Welcome to Welmoed's Big Ride Page!
From June 15 to August 1, 1998, I was part of the largest cross-country bicycle ride in history: The GTE Big Ride Across America. 730 riders made their way from Seattle, Washington to Washington, D.C. to support the work of the American Lung Association. We raised more than $6 million for research and programs to find the causes and treat the dibilitating effects of lung disease.
The 1998 Big Ride is over!
I am happy to announce that as of August 28, 1998, I raised a total of
for the American Lung Association. Thanks to all my wonderful donors, especially to Rita Darling and her family, who designated Richard Darling as an Honorary Rider. He died in 1993 following a double-lung transplant, after suffering from emphysema.
Welmoed's Big Ride Journal
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Why did I do this?
That's a common question. When I told people I was bicycling across the country, their first reaction is usually "You're insane!" Then they asked why.
I have several reasons. First of all, I am an ex-smoker. I quit in 1985 after smoking up to two packs a day for ten years. The American Lung Association's Maryland office gave me a lot of help and support in quitting, and I am proud to say I have not had a cigarette in almost thirteen years.
There are many other reasons. My father headed the Pulmonary Research department at Yale University, so I learned a lot about lung diseases and their causes while I was growing up. Yet, he smoked cigars and my mother smoked cigarettes. My father died of a heart attack in 1979 when he was only 53. My mother died two years ago at age 61 of esophageal cancer; the major risk factors of such cancer are smoking and alcohol.
Lung disease also runs in my family. My father had asthma, my son has mild asthma, my aunt has severe asthma. I have known people with emphysema and chronic bronchitis. If I can do something to support research in treating these diseases, then I will have done something very special for the people I love.
How did I do this?
This trip put a tremendous strain on me, physically and mentally. When I first signed up for the ride in June 1997, I didn't even own a bicycle. When the ride started, I could comfortably do a 50-mile ride in four hours. But this wasn't enough: during the ride we cycled an average of 80 miles per day, and some days we did more than 100 miles. I am tremendously proud of having been able to ride as much as I did: out of the 3,254 miles of the Ride, I completed a little under 1,500. Not bad for a formerly sedentary housewife!
Before I started training for the Ride, I hadn't been on a bike in almost twenty years. My first training ride was seven miles and I was utterly and totally spent. How could I possibly see doing eighty miles in a day? But I stuck to it, and now am in better shape than I have been in years!
But I couldn't do any of it without the loving help and support and encouragement of my wonderful husband, Bob. His enthusiasm for this undertaking has make a big difference in keeping me motivated.
How much money did I need to raise?
In order to participate, I needed to raise $6,000. All told, I raised $6,271.
What was my route?
Here is the route schedule we followed.
|June 14||Seattle, WA||July 8||Miller, SD|
|June 15||Easton, WA||July 9||De Smet, SD|
|June 16||Yakima, WA||July 10||Tyler, MN|
|June 17-18||Kennewick, WA||July 11-12||New Ulm, MN|
|June 19||Dayton, WA||July 13||Owatonna, MN|
|June 20||Lewiston, WA||July 14||Winona, MN|
|June 21||Kooskia, ID||July 15||Viroqua, WI|
|June 22||Powell, ID||July 16-17||Madison, WI|
|June 23-24||Missoula, MT||July 18||Belvidere, IL|
|June 25||Avon, MT||July 19||Lisle, IL|
|June 26||Townsend, MT||July 20||La Porte, IA|
|June 27||Harlowton, MT||July 21||Kendallville, IA|
|June 28-29||Billings, MT||July 22||Napoleon, OH|
|June 30||Hardin, MT||July 23-24||Sandusky, OH|
|July 1||Sheridan, WY||July 25||Chagrin Falls, OH|
|July 2||Gillette, WY||July 26||Canfield, OH|
|July 3||Newcastle, WY||July 27||Washington, PA|
|July 4-5||Rapid City, SD||July 28-29||Confluence, PA|
|July 6||Kadoka, SD||July 30||Flintstone, MD|
|July 7||Ft. Pierre, SD||July 31||Frederick, MD|
|August 1||Washington, DC|
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