From the Statue to the Falls

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At the end, we were elated that we had made it!  Seven days, five hundred and eighteen miles!  We were also a little sad that it was over. In our seven days together we had formed a special bond, a great team. We took care of each other when we needed to, we encouraged each other at just the right times.  We joked, we laughed and there was an occasional tear or two.

We couldn’t have asked for a better mix of riders for the beta year of the Empire State Ride.  Every genre of rider who will ultimately do the Empire State Ride was represented on this epic beta year.  We proved that the Empire State Ride is for anyone that enjoys biking and is looking for a great escape that is a meaningful experience. It includes a safety net of an amazing support staff and fellow riders that make sure every rider has the time of their lives.

Here is my version of our story for the 2015 Empire State Ride…….

Twas the night before the ride….

On August 14th 2015, the dream was about to come true as everyone began to assemble to check in at American Youth Hostels in Manhattan, NY.

We descend upon New York City in different ways.  You can fly or drive directly to New York City or leave from Buffalo, NY and ride in our transport vehicle to the city.   The ride from Buffalo is about 6 hours, it is a good chance to start getting to know your fellow riders.  Some people might prefer getting to the city in advance to see some of the sights – it is your choice.  We have bike shops in Buffalo and NYC that assemble bikes and get them ready for the road if you are shipping your bike.  In 2016 we will also have bike shops that will provide road bike rentals.   When you arrive at check in the night before, the reality that you are about to really do this thing hits home.  There are official posters indicating where to check in, get your official ride clothing and complete last minute administrative paperwork .  Yes, you really are about to embark on an adventure of a life time!  As the other riders are filtering in the big question of what will the other people on the ride be like, is getting answered live and in person.

On the eve of the ride everyone met for the first time at the Hostel that many of us stayed at.  Some people chose to stay at other hotels close by as the hostel life, didn’t really appeal to them.  The hostel was pretty cool, it was the first one I had ever stayed at. I was glad I had the experience. The common areas were clean and modern, and security seemed to be great.  The name of the Hostel is American Youth Hostels. The name fit as most of the guests are younger college age folks, they didn’t kick me out for being too old,  and it did make me feel younger…..

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Dinner for the first night was an indication of the fantastic healthy meals we would be getting for the duration of the week. Gluten free food was an option upon request.  There is an abundance of fresh vegetables and fruits. It is the type of food that bodies need to make it through seven long days of cycling.

After dinner we have our orientation and first safety briefing.  The normal routine for the ride is explained and we meet our key staff personnel that will be taking care of us. There is the cooking crew, the rest stop crew the heavy lifting crew and the mechanical support crew.  These are really fantastic people that love cycling. My good friend and ride colleague, Blue Hannon will be out every day scouting the next day’s route, making sure that there are no new obstacles and painting route turn markings on the roads and streets.  On this first evening you get very comfortable knowing that these are professionals who take their jobs very seriously watching over every rider.  Their first priority is our safety and health and it shows in the way they command our attention during the briefing.  Time to get some rest, the adventure will begin in just a few hours!

Day 1

It is 7AM!   Our luggage is packed and delivered to the luggage truck, they will transport it to the next evening’s overnight stop.  Breakfast is served it will be a typical light breakfast fare, we also make our own sandwiches just the way we want them for lunch.  I am not much of a bread eater so I make some lettuce wraps with hummus and sandwich meats.  We put our sandwiches into a baggie with our name on it and it goes into the lunch stop cooler.

8AM day one!  We are on our bikes, we meet our guides that will be taking us through the city to the start line at Battery Park and then out of the city to the George Washington Bridge.  As we head towards Central Park, there is a feeling like we own the city on this quiet Sunday morning. The enormity and significance of what we are doing starts to set in.  This is going to be awesome!

