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Why We Ride

My name is Travis and this is why I ride.

RTB Why I Ride Travis 2018I ride to honor my paternal grandfather, Donald, who passed in 1986 from throat cancer. While the exact cause of his death remains unknown, it was likely a combination of cigarettes and exposure to radiation in WWII (he was a gunner on B-29 bombing runs). Though he's been gone for more than 30 years now, I still think about the moments we shared.

On a more personal level, I find that Reach The Beach keeps me committed to a more steady training schedule — and sets me up for a successful summer. After completing RTB last year, I had the confidence to tackle more challenging fare like summiting Larch Mountain and looping Crater Lake (which, on an aside, is absolutely the most stunning ride in the state of Oregon).

TRAVIS’ TRAINING TIPS - In the winter I give up the bike for the snowboard, but these last couples of weeks, I've done both. Moving forward, I'll be doing 2-3 rides weekly. The first couple of weeks will follow shorter and flatter routes (like Marine Drive), but as I round into form, I'll stretch out the mile totals and add climbs (like Council Crest and Skyline) into the mix.

To simulate the Gibbs St. Cemetery climb, which tops out at around 600 feet, I also summit Mt. Tabor and Rocky Butte regularly.

Last year, I ended up logging about 640 miles between April 14th and the ride (May 20th); while I wasn't too concerned about actually completing it, I knew I was good to G-O when I rode from my house near North Mississippi St. to Multnomah Falls and back (~72 miles) in a little less than 5 hours.

I love Strava, which is a ~free~ fitness app that logs ride data. I came around it to reluctantly on the advice of a friend, but now I can't imagine training without it. While the report it generates at the end of every ride is illuminating, the mapping feature has encouraged me to be much more adventurous. It also has a social component which is very helpful if you are training with family and friends.

If you're an intermediate or avid cyclist, you probably won't have too much trouble with the Reach The Beach route — just keep doing what you're already doing. If you're new to cycling (or returning to it after a long hiatus), get out there and start riding around town 20-25 miles twice a week. As you build stamina and confidence, you can build on those totals.

As much as RTB is a physical challenge, there's also a mental component at play. You'll be in the saddle for anywhere between 6 to 8 hours, so it's key that you learn to keep your focus.

My name is Glen and this is why I ride.

RTBOR Why I Ride Glen 2018This year I will be riding in my 4th Reach The Beach. I discovered RTB while I was still living in Las Vegas and was planning on visiting the NW on vacation. I was an avid cyclist but had never completed a century bike ride before. I was a little daunted at first, how would I train? Could I do it? What if it rained? How would I raise the money? I soon discovered that all of the above was possible and I was hooked. Riding the 104 miles to Pacific City gave me the opportunity to really see just how beautiful Oregon was and within 2 years my family moved from Vegas and we now call Oregon home. I ride because it is a great way to stay in shape and having the goal to reach the beach is a great motivator to get off the couch and get out there and ride. You also don’t realize just how important this work is until your eyes are opened to those around you that struggle to breathe. The American Lung Association does a fantastic job in fighting for clean air, researching and providing education.

I am fortunate that so far in my life I have not had too many breathing issues and it is easy to not pay attention to those around us that do. After I started riding RTB it became apparent just how many people struggle to breathe. From those that suffer with asthma to those that are struck with lung cancer. While living in Vegas I was fortunate enough to get to know Chris who had a larger than life character with a great sense of humor. Chris struggled to breathe due an asthma condition and then suffered lung deterioration due to medication he was taking. He recently passed away while waiting for his lung transplant. It is in his memory that I continue to ride and continue to raise money so that hopefully in the future we can a difference in the lives of those that suffer.

My name is Bob and this is why I ride.

RTBOR Why I Ride Bob 2018I ride to clear my mind, stay in shape and see the landscape from a different perspective. Whether it is a ride around the block, a century to the beach, or mixing it up at a MTB or cyclocross race, I love spending time on my bike. I support the American Lung Association for the simple reason that their mission impacts everyone in a positive way. I am looking forward to spending a day with friends riding for a great cause.

