Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pelotonia is a grass roots bike tour with one goal: to end cancer.

This year’s Columbus Pelotonia raises money for innovative and life saving cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center. Driven by the passion of its cyclists and volunteers, along with their family and friends, Pelotonia's annual cycling experience is a place of hope, energy and determination. And -- leveraging a large, private gift -- Pelotonia directs 100% of every dollar raised to research. It is a community of people coming together to chase down cancer and defeat it.

For complete information, visit:

The Ride

There are several choices for participating in the Pelotonia this year – I’m opting for the one-day, 100-mile ride.

The tour begins in Columbus just before 7am, August 29th, and ends in Athens, Ohio…pretty much whenever your tired legs can push you across the finish line! (Pass the Advil and sign me up for a massage, please?) And for the ride this year, it was recently announced that Lance Armstrong will be participating. Pretty cool, huh? The seven-time winner of the Tour de France has returned to professional riding specifically to focus additional attention on his fundraising efforts for the fight against cancer, and with over 2500 riders pushing through the late summer Ohio heat that day, fundraising totals should be topping out well over four million dollars. (Yes – you read that correctly!)

Have I ever ridden 100 miles in one day before? Nope. Did I hesitate, even momentarily, when I thought about taking on this physically demanding challenge? No way.

The Origins

I’ve been biking this year – a lot. I challenged myself on January 1st, 2009, to ride at least 2500 miles in 2009, and to use the training to also raise funds for the American Cancer Society. As of today -- June 28 -- I’ve ridden 1505 miles…putting me several weeks ahead of schedule, with prime Ohio riding weather just now arriving.

As for my fundraising for the American Cancer Society -- what can I say? I’m new to this. I need to hire a professional fundraising consultant, I suppose. Mostly, it has all been about the bike (“Hmmm – let me think? Ride today, or ask folks for contributions? RIDE!”), and in the meantime I’ve been searching for some sort of fundraising focus for my cycling efforts. And what do you know – during a visit to Columbus about a month ago -- I read about the Pelotonia event in Columbus Magazine. To this point in the year I’ve raised approximately $100, but the minimum fundraising goal for my 100-mile ride in August is $1500. Ok – it’s time to focus. It’s time to ride AND raise funds.


I don’t know that a day goes by that I don’t think about how lucky I’ve been, health-wise, my entire life. In particular, I think about it often when I’m on the bike…staring up at a long climb, or at a 50+ mile route that I’ve just planned out on I usually start the day with a ride…and end it lifting weights at night…and I can’t imagine doing things any differently – ever. Staying healthy means everything.

Cancer changes that. Three people in my life have been affected by cancer, and I imagine that number will increase as I go from my current state of “old,” to “WAY, WAY old.” (Haa haa? Not kidding!) Statistically speaking, ALL of us will face down cancer at some point in our lives…and I’ve decided that I’m not waiting around to have that word thrown into my personal life again.

Laughing! Ask anyone who bikes with me about what my strategy is for riding, and for conquering big hills, in particular. “ATTACK!!” That’s the only response I know, when facing any challenge – overcome it with a full frontal assault. So it follows that when contemplating an approach to recognizing and addressing the subject of cancer…the reply has to be the same. A pre-emptive strike is the best plan of action.

Dad. Craig. Nancy. Those are the folks in my world who have faced cancer. Dad beat it…and so did my nephew Craig (at age three, no less) -- now my friend Nancy is battling – Stage IV breast cancer. I read her email updates regularly…and it motivates me even more to act.

Plan of Action

Just before I worked on writing today, I checked the on-line news. “Bail out this, bankruptcy that…a few hundred billion here, a few trillion there.” Sorry – maybe its my conservative roots – but the government isn’t helping anything. And I shake my head at those who think that one politician, or one political party, has the ability to save us all. Yes, they can save us, but only from one thing -- personal responsibility! Give me a break. No one is going to bail any of us out – the more the government steps into your life, the worse off you’ll be. Only one thing will turn our lives around individually, and collectively, as a country…and that is for each person to make the decision to live responsibly…and to think of others as much as we all think of ourselves. THAT is when things will begin to improve.

I live responsively…but now I want to spend more time taking action. I guess it’s time for a little payback, you know? A good start is the Pelotonia – committing myself to something big, and working to make a difference for the people I know, and for millions of others who I’ll never get the chance to meet, who are facing down a life-threatening illness.

Ride the Pelotonia with me? Or volunteer for the weekend in Columbus – they need your help! If you can’t do either one of those, please consider helping me raise funds for cancer research…either by giving, or by helping me spread the word about the ride and the efforts of thousands of people who CARE. You can visit my personal fundraising page at:

…or contact me by email if you have other suggestions (

Care. Act. Two small words with very BIG meanings.



1 comment:

CathieRH said...

Okay - I'm inspired! I'm checking my schedule to see if I can volunteer!