Posts Tagged Equinox gym spinning

Thrilling Spinning At The Cycle For Survival Fundraiser

Ira grinds and guts it out

Yesterday I was spinning during the last hour of the 2012 Cycle for Survival event. Four thousand cyclists participated in New York City and another 6000 in other parts of the country. I am guessing there were 125-plus bikes in the Equinox Gym where I was huffing and puffing. Friends and family all cheering us on, telling us we can do it, make it, don’t stop. Very exciting, dynamic, loud music, people yelling and singing over the spinning instructor’s microphone commands. My second year riding. A real high. I loved it.

I was only scared a bit maybe 90 seconds into the hour when my quads started feeling the strain as we rose off the seat—out of the saddle, they say—and I hadn’t practiced that at all on my stationary bike at home. I was glad after just four days of training the week before the event that I was able to comfortably build up to an hour. Sure I had done it last year, but that only convinced me I could do it. I didn’t remember how tough it had been. Eventually I was dazed and numb and felt no pain.

Sometimes I stayed in the saddle, when others attacked or took the hill. But I felt wimpy. Right next to me, I learned after a few minutes, was a woman and three male riders who were doing EIGHT HOURS! Both morning and afternoon sessions. What amazing endurance.

Joss and Evan look fresher after four hours than Ira after just one

These are not professionals. Just devoted, passionate amateurs who spin 4-5 times a week. The only reason I was in the section for extreme cyclists is because my son-in-law Evan, who has cancer, was again riding the whole four hours solo, and so was his wife, my daughter, Josslyn, soloing for the first time. They both ride during the year and were in shape for this challenge. Their third team bike for me and three others (an hour each) was privileged to be right in front of them. Members of some other teams only ride for 30 minutes.

Amazingly out of 10,000 riders, there were only 36 extreme cyclists this year, who rode four hours or more…including the four who rode eight hours total. There were 40 last year out of 4000 riders, and 25 in 2010 out of 2500 riders. Evan has been an “extreme” these last three years.

cyclists cheer and yell after the ride

I met a young man in the locker room after the ride who had been spinning in Chicago the day before and in California last weekend. “You are amazingly passionate about this fundraiser to be flying around to the various events like that,” I commented. “Well I co-founded the Cycle for Survival with my wife,” he informed me. I was totally humbled, partly because his wife, Jen Linn, had died last year after a seven year battle with cancer. Then because they had tried to raise just $10,000 for rare cancer research the first year, and it had grown so big that this year $7.8 million was raised, surpassing the $7.45 million of the first five years. And thirdly because what Dave and Jen Linn started has raised funds that led to research that has kept my son-in-law alive with new Sloan Kettering drugs and clinical trials. The Linns have really made a difference.

Tags: , , , , ,

2000 Cyclists Spinning To Beat Cancer

I went into Manhattan two days ago to cheer for spinners at the Cycle for Survival. This is an indoor charity event where people can hop on a stationary bike and pedal to raise money for research on rare cancers. There were 400 teams (of one to eight riders) split between two Equinox gyms in which people would spin for a half hour or more. With music blaring, bikes close together, “coaches” with microphones saying “climb that hill,” “sprint for the finish line,” and friends and relatives waving arms and yelling, it was a very exciting, energetic and emotional experience.

spinning to fund research

spinning to fund research

Some of the cyclists are cancer patients. Most are not, and everyone’s participation is providing hope, support, and fund-raising enthusiasm. Over $2.2 million has been raised so far this year, a total of $4 million since the first annual event in 2007, all used for research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Next week 100 more teams will be cycling for the first time in Chicago.

he rode the whole four hours

he rode the whole four hours

Of all 500 teams, and over 2000 cyclists, only 25 are extremists who pedaled for all four hours. I was yelling for a cancer patient I know who rode solo the entire time. In good weather he rides about 70 miles a week. He says, “I cycle because it keeps me alive…because l can…because I am still here.”

A number of celebrities were cycling as well. Here is one I cheered on, Chris Mullin, a five-time NBA All-Star who also won Olympic gold twice.

NBA All Star, Chris Mullin

NBA All Star, Chris Mullin

Most funds for research are granted to the more prevalent illnesses like breast and prostate cancer. However more than half of all cancers are classified as “rare,” because each one affects less than 200,000 people. These include cervical, stomach, brain and all pediatric cancers. It’s unbelievable that so little money is being directed to cure these rare cancers.

To learn more, visit the event’s web site, www.cycleforsurvival.org

Tags: , , , , ,