As we are riding through the city, guided by our NYC based riding Marshall we come upon Times Square.  On TV it looks so big!  A few of us stopped our bikes for a photo op, the horizontal footprint of Times Square seems small, but the vertical rise of the buildings is enormous!  Someone starts humming Start Spreading the news, I am leaving today”,  the rest of the song comes alive in my mind and it doesn’t stop! We are in New York Baby!!

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Times Square!!!

 

I want to be a part of it New York, New York – These vagabond shoes They are longing to stray – Right through the very heart of it New York, New York – I want to wake up in that city That doesn’t sleep – And find I’m king of the hill –  Top of the heap – My little town blues They are melting away – I’m gonna make a brand new start of it  – In old New York

If I can make it there -I’ll make it anywhere -It’s up to you New York, New York –  New York, New York –  I want to wake up in that city That never sleeps – And find I’m king of the hill – Top of the list – Head of the heap – King of the hill – These are little town blues – They have all melted away – I am about to make a brand new start of it Right there in old New York

And you bet baby If I can make it there –  You know, I’m gonna make it just about anywhere – Come on, come through New York, New York, New York

Sorry, I digress!  But the feeling is indescribable.   Shortly after Times Square you get a good view of Freedom Tower and that just puts you over the top and it’s like Holy Crap, this is going to be an Epic week! You are proud of yourself for getting this far and we haven’t even started yet!!

Actually, the fact that you did make it this far is significant.  You reflect back to when you first heard about the Empire State Ride, it sounded really cool, but scary.  You were thinking, there is no way I could do that, I am not in good enough shape. Many people think you need to be a super hard core biker to do this.  For many of us there is a huge sigh of relief after we meet other people on the ride and realize that there are all kinds of riders here.  After we get on the road, people will separate into natural groups and it will be just fine.  All of that worry for nothing.  Oh by the way…. Registration is open.

Start Line!!!

Here we are!  Battery Park!  The Statue of Liberty standing prominently across the water. Group photos, some celebration and high fives and here we go!  We are off to the George Washington Bridge!

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Heading up the West Side of Manhattan, the sights, sounds, and people we pass with ear to ear smiles on our faces. They probably have no idea what we are all doing or where we are really going.  I have to believe that if they knew we will be riding to each of the major cities in New York State and through the beautiful countryside in between they would love to join us.

Approaching the George Washington Bridge is a little tight, but once you are on the bridge and look to your left, it is kind of sad to say goodbye to the great city of New York. It is also exhilarating knowing that you are beginning a journey that few people will ever do.  Even though you are with other people and it is a common experience, it is also a personal one.  This is your journey. A story that you will tell for the rest of your life as you inspire people with what you have done.

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The first day is typically a shorter day than the others because of the time it takes to get out of the city, but it is very pretty as we ride along the Hudson and thru the small towns along the way.  When we get to the first nights stop, we have a decent idea of how the riding groups will most likely naturally be split up for the coming days.  We are starting to get to know each other, tomorrow we will be riding with new friends who only this morning may have been strangers.

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Kara Tappan zee Bridge.🙂

DAY 2

The support team is up bright and early, starting to make breakfast around 4:30 or 5:00AM.  Coffee is on for the riders at 6:00AM and the pattern of who the early risers are is becoming evident this morning.  This year Larry was the early riser, the first one to coffee in the morning.

It was hot yesterday and it is going to be hot for the next couple of days.  Temperature as read on the Garmin was over 110F.  Hydration is so important, especially on days like this.  I have a camelback that I wear on hot days and it is a blessing.  I highly recommend having a small camelback loaded with ice water and also have water bottles on the bike when it is this hot.  Even though we have rest stops at ¼, ½, and ¾ for the day, having extra water is important. I also had creatine chews which contain amino acids and I took extra magnesium with my vitamins to prevent muscle cramping.  I believe these things are important especially as you get into the second half of day two and beyond.

