BGSU cyclists raise money to fight cancer (08-29-11)
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Monday, 29 August 2011 08:41
Oluwadamilare Adeyeri, a student at Bowling Green State University, had only been cycling for six weeks when he made an 102-mile trek from Columbus to Athens to raise money for cancer research Aug. 20-21.
|Team members (left to right) Tom Orchard, Oluwadamilare Adeyeri, Tim Brackenbury and Craig Bell at the opening ceremonies of Pelotonia 11. (Photo provided by Craig Bell)
And while none of his blood relatives have been diagnosed with cancer, he realizes the disease could take hold of a loved one at any moment.
That is why he rode.
"The only way to stop that is to join the fight," said Adeyeri, a graduate student in the Cross Cultural and International Education program.
"How much longer is it going to be before it gets to me?" he said.
Adeyeri was part of a team of four riders from BGSU who took part in Pelotonia, a two-day event, which brought together nearly 5,000 bicyclists.
Joining Adeyeri on the ride were: Tim Brackenbury, an associate professor in Communication Science and Disorders; Craig Bell, photography director for the Marketing and Communications Department; and Tom Orchard, an alumnus and former director of the BGSU Foundation Board.
Each rider has friends, family, or colleagues who have battled or are fighting cancer.
"It seems a day doesn't go by when we find out someone has cancer," Bell said.
Adeyeri originally committed to a 43-mile bike, one of several routes which are a part of Pelotonia. But he ended up legging out 102 miles.
But, finishing the journey did not come without adversity.
In the first mile of the ride, Adeyeri got a flat tire. In mile 60, he had a crash and injured his hand and sustained damage to his bike.
He had to wait an hour for a mechanical team to come and give his bike a fix.
And while they waited, the four-man BGSU team, cheered for other cyclists.
"Your experience is an awesome metaphor for cancer and why we are doing this," Brackenbury said of Adeyeri's ride.
Adeyeri and Orchard rode from Columbus to Athens, while Brackenbury and Bell rode 180 miles round-trip from Columbus to Athens.
The route takes riders through Hocking Hills.
"It is a challenge. It is mean climbs and fast downhills," Bell said.
But struggling along the way is part of the experience he said.
"It is important, all of us, what we went through. It reminded us why we were riding," Bell said.
And cheers along the route, helped too.
"You are riding through towns and people are ringing cow bells. You feel like you are riding in the Tour de France," Bell said.
Hearing stories from other cyclists on why they are riding is also part of the experience.
"You hear these stories and you just cry all day," Brackenbury said.
Pelotonia raised $12.3 million in its first two rides, and is approaching $9 million raised this year, according to its website.
Bell took part in Pelotonia in its first year, when Lance Armstrong rode with participants. Then he was joined by Brackenbury in the second year, and the two other riders this year.
The goal is to increase the number of BGSU participants each year.
"We want to make this a part of BGSU culture," Brackenbury said.
The BGSU group raised about $9,500 this year. Donations are being accepted through October.
On the web: http://tinyurl.com/3t7xg93.
Last Updated on Monday, 29 August 2011 12:43