Cycling can take you a lot of places.
For some, it’s a long, grueling ride to ignite your primal fire. For others, it’s daily meditation. The commonality amongst riders is that cycling lifts the soul and, when you’re riding with others for a common goal, unites the crew.
Leave It On The Road is a series of epic rides with the purpose to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer. The rides are dedicated to those who fight cancer with their bodies. Wahoo Fitness, a proud partner of the Leave It On The Road series, appreciates the emotional and physical dedication these riders have to bettering the world through cycling.
This is their story of 2017’s ride: The Big Lap.
THE BIG LAP
This year’s ride was absolutely breathtaking and an immense challenge.
We rode 1000 miles in 10 days around the coast of Ireland in honor of our friend Conor Brady’s father Bill, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2013. Bill’s racing career evolved into a love for multi-day rides, the most ambitious of which he called The Big Lap. We are honored to have recreated this ride with Conor and share the story.
Planning a multi-day ride from point-to-point in the U.S. like we’d done previous years is a logistical undertaking. Add to it the complexity of international travel and unfamiliar road conditions and you’ve got a real challenge before even getting on the bike. How do you plan out 1,000 miles of riding? How will you know to take the best roads, where the beautiful views will be, and how do you stay on track once you’re there or re-route when things don’t go according to plan?
This is where Wahoo and Strava come in. We plan all our routes using the Strava Route Builder, scout Street View on Google Maps. We go through multiple revisions of each route working through hotel details, and balancing daily mileage. Once we lock in our routes, we have to be able to follow them on the road. Wahoo computers make this easier than any other technology out there and we’re super thankful to have had their support over recent years.
We all use Wahoo ELEMNT or Bolt computers to sync our routes like Dick Tracy syncs his watch, so that whenever we change a route in the hotel the night before, we can each have the latest. When someone gets separated on a climb, they always know where to go. And when we need to re-route, we use Wahoo’s Take Me Anywhere feature to type in a new destination and instantly load a new route. It’s brilliant!
I find myself reflecting daily on the amazing (and difficult) days on the bike – complemented by breakfasts and dinners so full of laughter that if it weren’t our legs that were hurting, our stomachs surely were. (No comment on the tremendous amount we had to eat those ten days – it’s only novel the first day)!
For this being a Summer ride, we had to face all kinds of crazy weather that I only think Conor, our guide and inspiration, had truly expected. When you think of Ireland you think of rain, right? Yup, even in the warmest month Ireland is a bit like Portland, OR in March. One minute it’s sunny and warm (at 62º), and the next minute you’re descending a mountain pass being struck by hail watching your hands turn purple. I wouldn’t trade it for anything
The countryside is as beautiful as you’d imagine, and the locals were supremely welcoming. This is not a paid message from visit Ireland, but it sure could be… Should you ever find yourself planning to visit Ireland, I highly recommend taking a portion of it in by bike.
In a handful of miles you will discover the most adorable country village with shockingly good scones and coffee. You will surely pass by the happiest cows and sheep you’ve ever encountered in your life (perhaps tied with New Zealand), and around every corner is a local who is happy to welcome you to their village, hear about your travels and life back home, and share the best place in town for a proper Irish breakfast, and/or the finest pour of Guinness. This is a trick comment, because every Guinness there is just right, and most bars also serve breakfast.
We’re proud to say that throughout August alone we raised over $12K for the Hirschberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and have raised over in total $50,000 across the years Leave It On The Road has been riding.
Throughout fall and into holidays we have plans to host a photo gallery show to raise awareness, build community, and encourage donations along with prints and merchandise sales – all continuing to benefit the Hirschberg Foundation.
(And a reminder, out of principle, all trip expenses for the LIOTR are solely paid for by each individual rider – so all corporate support and consumer donations go directly to the cancer charity. This is something we are very proud of.)
At the moment we are energized to continue this year’s fundraising effort, but of course we all are equally excited to start thinking about next year’s cause, and ride locations!
To everyone who has helped support our cause along the way in any form — thank you!
Cheers from our team!
– Mike, Lu, Conor, Patrick, Jake, Randall, Larisa, & David.