The Rider

March 4, 2011

The Rider Has Moved

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Blog @ 7:38 PM

The Rider blog has relocated: click here to find me.


January 24, 2011

Update on E-Mail Notification

Filed under: Steve's Stuff — The Blog @ 1:39 PM

OK, there’s now a way to get automatic email notification whenever there’s a new post on The Rider.

Go to the new blog – – scroll down a bit and over to the right you’ll see the sign-up icon. However, when you do receive the email notification and open it up, you’ll be looking at some sort of word version of the post that doesn’t include photos. So, just click on the blue headline and you’ll be able to see everything.


January 12, 2011

Hey, You’re In The Wrong Place, Sort Of…

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Blog @ 5:44 PM

OK,  this is a bit confusing, so here goes…

Due to some IT, technical stuff I don’t really understand, The Rider blog has actually moved to a new site: Or you can find it on the Pelotonia website.

This new site is where I’ll be posting all the new, Pelotonia-related stuff. At some point, this site will disappear into the black hole of cyberspace.

Unfortunately, again due to to IT stuff I don’t understand, the automatic e-mail notification feature no longer works. But, if you can figure out how, you can get automatic notification via an RSS Feed.

So, to sum up: I don’t understand IT stuff, The Rider has moved, use the RSS feed, the past year of doing this blog was great and it looks like 2011 is going to be 6.8 times better. Thanks for all your help.


January 5, 2011

We’re Tuning Up And Getting Ready For 1/11/11

Filed under: Pelotonia News — Tags: , — The Blog @ 5:34 AM

This is my last post for a few days: The Rider is going into the shop for an overhaul and some upgrades.

Our IT people will shut down the Pelotonia website for a few days to make some changes. We’ll be back, better than ever, on Jan. 11 – the first day of registration for Pelotonia11!

Be prepared: there are some exciting and pretty cool changes to the website and registration process, which I’ll explain on Jan. 11 – and that you’ll be able to see for yourself when we go live and you log on and start exploring.

Also, I’ve been told a total of 242 riders registered by the end of January 2010. While this was great, I know we can do much better this year – and can double this by the end of the month.

Talk to you later, on Jan. 11…

January 4, 2011

On A roll: To the Tune of $90,000!

Filed under: Fundraising, Pelotonia News — Tags: , , — The Blog @ 5:15 AM

Stuart Hunter didn’t know what to expect when he came up with the Pelotonia re-contribution idea.

“Pelotonia was a great cause and we decided to put the re-contribution idea together and see what happened,” said Stuart, who runs the area’s three roll: bike shops.

Let’s just say the idea has exploded, to the tune of close to $90,000 in donations to Pelotonia for cancer research: $30,000 in 2009 – and $57,000 in 2010!

“It’s been beyond our wildest expectations,” Stuart said.

Here’s how the roll: re-contribution works for all registered Pelotonia riders: 10 percent of the purchase price of anything and everything you buy at roll: is put directly into your fund raising account. Buy an $800 bike – and $80 goes into your Pelotonia account.

Here's Stuart in action at one of the roll: shops

“We’re committed to Pelotonia and its mission,” Stuart said. “We see the (big jump in 2010 re-contributions) as a barometer for the community’s growing support for Pelotonia. We hope it will increase in 2011 and we’re proud to be part of it.


One of the best aspects of the re-contribution program has been meeting and getting to know Pelotonia riders, Stuart said. “The personal stories of the people who come in are so inspirational. Some are survivors, some are riding for a survivor, some are caregivers. And we’ve met a lot of the physicians and staff from The James, and when you talk to them you can see their commitment and the direct correlation between the money we raise and the work they do.”

The roll: re-contribution plan will be in place again in 2011. This means that as soon as you register for Pelotonia, which you can do on January 11, you can head over to roll: and start fund raising when you buy winter gear, an indoor trainer or that new bike you’ve been lusting after – and deserve.

Roll: also has a peloton, Teamroll:, which included 12 members who raised $24,649 in 2010.

“I rode Pelotonia the last two years and I’ll be riding it again this year,” Stuart said. “I’ll be riding it every year. And the message I want to give everyone is sign up. There’s no downside, everyone wins and it will be something you’ll never forget.”

January 3, 2011

Alex Gets Some Tough News From His Doctor …

Filed under: Alex Kip — Tags: , , , , — The Blog @ 5:21 AM

This is Chapter 3 in the on-going story of Alex Kip, 23, and his battle with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (Type B) cancer.

Alex and his parents learn that the cancerous mass in his chest has shrunk, but has not "melted away" as his doctor had hoped

These were not the words – or percentages – Alex and his parents were hoping to hear.

Alex, Cindy and Nick are gathered in an 11th floor examining room at the James, listening to Dr. Sam Penza. Yes, the tumor in his chest has shrunk after two rounds of chemotherapy treatments, his doctor says. “But it hasn’t completely melted away the way we had hoped.”

It seems the cancerous mass in Alex’s chest is resistant and determined.

