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Charlie Livermore’s ESR 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, Coach Charlie here.

I’m happy to announce that the 2022 ESR Training Plans are now available on the website.

The fitness and experience level of Empire State Ride cyclists is broad. As a coach, I’ve been challenged to provide the right advice for this wide a range of riders. The training load necessary for an advanced rider is too much for a beginner and the correct dose for a beginner will not help the advanced rider.  

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

  • Advanced Rider Plan
    The advanced rider plan is designed for cyclists that ride all year around and cycling is their primary sport. These cyclists can easily tackle the distance of the ESR. Their goal might be to ride the 540 miles at the highest average speed they can achieve every day or use the training stimulus of a big volume week to prepare for another event goal. The average speed of this group is generally in the 18-20 MPH range.

  • Intermediate Training Plan

    The intermediate rider plan is also designed for cyclists who ride all year around. These riders won’t have a problem tackling the distance, but it will be a significant challenge. The average speed of this group is generally in the 14-16 MPH range.

  • Beginner Rider Plan
    This group of riders are either brand new to cycling or usually start training in the spring and summer months just to prepare for the ESR. Average speed of this group is generally in the 10-12 MPH range.

The biggest difference in these plans is the start date and therefore the length of the training plan. For Beginners I stayed with the original 22-week plan since most of those in this category don’t have an indoor training option and can’t ride outside until spring due to weather conditions. The Intermediate and Advanced assumes you have an indoor training setup or can ride outdoors.

Before you begin, familiarize yourself with the Summary of the Cycling Workouts (Table 7.2) and the corresponding Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) and Breathing Rate (BR) (Table 7.1). Understanding RPE and BR are especially important to ensure you’re working at the correct intensity of the prescribed workout.

For those of you who are looking for a plan customized to your specific schedule and goals, contact me for a free coaching consultation at

The Training Plans

Train Right

Whether this will be your first ESR or you are an experienced multi-day event rider you’ll benefit from following one of the structured training plans described above.

Preparing your body for the challenge of riding 500+ miles isn’t just about riding more. You’ll achieve a better level of preparedness with quality training over quantity. Anyone can do the Empire State Ride, even a time-crunched athlete can feel confident at the start line if they train right. It can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the sport, but if you follow the right training plan for you, I am confident you’ll be ready for ESR 2022.



Warmups can vary depending on the daily workout, but you want to do at least 15 minutes of conversational pace riding before you start any high intensity interval workout. The warm up period may be anywhere from 15-30 minutes, but it’s more important to focus on the precise execution of the intervals than getting in exactly 15, 20, 25 or 30 minutes of a warmup. For example, you can use your warmup to get to the best place on the road to start your intervals. For this reason, workouts 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, complete the remaining prescribed time of the at an easy endurance pace.




Intensity levels can be measured via Power, Heart Rate or (RPE). I prescribed all workout intensities based on (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 1-10 (1 being no exertion and 10 being a maximum effort). Each workout has an RPE associated with it to help guide you to the prescribed intensity. To use this scale, you need to understand what you’re trying to accomplish with each workout. Below, Table 7.1 Workouts, RPE and Breathing Rate lays it all out.





Recovery Miles (RM)

Recovery Miles is exactly that. It’s needs to be very easy to allow you to recover from previous workouts. They’ll range anywhere from 40 – 60 minutes and should be substantially easier than Endurance Miles. It should be 2-3 on an RPE scale and have a frequency of 2-3 times per week.


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 4-5 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 rate of perceived exertion (RPE) the same. Going uphill at the same speed requires more work, which can turn your Endurance Miles into Steady State quickly.

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 6 on an 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.

Steady State (SS)

Steady State are probably the most well-known of 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 7-8. 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 min with 5 minutes of active recovery between each interval.


Power Intervals (PI)

Power Intervals are short, extremely strenuous intervals that help develop your VO2max. They last 1 to 5 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.


Here is the summary of the six key cycling workouts.




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 around 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 amount of time prescribed for 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.


Rest Between Intervals (RBI)

This is the rest time between each interval. Note that this is active rest. The RPE is low at 1-2 but don’t stop pedaling during the RBI period.


