Day5: Delta to Huntsman Cancer Institute!

Home at last!! Day 5 of the journey is always filled with mixed emotions for me.  I am tired and everything hurts yet I want to get on the road and pedal next to my dear friends.  I know my family will be at the finish line and I can’t wait to see them, yet I don’t want the journey to end.

On the final leg of the Ride from Reno, we join together with the riders of the Huntsman 140.  It is exciting to see all the other riders who have come out to ride and join the fund raising effort.  There are lots of  weekend bike rides to choose from.  Everyone who chose this ride chose it on purpose and we were all united in a common goal: raise funds to support research and find a cure for ever type of cancer that exists.

Almost right off the bat our group had a mechanical and most of the other riders passed us up, and the majority of the rest of the way to Saratoga, our group was almost the same as it had been for the previous days.  Russ and Leslie Thompson joined us, along with Russ’ parents, and they were so helpful.  Ironically we had more mechanical issues on the first 50 miles of the last day than we had for the entire ride before then.  Whatever we needed to fix the problem at hand, Russ had it in his truck. Thank you Russ and Leslie!

Getting to Saratoga is always hard for me.  The road is gradually uphill with lots of rollers.  My legs are tired and my sit bones are tired of sitting :)  The Band of Brothers kept me in the group the whole time and made sure I was shielded from the wind.  I was falling a bit behind the group during the final climb into Eureka when Ravell came up behind me and put his hand on my back and literally pushed me up the hill.  I couldn’t believe the forward momentum his boost gave me!!

Getting to Huntsman after lunch is always very easy for me.  Maybe it’s resting just long enough for the Advil to kick in, maybe it’s being able to actually see the Huntsman Cancer Institute up on the hill, as soon as we get to Camp Williams.  The support along the way was excellent! Rest stops stocked with plenty to eat and drink and cheerful volunteers eager to help with whatever we needed.

After a stop at the doors of the Huntsman Cancer Institute, where several members of the Reno ride received life-saving treatment for cancer, we rolled through the Huntsman 140 finish line to a crowd of cheering and bell-ringing.  We made it!!

As of now, the riders in the Ride from Reno and the Huntsman 140 have raised over $413,000!!  That’s a heck of a lot of money to enable research to continue.  Thank you so very much to all those who supported me, donated on my behalf, and sent me encouraging notes here on this blog and on Facebook.  Every note was just like the push that Ravell gave me going up the hill to Eureka!

Until next year :)

Darcie

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment

Epilogue – Jeff Warren

The 2015 Ride From Reno is complete. Done. Finished. Finito.

An absolutely amazing group of people, riders and their supporters, came together to ride their bikes while raising funds to help Huntsman Cancer Institute develop better tolerated, less toxic treatments for cancer and, ultimately, cures for the > 200 types of this damnable disease.

Not one second was wasted on ‘awareness’ of cancer. Everyone knows cancer sucks. Everyone knows cancer kills. Everyone knows cancer destroys families. Everyone knows there is nothing redeeming in a cancer diagnosis. So just to make sure I’m clear on the purpose of this ride, it’s never been about ‘awareness’. We all know! As crass as it sounds, it’s about the Benjamin’s. It’s about taking control ourselves and waging war on cancer. It’s not about a single battle; this truly is a war which we will win! We know we’re not going to wake-up one morning to find a headline like we did 50-years ago: “Jonas Salk Develops Cure for Polio”. It’s not going to happen. And anyone who is foolish enough to believe the government is going to solve this problem is smoking crack. It’s up to each of us, individually, to do what we can to fund more acceptable treatments and cures for this insidious disease.

So we came together to do the Ride From Reno. When I started this event, I’m embarrassed to say, it was for selfish reasons. Cancer treatment was nothing less than scorched-earth policy and included lots of pain and suffering. When I started this ride I said, “If there’s suffering to be done, I say when it starts. I say how long it lasts. I say how intense it’s going to be. Not some freakin’ mutant cell!” And so started the Ride From Reno.

With invaluable help from the Huntsman Cancer Institute and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, the last day of the Ride From Reno now includes the Huntsman 140, and in 2015 the Ride From Reno team were the top Huntsman 140 fund-raisers. Whooooohoooooo!