“Regardless, we’ve done the best we can with chemo and there has been some response,” Dr. Penza explains. “So, we’re going to go ahead with one more full dose of chemo and then the (stem-cell) transplant right after that and then radiation.”

The Kips are silent as Dr. Penza speaks, trying to take in all this news and information. Their silence speaks volumes – and fills the small room with their stunned nervousness and fear, and the surreal feeling that this just can’t be happening, that we’ve done everything we were supposed to do, and this just can’t be happening.

But it is.

Dr. Penza describes the battle Alex has ahead of him – and the odds he faces…

Dr. Penza describes the odds Alex faces

For someone with this type of tumor that has gone into complete remission, the cure rate is 60 to 70 percent; for someone whose tumor is in partial remission, the cure rate is 30 to 40 percent; for someone whose tumor is considered primary refractory, which means resistant to treatment, the cure drops to 10 to 15 percent.

“Your tumor is somewhere between partial remission and primary refractory,” Dr. Penza says.

This means Alex’s cure rate is somewhere between 15 and 30 percent.

“Will radiation increase his cure rate,” Cindy asks, as she continues to scribble notes.

“Yes,” Dr. Penza answers, “but the limiting factor is the toxicity to the surrounding areas, in this case the heart and lungs … I’ll do everything I can to give you the best chance of curing this disease once and for all.”

A few minutes later, Dr. Penza leaves – and the Kips remain in the examining room. For a long minute or two, there is silence. Then Cindy’s eyes begin to tear up – and soon the tears are rolling down her cheek.

“I’m sorry, I’ll stop,” she says.

“You had to start,” Alex says – and grabs a tissue to wipe away a tear. (“I said that because when I see her crying, it makes me cry,” Alex says later. “It’s the hardest when I see how this affects other people.”)

“I need a few moments and then I’ll feel better,” Cindy says.

“It’s always hard at first, any time you get semi-bad news,” Alex says.

“It’s not bad news, it’s just not as good as it could be,” Cindy says in a determined tone. She’s already stopped crying and has gone back into full caregiver mode.

*** *** *** *** *** ***

For two full days last week, Alex underwent a series of tests, meetings and educational sessions – including the difficult meeting with Dr. Penza – to prepare him for his stem-cell transplant, which will take place the end of January.

This is Alex's CAT-scan - and shows the size and shape of the tumor in his chest

“Up until this point there had never been any talk at all that I wouldn’t be cured,” Alex says later. “So, I was always under the impression that there would be no problem curing it, that it wouldn’t be a big deal, I just have to be patient and go through everything. But after hearing this from Dr. Penza, it’s like damn, wow.”

The news was difficult to hear, but Alex is tough and determined – and quickly began preparing himself physically and mentally for what lies ahead.

“It’s kind of weird to be told you have a 10 to 35 percent chance and part of me is like, what’s the point?’” he says, adding the first few minutes and hours after bad news are the hardest. “It was tough, but you have to get over those bad feeling and the fear … You can’t stay there – that’s not going to help anything. But I think now I’m starting to understand the severity of it all. Up until now it’s been easy, well, not easy, but the chemo treatments have gone smoothly and I haven’t had any real complications. So this was like the first time I realized this is going to be difficult.”

After the first day of tests, and the news from Dr. Penza, Alex and his girlfriend, Kate Harlow, and his sister, Liz, and her boyfriend, Ian Taylor, went to see the lights at the Columbus Zoo.

After a long, tough day at the hospital, Alex headed to the zoo for some fun with (from the left) Ian, Liz and Kate

“It was good to just go out and forget about it and not think about it,” Alex says.

The next night, after the tests and meetings finally ended, he went to a friend’s birthday party.

“Without all my friends, calling me and cheering me up and making me go out, it would be harder,” he says. “Without that I’d just sit around and think about it a lot more.”

Click here to read the previous chapter of Alex’s story.

January 2, 2011

The ABCs of Writing Your Pelotonia Profile

Filed under: Pelotonia News, Steve's Stuff — The Blog @ 5:57 AM

Only 9 days until registration opens for Pelotonia 2011 – so it’s time to start thinking about, and writing, your rider profile.

It’s important to have a great profile, because this is usually the first thing your potential donors will read about you and our amazing ride – and can go a long way in determining if and how much they donate, or maybe tempt them to sign up and ride (and then ask you for a donation!).

And yet, a lot of our riders left their profiles blank last year. So, to help out, I thought I’d offer a few tips and suggestions on how to write a spellbinding profile about a wonderful person (that’s you!).

Think before you write: Take some time to think about what it is you want to say in your profile before you start writing. Jot down a few notes, maybe make an outline. When you’re satisfied you know what you want to say, it’s time to start writing.

Speak from the heart: I’ve interviewed scores of our riders and volunteers – and the common thread is a passion for battling and beating cancer, cycling and Pelotonia. Let your passion spill out in your words. Make your profile personal and people will respond.