Rest Between Sets (RBS)

This is the rest time between sets of intervals. Note that this is active rest. The RPE is low at 1-2 but don’t stop pedaling during the RBS period.



Here is a typical Steady State (SS) Interval Workout:


60min w/ 3x6min (SS), 3min RBI


All workouts start with the total time. In this case it’s 60 minutes. Within the overall time there is a specific interval set of three intervals. Each interval is 6 minutes long at the Steady State (SS) intensity and the rest between each 6’ interval RBI is 3’. The total amount of time of the interval set is 24’. So, what to do with the remaining 36’? Use some of the time before the interval set to warmup and ride the remaining time, less 5’ for a cooldown, at Endurance Miles (EM) intensity.



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

How to add the Empire State Ride route to your Garmin

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. 

ESR Riders, 

The Empire State Ride GPS course files were recently sent to us, so I thought I’d share my method for importing them to my Garmin Edge 1030. I’m fairly certain this method will work with all Garmin Edge models. I’m not what you’d call “super techie,” so I still use the old school USB cable transfer protocol. There are ways to do this wirelessly, but I’ve never used that method. So, here’s a quick step-by-step for USB transfer of your Empire State Ride route GPS course files.

1. Download the course files provided by ESR to your personal computer. Make sure you know where you’re downloading them to so you can access them later. 

2. Connect your Garmin to your computer using a USB cable. Wait a couple of minutes until you see the image below on your Garmin screen. If you don’t see this image after two to three minutes, disconnect the cable from your computer, shut down your Garmin and re-connect.

Garmin app
Click to enlarge

3. Now using the Finder, My Computer or other tool on your computer, open the drive associated with Garmin, usually labeled Garmin. Open the folder located inside the Garmin drive.

Click to enlarge

4. Click or drag the exported files from your computer and drop them into the New Files folder.

5. Safely disconnect or eject the Garmin and unplug it from the computer.

6. After powering your Garmin back on, click the Navigation icon on the main screen, then the Courses icon and finally the Saved Courses icon. There, you’ll see your ESR GPS files.

Easy enough! See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Charlie’s tips for safe paceline riding

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. 

A paceline is a formation used by cyclists to maintain a higher average speed in a group while expending the least amount of energy. By “drafting,” or sitting in the slipstream of a rider in front of you, your effort to maintain a given speed can be reduced by 15% to 30%, depending upon the speed you’re riding, the wind and the terrain. It’s an honorable facet of cycling in that everyone is working together for the common good of the group. When performed poorly, the formation becomes counterproductive. 

There is one critical skill you need to perform well in a paceline that you can practice on your solo training rides. So, before I get into the nitty gritty of pace line tips, let’s cover this basic riding skill. 

learn to ride in a straight line

This is arguably the most important skill to master. You may think that riding a straight line is primarily executed by steering the bike but it has more to do with how you pedal. When you apply force to the right pedal, the bike tends to move to the left and vice versa. The greater the force you apply to the pedal, especially at the bottom of the stroke past 5 o’clock (radial force), the more the bike will move “off-line.” 

To practice this skill on your solo rides, ride the white line on the road and focus on even pedaling between both legs. Try different gear/cadence ratios and look at the line 20 feet in front of you. Once you think you’ve got it, take it one step further: stay on the white line and maintain your speed while reaching for your bottle, take a drink and replace it. The Empire State Ride is a long ride and you’ll have to drink often, so I strongly encourage you to practice and get comfortable with taking in fluids without disrupting the paceline. 

For this blog, I am focusing on single file paceline because it’s the easiest to master and safest for the type of roads you’ll encounter on the Empire State Ride. Because a paceline is structured, it requires consistency, predictability, communication and alertness from all riders. If done properly, a single paceline is much safer than a group of riders strewn haphazardly across the road because no movements are arbitrary. So, let’s start at the front. 