What started as the 2015 Ride From Reno on Monday, June 15th, is now finished for this year. I got to spend the entire week with some of the very best people on the planet. I’m referring to the riders and their support crews. What amazing, kind, generous, and positive people each of these folks are. To put themselves through what everyone went through this year is unbelievable at the worst, and super-human at the best. Rob Berman, supported by Heidi Berman. Jason Bleak, supported by Chandler Bleak and Chelsea. Ravell Call, supported by Ray & Karen Van Uitert. Keith Facer, supported by Rich Pack. Todd Handy, supported by Jo Ann Handy. Rich Linton, supported by Vicki Linton. Scotty Medine, supported by Megan Warren-Medine. Larry Peterson, supported by Judy Peterson. Joe Plater, supported by Jim & Nikki Warren. Jon Rose, supported by Marian Sellers. Zo Roundy, supported by Jo Ann Handy & Codi Miller. Dan Sellers, supported by Marian Sellers. Darcie Strong, supported by Denise Martinsen. Brian Van Uitert, supported by Ray & Karen Van Uitert. Scott Wall, supported by Marsha Wall. And, me, supported by Jim & Nikki Warren and Janet & Josh Warren.

I consider each of these people close, personal friends, and would do anything for them. We’ve been through the crucible of battle together and what we’ve experienced in one week is more than most friendships endure in a lifetime. I have no idea if they feel the same way but each of these folks are people I’d count on in life & death situations. We’ve already been through some, and I know how they respond. Trust is a foregone conclusion. I can say without hesitation, holding nothing back, I love each of them like brothers and sisters.

And so it’s over for 2015. The near-death experiences. The joy. The happiness. The silliness. The tears. The emotion. The cause that brought all of us together. I’d NEVER choose to ride through the kind of heat we rode together through last week; the air temperature hovering near 100-degrees while the asphalt road surface had to radiate it’s heat at more than 110-degrees. I’d never choose to do that again. Except with you.

And I can’t wait until the 2016 Ride From Reno!

Much love,

Jeff

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment

Day 5 – Jeff Warren

I could hardly sleep last night. I didn’t get into bed until after midnight and woke-up at 4 a.m. ready to roll. I had so many things to do before the Huntsman 140 began and my mind was racing.

All the Ride From Reno riders met at the starting-line where we’d decided we’d ride the entire 140-mile distance together. Not separately or individually, but just as we’d ridden the previous 527-miles: together. All but one of us, who felt the need to ride off with the fastest group, kept that commitment.

We weren’t 20-miles into the Huntsman 140 when Rob cut a tire, flatted, and we spent quite a bit of time assembling everything needed to get him back on the road. That’s the way the entire day went . . . flat after mechanical, after mechanical and flat. As we committed to one another earlier, anytime someone was sittin’-on-the-rivet we’d immediately dial it back. Anytime someone got dropped, we’d slow down or stop and wait. I’ve never ridden with a more selfless group of men and women.

And keep in mind our legs weren’t exactly fresh . . . they already had more than 500-miles on them this week and we were looking for strong, fresh legs, to get us home. When Russ and Leslie Thompson and Colt Flitton joined us it was nothing less than a godsend.

As we descended from Eureka to Elberta, a red Suburban drove past Scott Wall and me and purposely side-swiped him, knocking him to the right and causing him to swerve back and forth, nearly going to the ground at > 40-mph. I didn’t get the car’s license number because I was focused on Scott, but others in our group also reported a red Suburban buzzing them. What a douche-bag that driver had to be. I hope to have the opportunity of meeting him someday.

We had a quick but wonderful lunch at Westlake High School in Lehi and headed back out to finish the day. Somewhere along the way, in the midst of all the twists and turns through Salt Lake City, we lost Joe and the group felt so badly. We stopped, several times, waited, and each person asked the same question: “Where did you last see Joe?” Finally, just a few blocks from the finish-line, we were reunited with him and continued on our way.

Rather than first ride to the finish-line, we first, at my request, rode to the doors of Huntsman Cancer Institute where I did my own treatment for cancer along with several others in our group. It was an emotional time for me, and for several others but, we had made it. We had ridden, not to make others aware of cancer . . . it’s not a stretch for any of us to say cancer sucks. We all know it. This ride was our effort to raise additional funds to develop better tolerated, less toxic treatments for cancer and, ultimately, cures for the > 200 types of this damnable disease.

We rode back down to the finish-line where our families were waiting, hugged them, loved them, and basked in being with them again.

We had done it.

