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Charlie Livermore’s training plan

The Empire State Ride is lucky to have the support of professional cycling coach Charlie Livermore as an advisor and friend. Charlie is not only a coach at Carmichael Training Systems, but also serves as a training consultant on our adventure across New York State. He offers his expertise and tips to all our riders, as well as joins us in riding 500+ miles in July. Here’s what he has to say about training for the Empire State Ride. 

Hi everyone, Charlie here.

I’m happy to announce that the 2021 training plans are now live. The cycling fitness and experience level of Empire State Ride participants is broad. As a coach, I’ve been challenged to provide the right advice for this wide range of riders. What is good training for an advanced rider is not necessarily good for a beginner and a beginner training plan does not serve the advanced rider.  

In an attempt to better serve all of you, I divided the group into three categories and created three versions of the training plan:

  • Beginner Training Plan – This group ranges from participants who are brand new to cycling or those that will start riding in the spring and summer months to prepare for this year’s adventure.
  • Intermediate Training Plan – This  plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Intermediate riders can tackle the distance, but it will be a significant challenge.
  • Advanced Training Plan – This plan is designed for cyclists who ride all year around. Cycling is their passion. These cyclists can easily tackle this year’s distance. Their goal is to ride the 540 miles at the highest average speed they can achieve every single day.

Before beginning any of these plans, make sure to digest all the information presented below to familiarize yourself with the language you’ll find in each plan. 

Train Right

Before jumping into whichever plan you decide on, it’s important to start with the basics. 

Whether this is your first time participating in the Empire State Ride or you are an experienced multi-day event rider, you’ll benefit from having a structured training plan. Week-long ridrs aren’t just about training more – they’re about training right. Training right will help keep you safe and healthy while tackling our cross-state adventure. 

A few things to note

1. Don’t forget to warm up and warm up the right way: warm ups can vary depending on the day, but you want to do at least 15 minutes of conversational riding before you start high intensity intervals. The warm up period may be anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, but it’s more important to focus on the specificity of the intervals than getting in an exact number of minutes.  Use your warm up to get to the best place on the road to do your intervals. For this reason, workout days will be listed with a total duration that is longer than the total time of the actual intervals.  After you warm up and complete the intervals, then you complete the total duration of the ride at an endurance pace. 

2. Remember RPE: RPE stands for Rate of Perceived Exertion. It’s a very simple measure of workload to determine how hard you feel you are exercising. In a training setting, the RPE scale is from 1 to 10 –  with 1 being no exertion and 10 being a maximum effort. Each workout has an RPE associated with it to get the best adaptation. To use this scale, you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each workout. The below table lays it all out for you. 

The Training Plans

Now that you understand the importance of training, it’s time to check out the plans. Below, you will find the three training plans. 

DEscriptions of Workouts

If you’re unfamiliar with some of the language used in the training programs, here is a helpful guide:

1. Recovery Miles (RM) – Recovery Miles is exactly that – miles to help you recover. This needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from the previous days. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 4 – 5 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2 – 3 times per week. 

2. Endurance Miles (EM) – This is the intensity that much of your riding time will consist of. Many people refer to it as their forever pace, but it’s also the time around your interval sets. Theses rides should be a 5 or 6 on the RPE scale and range from 90 minutes to 6+ hours. Your speed will vary with uphills and downhills, but remember to keep your perceived exertion the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State (see below) fairly quickly.

3. Fast Pedal (FP) – This workout should be performed on a relatively flat section of road or on an indoor trainer. The gearing should be light with low pedal resistance. Begin slowly and increase your pedal speed, starting out with about 15 or 16 pedal revolutions per 10-second count. This equates to a cadence of 90 to 96 RPM. While staying in the saddle, increase your pedal speed, keeping your hips smooth with no rocking. Concentrate on pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke and over the top. After one minute of Fast Pedal, you should be maintaining 18 to 20 pedal revolutions per 10-second count, or a cadence of 108 to 120 RPM for the entire time of the workout. Your heart rate will climb while doing this workout, but don’t use it to judge your training intensity. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the Fast Pedal workout with as few interruptions as possible because it should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed training intensity.

