After five San Francisco to Santa Monica cycling adventures as part of the Arthritis Foundation’s California Coast Classic, I’ve decided to think bigger this year and cycle from Canada to Mexico, via Cambria.
During the past six years, my California Coast Classic teammates and I have collectively raised more than $175,000 for the Arthritis Foundation. Arthritis and arthritis-related diseases are the nation’s leading cause of disability.
My 13-year-old daughter, Lindsey, has Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, the rarest and most life-threatening type of JRA — something she has lived with since the age of 3.
heumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that typically affects the joints, but can also involve the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract, as well as the lining of the heart and lungs. Many are painfully familiar with osteoarthritis but few know that there are 300,000 children in the U.S. alone who suffer from Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
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In total, I’ll be bicycling 29 days, from Canada to Mexico, starting Wednesday, Aug. 14, raising money for arthritis programs and research. While cycling through Oregon, I’ll be part of the Arthritis Foundation’s People’s Coast Classic, my first time on this 360-mile group ride. From San Francisco to Santa Monica, I’ll be participating in my sixth California Coast Classic.
It will be during this segment that I’ll cycle from Big Sur into Cambria. I get to spend Oct. 1 at our place in West Village and have a home-cooked meal. I and my family regularly visit our second home in Cambria, where my mother is a full-time resident in the house we acquired in early 2012.
In addition to cycling 14 days on these two Arthritis Foundation group rides, I’ll be cycling alone on 15 other days. The entire ride is going to be an adventure, but those 15 days in some of the most remote areas of Washington and Northern California are the days I’m looking forward to the most.
My 29 days in the saddle will be broken up with two short trips home while I wait for the next group ride to start. My 1,800-mile journey will conclude when I roll into Tijuana, Mexico, on Oct. 8.
I’ve already raised nearly $15,000 toward my adventure, after setting an initial goal of $10,000. My revised goal is now $20,000, a figure that I hope to reach with donations I solicit during the ride.
I conceived my plan to bicycle from Canada to Mexico while vacationing in Hawaii — and suffered a heart attack that same afternoon. Fortunately, the heart attack did not do serious damage, and I can take on this challenge just five months later.
I don’t think this dream would have ever turned into a reality if it weren’t for the heart attack. Being told I might not be able to do it was all I needed to convince me that I had to.