Today I’m chatting with Conner McIntyre, a UMBC alum who is participating in a 70 day bike ride to raise money and awareness for cancer. Give a nice Retriever welcome to Conner!
What inspired you to embark on this epic trip?
Within three years of graduating high school, I lost two friends, Zach Lederer and Keeley Imel, to brain cancer. The loss of two incredibly kind people who fought their whole lives against cancer changed my life. My mom and I started volunteering more and more to help cancer patients. We would go to their homes and help them clean or volunteer at fundraising events, but I never felt like I was doing everything I could to help the cause. When I found out about the 4K for Cancer ride, I knew I would eventually do it, and this summer provides the best chance for me to spend 70 days on the road.
What have you done to prepare yourself physically and mentally for this trip?
I’ve been trying to bike everywhere I go in Baltimore, but that can be hard with the weather and just because Baltimore isn’t a biker-friendly city. I’m planning on taking a few long distance rides with my friend, which should help. As far as mentally preparing myself, I feel like there’s nothing I can do. I have no clue what it’s like to bike 70 to 100 miles day after day with people I hardly know in the middle of nowhere. I know some people who have done the 4K ride, and I ask them questions to try and prepare myself, but I won’t truly know what it’s like until I’m out there.
What organization are you doing this for?
The 4K for Cancer ride is put on by the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. They are amazing! The UCF is focused on helping college-aged patients in their fights against cancer. They do everything from helping patients get to and from their radiation appointments to creating scholarships so that those fighting cancer can still succeed academically. Recently, the Ulman Cancer Fund announced the construction of the UCF House, which will “create a community that fosters peer and social support, decrease financial and other burdens, and encourage hope and healing.” The 4K for Cancer ride not only helps raise millions of dollars in fundraising, but it also helps spread the word about the organization across the country. On the way to Seattle, we’ll be stopping at different cancer treatment facilities to volunteer and give out scholarships.
What bike and safety equipment do you recommend for such an arduous trip?
I’ll be riding a Trek road bike that was donated to me by Race Pace Bicycles in Fed Hill. While I’m sure flats and crashes will be inevitable, this bike is perfect for the ride. I’ll also be using Shimano shoes and pedals to guarantee I’m biking as comfortably as possible. For safety equipment, I’m worrying I won’t be able to find a helmet that can fit my colossal head.
If any students would be interested in joining or donating, who should they contact?
It’s a little too late to join in on this year’s ride but UCF puts it on every summer! I’m riding to Seattle, but other options include San Diego, San Francisco, and Portland. In order to participate in the ride, we need to raise $4,500 in donations, so please donate! Even if it’s just five dollars, every little bit counts. If you’re interested, visit my fundraising page http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/conner-mcintyre/ or just Google 4K for Cancer Conner McIntyre. It only takes two minutes to donate, and every donation helps in the fight against cancer!