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On Sunday, area cyclists of all ages completed what terminally ill Ray Spooner wasn't able to do in person, with about 60 people pedaling with purpose at Champaign's Sinai Temple.

"We had about 30 adults complete the 13-mile ride, and most of the adults finished the entire course," coordinator Jessica Kopolow said. "We had about the same number of kids, ranging from 3 years old to 14 years old. They were riding bikes with and without training wheels, scooters and tricycles, and a couple kids were riding Big Wheels."

Spooner might not have been there in person, but he was there in spirit, Kopolow said.

"Just before we started, we put Ray on speakerphone, and he gave a little pep talk and encouraged everybody," she said.

The 56-year-old Urbana nurse midwife with ALS originally set out to raise $50,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by cycling from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla. Less than a week into his coast-to-coast ride, he was hospitalized after a crash.

Spooner's original goal was to complete 3,074 miles. Sunday's event added 1,107 miles, bringing the total up to 4,303 miles.


Tim Mitchell is a reporter at The News-Gazette. His email is, and you can follow him on Twitter (@mitchell6).