Leader's Responsibility

When you are at the front leading the group in a paceline, you have a huge responsibility and need to stay aware of that the entire time. If you’re the person taking the long pulls or at the front pulling all day, it’s easy to mentally drift off and forget that everyone behind you is depending on you to guide them safely down the road. You must focus and guide your group defensively and on course. You are constantly looking for road hazards and potentially dangerous traffic situations while maintaining a speed the group can handle and all the while looking for those #ESR21 directional arrows. It’s a lot to take on. 

keeping the pace at the front steady

The number one mistake riders make is picking up speed when it’s their turn to take a pull. The second biggest is when the rider signals that they are done pulling, move to the side and keep the speed the same. Both the cyclists who is coming to the front for their turn to pull and the one who just finished their pull have the biggest impact on the pace of the group. Make sure that when it’s your turn at the front, you maintain the same speed and avoid surging. Don’t be a “Sergio.” Don’t go to the front and accelerate. If you surge, gaps will open, the draft effect is minimized and the paceline turns into a slinky. If you are a strong rider, take a longer pull at the front, not a faster one. 

The rider who is pulling off will force an increase in the pace by not slowing down enough once they’ve moved over. If you move over and don’t scrub speed, the rider pulling through has to speed up to pass. When you’re done pulling, move to the appropriate side and then slow down 1-2 mph so that the pulling rider can pass you at the same speed you were pulling at. 

in the line micro adjustments

It’s nearly impossible for everyone to put forth equal amounts of effort, especially on undulating terrain. You need to make micro adjustments along the way to prevent the line bunching together or getting strung out with big gaps. Think of it like driving a car. You don’t slam on the brakes, then hit the gas; you moderate your speed with small adjustments to the gas pedal.

To do that in a paceline, try some of these techniques. 

  • Soft pedaling – When you begin to get sucked into the rider in front of you, take a light pedal stroke or two to micro adjust your speed accordingly. Try not to stop pedaling and over adjust.
  • Shifting – Being in the right gear/cadence ratio will make your soft pedaling more effective. If you’re in too light of a gear, soft pedaling will not micro-adjust your speed down and too big a gear will force you to stop pedaling to reduce speed and then difficult to micro adjust your speed back up. Again, think of this as your gas pedal. It would be much more difficult to maintain a steady speed if the pedal has no resistance against your foot (gear to light) or requires a huge force to push it down (gear too big). 
  • Feathering the brakes – Gently use the brakes while continuing to pedal or soft pedal. You can also reduce your speed without braking by raising your body to create more air resistance or moving over slightly out of the draft of the person ahead of you. You want to avoid over adjusting and moving forward or backwards too fast. 
  • Field of view – Don’t focus on the wheel directly in front of you. It’s an instinct when riding in a line, but it gives you zero time to react should something go wrong. Keep your head up and check about 10 meters down the road. Look through holes in the leading rider—over their shoulder, under their arm or through their legs—and ride proactively instead of reactively. This will help keep the line moving smoothly. 
  • Conserve energy – If you’re starting to feel tired from pulling, sit out a few turns until you’re ready to take another pull. Simply open a spot for riders to rejoin the line in front of you or come to the front and immediately pull off and drift to the back. You don’t have to take a pull at all if that’s what works for you.
  • Starting from scratch – If you’re new to this, the best way to start out pace line riding is with a partner you trust who is a smooth rider. Start out following them with about 2 feet of space between your bikes or greater if you’re not comfortable being that close. Gradually close the distance to whatever your nerves can stand. Ideally you want to be six to 12 inches away. 

a word about risk

The efficiency of riding in a pace line comes at the cost of added risk. Riding in a pace line is not as safe as riding by yourself. If the rider ahead of you (or behind you or on either side for that matter) does something unexpected, you could find yourself on the pavement in an instant. Don’t ride in a paceline unless you’re willing to assume these risks. 

And finally, I leave you with this.

There are three basic rules to paceline riding: 

  1. Don’t do anything suddenly
  2. Don’t do anything suddenly!

See you all soon,

 Coach Charlie

Join our 500+ Mile Challenge

If you are interested in our 500+ mile adventure across the state of New York, but worried about committing due to training and fundraising, we have the perfect solution.

Enter the Empire State Ride virtual 500+ mile challenge.

This virtual cycling challenge offers you a way to get a taste for the Empire State Ride right in your hometown. During the month of July, you choose when and where to ride 500+ miles.

