News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Local & Bistate

July 22, 2013

'Huge adventure'

Cousins make 800-mile trek on their bikes while raising funds for cancer

TERRE HAUTE — Two college students hopped onto their bicycles and together went on a “huge adventure” this summer for a cause close to their hearts.

What Jesse Beller called a “huge adventure” is riding 800 miles from his hometown of Jasonville to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., alongside his cousin, Garrett Caldwell.

The cycling duo left Jasonville on July 6 and reached the beach 10 days later, cycling for an average of 90 to 100 miles per day.

“I was in awe,” Caldwell said of what he felt upon reaching the beach. He still could not believe they made it to Florida “but it’s the experience of a lifetime.”

“The trip, our goal was finally accomplished,” the 22-year old Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis student added.  

Their goal of reaching Florida on their bikes was only a part of their bigger purpose.

Caldwell and Beller — who planned to drive back to Indiana Friday night — aim to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society, the organization that helped their grandmother after she was diagnosed with breast cancer more than two years ago.

Inspired by their grandmother, Sue Nance of Lebanon — who is now cancer-free — Caldwell and Beller want to help other patients.

“We thought we could pay it forward” and help somebody else out, Beller said.

“We’re just trying to do a small part and help on the bigger picture,” the 19-year old Vincennes University student said.

Beller’s mother, Laura, who followed the two cyclists in a support vehicle for part of the trip, expressed her pride.

“Very exciting to be with them, so proud of them for their hard work and determination,” she said, admitting that when she first heard of the idea two years ago “thought it was pretty crazy.”

And the long journey took hard work.

“It was definitely tough at first,” Beller said, adding that on their first day, they traveled 120 miles on their bikes. It was their longest day.

“It was a ... wakeup call of how hard it was going to be, but I’m not complaining. It was worth it,” Beller said.

Eventually, they learned to manage the long trip.

“When we broke it down per day,” said Caldwell, a resident of Lebanon, their goal became much easier to achieve. He said they started to “relax and take it easy.”

The cousins pushed on and stuck to their route that took them through the back roads, small towns and hills of Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama, before reaching Florida.

“We don’t have hills like that at the Wabash Valley,” Beller said.

While the Wabash Valley experienced a heat wave last week, Beller said that it was “a lot cooler for July than we thought it would be.”

But the wind posed a physical challenge.

“We had headwind most of the time,” Beller said, which meant that the cyclists had to work harder.

Beller points out that there was never a time when the pair wanted to give up.

He reminded himself of “how hard we’ve worked leading up to this, and to give up now would just throw everything we worked for.”

The cousins put together fundrasing events in the area before embarking on the trip. They also reached out to the American Cancer Society early on. They originally planned the trip for the summer of 2012 but after Beller had a knee injury, so they put it off for a year. Caldwell said they plan to donate around $2,000 to the American Cancer Society when they get back to Indiana.

Beller said keeping in mind the support his hometown has given him and the support from the people he met along the way kept him going.  

 “The whole way, people were just really supportive. ... everybody was helpful,” he said. His mother, Laura, also said that people donated to their cause. These donations included free hotel room stays in some cities.

But even when the cousins were close to the finish line, their resolve was tested.

Caldwell said he ran on a flat tire the last 10-15 miles of the trip after they ran out of supplies.

“I would say the hardest part was staying mentally tough,” he said.

“I was really frustrated at that point . ... We went through all of our tubes,” Caldwell said of running on a flat tire.

But “it was the perfect ending to the perfect ride. It taught me no matter how close you are, you still have to be patient.”

Caldwell said through the trip he wanted to “try to inspire people to do something like this.”

“No matter how big or small your part is, it is important to get involved,” he said.

The activity they chose took months of preparation and training. Because Caldwell and Beller lived in different cities, they trained separately. But Beller credits Caldwell’s influence for getting him interested in cycling.

And their bond as cousins made the trip even more memorable.

“We’re good friends. We just have a close relationship,” Caldwell said.

Just like most things in life, every hill can be conquered with family.