4. Tempo (T) – Tempo workouts are that pace between your Endurance Miles and lactate threshold. These workouts help develop a stronger aerobic engine by maintaining an effort outside of your comfort zone. They should be a 7 on the RPE scale and range from 15 – 45 minutes for each interval. Be very careful that you don’t let your intensity level get into your lactate threshold. It’s very easy to let it creep up, but faster doesn’t always mean better. You need to be able to sustain that pace for longer periods of time to get the best adaptation. 

5. SteadyState (SS) – Steady State is probably the most well-known term in these workouts. They’re a very important part of training and are very strenuous. They should be done at or slightly below your lactate threshold at an RPE of 8 – 9. These intervals are shorter than Tempo because of the intensity involved. Each interval ranges from 8 to 20 minutes and has a 2-to-1 recovery ratio. A typical workout may look like 3×10 minute with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.   

6. Power Intervals (PI) – Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise). They last 1 to 3 minutes at an RPE of 10. Warming up before these is even more important, so make sure to get in 15 – 30 minutes of conversational riding before you start the intervals. The recovery period is 1 to 1, so 1 minute intervals have 1 minute of active recovery.  


Now that you have a training plan and a basic understanding of the fundamentals, it’s time to get started! If you’re interested in learning more about a personalized plan, you can reach out to me at

New Rider Q&A: Kimberly Evering – Gal on the Go

The 2020 Empire State Ride will be here before we know it! In addition to all the fundraising and training our amazing road warriors are doing to prepare for the upcoming challenge, they are also getting to know each other. We were able to catch up with a few of our new riders as well. Check out our Q&A with Kimberly.

You can take the gal out of New York State, but you can’t take New York State out of the gal.
Buffalo, NY native Kimberly Evering is looking forward to cycling across her home state this summer. Being from the Western New York area, she is more familiar with Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, which is ranked 14th out of 900 cancer hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, and the beneficiary of the Empire State Ride. When she saw her hometown friends posting about their experiences with another fundraiser for the cancer center, she decided to do some digging. A quick Google search introduced her to the Empire State Ride.
“I was on the fence about signing up because the mileage involved is very intimidating,” said Kimberly. “Then I went to a speaking engagement at the Smithsonian led by Katie Couric in which she passionately shared about the cancer battles her husband and sister lost, her fundraising efforts over the years, and her hopes for major advances in cures soon. I was so inspired by Katie that I signed up for the Empire State Ride the next day!”
So we asked her, what is your history as a cyclist? Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?
Kimberly: “I grew up an only child in Buffalo, NY, and received my first bicycle with training wheels around the age of six. It was a liberating experience learning to ride! It was a healthy activity I could enjoy by myself or with my friends. I have done two non-traditional triathlons that included cycling up to 20 miles, but this is my first time doing a ride of this magnitude. It truly is a case of “go big or go home” for me! I’m a mix of nervous and excited. The Empire State Ride message boards on social media have been very helpful to a newbie like me because experienced riders have offered positive support and great tips from previous years.”

Now living in Fairfax, VA, and serving as a bike ambassador for Fairfax County, she also runs an adventure blog called Gal on the Go in her spare time. “I ride my bike all over town when possible instead of driving,” she said. “People have come to know me and sometimes shout, hey, Gal on the Go! I’m lucky to live in an area where we have access to many great trails with a variety of surface conditions that stretch for miles upon miles!” All those miles, plus the time in the saddle at the spin studio she joined, will be great practice for the 500+ mile adventure waiting for her this summer.
Training isn’t the only preparation necessary for the Empire State Ride. Part of what appealed to Kimberly when she was learning about our event was that “the fundraising efforts going toward all cancer research, not just one type.” She said “Six people in my life have or are currently battling cancer, including colon, skin, pancreatic, lung, and brain cancer. I thought to myself, suck it up, train to the best of your ability, and do the ride! These people are fighting for their lives; you are riding a bike, something you have done since you were a little girl.”
So how exactly is she fundraising? “I am fundraising through social media posts,” she said, “emphasizing the broad-range of cancer that the efforts benefit, and the fact that it’s a tax write-off. I also reached out to Liz, the owner of a local spin studio called New Trail Cycling Studio. She agreed to host a fundraising class for me on Friday, April 24, in which I can invite friends and family to a one-hour spin class for $25 in which all but a small admin percentage will go toward the ESR. I will also be reaching out to my new employer, Deloitte, who I learned, offers gift matching of some kind.”
And what is she looking to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ESR challenge? 
“I hope to increase awareness about the work Roswell does and the importance of funding for making breakthroughs and furthering cancer research efforts. I hope seeing and following my ESR journey this summer through social media will inspire others to a call to action financially or physically by participating in similar events!”
How inspiring, Kimberly!
If you want to join Kimberly on the 2020 Empire State Ride, there’s still time! Register today and cross the finish line Kimberly and other cyclists from all over who are committed to changing the state of cancer research for good!