By signing up for our cycling fundraiser, you’re advancing cancer research from the seat of your bike. While there are no registration fees or fundraising minimums, you can still make a difference. Your donations are impacting the future of cancer research and saving lives and many people will support that.

And that’s not all. You can also qualify for exciting rider rewards as a token of appreciation from our team!

when you raise $500

We will send you a welcome gift, complete with a t-shirt and items to celebrate your mileage milestones.

When you raise $1000

You will receive a special 500+ Mile Challenge cycling jersey.

Additionally, as a virtual rider, you still get access to all the amazing perks our weeklong and custom riders get. You can join our private Facebook group with your fellow riders to meet and share advice with ahead of the 500+ mile adventure.  

As you continue your adventure, you will have access to a fundraising coordinator, cycling coach, physical therapist and much more. Our road warriors are cyclists located all over the country and you will be part of a special group.  You choose when and where to ride and see how you stack up to other fellow riders!  

Taking on a challenge is always fun, but it’s even better when coupled with the opportunity to make a difference. This is a cycling challenge that you won’t want to miss.  

Charlie’s tips: Nutrition and hydration for ESR training

ESR Riders:

May is here and the weather is starting to favor outdoor rides again. If you’re following the ESR Training Plan, the volume of your weekend endurance rides is starting to build to the point that we need to start to pay attention to nutrition to make sure you have the fuel for the work required.

In my coaching practice, I spend equal amount of time prescribing training and fueling strategy necessary to complete the workouts. In this era of low carbohydrate diets, getting my athletes to consume enough carbohydrates is a struggle, but when they do, the difference in the consistency of their moderate to high intensity efforts is astonishing. And this, my friends, is where the magic happens.

Carbohydrate needs may be different at different exercise intensities. When the exercise intensity is low and total carbohydrate oxidation rates are low, carbohydrate intake recommendations may have to be adjusted downwards.

With increasing exercise intensity, the active muscle mass becomes more and more dependent on carbohydrate as a source of energy. Both an increased muscle glycogenolysis and increased plasma glucose oxidation will contribute to the increased energy demands. It is therefore reasonable to expect that exogenous carbohydrate oxidation will increase with increasing exercise intensities.

Hydration is perhaps even more critical to get right for all workouts. One of my favorite quotes, “nutrition doesn’t work in a dehydrated environment,” sums it up well.

Here’s a great in-depth article written by CTS Coach Renee Eastman that spells it all out.

Be well and Train Right! 

Charlie Livermore l Pro Coach Carmichael Training Systems

Julie’s Story: A journey of fate, struggles and a rediscovered passion

When Julie had shortness of breath in May of 2020, she thought she had COVID-19. When that turned into chest pains and her heart racing one night, she thought it was a heart attack. She told her wife who quickly called an ambulance.

Halfway to the hospital, all her symptoms mysteriously disappeared. However, the EMT explained to Julie that it was protocol to take her and check her over, so they continued on to a local hospital in Watertown, NY. 

After arriving, her vitals were checked and doctors ran numerous blood tests. While everything came back clear, the ER attending physician decided to do a chest CT scan because “crazy things are happening” in 2020. This decision saved her life.

The ER doctor told her that both lung cavities were full of blood clots and that every blood vessel inside both lung cavities had clots in them. She was immediately admitted to figure out what was going on. 

Within 12 hours, an abdominal CT scan, a pelvic ultrasound and a transvaginal ultrasound were administered and confirmed the clots were caused by enlarged cysts on both ovaries. 

Within 24 hours, a blood test confirmed Julie had ovarian cancer. 

Julie couldn’t believe it. She had no history of cancer in her family.

When deciding where to get treatment, health insurance options and opinions from friends and family pointed Julie to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York. Even though she was receiving treatment in the middle of a pandemic, she never once felt unsafe at Roswell Park due to the staff and safety protocols put in place.

“I know it’s scary as hell, but as soon as I left Roswell, I knew I would be safe.”

While going through treatment, Julie was thinking of ways to bounce back from her diagnosis. As a former athlete, she wanted to do something physical and her doctor told her how important it is to be active.

