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Riding for the cure

Story and pictures by May Eynon

The inaugural Aspen-Snowmass Ride for the Cure on Saturday, Sept. 11, saw 300 cyclists (including one unicyclist) ride to raise money for breast cancer research. Sponsored by Aspen Valley Hospital, Valley View Hospital, Carmichael Training Systems Aspen and The Hub, cyclists had their choice of covering either a 60- or 100-mile-long course spanning the Roaring Fork Valley. To participate in the ride, each individual was responsible for raising a minimum of $500 (in addition to paying a registration fee to cover event expenses). Peter McBride raised the bar in his fund-raising efforts, pulling in more than $13,000. Susan Plummer raised more than $11,000, and Catherine Cussaguet brought in more than $6,000.The entire event netted more than $300,000, up to 75 percent of which will stay in the local community to fund research for early breast cancer detection, affordable screening programs and treatment projects for underserved women. Approximately 25 percent of the money raised will go directly to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation Award and Research Grant Program to fund groundbreaking breast cancer research.Chris Carmichael and Dr. Carolyn Kaelin served as honorary co-chairs of the ride. Kaelin is a breast cancer survivor, breast surgeon and director of the Comprehensive Breast Cancer Health Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Coach to Lance Armstrong and founder and chairman of the CTS Performance Centers, Carmichael has developed a relationship with the Roaring Fork community over the years.

“This is one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” he said.It was a glorious day with Indian summer weather and fall colors radiating in gold hues. Both courses comprised a combination of favorite routes around the valley. An Aspen Police escort left Paepcke Park at 7:15 a.m. for a group start. The aid stations dispersed around the course were clever and an entertaining part of the ride. Most of them had a theme or were supported by a team, such as local politicians at the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC) or the monks at St. Benedict’s Monastery. “Cindy Houben and Katie Grange, who coordinated the entire effort with the aid stations, were incredible,” said event co-chair Lisa Consiglio.At the turnaround point at Ashcroft, Georgia Hanson of the Historical Society withstood the freezing morning temperatures to run the aid station. A cancer survivor herself, Hanson’s presence was inspiring to riders and other volunteers.Cyclists continued their journey to the Bells, where the sun raised the temperature and everyone’s spirits. After visiting aid station No. 2, riders whizzed down to the ARC. City Councilman Torre directed traffic into the parking lot, where fellow politicians served drinks and snacks.

The course continued to Snowmass Village via Owl Creek and upper Brush Creek roads. Aaron Humphrey, of Carbondale-based High T custom titanium bicycles, offered mechanical support at aid station No. 4. Descending Snowmelt road was a little demanding for some of the riders, particularly Mike Tierney who commandeered his unicycle down the steeps. “I had to do a shoulder roll at one point,” he explained.The course wound down Brush Creek Road to the Intercept Lot and on to Woody Creek. The century riders continued west on Lower River Road, while the 60-milers headed up to the finish on McLain Flats.An aid station at the Woody Creek Tavern was supportive with cowbells and cheers resonating. Deirdre Duff-Allen, a one-year survivor, sat with her pink sign and T-shirt thanking fund-raisers for their contribution to a cure.As the hosts of aid station No. 6, the monks of St. Benedict’s Monastery went above and beyond their role. They posted hand-painted signs with words of encouragement en route to and away from their welcoming barn. Their famous and delicious cookies were among the refreshments offered.

Riders then retreated back through Woody Creek Tavern and up to McLain Flats toward the finish.A festive celebration awaited all at Paepcke Park. DJ Dylan Regan played music from the gazebo, chef Randy Placeres provided fine food in the tent, New Belgium Brewery served beers, Fiji Water kept all hydrated, and Aspen Club & Spa massage therapists gave complimentary massages.On multiple counts, the inaugural ride was an overwhelming success. “It was especially wonderful to see my co-chair, Elaine Grossman, cross the finish line on her bike, stare at me with a look of disbelief and whisper, ‘Oh my God, we did it!'” said Consiglio.Save the date: Saturday, Sept. 10, 2005, will be the second annual Ride for the Cure. For more information, visit http://www.aspenrideforcure100.com. To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com


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