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Alumni Profile

From Homecoming to Mt. McKinley

cycle for the summit

Brent McCauley, BS ’09, will ride his bike cross-country to climb to the highest point in every state. He and his riding partner, Michael Hunter, started Cycle for the Summit to raise money for Big City Mountaineers.

If you added up the total height of the highest point in every state, the sum would be 308,105 feet. It’s 58 miles, or about 30,810 stories — stretching more than 10 times the height of the tallest building on earth. Brent McCauley and Michael Hunter plan on climbing all of it.

It’s called Cycle for the Summit. McCauley and Hunter will ride their bikes across the country and hike to the tallest point in every state. Their inspiration came from Take a Seat, a documentary about Dominic Gill, who biked from Alaska to Chile. Along the way, they’re getting sponsorships for their journey to raise money for Big City Mountaineers.

“This charity sends inner-city youth out in groups to hike in places that are the exact opposite of the concrete jungle,” says McCauley, BS ’09, of Savannah, Mo. “Seventy-five percent of the kids this group serves have never been out of their home county.”

An adventurous type who bicycles frequently, McCauley sees the trip as a way to visit every part of the country. Now a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, he has never been west of the Rocky Mountains. Hunter is a fellow graduate student.

“There’s no better time in my life to do this,” says 25-year-old McCauley. “I’m really hoping I can use this trip to break down all the stereotypes I’ve formed of people who live in different parts of the country.”

But the 18-month adventure, which kicked off on Sept. 15, 2011, won’t interfere with McCauley’s plans on coming home. After reaching Taum Sauk Mountain — the highest point in Missouri — he says the journey has a planned stop in Columbia for the Centennial Homecoming.

“Since graduating, I haven’t missed one yet.”

—David Earl