 “We helped each other get through this ride, for sure,” Caldwell ended.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • Two injured in morning crash near Dugger

    At 8:45 a.m. today, Indiana State Police and Sullivan County emergency agencies responded to a one-vehicle crash on Indiana 54, just east of County Road 375 East and near the town of Dugger. The crash seriously injured the driver and his wife.

    July 14, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 14, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, based on jail records.

    July 14, 2014

  • U.S. Attorney Hogsett announces resignation

    INDIANAPOLIS – Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced in a news release today his resignation from office, effective July 31, 2014.

    July 14, 2014

  • Commission sets schedule for picking chief justice

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The commission that will pick Indiana's next Supreme Court chief justice will hear from all four justices before making its selection.

    July 14, 2014

  • Governors_Morg.jpg Governors group skirts 'radioactive' Common Core

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Reviled by staunch conservatives, the common education standards designed to improve schools and student competitiveness are being modified by some Republican governors, who are pushing back against what they call the federal government's intrusion into the classroom.

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police bike ride helps officers' survivors

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A group of about 60 active and retired police officers are going on a bicycle ride around Indiana to benefit the families and co-workers of colleagues who have died in the line of duty.

    July 14, 2014

  • Comics-Archie Death_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Monday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071314 CUP FINAL PARTY.jpg Germany’s day

    The atmosphere, which smelled delicious, was thick with excitement as dozens of German soccer fans crammed into the Bierstube Sunday afternoon for the World Cup final match.

    July 13, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 021712 12 POINTS FILE.jpg Building up for grabs

    It would be impossible to name all of the entrepreneurs who have opened businesses over the past 100 years in and around the 12 Points Hotel on Terre Haute’s near north side.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed

    If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.

    July 13, 2014

  • Restaurant Inspections: July 14, 2014

    June 23-27

    July 13, 2014

  • Grave.jpg Airman laid to rest back home in Indiana six decades after death

    Unchecked tears rolled down Paul Martin’s lined face as he clutched the hand of an Air Force servicewoman who handed him a handwritten note at the graveside service for his older brother.

    July 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070914 GARDEN 01LARI.jpg Plentiful harvest

    Along the southern bank of Otter Creek near Clinton Street, across the street from North Terre Haute Christian Church, some rocky soil has proven to be fertile ground for new seeds.

    July 12, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071014 GARDEN 01DIEMER.jpg Meeting need for fresh foods

    There’s something about watching a zucchini go from seedling to soup that is satisfying for Jean Diemer.

    July 12, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071214 60 YEARS.jpg Celebrating 60 years of pride at Hulman Field

    The buildings may have changed, and the mission has certainly changed, but the pride remains the same when those celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard came together Saturday at Hulman Field.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET071214 treasure sign.jpg Treasure-hunters forced in doors

    Rain on a Saturday morning can be a big bummer for yard sales.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tank wiring said to be cause of oil-field fire

    An electrical short has been blamed for a Friday night fire at the Pinnacle Exploration oil field on Fruitridge Avenue south of Hulman Street.

    July 12, 2014

  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends

    Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.

    July 11, 2014

  • Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool

    Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.

    July 11, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 11, 2014

  • New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum

    VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

    July 11, 2014

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Violence Mars Argentina's WC Celebration Stolen Car Collides With Greyhound Bus Bull Run Comes to Middle America Raw: Divers, Snorkelers at Undersea 'Concert' Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Lightning Kills Two in National Park in Colorado Israel Deploys Ground Troops to Gaza Strip Space Station Shipment Launched From Virginia Argentina Fans Sad but Proud in Loss One Dead, 19 Injured in Greyhound Bus Crash Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Wisconsin Cop Ready to Roll...On Skateboard Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Tiny Texas Border Town Weathers Migrant Influx Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta
NDN Video
A Dog and His Chicks LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Boeing Squeezes More Seats Into the 737 Fist Pump Time! JWoww is a New Mom Japan zoo makes wild fashion statement with lion-ripped jeans Germany Wins the World Cup 1-0 Man In Trouble For Selfie During 'Running Of The Bulls' RAW VIDEO: Stampede injures ten at Georgia World Congress Center Original 'Planet of the Apes' Actress Looks Back at the Classic Film Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked!

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010