Meet 2017 Rider Tracey Maciejewski
“I’m in for 2017.”
After she watched her friend complete the Empire State Ride last year, Tracey knew she wanted to join in on the fun. She’s looking at her ride as a personal challenge — but also as a way to contribute to the fight against cancer in honor of the family and friends she’s lost.
Q: What inspired you to sign up?
I have always wanted to find a way to more tangibly give back to the community involved in fighting cancer. After hearing about and witnessing my friend, Jessica’s journey last year, I told her then and there, “I’m in for 2017.”
Q: What is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?
I did 30+ miles in The Ride For Roswell a few years back as part of a friend’s corporate team, and it was a really great event. After conquering that, I decided to try a multi-sport event, the Summer Sizzler Duathlon. As a distance runner, the run was easy, but the biking was difficult. At that point I knew if I was going to do any more cycling, I needed to get the right bike with the right gears.
When I was injured training for my first marathon in 2015, I had to miss eight weeks of running. That gave me the excuse to pick up where I had left off with cycling and really get going. Being able to bike saved me physically and mentally. The 20-30 mile rides I did kept my legs in shape, maintained my cardiovascular fitness, and gave me a way to cycle off the stresses and worries of life — much like running had always done. I discovered I had a pretty good aptitude for cycling and really enjoyed the mental clarity long rides provided. I loved seeing Western New York from a whole new vantage point.
Q: How are you fundraising for the ride?
I am promoting all of the group fundraising events and selling candy right now. I am working on securing a venue for a beer blast fundraiser in the spring that will benefit the whole team. My approach to hitting my goal isn’t fully formed, but I really want to be sure that as a team we raise as much as possible to assist everyone in meeting their goal.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?
The benefit of raising funds is a no brainer. In the modern age we have the opportunity to take advantage of collaborations all over the world and bring scientists together to monumentally improve treatment and work toward cures. Every dollar puts more of these folks in touch, adds technology, and brings us closer to a world without cancer.
As for completing the ride, for me, it is twofold. I want to honor my friends who are survivors and pay tribute to friends and family who lost their hard-fought battles. I also want to prove a little something to myself. This accomplishment will be like no other.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
I am looking forward to the comradery I will experience and the stories that will touch me along the way. Of course, being an athlete and competitive by nature, I am also looking forward to the physical challenges of not just the ride itself, but the preparation that will get me to the start line.