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The Road to Empire State Ride, brought to you by Port X Logistics: Behind the Scenes

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Meet the Team

As you’re getting ready for your 500+ mile trek across New York State, so is our Empire State Ride operations team.

Every facet of Empire State Ride is mapped out months in advance, though ever-changing details require operations to pivot as the journey demands. The team thinks of all the elements, big and small, so that when you’re on the road, you can focus on the ride rather than the logistics.

Meet Megan, Ashley, Katie and Tom — the operations crew that works year-round to make this adventure possible.

This is a photo of the Empire State Ride Operations Team

“It’s like a big puzzle, like math. You’ve got to go in and figure out solutions to the problems,” said Senior Special Events Operations Coordinator Megan Maslach.

And to make sure the puzzle that is ESR is put together by July, it takes planning — a lot of planning.

“It’s a yearlong process. Even as we’re at a camp, I’m already talking to the venue about next year,” said Production Manager Katie Menke.

Once the team returns home to Buffalo, weekly meetings pick back up in full force to prepare for the upcoming ride. Still, when the weeklong event actually arrives, flexibility is key.

“Our team is really good at working on the fly and troubleshooting. We do an incredible amount of planning, but so many things happen when we’re out there, and our team is just so good at improvising,” said Katie.

Operations Manager Tom Johnston says the biggest obstacle is keeping an eye on all the moving parts.

He added, “Every site is different, and every site has its own flavor and challenges.” 

Camp Life

This is a photo of Katie on the ops team speaking at Wagner College during #ESR22
This is a photo of several rows of tents, featuring the camp life at ESR.
This photo shows members of the ESR staff at #ESR22

In addition to the route itself, camp life is a key part of the ESR experience. Each camp has a rider reception and services hub, tenting area, dining and program tent.

Among her various duties, Katie handles campsite logistics. This includes “everything that goes into rolling into an empty field and building a small village for us for that day,” Katie said. She emphasized that it’s a team effort, with collaboration from members of the ops team, vendors, caterers and more.

While the existing infrastructure varies from one site to the next, riders will always have access to portable restrooms and a traveling shower truck. Booking those amenities is one of Megan’s many tasks.

“I enjoy figuring out what we need to make a space habitable for 350 people,” said Megan. “My favorite part is creating a one-day home for people at each spot.”

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the camp life at ESR is that each site is set up and taken down daily as the group rides across the state.

“After the riders leave at around 7:00 a.m., we pack up everything. The tent company packs up 300 tents individually. They roll them up, put them in their trailers, drive an hour to the next place and unload them all,” said Katie. “They even use a leaf blower to dry them out. They inflate air mattresses, they put a camping chair next to each tent and, somehow, they’re ready to go by 2 p.m. or so when the riders arrive after a day on the road.”

Adjusting to Scale

The first ESR took place back in 2014 when founder Terry Bourgeois rode solo from New York City to Niagara Falls on a pursuit to raise critical funds for cancer research at Roswell Park. Over the last nine years, his passion project has inspired hundreds of people to get involved.

Today, there are more than 200 people who join ESR on the road each year — and counting!

“As the event has grown, we’re always thinking about adjusting to scale so that we don’t lose that family-feel, but we also are able to deal with the larger numbers and be more efficient,” Tom explained.

Despite the size of ESR, riders, staff and volunteers alike often use the word “family” to describe the experience. Maintaining the special sense of community that is unique to this ride is essential. “It’s a big production, so much planning goes into it. There are lots of nuts and bolts and moving parts, but somewhere in there is that personal connection,” said Tom.

In recent years, the team has managed all operations in house for ESR. While there’s always room for growth, they say the process has been incredibly fulfilling and successful — creating a kind of synergy with everyone involved.

“I think what’s unique to our event is that it’s not just a bike tour. It’s very much about the cause and about fundraising and about everybody’s stories,” Katie added, “And our team is able to bring those concepts together for our week-long ride.”

Join the ESR Community

Of course, everyone plays an important role in Empire State Ride, including you!

Whether you want to get involved on the frontlines of the adventure as a rider or behind the scenes as a volunteer, members of the ops team say it’s a journey you truly have to experience to understand.

