Sacramento Pass and Delta

Larry is right.  For being the shortest actual mileage day it feels like the very longest day.  By day 4 we are all very tired and sore and the roads on day 4 are long and straight.  We started the day climbing up to Sacramento Pass where we all write names with chalk on the road to honor those we love who have dealt with cancer.  I have written a few of the same names each year and sadly a few new names this year too.  In a way, writing these names is akin to what we all do on Memorial Day when taking flowers to graves.  To my Uncle Steve and my dear friends Mike and Brian, I have not forgotten you.  I remember the good times we had at the cabin, working through out staffing forecast issues at the call center, and the rides in Moab and St. George.

After the stop at the border we started across the first of the long straight roads.  The wind there was not anywhere near as bad as last year but as soon as we turned north it seemed like we had wind in our faces from every possible direction.  We stuck together in a tight group and kept going.

In general every day group bike rides I’d say its rare to see people give up their individual quests for Strava records or high wattage outputs or speed records to help another rider, yet I saw this take place many times throughout the ride.  There are some big guys in the group who can put out a ton of power and many times I saw them ride for a long time up front to break the wind for the rest of the group.  There were lots of backward glances to make sure everyone was still in the group.

At long last we arrived in Delta and enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the park, celebrating Jason’s birthday and the 50th wedding anniversary of Brian’s parents Ray and Karen.  Today we will rest and prepare for the final 140 miles of this journey.

Thank you again to all our support crew!  It was a long haul into Delta and they kept tabs on us every few miles to make sure we were ok.

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Day 4 – Rich Linton Support

Day 4 at Sacramento pass is an emotional day. A day to remember those that have lost their battle with cancer and those that are still fighting for their lives. Rich lost his mom to cancer when he was 11. We have a daughter in law with stage IV melanoma. The back of the RFR jerseys indicate that a bad day on the bike is still better than any day of chemo. The riders hurt. They are tired. There are hills and valleys and miles and miles of nothing to cross. And yet they ride on. Their ride symbolizes the cancer journey. There are hills and valleys and sometimes miles and miles of nothing to cross. The one with cancer hurts and is tired. And yet they persevere – they ride on. The support person watches and worries. The support person gives what they can, but it is the rider doing the work. From the support perspective, it is a helpless feeling. You want to help, you want to make the pain go away – and yet you can’t. So you drive extra miles to the bike shop so the rider can have his favorite bike to finish the journey. We have racked and unracked three bikes each day. Rich brought an extra bike – not anticipating that he would need it, but just in case. Today at the last summit of the day, he noticed this bubble in the tire. It must have expanded after stopping because he was able to ride up the hill. Currently the tire is not rotating. He has had this problem before but he just had the tires checked and we thought that the problem was solved. Not so. So he rode his extra bike into Delta and we will get a new tire on Friday. A great big thanks to all the riders and support people. It has been an amazing week.

tire bubble

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Day 4: Ely to Delta through Sacramento Pass

This is typically the most emotional day of the ride.  Today was no exception.  We ride for our loved ones and friends who have been claimed or maimed by this dreaded monster called cancer.  Close to our hearts and minds today is our Bryce, our daughter Tammy’s husband who was snatched from this life by melanoma at the tender age of 32.  Danika his daughter is his darling legacy.  Today was made even more tender by the fact that today is Bryce’s 40th birthday.  How memorable.  How sad. We remember Bryce, Richard, Tim, Pat, Kathy, Lori, Tracy, Val (just diagnosed this week!), Marian (happily with us to sag wagon on this RFR), Ilene, and so many of my patients with cancer of so many varieties. Well, as to the ride, we started right off today, as seems each day, going UPHILL.  Luckily, just as we learned from Newton, “what goes up, must come down!”  But Newton didn’t say “it must go up again”!  But the Ride From Reno is all about ups and downs.  12 summits.  26000 feet of climb.  Yet, as I rode up the hills today I simply couldn’t quit thinking about Bryce.  As our jerseys state:  “The worst day on the bike is still better than the best day of Chemo”.  As I remembered Bryce’s suffering through radiation (also with Gordon Watson, Jeff’s Radiation Oncologist) and Chemotherapy I just put thoughts of my own small pains and feelings of sickness into the back of my mind and just rode. We have had a wonderful experience together on this ride.  I am so impressed by the camaraderie of the group.  Thanks to Jeff for his enduring commitment, and to Jason, Brian, Joe, Scottie, Jon, Darcie, Todd, Rich, and and Larry for enriching our lives.

