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“This is sick … I have to do it.”

Here at the Empire State Ride, we have all sorts of cyclists join our family. From experienced riders looking to complete a new accomplishment on their cycling bucket list, to retirees looking for a fun way to give back while staying in shape — our riders come from all over, each with a unique motivation fueling their ride!
Another big draw to this event is the challenge. Think about the glory that comes with telling your friends you spent 7 days on a bike, traveling over 500 miles while changing the state of cancer research for good. That’s pretty hard-core, right? Or as our 2017 rider Andrew put it, “this is sick … I have to do it”
After his mom and cousin had been diagnosed with cancer, Andrew Nies from Levittown, NY decided that he wanted to do something to fight back The first time he heard about the Empire State Ride, he was interested right away. Then after further research, he decided that the fundraising event and cycling adventure was a great fit for him.
Andrew’s mother is a cancer survivor. Since he and his family had experienced this dreadful disease first-hand, the New York Native wanted to do something about it. So, Andrew signed up for the Empire State Ride and rode for his mom, his cousin and everyone else who has been touched by cancer. His mom was moved and very supportive of this idea when Andrew told her about his plan. “Just do it,” she said to her son. “Just beat cancer.”
Besides the good cause and his personal motivation for the ride, Andrew was looking forward to an adventure that will demand everything from him. As an adventure seeker, he does cross-fit, running and cycling but when it comes to the Empire State Ride Andrew knew that it will be a different ballpark, “I am pretty much in shape, but nothing like this. This ride will be a true test!”
Apart from the athletic aspect, Andrew couldn’t wait to start the ride and enjoy all the camaraderie, stories and the unique spirit of this event. “We’re going to have a great ride and I’m looking forward to getting to the campsite and connecting with other people after a long day’s ride.”

Andrew’s Favorite Memory

“Perhaps my favorite part of the journey was meeting up with my ‘team’ on day 2. It was early in the morning and the route started with a crusher of a hill. It was at this moment that I met my forever biking buddy Steph. We both looked at each other, then looked at this hill and both laughed … from this moment on Steph and I rode together to the beat of our own drum. We sang songs at ridiculous volumes to help pass time and to make those hills less dreadful. To this day I still laugh when I hear Miley Cyrus song ‘The Climb.’ We were always looking out for one another and would keep each other’s pace. When one would slow down, the other was there to give words of encouragement.
‘Come on Steph, we only have 35 more miles ’til lunch, we got this!’
And we did — we did have it. Amid this journey, we picked up a few more misfits that made our pie complete … Mike, Deb and Justine. With our crew now complete, we were ready to face this journey, with occasional stops for ice cream and Tim Hortons (of course). With our crew now at 5, impromptu concerts were a sight to see and (hear) I’m sure. Warpaint was a must to be in our group, luckily I brought enough colors to last us a week and to match all of our outfits … we do need to look good when traveling across NY State, am I right?”

About the Empire State Ride

The Empire State Ride lasts seven days, starts in Manhattan and goes through some of the most scenic parts of New York State. The route is fully supported and provides a one-of-a-kind experience to each participant while simultaneously supporting cutting-edge cancer research. If you like adventures and want to experience something that you will never forget in your life then register today and join the Empire State Ride to end cancer!

Rider Spotlight: Melissa Delforte

The year 2018 will mark Melissa Delforte’s first Empire State Ride. She is a cancer survivor. She is a Canandaigua Road Warrior.
She first learned about the Empire State Ride a few years ago when she saw a poster in her local bike shop. “Wow! That’s cool,” she thought. And the ride immediately went on her to-do list.
“I started looking online, and I was just so inspired. The views! The pictures!” said Melissa, “I wanted to be on that Hudson River. I wanted to be there looking on that bridge. I wanted to be part of that group that is coming across that finish line, because I need that power in my life.”
As a three-year, stage 3 breast cancer survivor, Melissa sees the Empire State Ride as an opportunity to take her life back from cancer and to pay it forward to all those who are currently fighting or have been touched by cancer in some way. To her, the Empire State Ride will be a journey to acknowledge those who helped her and to appreciate what others have gone through. She is looking forward to the time she will spend on the road with her friends by her side, and the healing that will take place as she rides across New York State this summer.
“I am riding for the everyday warriors amongst us,” said Melissa. “For the warriors of the past, the present and the future.”
Melissa took a year to prepare before signing up for this year’s weeklong ESR. She has formed a team with a close friend, and together they’ve been training and trying to get as many miles and hills under their belts before the start of the ESR on July 29.
To learn more about Melissa’s story, check out her video below!

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