Much love,

Jeff

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment

2015 Ride from Reno Day 5 – the H-140

Delta to HCI, the Huntsman-140

That’s 8 times in the books. The road is the same but the ride is not. Different weather, different events on the road, some new and some old friends to ride with. What was once relatively small has now become LARGE. Large in many ways.

What a fun day I had. I made the effort to meet as many people as I could and learn why they were doing the H-140. There was the guy from Louisiana, another that a week ago was in Saudi Arabia, a guy from Idaho, a police officer from Ely as well as many guys on the ride as teams. Qualtrics, Adobe Cycling, Mt Nebo Cycling, Home Town Heroes and the list goes on. A special thanks to those in particular who let me join in along the way. But most of all, my son Tony. What a delight to be able to ride with him much of the time. I’m not sure just how it worked out but he and I road from the Elberta rest stop to Saratoga Springs virtually alone. No one was with us and we only passed a couple of riders on the road. It was great to know that what ever there is family support.

Toward the end of the day my good friend Jason was having some struggles. I chose to leave the crowd and stick with him to the finish line. What an inspiration – no matter what he was going to finish and he has been that way all week! Determination, drive, guts what ever it was he had it and we saw it. But this is nothing new to people who are now, or in the past struggling with cancer. After crossing the finish line I road up to the north door of the HCI, the door I had gone through for my appointments. I was all alone having missed the guys that went a different way to the south door. Alone, yes. The struggle with cancer is very personal. Alone, NO! There are dozens in my support system both on and off the bike. Thanks to all of you who made this yet another epic ride. Especially Lori, Jackie and Jen who have done a stellar job of organizing the event and the dozens of volunteers who showed up to fill our water bottles and stomach and cheer us on our way. Also the sponsors who have stepped up with support and food, especially Nate Wade Subaru who has been with us since the beginning and represented well by Bob Berman who road with us the entire way this year. And yes, Jeff! The inspiration and driving force that makes the wheels go round – thanks Jeff! But in the end it’s Judy, my wife, who has made it possible for me to be where I am and doing what I’m doing. She is the rock of my life!

Posted in Ride 2015 | 1 Comment

Day 4 – Jeff Warren

First of all, my apologies for not posting sooner.

Day-4 began at the Wind Farm ~ 40-miles east of Ely, Nevada, and ended at Delta, Utah, a mere 112-miles later. I don’t know why this day is so taxing but, I still haven’t figured-out if it’s mentally or physically taxing or some weird combination of both . . . I have to giggle a bit as I write this because there isn’t a day on the Ride From Reno that isn’t challenging. By Day-4, the fatigue, muscle soreness, painful sit-bones, and other assorted and sundry maladies have become maximized. It’s just part of the process.

The first part of Day-4 begins with a climb to Sacramento Pass, a place that has become sacred to those of us who participate in any way on this ride. It’s where we stop to write in the road with chalk the names of those we know who have, or have had, cancer. All of us . . . riders, support drivers, all who are present, particpate and the spirit is palpable. It’s a place where tears are unabashedly shed, where sobs go unchecked without even trying to supress them, and a place where hugs and embraces happen constantly. Sacramento Pass is a place where emotion can overflow whatever normal constraints might be. We wrote name after name in the road, which is, to me, so very, very sad. Only because there are hundreds of people who we know whose names were written that morning. For a group like ours to know hundreds of people who have, or have had cancer, is certainly nothing to be proud of. Indeed, it shows the indiscriminate way this disease moves among our families, friends, and those we hold dear.

While at Sacramento Pass we unfurled 2 banners made by my daughter, Heidi. The group held-up signs which read: “We Love You Mark” and “We Love You Alisa”.

Mark Sykes was a member of our bike club and lost his battle with cancer earlier this year. It was Mark’s desire to join us on the Ride From Reno for the past several years but his physician always recommended against it. Mark raced LOTOJA with his brother, Scott, just a few months before his death and I had the very best experience of my 8 LOTOJA races as I rode with Mark and Scott, and Scott literally pushed Mark, hand on Mark’s back, up the Strawberry climb. It was an experience I’ll never, ever, forget and one of the greatest examples of love I’ve ever seen.

The 2nd banner was for Alisa Linton, daughter-in-law of Rich and Vicki Linton, who have participated in our last several rides. Alisa lost her battle with cancer just a few weeks ago. Other than a brief meeting with Alisa I never had a real conversation with her but, Rich and Vicki are just wonderful, kind, generous, people and it’s readily apparent how Alisa’s passing has affected them. I know all of the Linton’s, especially Alisa’s husband, Josh, and her boys, will miss her intensely. Such is cancer. And it has to stop.

