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Meet 2017 Empire State Rider Donna Bridges

Donna Bridges started bicycling after she lost her dad to cancer. She’s taken part in Roswell Park’s single-day bicycling fundraiser for the past seven years, and now, she’s ready for a bigger challenge.

Q: How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?
I participate in The Ride For Roswell and heard about the Empire State Ride in a Ride email. I recruited two of my brothers, Wayne and Dave, to join me and we formed a team, Asphalt Junkies.

Q: What inspired you to sign up?
I was inspired to sign up for the ESR because I wanted to participate in something even bigger than The Ride For Roswell. I am also excited to see 500 miles of my home state from my bicycle.

Q: What is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?
I started cycling in 2010 just after my dad lost his battle with lung cancer. I decided I was going to participate in The Ride For Roswell and had just two months to get a bike and train for the ride. I accomplished the 33-mile route and have been riding in the annual event since. The following year I decided to join my brother on the 100-mile route, one of three century rides I’ve completed.

Q: How are you fundraising for the ride?
We are fundraising by asking our previous Ride For Roswell donors for their continued support. We also sold squares for a Stanley Cup pool and on July 24 we will be doing a raffle and 50/50 drawing.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?
By fundraising, I hope to help fund the research that leads to finding a cure for cancer.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
I’m looking forward to connecting with other cyclists and nightly campfires after a long day’s ride.

How can I ride 500+ miles?

Can you ride 500+ miles in 7 days? If you can ride 85 miles in one day, and are committed to the challenge, I think you can. It won’t be easy, but with the right mindset, smart, consistent training and good hydration/fueling habits, you’ll be surprised what you can do.
Let’s break it down.

Mindset – 500 miles!

We have all heard the saying, “Eat the elephant one bite at a time” when dealing with a large task, goal, or project.
It’s easier to wrap your mind around riding 500 miles if you think of the Empire State Ride as a series of 7 one day events. Breaking that down even further, the question becomes can I ride 30-45 miles to a lunch stop and 30-45 miles after lunch for 7 days? Take it a step further and break the ride into even smaller sections – from the start to the first hydration and feed station, then from there to lunch, then to the next station and finally to the finish.
With this approach, 500 miles seems much more doable. And remember, there’s no rush, you have all day. For a week you have the full support of an excellent crew and nothing to do but eat, sleep, ride and repeat. You can do it!

Training – Train Right!

Thinking about 500 miles one small bite at a time makes it less daunting, but you still have to prepare your body to withstand the demands of the event. The training plan blue print provided on the ESR website is a great guide to help you get to the start line at your peak fitness. Follow it as best you can and remember this, consistency is your #1 priority. As a famous cyclist likes to say, “Ride as much or as little or as long or as short as you feel, but ride!” – Eddy Merckx
One other thought I’d like to share that falls under training is bike fit or biomechanics. You’re going to spend a lot of yours on your bike. Get a bike fit from a certified fitter and maximize your comfort and performance. Body Geometry Fit from Specialized or RETÜL Bicycle Fit Technology are two reliable systems.

Hydration and Nutrition – This will make you or break you!

Your ability to repeat 50-85 mile rides over seven days depends on how well you hydrate and fuel your body every day.
If you can ride 80 miles one day, what stands in the way of doing it again the next? Not drinking and eating enough!  Keeping your body hydrated and your fuel reserves loaded every day is the key to repeatability.
I can’t stress the importance of this enough. Start hydrating as soon as you wake up, and eat a solid breakfast with plenty of carbohydrates. Then while you’re riding, understand that you are drinking and eating for tomorrows ride. This is the primary difference between performing for one day vs. seven. If you make a fueling mistake in a one day event, you’ll suffer the consequences in the last hour. If you make that mistake in a multi-day event you’ll suffer all day tomorrow. Keeping your fluids levels and glycogen stores full is critical! Aim to drink all your liquids between each stop and enjoy the great snacks and lunch that the ESR support team provides every day.
The nutrition support the crew at ESR provides will make this easy. Everything is taken care of for you. Catered breakfasts and dinners designed for endurance athletes, great food, drinks and morale support at the rest and lunch stops makes it easy to stay fueled and ready to go.
I look forward to seeing you all there!
Coach Charlie Livermore
Charlie is a seasoned riding coach from CTS Training and will be along for the entire Empire State Ride this summer. 

Meet 2017 Empire State Rider Guy May

One of Guy May’s friends was always known for asking, “What’s your next adventure?” Last month, that friend passed away after a battle with cancer.
In her memory, Guy’s choosing the Empire State Ride as his next adventure — in hopes his efforts will help scientists develop new treatments for those who are battling.

Q: How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?
I found out about the ride last year while looking for a long distance ride that would fit into my summer work schedule. Unfortunately, it didn’t fit. But I did not forget about it and after 20-plus years working as a sailing instructor, I have decided to take some time off in the summer and the Empire State Ride came to mind.

Q: What inspired you to sign up?
Around the time I retired from my summer job I was informed that a dear friend at work had been diagnosed with both pancreatic and lung cancer. She was an outgoing person who loved an adventure so thinking of her and both my parents who died from cancer I thought it was the right thing to do. My friend lost her battle last month so I am even more inspired to go on this adventure for her. As she would say, “What’s your next adventure?” The ESR is mine.

Q: What is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?
I have never done a ride like the Empire State Ride before. I started really riding about five years ago when I purchased a used bike on eBay. Since then, the bicycle bug has gotten hold of me. A few bikes later and a few thousand miles later, I am hoping I am ready for the ride.

Q: How are you fundraising for the ride?
I have been reaching out to all my friends and they have been fantastically supportive. I cannot say enough how lucky I am to have friends like mine. We all have been touched by cancer and the outpouring of support has been inspiring.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?
My hope is that the money I raise will help our generation and future generations find cures and treatments for cancer. There are so many people suffering due to cancer we need to find ways to relieve some of their pain.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about the ride?
I am looking forward to the ride itself, seeing the state at a bicycle’s speed, and meeting new people that share the love of bicycling.