I have always loved cycling in one form or another. Whether it was for transportation, for exercise, to competing in amateur mountain bike races, fund raising for a worthy cause, or simply to crank until your legs scream, your heart pounds and the sweat pours from your body along with every troubling thought in the world; after all it was a bicycle that gave me my first taste of freedom and enabled me to venture out beyond my neighborhood and eventually beyond the confines of my home town; it was independence on two wheels! Even after getting my driver’s license and a car, no summer was ever complete without biking on the Ocean City boardwalk or planning day rides to the surrounding shore towns.
On January 13, 2010 I lost my mother to lung cancer, in the months leading up to her death I felt helpless and angry because there was nothing I could do to prevent the inevitable. After her death my Uncle Tom, who was an avid road cyclist and worked for Lockheed Martin, suggested that I ride with him and his team in the American Cancer Society’s 100 mile Bike-a-thon. He thought it would be a fitting way to honor my mother and his sister’s memory, I reluctantly agreed. The thought of riding 100 miles scared the hell out of me, but six months later on July 12, 2010 at 1:59 PM there I was crossing under the arch at Lake Buena Vista, I had completed my first century ride. The anger that I had felt since my mother’s death was gone, the feeling of helplessness was replaced by a sense of accomplishment after raising $1265.00 in the fight against cancer.
In 2013 I became a member of the American Cancer Society Bike-a-thon Committee and it was there that I met David Bennis, a well liked and respected committee member, and where I learned about Team Evesham. Over the next few years I would hear Dave and other team captains talking about their teams and their “team rides”, “team events” and even “team training rides specifically for Bike-a-thon”, these were all foreign terms and concepts to me since my only interaction with my team at the time, Lockheed Martin, was the occasional email and on the day of the Bike-a-thon, I must admit that I was more than a little jealous and decided to see for myself what Team Evesham was all about, Dave had suggested one of their Sunday rides for a start.
When I arrived at Rastelli’s it was 7:15 AM and there were maybe three other cyclists scattered throughout the parking lot, I put on my ACS kit, sat on the back of my truck debating whether or not to stick around… I stayed. By 7:45 AM the parking lot was filled with Team Evesham jerseys and David Bennis finally arrived and welcomed me to the ride, he then introduced me to Sandy Student who shook my hand, talked to me for a bit and then had me sign a waiver. I watched as Sandy walked out to an open area in the parking lot and all of the riders converged on his location. After making some announcements and taking some pictures, Sandy dispatched the riders group by group. Was this for real or did I just show up on a good day? I returned for two more Sunday rides to the same type of turn out and send off, I was sold, that same day I sent an email to David Bennis asking to join Team Evesham and to ride with them in the 2015 ACS Bike-a-thon. That was my first ACS Bike-a-thon century ride as a member of Team Evesham. It was also my best year of fund raising, $5400.00 toward fighting cancer. I look forward to many more years of riding, fund raising and improving my cycling skills with my new found friends.