“I’m totally out of shape and full of steroids and drugs, but asking myself ‘what am I going to do when I’m done with this? What can I do physically to get on the other side?’”

Enter the Empire State Ride.

A challenge awaits

The night before her second chemotherapy infusion, Julie was reading a digital newsletter from Roswell Park when she stumbled across an announcement about the upcoming Empire State Ride. She checked out the website, read through the blogs, even watched the documentary on YouTube , and was left speechless – she had to be a part of this.

Julie knew the importance of getting her body moving while still going through treatment and decided participating in the Empire State Ride was the perfect goal.

“Everyone has this idea that when you come out of treatment, you’re a weakling and shouldn’t be doing [active things] to your body. 

“So I said, ‘This is a total reality.’ I have a stationary bike in the basement. I’ll just pedal a little bit after chemo.”

Julie on bike

That’s exactly what she did. Not only did it feel good to move, it also brought Julie back. A torn ACL from college basketball led her to discover cycling as a great form of exercise. In 1995 when she was 24, she sold her car and did a cross-country trip on her bike. She also did the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in 1997, so the Empire State Ride will be her first weeklong tour in a while. But, she was not only excited about getting back into her passion, but  also to find a way to give back to Roswell Park.

“Going through chemotherapy and cancer changes you. When I saw the [ESR] documentary, it brought tears to my eyes. It was the spark I needed to think about what was going to motivate me to get into shape in 2021 after I was finished with my active treatment. Seeing the inspiring stories of the ESR riders who rode for loved ones who they lost due to cancer was gut-wrenching. I thought, ‘What if I could ride in ESR in 2021? How inspiring would that be for riders who lost loved ones due to cancer and what about cancer survivors? What if I could inspire a cancer survivor to ride in the Empire State Ride?’

“A bike tour is a moving social event. You become friends for life with those that you meet. You get to spend time with people on a level that is not possible in today’s crazy-busy world. The feeling I had was that, ‘Yes, I can do #ESR21.”

For Julie, cancer was a wake-up call and she is determined to create what she wants out of life as a cancer survivor.

“Cancer wakes you up. It makes you focus on things you might not have been focused on before, in terms of health. I knew coming through the other side of it, I would be a different person in 2021. I knew training for this would be a huge jumping off point.”

You can support Julie’s adventure here or join her on the road and become a part of the Empire State Ride 2021.

Details of the official #ESR21 route

July will be here in no time, which means the Empire State Ride is getting closer. If you’re still on the fence about participating or trying to figure out your plans before committing, we have something that will help – check out the official route. 

Let's Break it down

Day 1

Staten Island to Yorktown Heights. 58+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR Rider outside NYC

Day 2

Yorktown Heights to Rhinebeck. 79+ miles and 3,900 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR riders on Hudson walkway

Day 3

Rhinebeck to Albany. 75+ miles and 2,800 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR riders in Albany

Day 4

Albany to Utica. 98+ miles and 3,300 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR rider with photo frame

Day 5

Utica to Weedsport. 83+ miles and 1,900 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR rider

Day 6

Weedsport to Spencerport. 76+ miles and 2,100 ft. elevation gain.​

ESR rider on the road

Day 7

Spencerport to Niagara Falls. 77+ miles and 1,700 ft. elevation gain.

ESR riders at finish line

When you participate in the Empire State Ride, you are not only advancing cancer research from the seat of your bike, but also taking on a unique cycling challenge. All riders get access to: 