Well, a day of resting those “sore spots” tomorrow, then the Huntsman 140 Saturday.  What a great event this has become.  Fundraising has eclipsed the goal again this year…and I know of other donations yet to be sent in by several of my dear friends.  Thanks to them all!


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Day 4 to Delta

Today was a magnificent day! First of all, we were able to spend some time at the top of Sacramento Pass and we wrote the names of our loved ones, friends and family who have endured with success their battle with cancer, those who have lost their battle and those who are currently fighting the fight. It is a very special place to be at the top of a mountain summit with the thought of special people on our minds in addition to why we are spending a week riding from Reno to SLC.

Secondly, the sun was out today and it was actually hot! It was a very welcome relief since we have been enduring extreme cold and frigid winds for the past two days so this was well received by everyone.

Third, we woke up this morning and sometimes it just doesn’t get any better than that.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of today was the wind. It came at us from every conceivable direction except from where it was most needed…from behind. We suffered like dogs today fighting the wind across the Nevada and Utah Desert’s, but, we were willing to suffer if we can help to raise sufficient funds to assist in finding a cure for cancer. Every pedal stroke is worth the pain, discomfort, lack of sleep, sun burn and exhaustion we each dealt with because of the end result…money to fund cancer research.

Since Friday is a “rest day” I am thrilled to be able to sleep in and actually give my legs a break because they, along with other body parts, are really tired.

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2014 Ride from Reno – Day 4

2014-06-19 09.02.372014-06-19 09.04.15 copyLongest Short day? Yes, the ride on day 4 is always the longest day yet it is the shortest distance ridden in a single day, the least time spent in the saddle and the least climbing. My average heart rate for the day was only 106 – most people get that just walking around the block. Days and distance and weather begin to take a toll. I’m also convinced that the time we take on Sacramento Pass honoring those who’s names we carry also takes an emotional toll. Last year I started something new for me. I took along a bottle and placed a paper with the names of people for whom I ride in the bottle and buried it under a cedar tree on top of the pass. The list included those who had lost their battle, those who had won their battle and those who are now fighting for their lives. I was happy to find the pile of stones I placed over the spot and the bottle intact. I added a new list to the bottle as well as list given by a couple of other riders. Unfortunately the list is growing. Seven years ago I road for just my sister, now there are 85 on the list and the list will continue to grow. That’s why we do this ride – to try to make a difference – and we are. More people are involved and more money is being raised than ever. Involvement and money that makes a difference in the lives of people, people you know!

What a terrific group of people on the ride this week. It’s family, a special family made up of male and female, young and old, big and small, strong and weak with all kinds of personalities, likes and dislikes. A group of individuals pulling together for a common cause, a common objective – and mountains can be over come, problems solved and best of all – lives changed. These are not just passing aquatintances but friends for life. Friendships forged in the furnace of adversity.

What a special evening in Delta as we enjoyed Dutch oven BB-Q, Jason’s birthday and a once in a life time event, the 50th wedding anniversary of Ray and Karen all in the local city park. Doesn’t get any better than this. Lot’s of thanks to those who planned these events. Now to get prepared for the dozens and dozens of riders who will join us on Saturday.

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Day 3 – Eureka, NV, to 40-Miles East of Ely

First and foremost I have to thank Larry Peterson for his help and companionship throughout the day today. Larry is an amazing friend who also happens to be an incredible cyclist. Freak of nature would be more appropriate. Larry stayed by my side on most all the climbs today, of which there were many.

Secondarily, I have to thank Jason Bleak for his help as well. Jason is the toughest man I know, a tremendous cyclist, and an amazing human being. Jason can pull our group for mile after mile and today, made sure I was protected from the ever changing wind. And I mean ever changing. The wind would change direction minute-by-minute. I’ve never experienced anything like today’s wind.

I felt really good when the day started and had a protein shake for breakfast. Somehow I forgot to eat again until we pulled into McDonald’s in Ely, about 75-miles later (truly a rookie mistake!). I bonked so hard I felt as though I could barely turn the cranks. I thought I’d get over bonking once I got some food into me but I was totally disappointed . . . I never recovered today. If not for Larry, Jason, and the rest of our amazing group I never would have made it to the end of today’s ride.