New Rider Q&A: Harold Bolton

The 2020 Empire State Ride will be here before we know it! In addition to all the fundraising and training our amazing road warriors are doing to prepare for the upcoming challenge, they are also getting to know each other. We were able to catch up with a few of our new riders as well. Check out our Q&A with Harold.

New Jersey resident Harold Bolton is ready to take on the Empire State Ride, an adventure of a lifetime. He learned about the 500+ mile, 7-day cycling tour through social media and he expressed that he is “blessed that I did.” While he has been cycling for three years now, he has never complete a challenge quite like this one. He posted on his Facebook page: “I’m am so looking forward to July 26 to August 1st when I take this ride to help end cancer and make new friends.”

So, we asked him, what inspired you to sign up?

“I have lost family and friends from cancer, and if I can endure a 7-day ride to help out, it doesn’t compare to what they go through on a day-by-day basis,” said Harold. “I hope to make a difference by raising funds for research. And to say I rode 500+ miles to help make that difference — I can jump for joy.”

500+ miles over 7 days is no joke. That’s why we call our participants road warriors! So, we wanted to know how Harold is preparing for this cycling challenge.

“I am cycling as much as I can outside and inside on the trainer, focusing on doing more hilly terrain, steep and long inclines,” said Harold. “I have been cycling for 3 years and this year is my most productive with one 50 miler, seven 60+ milers, one 100 miler and countless 20 milers to and from work.”

But the seat time isn’t the only necessary preparation for this event. Since the Empire State Ride is a charity cycling event, our amazing riders also push themselves to raise funds that will support cutting-edge cancer research that could impact the lives of patients around the world. Harold said that to fundraise for #ESR20, “I am using social media, posters at work and word of mouth.” And he is off to a great start with his fundraising! Through connecting his fundraising page to Facebook, posting about his upcoming endeavor on, emailing and more, Harold has already raised more than $1,000.

Nice work, Harold!

Bike Safety for the Empire State Ride

At the Empire State Ride, safety is our priority! We wanted to pull together a list of our favorite safety tips that can help you have a fun and safe ride while you are training:

  • Pre-Plan your route to choose what type (flat or hilly etc.)
  • Have enough to drink and eat for the duration of your ride
  • Carry identification with you, ideally a photocopy of your license and health insurance card
  • Wear appropriate clothing
  • Listen to your body – Don’t worry to push your body to finish a ride if you aren’t feeling well

If you keep all these things in mind, then you are ready to ride.
For more details on bike safety while riding outdoors, check out this blog.

First an Ironman, Now an Empire State Rider

Growing up as an athlete playing soccer, Buffalo native Katie Hamister had nothing but distaste for the sport of cycling. However, when she suffered an ACL injury, she realized the beauty of the sport. Today, she averages 120 miles a week and has already completed a Half Ironman in Florida. She plans to complete three more this year in Raleigh, North Carolina; Muskoka, Canada; and Cozumel, Mexico, to celebrate her 40th birthday.
So when her colleague mentioned the Empire State Ride to her in 2017, she was interested right away.
“I thought, ‘awesome I’m going to do that next year!’” Katie said.
And she is. The Empire State Ride adds another physical feat for her to accomplish and it also aligns with her values.
Even though she currently lives in North Carolina, Katie still feels a deep connection to the Buffalo community. As executive director of the Hamister Family Foundation, she values philanthropy and giving back to the community — making the Empire State Ride a perfect match for her values. By riding across New York State, she can give back by raising money for cancer research and spreading awareness about Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For her first Empire State Ride, Katie looks forward to meeting new people and hearing their stories. She said she feels honored to be part of a group that will embrace one another and do something together for cancer patients.