  • Tenting accommodations, which includes a tent, air mattress, camp chair and fresh towels
  • Catered breakfast and dinner every day
  • Rest stops every 15 – 20 miles
  • On-site bike repairs
  • Support and gear vehicles
  • Charging stations 
  • and more
 And a couple other things to note:
  •  Some riders choose to stay in a hotel for the entire week or for several nights. Any rider who chooses this option is required to make the arrangements themselves and cover the expenses. We do have room blocks available, but spots are limited. 
  • All riders will end their route at camp each night, but there will be limited hotel shuttles provided to transport riders to and from the hotel at designated times.
  • There will be a charter that departs from Buffalo, New York, on Saturday, July 24 and takes riders to Staten Island for a $75 fee. This charter takes riders and luggage, but not bikes, so if you choose to take advantage of this, you will need to plan how to get your bike to Staten Island. If you’re in the Buffalo area, you can drop off your bike on Thursday at the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and we will truck it to the start line. Or you can ship your bike through Campus WheelWorks, our partner bike shop, and our team will truck your bike to the start line. 
  • Additionally, there will be a charter that departs from Niagara Falls back to Staten Island on Sunday, August 1 at 8:30 a.m. for a $75 fee. You can ship your bike back home through Campus WheelWorks. Our team will transport it from Niagara Falls to Campus WheelWorks. 
  • If you’re driving to either Buffalo to take the charter or to Wagner College in Staten Island, there will be free, week-long parking for both. 
  • All registered riders get access to a travel planner, which includes access to this information like how to ship your bike, the in-person experience and more. 
Ready to make your summer an adventure? Commit to the Empire State Ride and start making a difference. 

Why you need to come to New York State for this cycling adventure

When you think of New York State, what comes to mind? 

Most likely New York City and the Statue of Liberty. Probably crowded subway stations and endless crowds. Maybe even snowstorms in Buffalo. Or a certain football team that still hasn’t won a particular championship game that takes place every February. You know the one…with the funny commercials and a big concert halfway through, but that we can’t write in this blog post because it’s trademarked. Yeah, that one. 

The truth is New York State is so much more than all those things and it’s a total dreamland for cycling. 

No, seriously.

Rolling hills, challenging elevation gains and superb summer weather make it the perfect setting for an adventure.

Particularly a 500+ mile adventure across the entire state that advances cancer research. Do we have your attention now?


Enter the Empire State Ride. One state. Seven days. 500+ miles.

Here’s what you need to know. 

It's a challenge

ESR rider

Cycling across an entire state isn’t easy and the Empire State Ride is no exception.  We begin in New York City, travel up the Hudson River to the capital of Albany, then climb our way over through Syracuse and Rochester, and end at one of the natural wonders of the world – Niagara Falls. 

The good news? We’re cycling in the summer – this year, from July 25 through 31. So you don’t have to worry about snow. 

The bad news? You’ve got the hills, heat and humidity working against you. 

But, who doesn’t love a good challenge? Not only will you get the chance to push yourself to your limits, but you’ll also get the chance to see New York like never before.

And who knows – you may even end up loving it. 

It's Impactful

Cell Stress Biology

Taking on a challenge is always fun, but it’s even better when coupled with the opportunity to make a difference. 

At its core, the Empire State Ride is a fundraiser. Every year, our road warriors help to advance cancer research from the seats of their bikes by each committing to raise the required $3,500 minimum. And they have real impact. 

Funds raised support America’s first cancer center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York, which provides treatment and care for more than 44,000 patients from 41 states and four foreign countries every single year.

Our road warriors have helped fuel groundbreaking research, like clinical trials for CIMAvax, a cutting-edge lung cancer vaccine, and phase II trials for SurVaxM, a brain cancer vaccine. 

When you choose to take on this adventure, not only are you tackling something only the most elite cyclists have accomplished, but you’re also fueling national and international cancer research. 

It's Fully Supported

ESR riders lifting bike
This photo was taken in 2019 pre-pandemic.

You’re never alone on the Empire State Ride. Not only will you be a part of the official class of #ESR21, but our staff is here to fully support you, before, during and after the adventure. 

We know raising $3,500 can be intimidating, but our fundraising team is here to help you meet – and exceed – your goal. You’ll get access to many tools, including but not limited to email templates, a mobile app, business cards with a QR code that links to your fundraising dashboard and is unique to you, worthwhile rewards to aim for, and more. You’ll also be invited to our private Facebook group where you can meet us and your fellow riders pre-adventure to get to know one another and exchange advice.

When it comes down to the in-person experience, all you have to worry about is cycling those 500+ miles. We’ll take care of everything else, including rest stops every 15 – 20 miles, tenting accommodations, luggage trucks, showers and restrooms, catered breakfasts and dinners, onsite bike repairs and more. 

