Riding for Habitat

Rochester Area Habitat for Humanity is celebrating its 20th anniversary with some very special building projects. The organization will break ground on three new homes in Rochester in the coming months. The first one will mark their 16th home built in Rochester.

One of the more unique projects is called "InterFaith Build." The home will be built by a group of more than 20 different faith communities, putting their religious differences aside to help a common cause. Habitat says this project is the first of its kind for Rochester and the response has been strong.

A fundraiser for the faith community project has been set up for next month at the Rochester Athletic Club. Sarah Botzek organized the event, which is also a first of its kind for the organization. They are calling the event "Tour De Habitat," and they are banking on a big response from the cycling community to make it a success.

"It will be set up like a spinning class," Botzek said. "It will be high energy, with cycling instructors cheering and music pumping."

Botzek admits the idea is not completely original — they first learned about it from a habitat group in Moorhead called the Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity. Lake Agassiz has been doing this type of fundraiser for the last five years and found it to be fun and lucrative.


"We thought this type of fundraiser would translate well with the Rochester community because there are such avid cyclers in this area," Botzek said.

Riders compete in teams or individually, depending on how long they would like to compete. The teams will consist of up to six members who will each ride in 15-minute intervals. Cyclers looking for a challenge can sign up to ride individually, which could last as long as long as three hours. Botzek said the goal was to offer something challenging for the experienced cyclers but something manageable for the less-experienced riders.

Rochester’s Jan Podolske will be riding individually for the fundraiser. Podolske is a regular volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, having helped out with the women’s build project last year. She has already raised the recommended amount for the ride, and is now setting her sites on winning the fundraising competition.

Habitat is looking for a total of 15 teams and 28 individuals to participate in the event. Individuals and team members will begin collecting pledges once they sign up and prizes will be awarded to competitors who can raise the most money. Teams are being asked to raise a minimum of $1,200, while individuals are challenged to raise a minimum of $300 to participate in the event. Overall, habitat hopes to raise more than $25,000 for their cause.

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