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Blue and Tammy – Reviewing the next days plans

 

A couple of hours into day two we get to Bear Mountain and Bear Mountain Bridge.  The view is absolutely incredible as we head over to the east side of the Hudson River again.  This year we all gathered together at the first rest stop and went over the bridge together.  The employees that work at Bear Mountain provided an escort across the bridge so we had the whole lane to ourselves, it is always cool to have a vehicle escort, it makes you feel special.  Big thanks to the Bear Mountain crew for putting up with us!

There are some decent hills on day two and three.  I kind of wish I had a third gear on the front for some of the hills.  I think I will change out my gears before next years ride to make the hills a little easier.  They weren’t really steep, but as I am getting older, there is no sense in working harder than you have to.  Not a lot to add for day two other than it was a great day, with great company.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to be riding with.  I will also say that the butt is starting to get a little sore by the end of day two.  Good bike shorts with quality padding is highly recommended.

Albany here we come!!!

We are starting to get into a groove now.  We pretty much know what pace everyone is comfortable riding at.  We know a fair amount about the people we have been riding with and there is a bond starting to really take shape we begin to become very mindful of where everyone is and how they are doing.  We are starting to get into the part of the ride where great conversations are happening.  Sometimes the great conversation is actually with yourself.  Taking yourself out of your daily life and going on a multi-day journey consisting of 5-8 hours a day of physical exertion immersed in whatever nature has in store for you has indescribably therapeutic benefits.

Yes, you are starting to grunt a bit when you sit down on the saddle today, but the fact that everyone is experiencing the same thing actually gives you and everyone around you a common thing to complain about.  Being able to openly share with people who were complete strangers a few days ago, how sore your ass is and what you are doing about it has certain endearing elements that you just can’t get anywhere.

Yesterday afternoon and most of today we have been inland to the east of the Hudson River, so the River hasn’t been in sight.  Today we start off the day riding through beautiful farm country.  Depending on how the growing season has been, you may experience the luxury of fresh off the tree peaches. There is nothing like the nectar from a fresh peach to quench your thirst and give you a shot of sugary energy.  Thankfulness for the realities of nature are everywhere around us as we ride through this fertile farmland filled with fruit trees, corn and cattle.

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I confess this is from last year…. I love this stop.

 

We reach the early afternoon and start our approach to Albany.  The river is just as beautiful today as it was when we left it a day or so ago.  During this last part of the day as we approach Albany, the anticipation of riding thru a city again starts raising a level of excitement.  What we are doing is a big deal and a great story.  I can’t wait for us to share our story with the press and whoever will listen in Albany.  It is an opportunity for us to inspire others and feel good about ourselves.  Being a rock star for a few minutes is always good for the ego.

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Albany State Capital

 

The buildings in City Center Albany are grandiose to say the least.  The architectural detail is incredible and it certainly is a reminder of this nations European roots.  It is also a reminder of the important role that New York State played in the establishment of the United States.  We are also going to be heading into the Mohawk Valley and Erie Canal Corridor which was an integral part of establishing interstate and international trade. Time to celebrate the end of our northern leg and prepare for our trek westward.

Day 4 Utica!!!

We are almost half way to the Falls and today our butts are starting to feel better.  We know each other well enough now that we can really start ribbing each other, well…. maybe I am getting more than my fair share of ribbing.  I consider it the greatest sign of affection, it sure seems like I get a lot of people poking fun at me.  Well, maybe it’s because I tend to go “exploring” occasionally.  If you are riding with me and totally trust me, we might go some places the other riders don’t get to experience. The other day they put that GPS tracking device on me and I just can’t explain why it might have shown me going off route to that brewpub.

Yes, we know that there might be times on the ride that you might want to go check something out that is not on the route, that is OK as long as you communicate with the ride coordinators what you are doing and leave your safety triangle on the main route where you went off course.

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Tim and Siri – Half Way!!