We descended Sacramento Pass to the Nevada/Utah border where we took a few photos and then crossed the Valley of Death before ascending Small Chainring Pass for lunch. Todd Handy, who I consider a brother, rode with me and talked with me nearly the entire way to the summit. Todd has cancer NOW and yet makes it his mission to relieve the suffering of others. He’s one of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet.

The ride into Delta from Small Chainring Pass was oppressively hot. Swelteringly hot. Looking back at it from the air-conditioned comfort of my den, I’m still not certain how we, or any human-being, could do it. But do it we did and arriving in Delta was like Christmas morning . . . smiles, laughter, happiness, joy, and enthusiasm from everyone.

We’d done it, and now had to simply complete the last 140-miles with those who were coming out to ride the Huntsman 140.

Much love,

Jeff

Posted in Ride 2015 | 1 Comment

Rest Day then Delta – Huntsman Cancer Institute

REST DAY – Thursday night I was nearly giddy with the fact that I would not have to wake up at 5:30am the next morning!  No alarm and sleep as long as my body will let me.  Friday morning I met Todd Handy in the laundry room where I was relaxing reading a book and tending to some dirty cycling kits.  125 miles will put some serious salt, dirt, dust, and grime into your bibs and jersey.  Around 1pm I had to run up to SLC to pick up my car from the service department and the I-15 southbound traffic was getting ugly around 4pm.  So I decided I would drive the Huntsman 140 route down Redwood Rd., through Saratoga Springs, across the back side of Utah Lake into Elberta, then Hwy 6 to Delta.  Very little traffic and a lot of time to think over the past 4 days and the amazing riders and loving support crew.

Every day during the ride from Reno, it becomes more obvious that success is dependent on the entire group.  Success on a daily basis cannot be accomplished along; it can only happen when the collective efforts of the riders and support crew come together as a whole.  Many times, what a rider needs is carried by someone else’s support crew.  For example, Brian Van Uitert brought more than a gallon of pickle juice.  After Day 1, many of the group, including myself, were asking for some of the pickle juice to stave off dehydration and cramping.  Zo Roundy and Todd Handy brought home made energy bars made of rice, bacon & eggs.  They willingly shared and they are oh so good!!

By parallel, the only way for cancer patients make it through each day is with a team of family, friends, doctors, nurses, and caregivers.

DAY 6 – TO HUNTSMAN CANCER INSTITUTE – Bright, sunny, and hot :)  The weather recipe for each day.  But today there are 150 additional riders in Delta including my brother in law Kraig!  15 miles out of Delta, a mechanical problem and flat tire.  Before the second rest stop (50 miles) we had another flat.  Three more flats in the group added to the delay and anticipation of arriving in SLC.

5 miles from the Huntsman Cancer Institute, it was as if the horses could smell the barn.  The pace kept surging and riders were talking of seeing families, friends and children.  A quick detour up to HCI gave the RFR group an opportunity to reflect on cancer’s total impact.  In quiet reflective moments we hugged and thanked each other.  Thinking back to the entire week, I was awed at the power displayed by the group that includes four cancer survivors and three current cancer patients; just plain awe for these people!

Riding across the finish line with the group, I saw my wife Susan waiting for me and was overcome by emotion; joy, sadness, relief, etc. (Our teenage children were getting home from their own activities)  I also saw Richard Pack; my brother in law and support crew; I could not have done this amazing ride without Rich.  Then finally, my brother-in-law Kraig Graham who rode with me from Delta today.

I am so grateful for Jeff’s invitation to Ride from Reno and for each of the riders and support crew.  I cannot put into words the feelings and emotions that I have for this past week.  But I feel exactly as Zo Roundy said; 51 weeks to RFR 2016 – bring it on.

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment

Day 5 & 6 – Rest Day in Delta, and Delta to SLC (‘Zo)

After 4 straight days in a row riding our bikes for 120+ miles each day – it was nice to not set the alarm for Friday morning, and sleep in. Which is exactly what I did!! It was a great day in Delta. Warm, sunny…perfect day to relax, and rest the sit bones and fatigued legs. Breakfast at the Delta Cafe was fantastic….I was literally licking my plate clean I was so hungry…and forked food off Codi’s plate too when she wasn’t looking. The afternoon consisted of some good music, napping, and sitting by the pool.  And of course, the tradition of washing bikes. Larry, Ravell, Jeff and I gave the bikes a nice bath – which is actually a very relaxing activity for me! Several of us gathered in the evening to have a last dinner together at the Mi Rancherita mexican restaurant. It was a fantastic day, spent with fantastic people!!