Great leads: In the newspaper business, the first few sentences are called the lead (or lede) and it’s important to grab the reader’s attention in these opening lines, otherwise they’ll turn the page or click on another link. So spend a lot of time on your lead – and make it great.

Shorter is better than longer: Brevity really is one of the keys to good writing, even more so in the Impatient Age of the Internet. Try not to go over 500 or 600 words.

Simple is better than complicated: Make your sentences short, straightforward and simple.

Hit the spell check button! Enaugh said.

A man walks into a bar: A little humor can go a long way, but be careful: humorous writing can be tricky to pull off.

Writing is easy, rewriting is hard: It’s difficult to edit and improve your own writing, but keep at it. Go over every word and each sentence again and again until they are perfect … and then go over them two more times.

Another set of eyes: Have someone (or multiple someones) read what you’ve written and provide constructive criticism. And be receptive to their suggestions.

Ignore everything I just wrote: Well, not exactly, but in the end, this is your story. So make it something you feel great about posting, even if you bend one or two of my rules.

Good luck … and I look forward to reading your profiles. It’s one of the ways I find many of the people I profile on this blog.

January 1, 2011

It’s 2011 – Time For Some Cycling Resolutions

Filed under: Steve's Stuff — Tags: , — The Blog @ 12:50 AM

It’s a new year – and time for some resolutions. Sorry, I didn’t want to do it, but it’s the law. So here are some of my resolutions, many of which could also apply to some of our Pelotonia riders:

I will ride an indoor trainer or stationary bike at the gym on a regular basis this winter, so … I will be in great shape when the spring thaw finally arrives, so … I will be ready to ride big miles from day one, so … I will ride more miles this year than in any other year of my life, so … I’ll be totally ready for Pelotonia and climb the Hocking Hills like they are a bunch of mole hills.

Speaking of Pelotonia (which I seem to do a lot): I will register to ride as soon as possible, so … I will have time to come up with some new and creative fundraising ideas, so … I will be able to raise more money than last year, so … I can help us raise millions more than last year, so … together we can help kick cancer’s butt as soon as possible.

In talking to Pelotonia riders, I’ve come to the realization that many of you are now confirmed bike-aholics. Now that you’re one of us (and can never leave), here are a few more resolutions for you to ponder and consider:

I will find and ride new routes in 2011, and make a point to ride with people I’ve never before ridden with.

I will incorporate my bike into at least one vacation, either making it a total biking vacation, or by bringing my bike – and actually riding it – when I go on vacation.

I will commute to work or run errands on my bike as few times a month – and help save the environment.

I will put aside my innate cheapness and buy a pair of really expensive bike pants, just to see what they’re like and if they really are better than the $30 ones I usually get. I’m hoping they’re not, but have a feeling they’ll be incredible – and I’ll never be able to go back to the $30 pairs.

Now that I have finally figured out how to change the color of text on this blog, I resolve not to abuse this feature for the rest of the year. Starting now…

That’s it, have a happy and safe 2011. And remember: Only 10 days until we can register for Pelotonia.

December 30, 2010

The James Gets $100 Million For A New Radiation Oncology Center

Filed under: The James — Tags: — The Blog @ 11:14 AM

Great news for the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute: the federal government has awarded it $100 million for the construction of a new radiation oncology center that will be part of the $1 billion Project One construction.

Click here to read more about it.

Dr. Michael Caligiuri, director of OSU’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, CEO of the James, and founder of Pelotonia, calls the funding a victory for cancer patients.

“As the world’s leading killer, cancer strikes one in two men and one in three women,” Mike said. “By providing funding for expanded access to leading edge cancer treatments at The James, the federal government is underscoring the critical need to win the war against cancer and put an end to a disease that has cost us dearly. It is, indeed, time to cure cancer. By expanding Ohio State’s cancer facilities, we are moving closer to a cancer-free world.”

December 27, 2010

One of Pelotonia’s Best and Brightest Is On The Move At The James

Filed under: The James — The Blog @ 6:06 AM

Up to this point, Gustavo Leone might be best known to many in the Pelotonia community as the rider who did the 180-mile route in 2009 without a single practice ride.

Now that’s determination! Not to mention a lesson in the meaning of the words saddle sores.

Then again, you may know Gustavo for his work as the director of the Pelotonia Fellowship Program, which has already awarded more than 50 fellowships to the best and brightest students to do research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

And now, Gustavo has been named associate director of basic research for the CCC and James.

Click here to read more about Gustavo.

Gustavo – in addition doing his own breakthrough cancer research – will now be responsible for overseeing and expanding laboratory-based science efforts through mentoring, recruitment and facilitating cancer research collaborations, according to an OSU press release. He will work to recruit additional senior faculty and physician scientists to expand Ohio State’s expertise in basic and translational research efforts, particularly in breast, genitourinary, gastrointestinal and thoracic cancer.

Uh-oh, I guess this means Gustavo will have even less time to train for Pelotonia 2011 – and his third consecutive 180-mile ride. But, as he has already proven, some people don’t need to actually train. Then again, I wouldn’t try this if I was you.

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