Phil Keoghan, host of the reality TV show “The Amazing Race,” pedaled into Pagosa Springs Monday as part of his “Ride Across America.”
“We turned the 1,000 mile mark today,” said Keoghan.
According to Keoghan’s Web site, the goals of his ride are threefold: to raise awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, to promote cycling and the launch of his new energy bar — “NOW (No Opportunity Wasted) One Square Meal — available at GNC stores across the U.S.
GNC is one of the ride’s main sponsors.
“I fly over 400,000 miles a year and I figured it was time to stretch my legs. I love to ride so I thought I’d see what this great country looks like up close instead of taking a bird’s eye view at 30,000 feet,” said Keoghan. “In this economic climate, bike riding makes a lot of sense — it’s good for your waistline and easy on your wallet.”
On his journey, Keoghan, a 41-year-old New Zealander, will pedal 3,500 miles from coast to coast, attending rallies at GNC stores, open-casting calls for the next installment of “The Amazing Race” and Bike MS rallies hosted by the National MS Society — and, of course, raising money for the National MS Society along the way.
Keoghan said his father’s cousin suffered from multiple sclerosis.
“I want to do something for people who are living with MS and because I want to do everything to prevent more people from learning what it means to live with this disease. Today, there is no cure for multiple sclerosis, and with diagnosis occurring most frequently between the ages of 20 and 50, many individuals face a lifetime filled with unpredictability,” Keoghan wrote on his Web site.
Keoghan appeared at The Springs Resort Monday after riding in from Durango and connected live to The Bonnie Hunt Show with about 50 Pagosans gathered for the event.
Speaking to the crowd, Keoghan said about $75,000 had been donated toward the MS cause through GNC stores and that he had personally collected about $5,000.
Two young Pagosans attending the Keoghan rally donated a $10 bill toward his cause.
“The momentum is really starting to build. The donations keep coming in. It’s amazing,” Keoghan said.
According to Archuleta County Commissioner Bob Moomaw, a pancake breakfast event with Keoghan Tuesday raised another $2,517 for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“It was a very successful event,” Moomaw said.
According to Keoghan, Pagosa Springs residents had featured the most generous donors on his journey thus far.
While the private donations appear to keep rolling in, it is unclear if a percentage of the sales of “NOW One Square Meal” energy bars will be donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
A call to Rob Schwartz, GNC’s director of marketing, remained unanswered by press time.
A follow-up conversation with Laura Brophy of GNC corporate offices, did not yield clarification.
Keoghan left Pagosa Springs Tuesday, pedaling up and over Wolf Creek Pass on his way to New York.
Keoghan is scheduled to arrive in the Big Apple in early May.