Day 6…which is also known as the Huntsman 140, is our last leg of the Ride from Reno. 140 miles from Delta to Salt Lake City. Symbolically ending at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. We were joined in Delta by many riders, and even more along the way (from varying route options for riders). We had Colt, Russ, Leslie, and Tony stay with us all day – helping bring us back to Salt Lake City, with some long and strong pulls.  The day on the bike was filled with some flat tires, a few mechanical problems, and some dang hot weather. But it was a great day on the bike nonetheless. We had Janet & Josh, Vicki, Codi, and Russ’ parents supporting us from behind all day long – so help was always near.

Due to construction near HCI right now, this year’s finish was moved a few blocks away to Fort Douglas. It was important to Jeff (and the rest of the group) that the Ride from Reno finish at HCI – so as we neared the finish line, we made a detour first, and rode up the hill to doors of the HCI. It was a solemn moment, as all of us had a chance to share some tears and hugs with just us, the riders, all alone. Nobody else around. After a quick picture…..it was time to get down the hill and see our families…stat!!

Words cannot describe the emotion felt as we all spread wide across the road and crossed through the finish line together. Cheers were loud, clapping hands and whistling filled the air. I cried effortlessly behind my sunglasses, struggling to keep my composure. I found my children…who came running to me, and I just sobbed, out loud, as we all hugged. My parents came over, my brother and his family, and Codi and her children. It meant so much to me to have all these people waiting at the finish for me. I balled like a baby…and it felt good. Felt complete.

It is hard to summarize the week, and I won’t lie…it is a week I wish wouldn’t have to end. Aside from missing our families, which we all did very much, it was a week filled with gratitude. Suffering. Compassion. Laughter. Tears. Fist Bumps. Hugs. New Memories. Love. But most of all…filled with “Purpose!” Every single moment of time this past week was filled with meaning. This is an event, of epic proportion, that cannot be replicated. It simply cannot.

I want to thank everyone involved with this year’s RFR. We speak of our support teams. They are life-blood to us. They all work so hard to make sure we survive the pain, the heat, the hundreds of miles on the road. They do it with a smile, and words of encouragement. Special thanks to Jo Ann Handy and Codi Miller – who took especially good care of me on this trip. Jo Ann is more than a special lady…she is a mom to me. Has been for years now. We shared a hug on the top of Sacramento Pass that will not ever be forgotten. Thank you Jo Ann. Codi joined us Wednesday night – and I am so thankful for her sacrifice away from her family to be a part of the last half of the week. She immediately was welcomed by everyone, and fit right in with the rest of these amazing people on this journey. She had a chance to be a part of Thursday’s tradition atop Sacramento Pass – and I know she felt the love and compassion…the genuine spirit of this group, as she got to know everyone over the next few days. She is an incredible person, who I am blessed to have beside me.

I love Jeff Warren, and every last one of these 1st class people with whom I have spent the last week with. You couldn’t assemble a finer group -period! Thank you to all who have supported me along this journey. Many from afar, with thoughts, prayers, well-wishes, and contributions to our collective fundraising effort. All of you have helped make this week what it was for me. I am so grateful this day, Father’s Day (as I finish my last blog entry) – for my children, family, friends, for my dad – Alan Roundy – and for my Heavenly Father.

Only 51 weeks until RFR2016……..bring it on!!!

Much love,

‘Zo

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment

Day 5 (or is it 6)

The final 140 miles is in the books and time to let the tailbone heal. Was great to have so many rider out of Delta and the conditions were ideal. Lots of tire issues slowed us down but only delayed the inevitable, we were going to make it to HCI. Special thanks to Jeff and Larry for all the arm twisting and encouragement to get me to do the Ride From Reno. Certainly they had more faith in me than I had in myself. Part of doing something exceptional is a belief in it happening. Their belief in me is what make it possible. And in the same sense, cures for cancer are possible. All those who donated are making that difference in someone else’s life.

Posted in Ride 2015 | Leave a comment