BOB’S TRAINING TIPS - When I am training I focus on ride time, not miles and building a base. My tip for first time riders is to set a goal and work towards it. As an example a fun goal would be the Portland to Pacific City Reach the Beach route. Now that you have that goal in mind, build a plan that will help you achieve it. Having a riding/training partner can be wonderful motivation. Be prepared for weather. Simple clip on fenders, booties for your shoes and a stow-able wind/rain jacket can make all the difference.


My name is Natalia and this is why I ride.

Why I Ride for Leszek GormleyOn February 27, my dad Leszek Gormley, U.S. Army Veteran, Machinist, Husband, Father, and Grandfather, passed away from Stage IV Lung Cancer after a short 6 month fight. My dad had such a will to overcome his illness and was such a fighter that it was heartbreaking that his chance to beat this was cut short..

Few know that lung cancer is the most common cancer-related death, taking more lives than breast, colon and prostate cancer combined. When my coworker shared with me that she rode with the American Lung Association for her family members affected by lung disease, I knew it was perfect timing. This was the closure I needed, to say good bye to my dad since I didn’t have the opportunity. I started training for the long distance. My husband agreed to join me; even though he is stationed with the Navy on a submarine hundreds of feet underwater, he is training on a stationary bike until he gets back on land.

We are honored to be around so many people who have dedicated their time and health to help families who are suffering get the cures and help that they need. Know that you can spread the word of how important it is to fund research for lung disease. Even sharing with one person is powerful and sends an amazing message.

Natalia and Timothy Mayes

Team Leszek Gormley


Our name is Emma and Bradley and this is why we ride.

Emma and Bradley Handziuk Round CornersI found growing up in Atlanta, air quality was something that affected our day to day life. Often in the summer, the air quality would be so bad that children and older adults were advised not to spend time outside. Not being able to go outside in the summer -- what a miserable way to live!

Bradley re-introduced me to my childhood love of bicycling. Now we both bike for our daily commute, trips to the store, and exploring Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and many of the other places we go for vacation. Training for this ride is a healthy, low emissions way of spending time together.

We hope that by participating in this ride, we will also inspire those around us to think about decreasing their carbon footprint, choosing a bike over a car when possible, and donating to the American Lung Association toward their efforts to help improve our air quality.

Thank you for your support. You are making a difference.

Emma and Bradley Handziuk

The Handy Handziuks


My name is Nikki and this is why I ride.

Why I ride NikkiI am a 31-year-old moderate asthmatic, who has worked really hard to conquer my breathing and become an active runner. I have successfully finished multiple half marathons and a marathon. During some down time due to an injury, I started cycling more frequently and now I'm hooked. I commute to work in Seattle via bike, and trained to ride 80 miles for Reach the Beach for the American Lung Association. I was in a cycling accident the week before Reach the Beach, fracturing my left elbow. I completed the ride, but from the 28 mile start. My plan is to make up for my lost ride, by getting back on the bike and training to bike 92 miles for Washington's Ride Around The Sound in support of the American Lung Association. I hope my efforts will once again garner awareness and support for the ALA's worthy lung-related research and education programs.

As someone who has had to work around my lungs to do all the things I love, who has been frustrated by the limitations of my own body, this is a cause close to my heart. Successfully completing this ride, hopefully injury-free this time, will be my warrior stance against my own condition. It will be about standing up for others with asthma or lung disease who can’t breathe to cycle.

The money we raise in this process will support ALA’s tobacco cessation programs. It will fund their gallant research to cure lung cancer and other diseases such as COPD, emphysema and tuberculosis. It will fund research to create asthma drugs and treatments with fewer side-effects and better long term success. And the big concern in my native Seattle and for me as an outdoor-loving asthmatic: it will even maintain efforts to reduce and eliminate air pollution, second hand smoke and other environmental health concerns.

Please join me in going the extra mile by joining Ride Around The Sound. Help me, along with the American Lung Association, continue the FIGHT FOR AIR.

Thank you for your support. You are making a difference.



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