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Alumni ESR rider advice: for first-time riders

Hello first time #ESR rider, 

For a first-time rider, the Empire State Ride can seem intimidating. But, ask any of our alumni and they will remind you that this ride isn’t just a fitness challenge. They will proudly tell you that the Empire State Ride brought them a new perspective on the world, their life and each other.

If are a novice rider, or on the fence about accepting the challenge, look no further – our alumni have you covered.

 

You can do it!

“Your body can do anything… it’s your brain you need to convince.”Tracey M.

Studies have shown your body releases early signs of fatigue to keep you from overexerting yourself. With proper training you’ll find you can push through anything. 

 

“Humility. Accepting, with grace, my limitations.”Arlene K.

Sometimes enough is enough. While it is good to test your limits, you need to listen to your body. Your health and safety is our top priority. When you choose to go on the road with us, we have a team of professionals to support you every pedal of the way. 

 

Pace yourself, and get it done.

“It doesn’t matter how fast you pedal, just freaking pedal!”Sal T.

If you haven’t done a long-distance ride before, 500+ miles can seem impossible. One push at a time, one stretch at a time, and before you know it, you’ll have crossed that finish line.

“Pacing is key. I can hang on the back of a train at 23 mph for a day and then struggle to ride 10 mph for the next two days. Or I can ride 13 mph all day, every day.”Matt G.

Find your flow and stick to it. This is not a race, it’s an adventure. 

“For me, there are three: 

  1. Bring a battery powered oscillating fan for your tent! 
  2. It’s not a race, always take the time to stop for a picture or explore something cool 
  3. Make SURE to use the bathroom before going to bed every night. Nothing worse than getting up in the middle of the night when you are exhausted and can’t see anything.” – Jason M. 

“Ride your own ride…and enjoy it.”Rick J.

No matter what, this challenge is about you and the cancer patients you are riding for. Enjoy yourself and do what you need to do to prepare so you are ready for the ride of your life.

Meet Your New Close Friends.

“Who knew in those 7 days of cycling you would inherit a family. ESR family for life.”Maurice A.

“You will have yourself another family. Ride with others but ride by yourself…you’ll have to dig in and it’ll all make sense.”Nicholas R.

At the beginning of the Empire State Ride, a group of strangers begins their journey across New York. By the time the riders cross the finish line, they have made lifelong friendships. And nothing will break that bond.


“Enjoy the moment and the great sights and people around you. It doesn’t matter if you ride 12 mph or 20 you are moving forward for a great cause.”Daisy H.

Look at the bigger picture. You are completing a ride of a lifetime to advance cancer research. Cycling is a celebration of health. We must do our part to end cancer. 


“Started as a “me” thing. Ended as a “we” thing.”Chris H.


“Putting yourself out there, challenging yourself and supporting a cause will inspire others to do the same.” 

– David V.

Road warriors are courageous. Choosing to ride the Empire State Ride is choosing to lead. Your hard work contributes to the world of cancer research and the patients at Roswell Park. 

Don’t forget your butt!

“Develop your chafing prevention protocol early and stick with it.”Chris H.

Saddle sores hurt. We suggest training for a long-distance ride, as much as possible, and finding the saddle that works for you. 

“Extra strength Desitin = Liquid Gold.”Michelle B. 

The food is fantasitic.

“Snacks!”Jose V.

Everything you need to keep you going on the road will be provided with a smile from our team. 

“I learned I can gain weight over the same seven days I rode 540+ miles. The food was excellent!”Jim M.

You have been warned. Riders enjoy catered breakfast and dinner every day

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.​

Day 2

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

Day 3

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

Day 4

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

Day 5

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

Day 6

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

Day 7

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

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?

Good. 

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

Here’s what you need to know. 

It's a challenge

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

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

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.  

Everything you need to know about the 2021 Empire State Ride

The Empire State Ride is back for 2021 and we’re ready to advance cancer research from the seat of our bike. We missed being on the road with all of our incredible road warriors and we can’t wait to get back to changing lives, either together riding across New York State or virtually during the 500+ Mile Challenge.

So, ready to tackle this bucket list item? Here’s what you need to know. 

The OPtions

There are two registration options available for all riders: weeklong and virtual. Weeklong riders commit to riding all seven days (from July 25 until July 31, 2021), from NYC to Niagara Falls and fundraising the required $3,500 minimum. The route, which will include exact mileage and elevation gains, will be finalized in early 2021. Our team is working with state officials and will be following CDC and New York State guidelines to keep everyone safe. 

If you’re not feeling comfortable coming out to an in-person experience but still want to participate, the 500+ Mile Challenge is perfect for you. There’s no registration fee or fundraising requirement, and you can train to ride 500+ miles in your hometown. This is a great way to get a feel for what the Empire State Ride is like without the commitment. 

The Fundraising

If you’re a little intimidated about having to fundraise, we have a ton of tips and tools to make it easier on you.

First, kick off your efforts by making a self donation. Then, let all your family, friends and colleagues know that you’re fundraising for cancer research. Promote it on social media and email everyone in your address book. Don’t forget to personalize your fundraising dashboard, download our mobile app (available on the App Store and Google Play) and integrate your fundraiser with Facebook.

The Experience

When you join team #ESR21, you’ll be supported on and off the road – by both fellow riders and our staff. The Empire State Ride is fully supported. What does that mean exactly? As a rider, you’ll get access to:

  • Bike mechanics and repair support
  • Rest stops every 15-20 miles
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner options for all dietary restrictions
  • First-aid trained staff
  • Support & gear buses to pick you up if you need some help
  • Luggage truck
  • Camping accommodations
  • Showers and restrooms
  • Access to a private Facebook group to meet fellow riders
  • Training tips
If you’re taking on the virtual challenge, you’ll get access to all the same online tools. We are here to support you – no matter where you are located. 

No matter which option you choose, the Empire State Ride is the perfect chance to challenge yourself while advancing cancer research. Our road warriors are unstoppable on their mission to help end cancer – become a road warrior and join us on our adventure.