I have to admit that today I experienced a flood of emotions, which probably contributed to my lack of nutritional focus. I thought today about Dr. Gordon Watson. Gordon is my Radiation Oncologist, a brilliant man, and also a great friend. While Jeff Haller did my 2 surgeries, Gordon directed my care. There were 4 of us who were treated by Gordon (we all got acquainted during our radiation therapy). Out of the 4, 1 is dead, 2 have had multiple strokes, and then there’s me. While I’m eternally grateful for my great health and abundant blessings, I have to ask and wonder, “why me?” I can only imagine the toll something like this takes on Gordon. He did everything right, treated each of us exactly as he should have, and I’m the ‘one’ who had the outcome everyone worked and hoped for. Why?

I remember laying in my hospital room following one of my surgeries and smiling and waving at a lady who was being wheeled to surgery for the same type of cancer I had. She didn’t make it. I did. Why?

Tonight I checked my e-mail and had a note from a friend detailing a conversation he had with a friend of his. His friends wife is ‘full of cancer’. I also had a note from one of my sisters who asked me to add a friend of hers to the list I carry with me . . . this friend has a ‘loaf of bread sized tumor in her abdomen’. This despicable, insidious, damnable disease known as cancer has to be stopped.

That’s the reason we’re all out here. That’s why we’re willingly suffering each day. Because Jason, Todd, Rich, Scotty, Larry, Joe, Jon, Dan, Darcie, and Brian are committed to doing our part to raise funds for Huntsman Cancer Institute where they’re working to find better tolerated and less toxic treatments for cancer and, ultimately, cures for the >200 types of this disease. And it’s also why those who are supporting us each day are here.

We’re committed to do our part. Will you do likewise, please? Go to to donate to our cause, and your cause, today.

Tomorrow it’s on to Delta, Utah! Stay tuned!


P.S. Sorry about the length of this post. I’m sure I’ll hear about it in the morning from my riding companions! :>)

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Day 3 – Eureka to … The other side of the wind farm after Connor Pass

I completely agree with Jason.  What a great day to be alive! A great day to ride up and over 5 mountain passes.  It was cool this morning but sunny.  According to our weather apps it was actually very close to the same temperature it was the previous day at Cold Springs but the sun made all the difference.  Winds were relatively gentle today, compared to yesterday and compared to this same day last year.  Last year it was practically a hurricane when we got to Ely and we all had to pep talk ourselves into leaving the McDonalds parking lot after lunch.  There was some wind today but it wasn’t as bad as I remember it being last year.

Our support crews have been amazing and wonderful.  As we are riding they get out of their cars and cheer us on and shout encouragement to us.  As soon as we get to a stopping point they are ready and waiting to fill up bottles and provide food.  While most of us have a dedicated support vehicle (driven by a loved one who has also taken time off work and given up time with family to support each of us on this ride), all the support crews help everyone.  Anything anyone has in their car is offered if someone else needs it.  Thank you to all the support drivers.  There is no way we could do this ride without you.

Unless of course, we change the format of the ride to loaded touring.  Since we left Reno we have actually seen quite a few people riding our same route, some in the same direction, some going the opposite way, riding bikes with packs on both sides, front and back.  What these people are doing makes me feel like a huge sissy! All I am doing is riding with a few snacks in my back pocket.  These people are riding cross country with ALL their stuff ON their bikes.  We met a young guy today at the bottom of Connor Pass who was traveling from San Francisco to Boston.  We had a good chat with him and wished him luck. (For the record I am not suggesting that we start doing loaded touring.  Support crew, please keep doing what you are doing.  You are wonderful!)

I read on the Huntsman 140 website tonight that the participants of the H140 ride, coming up on Saturday, have raised $311,000 for cancer research at Huntsman.  The goal set by the organizing committee for this year’s ride was $300,000 and already, with 2 days still left go to, that goal has been surpassed.  Just a few years ago, Jeff was doing this ride solo and a few years after that, it was a Bountiful Mazda club event, and now it has evolved into an event that raises a heck of a lot of money that will be used to fund cancer research.  Jeff, what an amazing and wonderful legacy you have created.  Your ride is now a major fund raising event for Huntsman and the research that these funds provides has the potential for worldwide impact.  Thank you for your perseverance and dedication in creating this ride, and thank you for inviting me to join you.

Thank you to everyone who has sent encouraging words to me, through the blog and through the FB page.  It really does help, when the roads get long and the saddle gets hard, to know that friends and family and loved ones are cheering us on from afar.

Tomorrow is the day where we will all pay special tribute to those we know whose lives have been impacted by cancer.  Second probably to rolling into the Huntsman Cancer Center parking lot to our waiting families, this time tomorrow is probably the most precious of this entire ride.  And the weather forecast says it will be warm.  Another great day to be alive!!

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