We know that COVID-19 is still a threat, but we are working with state officials to keep everyone safe by following CDC and New York State guidelines. Check out our FAQ page for more information on these details. 

#ESR21 is a whirlwind – it’s challenging, it’s intense, it’s impactful. It’s lifechanging and it changes lives. If you’re ready for an adventure in 2021, look no further than the Empire State Ride.  

Fundraising made easy: connect your dashboard with Facebook

Fundraising $3,500 is a challenge, but when armed with the right tools and attitude, it’s easier than you think. 

One of the best tools to help with your #ESR21 fundraising is integrating your online fundraising dashboard with your personal Facebook page. This utilization allows you to easily spread the word about your fundraiser and track your progress right on Facebook. You can also quickly send updates on your progress, making it that much easier to reach your goal. Additionally, your friends and family can donate when scrolling through their newsfeeds. The best part? Your progress will be reflected in your fundraising thermometer, both on Facebook and on your Empire State Ride fundraising page, so people can stay up to date on your journey. 

Here's How to Connect Your Fundraiser to Facebook

Log in to your fundraising dashboard

Scroll down and click "Connect Fundraiser on Facebook"

You'll be redirected to Facebook and a pop-up window appears. Click 'Continue' or 'Ok.'​

Either you'll be brought to your Facebook Fundraiser or you will be prompted to go to your Facebook Fundraiser from your dashboard.​

Edit your fundraising information, including title, description, goal amount, end goal and more.​

Promote your Facebook Fundraiser by sharing or inviting people to your fundraiser to start getting donations!

This tool will allow you to spread the word about your fundraiser, engage directly with donors and reach more people than you ever thought possible.

6 ways to use the#ESR21 fundraising app

Fundraising $3,500 can be a challenge. But with the right passion, hard work and tools, anyone can do it. Download the Empire State Ride fundraising app, which makes reaching the fundraising commitment easier.

Now, everything you need to be a successful fundraiser will be located in one place on your mobile device. Features of the app include:

  • Monitoring your fundraising progress
  • Sharing your page using social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) and SMS
  • Viewing and managing donations
  • Updating your page with a personalized story and photo
  • Integrating with Facebook to start a fundraiser
  • Easily importing email contacts and sending emails

The app is available for both Apple and Android devices. Head to either the App Store or Google Play, search Empire State Ride Fundraising and select download – it’s that easy.

Take a Tour of the App

With this new tool, there’s so much you can do. Here are 6 ways to make the most out of it.

Monitor Your Fundraising Progress

Once you log in using your credentials from registration, you will see your fundraising progress. Here, you can:

  1. Track your goal
  2. Adjust your goal
  3. See your team’s progress (if on a team)

Share Your Page

Now that you’ve made the commitment to fundraise for cancer research, it’s time to spread the word. The Empire State Ride app makes it easy to share your personalized page across many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SMS. You can share your page from three different locations on the app:

  1. Home (right under your fundraising progress)
  2. Donors
  3. Page

View and Manage Donations

Keep track of your donations all under the Donors tab. You can see who’s donated to your efforts and how much they gave. You’ll be able to thank them right through the app, too. Additionally, you can opt to be notified via email when you receive a donation. This is a great option to make sure you never miss a chance to say thank you to a donor.

Update Your Page and Picture

Updating your page and photo just got easier. Instead of needing a desktop or laptop, now all you need is your phone and the app.
Make sure to update the story of why you’re participating in the Empire State Ride. This will help donors understand your drive and passion, which can ultimately lead to donations.

Integrate with Facebook

Facebook fundraising is an incredible tool to reach more donors than ever. Integrating your personalized page with the social media giant is one of the best things you can do. Now, you can do it through the app with one simple click. Simply scroll down on the home screen and click “Connect to Facebook.”

Send Emails to Contacts

If you have your email contacts stored on your phone, you can easily import them into this app. It automatically syncs with your address book, making it that much easier to reach out to your contacts to spread the word about your #ESR21 fundraiser.

The Empire State Ride Fundraising app will help you reach and exceed your fundraising goals. Download it today to get started.

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