 

Today is our tipping point.  We are beginning to head west now and for me this leg of the journey is when I have found that I started to really peal back the layers of my mental toughness.  The reality of how far we have come and how far we have to go sets in.  It was on this part of the journey back in 2014 that I really started to realize the true power of living in the present moment.  I started to become much more aware of my surroundings and marveling over the amazing power and beauty of nature.  One goofy thing I started noticing on this part of the trip was a consistent point in the vertical climb of birds when they take off, where they poop.   Maybe small minds are easily amused, but I sure did start enjoying the basic things in life.  My sense of gratitude for the opportunity to do this ride really started to sink in in today.  The Saranac brewery that is waiting for us at the end of the day is also a decent motivator for some riders.

Before I rode the Empire State Ride, I didn’t know anything about the Mohawk River Valley.  What a beautiful part of the journey!  The historical significance of the Mohawk River Valley may not be apparent today, but back when the big push to move west was the thing to do, this beautiful valley and waterway provided a passage free of the more challenging terrain to the north and south. For most of the ride we are riding along the ridge of the valley and as a result have a fantastic view of the valley and Mohawk river.  As we get closer to Utica we have some awesome downhill descents and yes a corresponding climb or two.  We may tweak the route to offer part of the canal trail as an option to bypass a big long climb on this leg.   But, I will leave route management and the safety and logistics associated with providing alternate paths to our route commander and chief from Biketernity.

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Some of us at a rest stop on the Old Erie Canal

 

The day comes to a close as we all congregate at the Saranac Brewery for dinner, brewery tours and tastings for those so inclined to do so.

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No Caption required.  Come on in!!

 

Off to bed, tomorrow on the way to Syracuse will be a good day for drafting.  For those who do not have a lot of experience having someone break the wind (block the wind, not flatulence) in front of you, it makes a huge difference in the amount of effort it takes to pedal against the wind.  We need to talk about the safe way to draft before we do it so that everyone understands the critical success factors to keeping the wheels on the ground. Zero accidents and injuries is our goal.

Good night Utica.  Syracuse, here we come.

Day 5 Syracuse bound

We have some city streets to navigate early in the morning as we head out of Utica, but it doesn’t take long to get back to rural scenery.  This leg of the journey is pretty flat, which is why you might become a fan of drafting with your team mates.  I am always thankful for the opportunity to get behind a strong rider and also very happy to pull my weight and take the lead for others.  If we weren’t in the best shape when we started the ride, by day 5 we are feeling much better.  It’s a day where you just power along the scenery today includes a vast marshland if the conditions are right we may see some waterfowl.  Good times with good friends and great teammates.

This year we stayed at a campground outside of Syracuse near Weedsport called Frosty Acres.  The campground was very excited about having us stay.  They actually took up a collection in the preceding months to help us with our fundraising.  It was a special moment when we had the check presentation.  The realities of how widespread cancer is sets in once again as we hear about how it has affected the lives of our hosts.   We are reminded that while this is fun, we are accomplishing something that is much greater than anyone of us.   We have the ability to change the face of cancer with every dollar we collect for research.

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Check presentation – Thank you Frosty Acres!!

 

Day 6 Rochester here we come!

It is hard to believe that we are heading into our last evening before Niagara Falls, the anticipation of getting to the falls is building.  Tonight we will have a very festive dinner and celebration for those of us that are making the entire journey.  It is also very exciting for the many riders that will be joining us for the final leg of this journey.

More drafting today as we navigate some lowlands and start heading through the outlying communities leading in to Rochester.  There is always time for having some fun.  I picked up a corn on my foot.  Ha! Get it! Corn….on…..foot!!  I mean no disrespect for those actually suffering from corns on their feet.

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Corn on my foot!

 

 

Well my friends, this is our last night together, tomorrow is the big day.  What an accomplishment, only about 80 miles to go.  We couldn’t have done it without each other, we have become physically, mentally and perhaps spiritually stronger over the past 6 days.  This is something you will be proud tell people about.  Here we go!  Niagara Falls here we come!!!

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Party in Rochester!!!

 

Day 7 Niagara Falls!!!