“It doesn’t take seven days to cross New York State. It takes seven hours, but you stretch it out and you see things. You see small towns. You see families who come out to help us. You connect with the community,” said Tom.

And after a year of planning, pivoting and preparing for this one-week-event, the result is an unforgettable journey, with memories to last a lifetime.

This is a group photo of several riders at #ESR22

Get the Empire State Ride Fundraising App

Enhance your fundraising with the ESR MyHub App.

Riding 500+ miles across New York State makes you a road warrior; raising critical funds for cancer research makes you a champion.

Let the ESR MyHUB app supercharge your fundraising efforts and get you ready for your Empire State Ride adventure.

This is an image of the ESR myHUB app home screen.
This image shows another screen capture of the ESR myHUB app homepage.

Here are some of the great things you can do with the app!

  • Personalize your fundraiser and track your fundraising progress
  • Accept in-person check donations with state-of-the-art scanning technology and bank-grade security feature
  • Send emails or SMS messages to your contacts asking for support and donations
  • Connect the app to your activity tracker. Earn badges and compete against fellow road warriors in fitness and fundraising challenges
  • Integrate with your ESR fundraising dashboard and Facebook fundraiser
  • Share your page on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • And much more!

How to get started.

The ESR MyHUB app is free to download in the App Store or Google Play. Search for “ESR MyHUB” wherever you download apps.

Use the User Name and Password that you set up to log into your Fundraising Dashboard. After your first login, you can also use facial recognition to get into your account.

If you have any questions about the fundraising app, please contact us!

Email: EmpireStateRide@RoswellPark.org  Phone: 716-845-3179

And for more fundraising tools, visit our fundraising page!

Charlie Livermore: Coach, Cycling Enthusiast, Cancer Survivor

Charlie Livermore's ESR Journey

Charlie Livermore sits in a chair wearing an Empire State Ride jersey and smiles.

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 ESR riders and joins us on the road each July to ride 500+ miles.  

With more than 30 years of experience as a professional cycling coach, Charlie Livermore has logged thousands of miles and helped countless cyclists reach their goals. He works as a pro-level contract coach at Carmichael Training Systems (CTS) and has managed professional cycling teams in tours around the world. The BMC Racing Team, cofounded by Charlie, went on to win the Tour de France in 2011.

Charlie’s passion for cycling started decades ago when he bought a bike and subsequently met the president of the Florida Cycling Federation. The president invited Charlie to an upcoming race. Charlie accepted, conquered the race and never looked back.

“Cycling has been my life. I’m a prisoner of passion and discipline. It’s been a great life. I still coach, I’m still riding, and I’m still helping people. I love it. I’ll never stop doing it,” Charlie says.

Charlie rides at ESR.
Charlie and a fellow road warrior smile at Empire State Ride

On Empire State Ride.

Charlie’s involvement with Empire State Ride (ESR) can best be described as a perfect accident. A client needed to get in peak shape for a European cycling tour and pitched ESR as a training event to log his miles. Charlie agreed and joined him on the road in July 2015.

The duo planned to stay at hotels and eat at local restaurants to make it easier to adhere to their prescribed nutrition plan. Then they discovered the catering at camp and started to meet the ESR community. As Charlie got to know the other riders, he saw an opportunity to use his knowledge and become more involved.

He started giving fireside talks each night after dinner. During those chats, he shared tips and tricks for navigating the road and answered questions from new and experienced riders alike. His talks were so well-received that he was asked to come back the next year as a coach. He has returned every year since to set our road warriors up for success.   

“I’ve done all kinds of amazing one-week and two-week long vacations in my life and the one that I keep talking about the whole year is the Empire State Ride,” Charlie says. “It’s a lifetime of stories all packed up into one week.”

“It's a lifetime of stories all packed up into one week.”

Charlie’s reasons for coming back.

Charlie has joined Empire State Ride on the road for more than seven years now. For him, the event goes beyond his love for the sport of cycling. He connects to the ESR mission on a much deeper level.

“I never talk about it, but I’m also a cancer survivor. I resonate with what is going on, and I understand the studies and the clinical trials, because I went on a clinical trial that really made my outcome better. I’m still alive.”

Charlie was preparing for a cycling event in Europe when his cancer journey began. Between cycling regularly, running a cycling center and traveling to and from events, he maintained a healthy lifestyle and felt great. That’s what made what happened next even more surprising.

