Friends and Family Team

6 Members

Lifetime total: $139708.7400

Team Captain: Chuck Gross

ID: 12663


Why do I ride?

Three plus years ago I was asked if I wanted to join a Pedal the Cause team. My thought was that I like to ride my bike and Pedal was a way to raise money doing something enjoyable. Why not? Little did I know how much it would change how and why I ride.

The first year was full of anxiety, as I did not know what to expect. Would the members of the team be fun to be around? Would I be accepted? Was I going to enjoy the ride? Was this a worthy cause? Lots of questions. With a few warm up rides, most questions were answered. Yes, team members were fun and seemed to have the same passion for riding. There was still the question of purpose and the actual weekend of Pedal events.

First year. Started with a beautiful day. The amphitheater was buzzing with excitement. Lots of things to see and soak up. Seemed like a high profile fundraiser. Really cool free stuff. But I had raised the donations and wanted to prove to my sponsors that this was serious. Found myself riding alone for the majority of 37 miles. Really felt good. Had some laughs with fellow riders, great food and a few beers afterward. It was time to leave and feeling good about my accomplishment. But then something happened on the way out. As with all the riders, the MC called out their names when finishing. Then came a rider with a couple of dozen supporters from various states. Pretty awesome as they all cheered when he finished. As he rode past the finish line, he collapsed in front of me. Found myself bending over to help when the announcer said he had ridden with terminal cancer. That?s when I realized he had not collapsed because of fatigue but the emotions had caught up to him. Suddenly a couple of dozen family and friends of a terminal cancer patient who had ridden 75 miles surrounded me. My accomplishment was nothing. Emotionally shot, broke down walking to the car. Why do I ride?

Second year. Excited, relaxed and ready. Raise more and ride further. Pedal was legit. The donations do make a difference. I would ride to make sure not only my sponsors knew I was working for them but that Pedal the Cause would benefit. I had been sick the week prior and wondered about finishing. Fifty miles seems like a good number. One of our close friends had a sister pass as a result of brain cancer. She would come to see me finish. Determined, fifty was not hard. Finishing with our friend being there was inspiring. Being sick would not stop me. Emergency appendectomy a few days later but I had witnessed a terminally ill man go 75. Did not compare. Did not feel like eating much after the ride but my wife and friend wanted a little something. As I sat and waited for them a young girl, 10 or 11 with no hair, sat down next to me. Very much a softy when it comes to kids. Here we go again, my emotions drained me. As we chatted, her mom told me her 8yr old sister had ridden 15 miles. Again, I broke down on the way to the car. How can someone so young be stricken with such a horrible disease? Why do I ride?

Third year. More motivated than ever I would ride the metric century (66 miles). This year my family would be more involved. My aunt had passed due to blood cancer and my uncle had passed due to complications from leukemia. Most of us have had close family or friends fight cancer. For me it?s hard to listen to doctors. I feel helpless other than supporting the patient and family. My wife and kids, cousins, aunt, and friends would come to motivate. They cheered at the finish. Then it came time to wind down. Seems it always catches up to me after the ride. Thoughts revolved around two family members we would not see again because of various forms of cancer. Why do I ride?

Of course, it all started because I enjoyed the exercise and the meditational value that comes with riding. It has become a passion to be able to make a difference. We can help and do help.

That?s why we ride.

Please join us.


TEAM Cancer is Gross


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