 

Waking up this morning, getting a shower and having a great breakfast.  Time to put on our final Jersey showcasing our epic journey.  Morning photo’s together look great! We are one big team, we have come so far.  I have goosebumps looking at how fantastic we all look.  We represent a true cross section of the human race. We come in all kinds of shape, sizes and colors but the color of our blood is the same and so is our zest for life.  We now share a common bond as an Empire State Rider.  Let’s go meet our new friends who will be riding with us on this last leg of our journey.  It is exciting to be part of the final leg.  I have heard so many positive things from those that rode with us this year.  The Empire State Riders are an inspiration to others, true warriors who have made the journey and have put a dent in cancer.

Today we are riding near the small but important towns that line the Erie Canal.  Brockport, Middleport, Gasport, Lockport…….

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Be careful not to get too cocky about not having a flat tire the whole ride until you get to the end.  In year one I had my first flat a few miles out of Rochester and this year it happened to at least a couple of other people on the ride.  The good news is that we are always ready to help each other out and we have great SAG support if your situation is more severe than a  simple flat.

Lockport, which is where the last two locks on the Erie Canal are. Stopping at Lake Effect Ice Cream in Lockport is an awesome treat, it is unbelievable how many unique flavors of ice cream they have.  One of our amazing team members this year helped come up with one of the new flavors.  I don’t remember what it was, I just remember it was pretty darned good.

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Mary Lou at Lake Effect Ice Cream

 

We reach our final rest stop prior to etting to Niagara Falls and everyone hangs out until we are all gathered together.  Getting to arrive in the falls in one big group is going to be amazing.  We look awesome in our final day Jerseys,  A couple of miles out and the mist of the falls is visible, as we get closer you can start hearing the thunder of Niagara, what a beautiful site!

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Thunder of Niagara in the background!

 

The crowd waiting for us to get in is quite a rush, this is our chance to feel like Rock Stars for a few minutes.  Crack the Champaign, break out the pizza it’s time for high fives, hugs and smiles!  Photo Ops at the falls, TV Cameras recording and reporters interviewing.  We have done it, a ride of a lifetime, saving, changing and celebrating life.    Life is good.

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We Made It!!!!

 

It is really important that I mention the family members that helped us make this epic journey.  They have put up with us as we began training for the event months in advance.  They put up with us as we relentlessly talked about the ride as we did our fundraising.  They worried about us each and every day as we were on our journey.  We are in very good hands, but they may not be able to relate to that.  We also don’t get a lot of time to communicate with them as much as we might normally do.  They will see pictures of us on social media and the news as we make our journey across the state, they will be proud of us, but they will also feel a little left out. It is hard to convey to them how much this meant to us.  So don’t forget to thank them for all that they have done for you that helped you make this a success.  We couldn’t have done it without them.

I will close out with one of my favorite quotes from Mother Theresa – I cannot do what you can do, you cannot do what I do, but together we can do great things.

Cheers to ending cancer as we know it.

Terry

 

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Join Us! 2015 Empire State Ride – A life changing experience

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I rode the first Empire State Ride in May of 2014. Months leading up to my ride, our community was inundated with some very high profile cancer stories.  The stories included NFL quarterback Jim Kelly’s battle with cancer and a significant campaign for four year old Ben Sauer. The Blue for Ben campaign captured the attention of the entire Western New York community.  My personal emotional drive to punch cancer back was higher than normal because of these and other cancer experiences that were surrounding us.

Riding from the Stature of Liberty to Niagara Falls via the Hudson River and the Erie Canal corridor has a lot of symbolic and historical elements that I found to be inspirational and motivational.   The Statue of Liberty and New York City has been a beacon of hope for so many of our ancestors who came to this country. Starting the ride at this beacon of hope and traveling  inland along a path instrumental to the growth of America to one of the great natural wonders of the world in Niagara Falls, New York seemed like the ride of a lifetime.