During a routine dental cleaning, Charlie’s dentist discovered a lump in his throat that wasn’t supposed to be there. He referred Charlie to a specialist to have it biopsied. When Charlie did, the results confirmed the worst-case scenario: throat cancer. He never smoked and realized quickly that a cancer diagnosis can happen to anyone.

Through a reference from a friend at Stanford University, Charlie got into a promising clinical trial for his specific type of cancer that involved less radiation. He signed up and began treatment, anxious for the upcoming cycling event in Europe. Luckily, Charlie took to treatment well and was able to get back to cycling sooner than later.

“I survived. But it would’ve been a completely different experience if I had gone through those three extra weeks of radiation that the normal protocol called for,” Charlie says. “When they talk about clinical trials at ESR, I understand the benefits and how much they can change the outcome. I have respect and passion for the research side of things, too.”

Charlie LIvermore paceline riding with other road warriors
Charlie Livermore holds sign with friends at halfway point.

A full-circle journey for Charlie, it’s no coincidence that he found ESR and the amazing community of road warriors he works with. He says his experience with cancer and love for cycling have made him even more grateful for the journey and connections he’s made with the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation.

“Empire State Ride is unique. What this organization is doing, and the passion around it, has been one of my biggest fulfillments in cycling. I look forward to the event every year.”

Terry’s Legacy: The Start of Empire State Ride

Committing to the Cancer Cause.

For 12 years, Terry Bourgeois served in the military and devoted himself to his country. When his military career ended, he started a career in corporate America but he also found himself searching for an additional purpose and direction. That search and drive to make a difference led him to sign up for Ride for Roswell, where he quickly realized the realities of cancer. Cancer was, and continues to be, a leading cause of death worldwide.

“I had just spent 12 and a half years of my life sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I was willing to give up my life for that. But what are we doing about cancer? This enemy is huge. It has no rules and really doesn’t care. This voice in my mind was telling me I had to be part of this fight.”

So, Terry did research on Roswell Park to answer one question: Is Roswell Park really a place that’s doing something about cancer? He dove in and learned about genetic testing and clinical trials. He read patient stories and met researchers and discovered that Roswell was the first dedicated cancer center focused on cancer research. He also learned how every dollar raised gets amplified by $13 through federal, pharmaceutical and other outside support. And he was sold.

He raised his hand and committed to the fight. That was in 1999.

Today, Terry sits on the Roswell Park Alliance Community Board as chairman and the driving force behind Empire State Ride. He’s been a fierce supporter of the fight to end cancer and founded the 500+ mile adventure across New York State.

The Road to the First Empire State Ride.

The first Empire State Ride in 2014 looked a little different than it does today. An idea came to Terry during a brainstorming session about ways to bring in new revenue for cancer research. What if we created an event with two major destinations that would bring in people around the world? What if that event included the Statue of Liberty on one end and Niagara Falls on the other as entry points and sources of hope for participants traveling to the United States? What if the event covered every major city in New York State, through rural landscapes and bustling cities, and ended near the home of America’s first dedicated cancer center? 

That thought stayed with Terry. The more he tossed it over, the more he knew he had to see the idea through. So, he set out to travel across the state on a solo ride that would echo for years to come.

“It comes back to the commitment I made in 1999 that I was going to do whatever I could to help this cause,” Terry says.

He laid the groundwork for his trip by charting out the route and planning stays at local campgrounds. His mother and her friend would fly from North Dakota and meet him in New York City. They could enjoy New York during the day and meet Terry each night at camp. From there, he tuned up his bike, packed his bags and prepared to set off.

But the best laid plans rarely go off without a hitch, and Terry learned that firsthand.

Terry Bourgeois crosses arms in an ESR jersey. Filler content.
Terry Bourgeois smiles in ESR jersey. Filler content.

It started with a call the night before he was scheduled to leave. His mother’s friend just received the news that her father had a tumor on his spine. There was no way she could leave him for a week, nor would Terry want her to. Instead, the new development would fuel Terry’s desire to raise even more money for cancer research. But first, he needed to find someone to step in. He dialed his sister on a whim, knowing that he was asking for a lot. She needed time to think it through.

The next morning, Terry set off without much of a plan. “I think a reasonable person probably would’ve stopped, but I couldn’t,” he says.

As he was pulling out of his driveway, his sister called him. “Good news,” she told him. She would travel from North Dakota to New York City to join Terry on the journey.

On the road.

The first morning started with a broken toe. The pain radiated through his foot. He vowed to push through and embark on his journey regardless. Weeks later, he would learn that his big toe had broken into two. 

Early in the day, his ride went from bad to worse as his GPS, loaded with route, failed to work in New York City. The route he planned to the first campsite was not accessible. He left New York City four hours later than planned on an alternate route in the direction of the campsite.

That first night hit Terry hard. He set up at a campground about 50 miles outside New York City. His toe throbbed, his body ached, and he began to question his journey and his sanity.

Then something serendipitous happened.

He met a fellow camper and told her about his journey. She introduced him to her sister who had been diagnosed with throat cancer. Her sister’s husband had been diagnosed with prostate cancer four months before that. The more they talked and shared stories, the more Terry knew he had to keep going. The family donated to Terry’s ride to support Roswell Park and Terry vowed to do whatever it took to finish his journey.

“The next morning, I hung my jersey over [the sister’s] chair at the campfire, and I signed it ‘best of luck.’ That was a pivotal moment where the negative feelings I had about myself and the voices that told me to quit just went away. A new voice said, ‘Terry, suck it up. This has nothing to do with you, and it has everything to do with her.’”

Despite all the obstacles and odds, Terry made it to the finish line. Why? Because life doesn’t exist without risks, he says, and raising money for cancer research is well worth any trials that come with a 500+ mile journey. Today, Terry’s greatest joy comes from seeing the change Empire State Ride has made in people’s lives.

Terry and Maria, two road warriors, hold their bicycles proudly in the air in front of Niagara Falls. Filler image.
Terry stands with a group of ESR riders and volunteers. Filler content.

“To be part of writing the pages in what will be a history book about how cancer used to be is the most fulfilling thing that I can think of for a legacy. When I get to the end of my road and think about what we've been part of, I'm going to smile."

Join Terry at this year’s Empire State Ride. 

Join us at the finish line!

Our ESR road warriors have committed to a 500+ mile journey across the state. Over seven days, they’ll tackle long distances, hills and exhaustion to honor everyone affected by cancer. Help us celebrate their accomplishment by cheering them on at the finish line! All enthusiasts welcome. 

Saturday, July 30 @ 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

There will be food trucks, music and programming to honor our road warriors and congratulate them on completing their adventure. Our road warriors will cross the finish line around 4 p.m.

Here's what you can expect

  • Food trucks
  • 42 North Brewing Tap Trekker
  • Live music
  • Programming on our riders’ impact
  • Opportunity to purchase ESR gear
  • Awesome signs and plenty of cheering
  • Smiles as hundreds of road warriors embrace that finish line feeling

What to Bring

  • Enthusiasm
  • Inspiration and willingness to create a sign
  • Spending money and appropriate gear for the weather

Parking

Map showing parking in Niagara Falls

Homestretch! How to get those last-minute donations.

Your fundraising efforts for Empire State Ride fuel critical research that directly impacts the lives of cancer patients at Roswell Park. As we enter the final weeks before our weeklong challenge, now’s the time to rev up donations to reach your goal in time for the big day. Whether you’ve already passed your goal or you’re almost there, we have you covered with fundraising tips to help you go the distance.

Check out these words of advice from your fellow road warriors.

🚲 leT YOUR DONORS KNOW THEIR IMPACT IS huge.

“From a fundraising standpoint, it’s really important for riders to stress that every dollar you raise gets multiplied by 13. When you can show that financial impact, it is huge. People buy $10 worth of raffle tickets, for example, and it becomes $130 in grant research dollars. When you start putting it like that, it’s really easy for someone to give that $10. If you give me a hundred dollars, now it becomes $1,300 in grant research money. The power of that is amazing.” 

– Road warrior Shelley Unocic.

🚲 Team together.

“Everyone on our team went out and got donations. We purchased some things on our own and put baskets together. One hundred percent of those proceeds are going back to our team goal.”

– Road warrior Shelley Unocic.

🚲 Give people something in return.

“Try to do things that people can actually get something else out of, as well. Instead of just asking them to hand over a donation, ask them to put money toward a dinner or raffle.”

– Road warrior Erica Pompey

🚲 Don’t be afraid to ask.

“My father always said, ‘If you don’t ask, all they can do is say no.’ Right now, what I do for fundraising for team GBY9 is mail out 400 letters. Anybody that I know gets a letter —my doctor, my lawyer, the cleaners, whoever. Anybody I know will receive a letter. And that’s how I do my fundraising.”

– Road warrior Maria Thor

🚲 Remind people what it’s all about.

“I hit and bring to heart what it is really about. It isn’t really about the cycling, which is the fun part, but it’s about how we support the Roswell Park community and help with the fundraising for the clinical trial processes.”

— Road warrior Richard Noll

 

🚲 Use Your Contacts

“I use a very simple process. What I do is this: Every night at this time of the year, as I’m watching TV, I open my fundraising app and go into my phonebook, and I send personalized text messages with the link. Hey, Steve, it’s Rich. Hope all is well. As you know, this is my fifth year riding for Roswell. I would love your support again. I go through one letter of the alphabet every night. Then I go through my emails. Then I go back, and I start making personal phone calls.”

— Road warrior Richard Noll

However you choose to fundraise, keep the momentum going!

Read more about your impact.

Camping at ESR: What you need to know

Empire State Ride is just around the corner, and riders are in for the journey of a lifetime. Not only are we advancing cancer research from the seat of our bikes, but we’re also taking on a unique cycling challenge. If you’re anything like Maria Thor, you’re going to learn a lot during your week on the road.

“I did my first Empire State Ride, hopped on the bus and off I went. I’d never camped. I was a Holiday Inn girl, but I learned to camp, and I’ve learned a lot of things about myself that I never thought that I would do or could do,” says Maria Thor, veteran rider.

If you’re a first-time road warrior or thinking about becoming one next year, you may be wondering what to expect at camp. After a long day of riding, there’s no better feeling than freshening up and getting settled in for the night. By familiarizing yourself with the schedule and resources, you can make the most out of your camping experience. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect.

🚲Your experience Includes:

• No-hassle tent camping, including tent, chair, air mattress, clean towels and daily delivery of your luggage
• Shower truck, restrooms, , bike truck and mechanics support
• A HUB with rider information, beverages, snacks, first aid supplies, sunscreen, and cue sheets,.
• Wellness support, including first aid and physical therapists as well as optional for-cost massages
• Catered breakfast and dinner with consideration for dietary restrictions
• Charging stations for devices
• Nightly mission-based programming

🚲Schedule

Daily routes close at 3 p.m. each day. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. with nightly programming at 6:15 p.m. that unites everyone around our shared mission to end cancer. Then, you have free time until 10 p.m. when quiet hours begin. You can use that time to enjoy our evening reception, chat with other riders, or just unwind while reflecting on the day.

🚲 Location

Map of ESR with orange colors fading it to show each camp.

Day 1 (July 23): Wagner College, Staten Island
Day 2 (July 24): Somers High School, Somers
Day 3 (July 25): Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck
Day 4 (July 26): Shaker Heritage Society, Albany
Day 5 (July 27): Donovan Middle School, Utica
Day 6 (July 28): Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport
Day 7 (July 29): Ferris Goodrich American Legion, Spencerport

Here’s one last note from veteran rider, Richard Noll.

“At the end of the day, it's not about the ride. It's about the funds raised. And it's about hanging out at camp when you get there. Trust me, the beer tastes really good after a day of riding.”

Two riders embrace in a side to side hug at the finish line of Empire State Ride.

Thinking about tackling this summer adventure in 2023? Follow along on social and join our mailing list!

 

Rider spotlight: Doug Field

Meet ESR Hometown Challenge Champion, Doug Field. 

Five years ago, Doug Field felt off, like he wasn’t quite himself. He found himself getting dizzy, disoriented and confused about everyday details. He couldn’t remember how to get to a restaurant he frequented in Manhattan or how navigate his way through an airport without the help of his daughter. Something wasn’t right.

