Sunday, November 19, 2017

Cyclists for Team Seattle head down  Center Avenue in Hardin  Monday  evening as they resume their ride across America. The three pictured in the  foreground are  (from the left) Jessica O’Toole, Chris Tortorici and Rachel Hughes.

Crossing America in 70 days

Cyclists ride cross-country to fight cancer

In the middle of a cross-country bike ride from Baltimore to Seattle, around 20 cyclists stopped in Hardin for a night’s rest on Monday, marking day 44 of a 70-day trip in support of those affected by cancer.

The group is one of many who cycle cross-country in partnership with 4K for Cancer program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. This will represent the 15th year for the program, formed in 2001. Participants travel across America and raise funds to support young adults affected by cancer. In 2015, 170 cyclers raised over $1 million.

“The ride is amazing,” said cyclist Mia Dohrmann. “It’s incredible. Every day is better than the next and Montana has definitely been really beautiful. Personally, it was the state I was most excited for and so far it has really exceeded my expectations.”

For Dorhmann, the ride was far more physically demanding than mental at first.

“We hit the Appalachian foothills on day two so there was a lot of climbing,” she said, “but after you do it every day for so long, your body gets used to it so now, it becomes more mentally draining than physical.”

Bikers ride 7 to 8 hours and average around 80 miles per day. Monday was a 50-mile excursion and the previous day, cyclist Kate Wilcox said, was around 100 miles.

For Wilcox, the cross-country ride, which she does in dedication of her childhood best friend, is her first.

 “When I was in elementary school, one of my best friends passed away to leukemia,” she continued. “How she lived her life in the couple of years she knew she had cancer has really inspired how I live the rest of my life.”

“They sent us a training schedule beforehand so, as much time as we could put in to it, we did,” she said. “Essentially, we all just came together at the beginning.”

Riders pass the time with conversation, games, water stops, scenic views and thoughts of those for whom they are riding.

“A few people knew each other going in [the group] but for the most part, we just all came together as strangers for the same cause,” Dohrmann said. “We all come from different parts of the country, different universities and we all found out about the program.”

For more information on the 4K for Cancer program, visit 4kforcancer.org. 

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