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Prior to this ride I had never done a multi-day ride and actually had only done a couple of 100 day rides in my life.  I was more of a 40 mile rider and usually only on weekends.  I started to “train” for the ride 5 months prior by going to the gym about 4 days week.  I would alternate between the elliptical and stationary bike along with some pushups and plank work to strengthen my core.   As soon as the weather broke in the spring, I got as much riding in as I could which was probably about 50 to 80 miles a week.   I didn’t go over the top with training, but I felt ready.  I also knew that I wasn’t out to break any records. I wanted to just enjoy the scenery and go as fast or slow as needed to get to the days destination before dark.

The morning of starting the ride was super exciting as we were driving into New York City to Battery Park.    Getting on my bike and heading out of Battery Park along the west side of Manhattan on an early Sunday morning was such an incredible feeling.  It was certainly going to be an adventure of a lifetime.  I had no idea what was going to unfold during the days, but I knew it would be fantastic.

On day one of the ride, after I left the excitement of the city, I was quickly surprised by how beautiful it is riding along the Hudson River, the rock walls along the river are impressive, the rolling hills are not too intimidating and the small towns are incredibly welcoming.   The first day was relatively short which allowed for some relaxation and to focus on preparing for the days ahead.

Hudson River Activity

Day 2 and 3 are about enjoying beautiful country side as you head towards Albany; I was really looking forward to pulling up to the State Capital in Albany.  It was a really cool experience riding in to see the magnificent buildings in Albany and getting some photos with the State Capital in the background.  Albany is a significant turning point in the journey as you make a left turn and start heading east along the Erie Canal to your final destination.

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Day 4 of the ride was a very significant day for me.  It was actually my hardest day because I didn’t sleep all that well the night before, and  I had too much garlic with my pasta dinner..  I couldn’t get rid of my garlic breath and it was driving me crazy!  On the route that day the wind was a little strong and my legs started to cramp up..  While day 4 started as a tough day physically, it was also a life changing one for me.  On this particular day I learned the power of being present in the moment.  When I was able to focus my mind on the beauty that was around me like the bees that were in the flowers and the yellow finches that were continuously dancing in front of me, the effort it was taking to turn that crank seemed miniscule.  The pain in my legs went away and I was adsorbed in my surroundings.  I had read about this concept in the past, but it wasn’t until this ride that I realized how powerful it truly is.

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I am so looking forward to sharing this ride with others in 2015.  It is impossible to do a ride like this and not have it change your life in a positive way.  If you or anyone you know just needs to get away and put life in perspective, this is the ride to do it on.

Arriving in Rochester on the eve of the final day was almost surreal; I couldn’t believe that we had actually done this!  I was looking forward to meeting some friends the next morning who were going to ride into Niagara Falls with me.  I was very thankful for the opportunity to get some drafting buddies to help manage the headwind on the last day.  The fresh legs in front of me were strong and made my final leg effortless.

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Approaching Niagara Falls in the final miles of the ride was such an incredible feeling; you can see the mist from the Falls from miles away. As you get closer you can sense the buzz of the community and begin to hear the sound of the water.  The crowds of tourists treated us like rock stars and were snapping pictures.  They had no idea who we were, but everyone got caught up in the excitement along with us.   I can’t wait to witness and share this experience with others in 2015 and beyond.  It is truly life changing in so many ways.

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Cheers – Ride on! Donate Here!!  Your help is so appreciated!!

Terry

 

2014 Ride – A sweet ending to a beautiful journey – Day 7

ImageThis was an absolutely incredible journey for me.  When I arrived at Niagara Falls today, I certainly felt a great sense of accomplishment. I was also extremely thankful for the team of people that met me along the last 80 miles of my journey and rode with me to the finish line.

While this journey was about our quest to understand and prevent cancers, tonight’s post is a message about never quitting the pursuit of something you know is right.

In the preparation for this trip, I was faced with one obstacle after another. The big one started with the fact that as I was pulling out of my driveway to head to New York City and I still was not sure who was going to drive my support vehicle ahead of me back to Buffalo. I put my trust with God and he answered my prayers with my sister coming through as my final addition to my support crew.

