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48 Across the 48

Minneapolis pianist and composer George Maurer is about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime bicycle journey across the country to raise money for cancer research in the name of a late friend who completed her own journey for a larger cause.

Minneapolis pianist and composer George Maurer is about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime bicycle journey across the country to raise money for cancer research in the name of a late friend who completed her own journey for a larger cause.

Maurer departs Thursday for "48 Across the 48: The Carolyn A. Held Memorial Bike Ride," a 3,600-mile ride from Seattle to Boston inspired by Carolyn Held, who made her bicycle ride across the country in 1988. She died in 2012 after a one-year battle with cancer. She was the wife of Pat Held, retired teacher and coach at Staples-Motley school.

Maurer's plan is to ride across the lower 48 states in 48 days, during his 48th year, as Held did. He will be following a parallel route, pedaling about 75 miles a day and camping along the way, as Held did. A short video explaining "48 Across the 48" is posted on YouTube.

Maurer is riding with the goal of raising $20,000 for a memorial fund set up in Held's name to benefit cancer research at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Held made many trips from her home near Motley to the Mayo Clinic while she was undergoing treatment for cancer. Held was a teacher whose cross-country bicycle journey raised $4,000 for youth activities in Little Falls. Now Maurer feels it's his turn to make a difference.

His journey pays tribute to Held's spirit and celebrates one his deepest friendships and most dedicated fans. He will carry her 1988 journal with him and create a journal of his own, posting regularly on his blog and 48acrossthe48 Facebook page so supporters can follow him.

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