Ride along as the Tour de Pink raises funds and awareness for breast cancer in young women
Hug It Out
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Tour de Pink co-founder and three-time breast cancer survivor Lisa Frank (in glasses) receives a warm embrace from the Young Survival Coalition CEO Jennifer Merschdorf, who is a breast cancer survivor herself (she was diagnosed at 36). Both served as the event's lovely and gracious hosts, who provided humor along with helpful information about the ride and the cause every step of the way.
Photos: Capture 14
Ready to Roll
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Giant, one of the ride's major sponsors (their Liv/Giant brand donated more than $75,000 to YSC), provided technical support from start to finish. Here, riders are parked outside Giant's HQ, where the ride began in Thousand Oaks, CA. We worked with bike expert Evan (the cutie in the baseball hat) and his Giant team to make sure tires had air, seats were strategically placed (sitz bones need to hit the saddle just so to minimize pain), and brakes worked without a hitch.
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The windy, cliff-hugging, 123-mile coastal route that makes up the famous Pacific Coast Highway (Route 101) provided the perfect backdrop for our ride. Hours of the breathtakingly beautiful ocean (always on our right side) never got old and served as a great distraction on energy-sucking hills.
Everybody Knows Your Name
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I hate poking holes in my pretty bike jerseys, but wearing this bib came in handy. Having my name clearly written on my back helped foster a sense of community really quickly. Rather than say the generic “On your left” when passing me, riders would say, “Hey, Cristina, where are you from?” and then we'd ride for a while, swapping stories. Biking at it's best is super social.
Meet the Maker
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Liv/Giant's Avail Inspire, the official 2012 bike of the Tour de Pink and my sweet ride for the charity event, was the brainchild of this brilliant (and fast!) participant and survivor, Emily Gresh. It was awesome rooming with her my first night and riding with her (when I could keep up) on our matching bikes.
The Last Rider
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No one wants to be the last one to cross the finish line—unless your name is Deanna (left). This awesome Liv/Giant rider agreed to serve as the “sweep” for all three days, meaning she literally stayed behind the event's slowest rider to make sure everyone made it back with no issues, such as a flat. In this photo, she’s riding with Liv/Giant marketing manager Jackie Baker (check out her brilliant bike shopping tips).
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No, this man doesn't have breast cancer, but someone he loves did or currently does. The Young Survival Coalition isn't just about the young women who were diagnosed before age 40, but also their families—husbands, brothers, fathers—and friends who are there to help them through both their diagnosis and the ride.
Driven to Protect
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Our awesome motorcycle team kept us safe from traffic and on track when the course route got a little complicated. During one particularly hot and challenging climb along Canyon Road (outside of L.A.), one of these moto guys stopped to share his own cold water to help me power through to the next rest stop. Thank you!
Follow the Leader
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A third bout with cancer earlier this year wasn't going to stop Tour de Pink co-founder Lisa Frank from putting on her commemorative jersey (Michelle Elizabeth Weiser passed away from breast cancer in 2010 and her fiance Dustin Brady—founder of FcancerUp.com—is one of YSC's biggest fundraisers) and getting pedal-happy on this gorgeous west coast ride.
Talk About Fuel for Fitness
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There's nothing like arriving at a rest stop after a long 15- to 20-mile push to a plateful of heart-shaped PB&J sammies, banana slices covered in Nutella, and freshly sliced oranges. Tour de Pink volunteers, like 75-year-old sweetheart Marlene (who lost her daughter to breast cancer six years ago) and these two lovely ladies, made every rest stop feel like home.
Feel a Draft
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Getting behind a steady wheel and riding close together single-file is one of the easiest ways to save energy. You work about 30 percent less when you're drafting off someone. Here, I'm second in line, right behind Phil who's a volunteer ride marshal (ambassadors of safety and good will). Don't worry, he can handle pulling this long train. The brand manager for Masi Bicycles is a former pro cyclist!
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With nearly 13,000 feet of climbing (the sum elevation gained going up and down hills) over the course of three days, it was nice to have the option of a little push from a fellow rider when your legs started to feel like spaghetti.
Best Finish Line Ever
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Oakley, another one of Tour de Pink's top sponsors, offered it's headquarters as the location for the post-ride after-party. Coming up to this massive building that looked like a prop set from Mad Max and the Thunderdome was one of the coolest moments on this beautiful ride.
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Nothing like being received with open arms after you've completed the ride of your life.