an essential need in our community. We’re glad our efforts can help bring that about as our team raises awareness for Gaia Home while it launches the leadership phase of its capital campaign this year.”

The team will ride non-stop through the days and nights of the race, which covers some of the most difficult terrain in the U.S., including the Rocky Mountains and the windy flats of Kansas.

“This event is far and away the most challenging I’ve ever undertaken,” Carvell, an endurance-event veteran of more than 30 years, stated. “It is really gratifying to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves. With a lot of help, we’re pushing our limits and growing stronger as we prepare for the race. We hope that by sharing the experience with others, they will be inspired to grow in new ways, too.”

The Love, Sweat & Gears team invites the community to join the quest alongside their lead sponsor, 701 Cycle & Sport. The local bike shop serves as the team headquarters and venue for team functions, kicking off with a special shopping event open to all on February 24 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. The team also plans cycling clinics and group rides, among other activities, rolling out at 701 Cycle & Sport this spring.

“We are using the Race Across America as yet another reason to bring new and seasoned cyclists together to learn, encourage each other, feel safe riding and welcome within the local cycling community,” Carvell said. “We love this sport and want to share it with everyone. 701 Cycle & Sport keeps cycling thriving here in Bismarck, and we are excited to work together to help grow the sport while also growing a community to help build Gaia Home.”

To learn more about the Love, Sweat & Gears team, and its efforts in supporting Gaia Home, click here: