Sep 022010
 

Alzheimers Breakthrough Ride Journal: Saint Louis to Springfield
Just wanted to add to Buck’s blog….. What a wonderful, fantastic, invigorating experience! Thanks, Bruce Lamb for organizing this important event. Sarah Matousek, Oliver Holmes, Stephanie Soscia and I (Team: Boston Bikers) flew to St. Louis on Friday, August 27th in time to meet the Wash U team as they ended their ride at the signing event there. It was great to see familiar faces (Dave and Tracy Holtzman, John Morris, John Cirrito, etc.) and meet The Ride crew (Eric, Evan, Kyle, and Glenn) and numerous volunteers. After re-assembling our bikes (thank you, Eric!), we went sightseeing at the famous arch, also known as the “Gateway to the West”. It was a lot of fun getting to the top by elevator and seeing the city and Mississippi River. The next morning, we had the pleasure of meeting Buck Stinson, of Genworth Financial who, in part, deals with longterm healthcare insurance issues and is an avid cyclist. He kindly treated us to breakfast at the hotel. [Thanks Buck and thanks to the Courtyard Marriott staff for opening for us at 6 am instead of 7 am!]

We headed onto the road north to Springfield just after sunrise. For most of us, this 100+ mile ride (also known as a “century ride”) was the longest bike ride we had ever attempted. We were so excited to get started! We were told it was going to be a flat ride, but the map we were given showed a steady, if small, incline over the first 80 miles. After a small gulp, I decided what the heck. Might as well go as far as possible. After all, we did not have to ride through the desert or across mountains like some of the riders before us! Along the way, we stopped for photo ops such as the one shown here in front of the sign for historic Route 66. The 2 support vans (drivers Kyle and Glenn) kept us safe as we navigated along the route and provided much-needed humor, music and encouragement along the way. The RV (driven by Evan) met us at rest stops where we were pampered with ice water, Gatorade, snacks, bananas, cold wet towels, and a bathroom. Perfect. After lunch, Buck rode ahead while Boston Bikers took our time, resting every 15-20 miles. As we rode through many small towns and rural areas, we got a few cheers and thumbs up. One gas station even posted a special sign welcoming us – Thank You!

Our team stuck together but I will admit I was not sure I could make the whole 103 miles. Kyle was very good at showing up in the van when I would fall behind and blast some funky music to keep me going — thank you. Thanks to you, too, Oliver, for getting me through that last patch before the final segment! It was everything.

The last 20 miles of the ride was very flat with tall cornfields on either side of the road. The late afternoon sunlight cast a beautiful golden glow on the fields. We rode together into the final meeting place where Evan greeted us by hopping up and down and cheering for us. It was great!

I want to thank my team members: Sarah Matousek and Oliver Holmes (postdocs, BWH) and Stephanie Soscia (graduate student, MGH) for their hard work raising funds, training, and doing the ride. It was truly a pleasure! Stephanie went on to ride for 3 more days and an additional 261 miles to Madison, WI. You are amazing! Great to meet you, Buck – hope to see you in DC. And lastly, a shout-out to all of the friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers who supported us on this adventure and in the quest to find a way to conquer Alzheimer’s disease – THANK YOU!!

-Cynthia (“Cindy”) Lemere, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Neurology at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

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