The week before the ride I started to develop a currently unexplained issue with my left foot, it was swelling up and extremely painful, but I did not say anything to anybody, because I was determined that nothing would stand between me and this trip for a cause that I would hands down give my life for.  As we were riding down to Battery Park in the shadows of the Statue of Liberty, my foot was throbbing so bad that I wasn’t sure if I could make it, but I believed that if I just started riding my bike it would get better.  My intuition was correct, my foot was great while I was riding, but was extremely uncomfortable when I stopped.

On my first night at a campsite, I met Susan, who is currently going through treatment for cancer just north of New York City. Somehow during our brief encounter Susan and I had a connection that I believe gave us both the energy to continue in our independent pursuits.  Susan is now one of the reasons why I will never stop in this fight.  I know she will get through her treatments and I am rooting for her.

I will likely continue at least one more post to this blog series because I still need to adjust to everything that has happened in the past week, but in the mean time.   I would just say that whatever challenges we face, we can overcome them with friends, persistence and keeping our eyes on the objective while ignoring the noise that may distract us.

God Speed!

Peace and Grace!

Terry

 

 

2014 The Dawn of day seven – It takes a team

Image  It is the dawn of day seven the final day, tonight we shall rest – for a while.  The connectivity at the camp site was very limited last night, so I could not do a post yesterday.  It was a long day anyway, we didn’t get back to camp until around 9 PM.  I hit some pretty heavy rains for most of the day yesterday.  One significant lesson learned is to invest in some good rain gear.  I ended up with some pretty bad shivers and was extremely thankful for a Dunkin Donuts to warm up in.  The hand dryer in the bathroom was a life saver!

I am super excited and looking forward to getting to Goat Island today to complete this journey from the Statue of Liberty to the Falls.  My honor cards also got a little wet yesterday, we may need to do some repairs, but I can tell you that they truly did fuel me along the way as a continual reminder as to why we must never stop in this fight.

All of the elements that will continue to be critical in the war that we are fighting is completely dependent on great teams working together in unison. Teams that are focused on the bigger picture in our quest to end cancer as we know it.  I am so very thankful for the team that helped me pull this ride off.  My wife Amanda did an amazing job and spent ours of listing, shopping and packing.  We had more than enough food an nourishment for the whole week.   My sister and my mom were the best pit crew!  My sister maneuvered a big truck and camper in places that I never could have.

Onward to the Falls!  Time to go!  I hope you have a great day!  I know I will!

2014 – Day 4 and 5 – Statue to the Falls one crank at a time

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the experiences I have had so far as day five is coming to an end.  There are only two days left and while I have noticed that all bike shorts are not created equal (you should understand what that means), I can’t believe it is almost over.Image

Day 4 was a huge challenge for me.  I thought that after the beautiful hills between New York City and Albany I was home free, but for some reason my quads and lower back were talking back at me as I was half way between Albany and Utica. That was all balanced out today with a fantastic short day (only 50 something miles) and ending at the beautiful Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse at around two o’clock today.

 

ImageYesterday as I was riding for hours on end I started to think about what do you think about (or do) as you are pedaling for hour after hour with no one to talk to. Not to mention some backside discomfort (see previous comment related to bike shorts).  What really got me through all of those hours was actually just starting to pay attention to the beauty that was around me at any given moment.  I guess I was getting another life lesson about living in the moment and cherishing every bit of life that was surrounding me.  The distance between me and the end of the day or tomorrow did not really matter, what mattered  was that my crank made another revolution.  What also began to matter was the beautiful yellow finches that seemed to be flying in front as I proceeded down the trail.  I also became aware of the blood sweat and tears that went into making the canal and the buildings that I was passing along the way.

