I'd like to share some final statistics at September end for the Great Cycle Challenge. Thank you all again for your support, because YOU made a difference in helping fight children's cancer through support of the Children's Cancer Research Fund.
Total US GCC Riders - 40,620
Total miles ridden - 4,182,643
Total amount raised - $13,103,848
For our "Team K. Bowler":
- 532 miles ridden, 3 flat tires, reconnections and new connections, and all around fun
- $10,269 raised. This is 33rd Nationally!!, 4th in Illinois!!. Out of over 40k participants. This is all because of YOU. Your generous support has far exceeded my wildest expectations in my first year riding in the GCC. But, it also validates I hang out with very good people!
I am already planning ahead to make 2022 another smashing success in the fight against kid's cancer! Get outside, enjoy every day and wear lots of sunscreen and UV protective clothing while doing so! :;
Throughout life, we all encounter our highs and lows, and do our best to get from day to day dealing with our goals, aspirations, and challenges. Once in a while, we are lucky enough to participate in an experience that is so wonderful because it involves doing something we are passionate about, takes significant personal effort and planning to achieve the goals, and is about so much more than one's self but instead something that benefits others. What you invest is far less than what you get in return. For me, that has been the case throughout September 2021 and the GCC ride to Fight Kids Cancer.
The last several days of the GCC closing stretch have been incredible on many different levels. On Monday, I rode some nicely maintained trails that took me through Chicago's North Shore, then up through both Kenosha and Racine County in Wisconsin. Nicely paved trails to open it up on my road bike. On Tuesday, I was able to ride some nice trails in the South/Western suburbs of Chicago with my sister Anne on her birthday along with my brother-in-law. It was a gorgeous day on again nicely paved trails.
Then today, to wrap up the month of September riding, I got off the trails and onto some of my favorite roads to ride in the Barrington area. The weather was great, the winds low, and many bikers out on the roads. I wondered how many just enjoying a nice fall ride, or maybe also participating in the Great Cycle Challenge. Either way, just nice to see people out enjoying life.
About halfway through the ride, I noticed passing by several notable markers. First was St. Mark's church in Barrington Hills, where my wife Leigh and I did some our our pre-marriage preparation. Later on, I rode past the Duchossois farm/estate with their many horses. For those that don't know, this is the family that owned Arlington Race Track (a land parcel that is now part of Chicago Bears property as of yesterday). But more importantly, the family that bears the sponsorship to University of Chicago's Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine (DCAM). This is where I have been going for cancer treatments and follow up for years since ending my stint in Pittsburgh.
I thought to myself how amazing to pass by both of these places on my last day of GCC 2021 riding. At the 28 mile mark, I had the energy to keep riding. But in a world where too often we keep pushing forward without taking the time to realize what is good in the moment and just enjoy it, I decided to stop. My ride total for September's GCC ended at 531.5 miles. It was a perfect way to end the month, so I thought.
Then my wife decided let's go out together for a dinner celebration with our dog Belle to the Lucky Dog. Food and beer are great, and dog's love it and get the best treatment as they should. During dinner, my wife said it was 9 years ago TO THE DAY that my doctor confirmed the PET scans indicated Stage IV Melanoma. That was a tough day, but a great day in ways that are hard to explain unless you've been there. I've been on the ride of my life for 9 years, and have appreciated things in ways that would not have been before. I fought for my family, friends and for cancer research. I have been fortunate and blessed, and so glad to be chosen to help fight cancer.
I will post one more update after today's final results, but thank you all so much again for your support. Never say never, keep the faith and always keep moving forward.
With 4 riding days left in September, I am at 425.8 miles ridden, far exceeding my initial goal of 300 miles. Each ride so far logged on different trails and segments covering 4 different states. I still hope to close with a strong 4 days as the schedule allows.
Last week as the calendar officially turned to fall, so did weather. Temps were much cooler and winds picked up. Some rides I reverted to my mountain bike with more hills and rougher terrain. I took the last few days off to participate in a parents weekend at TCU for our senior, focused on family, football, food, friends and a few libations.
Month to date, the riders in GCC have pedaled 3,555,863 miles and raised $12,364,184 to fight kids' cancer and save little lives. I am proud to have been part of this great challenge in 2021, and hope to see it continue to help expand its outreach each year to crush kid's cancer.
I'll post final update after the month is complete. Again, thanks to all for your amazing support.
I wanted to provide a new update to the many wonderful donors supporting my GCC Ride to Fight Kids Cancer. Being my first year in the GCC Challenge, I set my goal to ride 300 miles in September. Well, I am pleased to say as of September 12, I achieved my goal and sitting at 305.3 fun filled miles. Still, not planning to stop there.
I have touched wheels in the 4 Lake Michigan states, each which has special meaning in my life: Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
This weekend, I rode two great trails. On Saturday was the Kal-Haven Trail in Michigan, the state of my birth and life up through college and forever home in my heart. I did the round trip between Bloomingdale to South Haven. Nice trail, lots of shade but deceptively more elevation throughout the ride than you think. On Sunday, after a super morning of golf with high school buddies in Kalamazoo, I went down to Indiana to ride the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail. Almost all of it was pavement, and a beautiful ride through northern Indiana’s Amish country. Just a spectacular ride in the state where I went to college at IU, made friends for life, jump started my career that would leave me to work at two super companies (Motorola than Abbott) and most importantly where I met my amazing wife early in my Motorola career. Lots of fond memories flashed back on this ride while I was Breaking Away!
Naturally I’ve done much riding across many of my favorite trails in Illinois, my post-college home where I’ve been fortunate to work and raise a wonderful family. During the Chicago Bike The Drive event, I was able to meet up with a former Motorola colleague who also is taking part in the GCC (Tom S) and extended family (Chris, Ann and Claire T). On a gorgeous drive along Lake Shore Drive, I also saw a biker with a Bristol Myers Squibb gear. This is one of the primary companies involved in developing breakthrough medicine using PD-L1 inhibitors to treat melanoma through immunotherapy. After catching up and introducing myself, we rode along together for about 10 minutes. She was involved in the clinical trials and now in regulatory for this amazing work. How incredibly cool for both of us, 2 random riders meeting up where one is living proof that others life’s work is indeed life saving and changing.
That leaves the final state Wisconsin, our bordering state not far from home. We have many dear friends from Wisconsin, know people who have gone to school there, and my Dad went to Medical School at Marquette while my parents first born happened in Milwaukee. But even more importantly, it’s home to the dreaded Green Bay Packers. As a lifelong Chicago Bears fan and season ticket holder, keep your enemies close!
Today is rest, then later in the week more riding. On Wednesday I am going to refocus on fundraising. Because though I am so pleased at all the generosity shown so far, Wednesday Sept 15 is Kick Cancer's Butt Day. On that day, a group of incredible supporters will MATCH ALL ONLINE DONATIONS received this Wednesday, up to $1,500,000!
To all the wonderful donors to my Great Cycle Challenge ride, just wanted to give an update since the challenge started September 1.
In the last 3 days, I've been able to enjoy riding 100 miles on some of my favorite trails. Lots of time to enjoy the outdoors (perfect riding weather), and kicked it off on Day 1 riding with my brother-in-law John Madden.
Already being 1/3 of the way to my 300 mile goal, I am planning to not just achieve but to blow away my riding goal in September. Many good rides planned ahead. For today though it's all about a rest day and lots of football!! Then tomorrow fun riding at the Chicago's Bike The Drive.
I'll provide another progress update mid month and later month. Thank you again for your support.