Katie’s Fundraising Tip

As a professional photographer, Katie decided to combine her passion with her fundraising efforts. She’s holding a raffle for anyone who donates $20 or more to her ride to win a family portrait session. The winner can even choose between North Carolina, South Florida and Buffalo as the location for the photo shoot! If you are interested, check out Katie’s donation page.

Life Cycle — An account of the 2017 Empire State Ride

Peter Vollmer, a cycling enthusiast, usually cringes when people claim everything happens for a reason. But when the 62-year-old was on his way home after his cousin’s funeral, who lost his battle with throat cancer, he heard a radio commercial about the Empire State Ride that changed his life forever.

The Long Island resident decided to take on the 500+ mile adventure and ride the Empire State Ride in honor of all the people he knew whose lives were cut short by cancer. In particular, he decided to ride for his cousin Michael, his neighbor Jon and Graham, his best friend’s 5-year-old son — all of whom tragically lost the battle against cancer.

In a personal account of his day-to-day experience of the 2017 Empire State Ride, Peter beautifully illustrates what the fundraising cycling adventure is all about. He tells about the ups and downs, the splendor and challenges, the inspiration and the renewed appreciation of life that he experienced during his time on the Empire State Ride.

Among many anecdotes, personal narratives and reports from the ride, Peter begins his story by admitting concerns and initial doubts about his capability to finish the ride. He even made a contingency plan to rent a car and drive all the way down to Niagara Falls if all else failed! Ultimately, his will was stronger and like the old folk wisdom says, faith can move mountains.

His writings are full of the people and faces that made the Empire State Ride special. There’s Carlos, a nap enthusiast whose appearance on the first day had more of an escaped convict than a man on a mission of mercy. And Maria, a religious woman who Peter nicknamed “holy roller.” She would offer a prayer to any rider.

In one of his daily reports, he addresses the common misconception that we believe we have to hurry from Point A to B as quickly as possible. When Peter and his travel companion Jenn discover a national treasure — the Walkway-Over-The-Hudson-Bridge near Poughkeepsie — the two of them are simply transfixed and come to the realization that there is so much more to experience in-between Point A and B. Peter notes that if only we would try to experience the world as the children we once were we could live life a little more and enjoy it in all its fullness.

Peter describes each of the seven days in detail and in such an authentic way so that just by reading his stories, it almost feels like you are riding the Empire State Ride yourself.

Ultimately, Peter concludes that while he grows to understand life less and less, he also learns to live it more and more. The Empire State Ride helped him get a new perspective on life and a renewed appreciation for the precious gift we all share living in this world. For him, it was a rebirth on wheels.

To read Peter’s full account of the 2017 Empire State Ride, click here!
To join Peter on the 2018 Empire State Ride — register today!

“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!

Interested in signing up for the Empire State Ride?

Or join our Facebook group and mailing list to learn more!

Download our fundraising app

Support cutting-edge cancer research at Roswell Park right from your phone with our fundraising app

So you’ve signed up for the Empire State Ride – now what? Start your fundraising!
When you make the commitment to become an Empire State Rider, you’re impacting the future of cancer research and saving lives! You’re fueling cutting-edge cancer research at Roswell Park, so we’re here to help you meet and exceed your fundraising goals.

There’s an app for that!

To help you with your fundraising efforts, we’ve created a fundraising app. It’s called “Fundraising For Roswell Park.”
The Fundraising for Roswell Park App helps you fundraise from your phone in support of your online fundraising profile for the Empire State Ride. The app provides you with a set of messages, including ones tailor made for texting, Facebook, Twitter and email! It links to the contacts in your phone so you can get right to fundraising!
Fast track your fundraising! Fundraise on the go! Download the fundraising app today!

How to get started

The Fundraising for Roswell Park App is free to download in the App Store as well as through Google Play. Search for “Fundraising For Roswell Park” wherever you download apps.
Use the User Name and Password that you set up to log into your Fundraising Dashboard. When you log in, your event will appear. In the lower right hand corner of your screen, you may see a little person icon. You can click on this to update your personal fundraising page.
If you haven’t registered yet, you can register through the app using the “Register Now” button that appears on the log in screen.
If you have any questions about the fundraising app, please contact us!
And for more fundraising tools, visit our fundraising page!

Happy fundraising!