While I am enjoying the fantastic work of others that have gone before me, I begin to appreciate how important we all are in literally everything we do.   Frequently, my thoughts come back to the reason why I am doing this ride.  To be quite honest, I worry about the research that we are not able to fund, every budget cycle there are millions of dollars in requests that we can not fund.  I also think about the funding we need to help pay for clinical trials that may literally save lives today if we could afford to do them.  Some specific examples of these trials are:

  •  Brain Tumor Vaccine: For brain tumor patients, SurVax-M offers hope for the long term. This vaccine has shown encouraging results in a phase I clinical trial of patients with malignant gliomas (brain tumors).  Designed to destroy cancer cells left behind after surgery, the vaccine targets survivin, a protein expressed by most tumors, including 90% of malignant gliomas, the most common type of primary brain tumor. The prognosis for these tumors is generally poor.
  • Ovarian Cancer Vaccine: A vaccine that has shown promising results in patients with ovarian cancer is now available to eligible patients with many other types of solid tumors through a phase I clinical trial.

  • Lung Cancer Genetic Test: A promising genetic test for lung cancer that was developed at RPCI is under development. This genetic test analyzes lung cancer tumor tissue for 14 specific gene mutations known to play a role in lung cancer—genes that we can now treat with new-targeted drugs. These drugs, which can be taken orally in pill form, target only the cells that have these genetic abnormalities, focusing on the tumor, sparing healthy cells, and posing fewer side effects. Two of these drugs have already become standard of care therapies. The others are available at RPCI through  Phase I Clinical Studies Program.

There is more that I could cover but the point is that every single dollar that we can donate to these programs will change peoples lives and I am not talking about years from now, I am talking about today.

 

I know I went pretty deep in this blog, but I am doing this because it really matters and we need help.

 

Thank you so much for your help, if you see me on the road – give me a shout. 

 

Love you all!

 

Good Night

Terry

 

 

2014 Day 3 Reflection on why I Ride

ImageToday was such a beautiful day for riding and I am so extremely thankful for the opportunity to do so.   I actually had some flashbacks from my military service today.

I remember being in a submarine submerged for months at a time, some of the images that were on my mind frequently (when I was in places that shall remain secrets) were images that were mentioned in the song America the Beautiful.   I used to hear those words and reflect upon the many things that I have seen across this great country of ours.

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain, For purple mountain majesties, Above the fruited plain!, America! America! God shed His grace on thee, And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea!

Listening to these words, helped me justify why I was willing to take the oath to support and defend (even if it meant the ultimate sacrifice).

It was this same oath that woke me up as to why I needed to submerge myself in the war against cancer.

It was 1999 and I was at the start line for the Ride for Roswell, I was immersed in a sea of people that all had these stories about their loved ones that had been taken by this disease or were currently in the fight. As I was standing there and witnessing the tears streaming, the words of my military oath popped into my head. “that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”  All enemies, foreign and domestic!  As I realized the statistics of all of the people that were being attacked by cancer with one in three women and one in two men, I quickly realized that the biggest enemy our world has ever faced is cancer!

I took a new oath that day in 1999 and it was one that I have lived for the past 15 years.  I am fully committed to this fight and ever single one of my fellow citizens that is taken or attacked by this blasted enemy just gives me more resolve to fight harder.

If I am going to be in a fight, I want the best weapons available.  I believe that the researchers at Roswell have the potential to develop those weapons, but……they need financing to do it. That is where we come in………

In the words of one of my hero’s – Mother Theresa – “I can not do what you can do, you can not do what I can do, but together we can make a difference.”   Let us begin!

Donate to the Ride for Roswell.

2014 Day 2 – Great Ride! Great Scenery

The ride today was pretty non eventful if you don’t count the fact that I rode about an hour past the campsite before I realized it.  Oh well, at least the wind was at my back when I turned around.  So far the trip has been super enjoyable for my pit crew.  They went to Grand Central Station, Ellis Island and other tImageourist type activities in the city yesterday. 

Today they went to the Culinary Institute, Vanderbilt Estate and a few other places after they dropped the camper off.  So far, I’m feeling great!  Ready for what tomorrow may bring in Albany!

 

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