Doug’s suspicions were confirmed during a visit to his optometrist. His optic nerve was badly inflamed, and he was quickly referred to an ophthalmologist and a neurologist. Tests later revealed that Doug had metastases on his brain from cancer that spread from his lungs. He had never smoked. Since that time, Doug has worked closely with oncologists and neurologists to remove the metastases around his brain and prevent the cancer from worsening.

Rising above

 

Today, Doug’s mind is clearer and more focused than before. He undergoes immunotherapy and receives infusions every three weeks, but he’s persevering and continuing to push back against his diagnosis. In fact, Doug will soon be graduating with his Master of Business Administration degree and riding in the weeklong Empire State Ride alongside fellow survivors and thrivers. 

“I feel good, and I’m grateful,” Doug says. “Now, my story is that I’m riding to help fund research to fight, have an impact and enable more people to be eligible for treatment across a range of cancers.”

Doug's 500+ Mile Hometown Challenge

In 2020, Doug completed the Empire State Ride 500+ Mile Hometown Challenge and raised approximately $10,000 in the fight to end cancer. He says that participating in events like Empire State Ride Long Island is a great way to raise funds to drive the research that helps people like him navigate their cancer diagnosis.

“I’m a direct result of research efforts,” Doug says, “My oncologist says that when she finished her oncology fellowship, the rubric showed three boxes for patients with lung cancer, meaning you had three choices [for treatment]. Now she says that it’s an entire spreadsheet of different combinations, drugs and therapies.”

Physically, Doug feels better than ever despite his condition. When the idea of cycling first came up in a conversation with a friend, Doug couldn’t imagine riding the distances he currently does. Now, he rides on the weekends with a group of cyclists and can easily cover 50 or more miles on his own. That all started from a simple desire to do something to further cancer research for future generations.

Whether you’re a novice rider or riding is part of your weekly routine, participating in the Empire State Ride Long Island is the perfect way to raise funds and work toward more clinical treatment options.

Don’t miss out — register today!

Volunteer feature: Meet Ken

Meet Ken Flynn

Meet Dax, Ken’s four-legged road warrior

It’s a tall ask for someone to take a full week off work to join the Empire State Ride team on the road, but 46-year-old Ken Flynn doesn’t mind one bit. For him, it’s a family affair. His wife, Amy, tackles ESR as a road warrior, and Ken follows her from stop to stop with their golden retriever, Dax (above). They bring their camper, and Ken helps the ESR team while his wife is riding.

We sat down (virtually!) with Ken to hear his reasons for getting involved.

Q&A

Why do you volunteer for Empire State Ride?

I volunteer to be a supportive partner for my wife on a quest that means so much to her.

How did you get started with Empire State Ride?

My best friend knows Terry Bourgeois and told my wife and me about the ride. My wife and friend, Ben, planned to do the ride together in 2020; Ben’s wife and I planned to volunteer for the week while they were on the road. Ben, unfortunately, had to back out, but my wife was committed. 

She rides for her mother and her aunts who battled various forms of cancer. She lost her one aunt to pancreatic cancer.

What do your accommodations look like for the week?

I pull along our camper for a comfortable bed and air-conditioning at night. I even purchased a new truck to make it easier to tow my RV.

Why did you decide to come back again this year?

My wife and I both said this was going to be a one and done thing. That idea lasted about two days. It has turned into so much more than just volunteering for a week on the road. We have made incredible new friends and heard amazing stories that keep us coming back to help. The riders are truly amazing!

What’s one memory you have from being on the road?

The Regulators (left) are a team that came together last year that generally brings up the rear of the pack, coming in late almost every day. This team stayed at the back and helped so many who were struggling. Because of them, every one of these struggling riders was able to overcome and conquer the road. Seeing this is another reason why I have to come back for more.

What are you most looking forward about this year’s event?

Last year, I met so many great people, many of whom were survivors or currently battling cancer. The stories, emotions, people, food and overall cause is what makes it easy to return as a volunteer again in 2022.

Any last thoughts?

Nothing was going to stop me from volunteering for such an important cause. All I had to do was put in for vacation time.

 

Luckily, you don’t have to put in for vacation time to get involved as a volunteer for Empire State Ride. Volunteers are needed daily on the route, and you can sign up for a shift that fits your life. Learn more and sign up below.

Join Ken at this year’s Empire State Ride. 

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

Proceeds directly benefit