Badgerland

We rode into Madison, WI today. The weather was cold for the morning and heated up during the day. There were more hills than I expected but it was a shorter day. At least we have some down time to catch our breath. It seems like too many days we ride in and don’t have that much free time. Of course this is to be expected for the milage we put in most days. We stayed at my parent’s lake house in Lake Geneva yesterday which turned out pretty well.┬áMost of us took a jump into the lake and had a good time. My clothes are still wet but they are sun-drying so everything should be good for tomorrow. I guess that I’ve been a little absent in my blogging but most times there is only one computer and usually i just want to play a game of hearts and go to bed. I would like to say something a little more deep than just our daily routine.
I joined this ride because initially because I though that biking across the country was pretty badass. And it is, but there is this cause all behind our riding and daily schedule. Our donations to our charities and spreading awareness is what this ride is all about. But just like one of our riders said I felt like it was the extra bonus that comes with this group. I did this ride to do something great and give purpose to myself. Before this ride I had never had a personal experience with cancer. Several family members have had things but I have been very sheltered. Cancer to me was this big black cloud that hurt and killed people. By participating in this ride I was doing something good against this big thing that was bad. As I have rode almost 1500 miles I am beginning to understand the American cancer experience. I cannot begin to tell you what it is like to meet the people that I have met along this journey. As a large group of youngsters biking in matching jerseys we are a naturally curious item. I have been approached countless times by anyone who is wondering what we are doing. It is incredible how many individuals have opened up to me after I tell them about our ride. I met a woman in PA after we stopped for lunch and she told me about her sister that she had lost to rectal cancer in January. There was another woman sheltering with us in a gas station during a lightning storm who had been diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks earlier. A librarian in Carnegie started to come to tears when talking about one of her friends who had lost her fight. There have been many more incredible people that I have met along the way. All of the hospital visits that we have made are changing what we thought we knew about cancer. 15% of positive mammograms will appear negative, 80% of positive mammograms will be negative and usually require an expensive biopsy. The pediatric cancer cure rate is 80%. The cancer survival rate for ages 15-30 hasn’t risen at all in 30 years. I have definitely changed over this last month and hope to continue to see the American cancer portrait in the coming weeks.

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