LIVESTRONG Challenge 2007 - Portland, Oregon
 
Lance Armstrong - Livestrong Challenge Thank You to all those who supported us with finances, encouragement and prayers!   The total amount raised in 2007 by the LIVESTRONG Challenge rides in the 3 host cities was nearly $9 million to help fight cancer!  Awesome!
 
On September 30th 2007 we participated in a bike ride as part of the LIVESTRONG CHALLENGE in Portland, Oregon.  We rode with Mark Nelsen and the team from KPTV Fox-12.  This was special for us since just two years earlier Michelle finished her last chemo treatment following cancer surgery.   (You can read her story on our Cancer Survivor page.)  For you in the Portland area, you probably know Mark as the chief "weather guy" at channel 12.  Well he wasn't much help with the weather on Sunday!  You can see the forecast graphic below, and the three of us already wet before the ride even started.  As it turned out, we had near record rainfall for the date and tied the record for the coldest afternoon high temperature at 56!  Wayne Garcia (KPTV news anchor) was also there with us, in an unusual position for him, behind the camera taking our picture.
Forecast for the Livestrong Challenge in Portland, Oregon

 

The pictures below will give you a flavor of what the ride was like.  I would like to have had more, but I couldn't keep the rain off the camera lens (as you can see in many of the photos).  I had created a rain cover for the camera, but with the rain and wind, it wasn't enough to keep it dry.  The weather was so bad that they had to cancel the 100 mile ride because of dangerous wind and rain on that part of the course (map here).  We had planned on riding the 70 mile route, but settled for the 40 mile ride because of the nasty conditions.  One rider I talked to started down the 70 mile route but turned back because the wind was blowing the bike sideways!  In spite of the weather conditions this really was an awesome experience.  We will definitely do it again! 
     
the day before at registration before the race, finding our place Mark Nelsen with us and our bike
 encouragement from Lance & others Lance Armstrong leading the pack we head out of the gate
     
leaving the Nike Campus shortly after starting out still pretty bunched up as a group
     
a feel for how wet it really was out in the countryside rest stop
     
and more wet roads we only saw one other recumbent bike pretty views
     
another rest stop great volunteers at each stop on the (wet) road again
     
I thought this was a cool shot down the final stretch the end in sight
     
turning into the Nike Campus special finish line for cancer survivors Michelle receiving her rose
     
 
Here we are after changing into dry clothes Rob, Corrie & their kids (our kids & grand kids) held up this sign and cheered for us as we rode past  
     


What an awesome experience!  From the time we arrived to pick up our materials on Saturday, through the Post-Event Party on Sunday, everyone was enthusiastic in the fight against cancer, excited about the event, and encouraging to the cancer survivors.  We talked to many people, both volunteers and participants, who were cancer survivors themselves. Others were there to honor family members who have fought cancer in the past, or who are currently in the midst of it. Whatever their situation, everyone was united in the desire to put an end to this deadly disease.  Lance Armstrong,  in his speech before the race, made a comment about the time and commitment put into such an event, and even more so when the weather was so unfavorable.  If the day had been nice and sunny, a nice bike ride would have been fun.  However, it felt as if we were really in the midst of the fight! What a great feeling!

We were truly amazed at the number of people involved. We have heard that there were 3100 participants. When you add the huge number of volunteers, both at the Nike campus, and on the road to point the way and man the break stations; the law enforcement officers protecting the riders from the traffic; and supporters who stood on the roadside cheering; or those who drove by honking or clanging cow bells, the number soars!  The spirit of LIVESTRONG was electric!  If a time comes when we don't ride for LIVESTRONG, you will find us among the volunteers.

As the ride progressed the spirit of unity in commitment to purpose continued.  Riders offered words of encouragement to other riders.  New acquaintances were made as we pedaled side-by-side with others.  Several bicyclers took turns playing leap frog up and down hills with us, joking about who was ahead and who would be ahead on the other side of the hill. "Where are you from?" and "How long have you been a survivor?" were common questions as we rode along.  There was no belittling of slower riders; we were all in it for the same purpose.  We were a team!

Although we were disappointed to shorten our expected ride of 70 miles to just 40 miles because of the weather, it was a good decision.  It was difficult enough to be a challenge, but short enough to actually enjoy it.  Even as we finished the ride, and as tired and as wet as we were, we were already saying, "If they were doing this again next week, we'd do it again!" Can't wait for the details for next year's LIVESTRONG ride!!
     
The cards below were pinned on our bike for the ride.  They identify Michelle as a cancer survivor,
and honor the special people listed by our financial supporters when they made their gifts.
         
Lance Armstrong - Livestrong Challenge
LIVESTRONG  website here     --     Our LIVESTRONG Challenge 2008 pictures here
 

 
 
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