Best intentions: What to do when your ‘train’ gets derailed

#BoOnABike week three
Bo Jungmayer
Photo by Robert Hood / Fred Hutch News Service

Editor’s note: This is part of weekly series chronicling a novice-cyclist’s ramp up to riding in Obliteride, an annual bike ride, held this year Aug. 7-9, that raises money for Fred Hutch.

Three weeks have gone by and I am now realizing that it isn’t the training that is difficult, it’s finding the time to do it. Since my last post, I still have not found the time to train any more than my two previous rides.

Unless you count training as tending to a teething baby who is also at the cusp of major milestone and crawling around EVERYWHERE. Then check!

Like many people who are “too busy” to ride Obliteride, family and work take up most of my time. This week, in addition to my daily morning, work and evening routines, I had to throw in a couple of weekend work events, help my brother move and take care of some other family obligations.

Usually Saturday and Sunday are the days I could even fathom adding a training session. But as I had feared, life got in the way.

As I was thinking about how I was going to write this training post without actually training, I decided to shift gears and highlight why I couldn’t do it and why that actually motivates me even more to ride.

No matter how hard you try, life has a way of throwing curveballs. For many who have chosen to participate in Obliteride, cancer has affected them in unplanned ways, whether they are the patient, survivor, donor or family. I’m going to take this lesson and not give up. I will schedule training rides and commit and protect that time.

Since I can’t give you training tips this post, I reached out to my colleague Michelle McCormick, part of The Administriders team at Fred Hutch, who has raised more than $4,751 to date for this year’s Obliteride.

Michelle McCormick
Michelle McCormick is a rider from The Administriders team at Fred Hutch. Photo courtesy of Obliteride

Michelle’s words echoed those of Obliteride’s Executive Director Amy Lavin, who I talked to when this weekly series all started. “It’s not a race, just a ride,” Michelle told me. “If you can’t make it up any of those hills … who cares?”

She went on to put things in perspective for me: “Remember, pushing your bike up a hill is a lot easier than going through chemo,” she said.

She also sent me some great training tips to help all of us as we enter the homestretch to Obliteride:

  • Don’t stress. You’ve still got a week and half.
  • Try to get in one or two more rides. Even if they are short.
  • Practice switching gears while on flat surfaces, so you know which way is up and down before you hit a hill on the actual ride. The last thing you want to do is make it harder before you start a climb!

And here is my favorite tip from Michelle: “Practice drinking from your water bottle.”

When I saw this tip, I didn’t really understand why. Michelle explained that some people actually find it hard getting the water bottle in and out of the holder on the bike as they ride, which makes total sense. During my training rides, I actually stop, put my feet on the ground and drink water.

I didn’t realize that if I’m riding 25 miles and want to challenge myself, I need to drink throughout the ride and not just at the pit stops.

But it’s not just about speed, it’s about safety.

“The last thing you want to happen is that you drop your water bottle while you are riding, causing other riders behind you to react and reduce the safety of the ride,” Michelle told me.

There you have it: my admission that life just got in the way this week, some good perspective on how to avoid this in the future and helpful tips from Michelle, a veteran Obliteride rider.

#BoOnABike by the numbers

Number of training rides: 2
Approximate training miles: 18 miles
Personal fundraising asks sent: 5
Donations received to date: $600
New brake pads: $10
Handle bar extenders: $39.96 (before tax)

What's your reason for riding in Obliteride? Tell us about it on Facebook.

Bo Jungmayer is a staff photographer and multimedia editor at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He’s a graduate of the University of Washington and is instrumental in finding and executing innovative ways to tell stories through words, pictures and video. Reach him at

Related News

All news
Riding for a reason: A novice cyclist rides for daughter to live in a cancer-free world #BoOnABike: A weekly series following a new father’s mission to ride Obliteride July 15, 2015
Removing the awkward in fundraising #BoOnABike one week later July 23, 2015
Cancer care: From ‘sledgehammer’ to precision cellular therapy AACR progress report: new immunotherapies improve outcomes, but access to care and clinical trials for many still lags September 15, 2023

Help Us Eliminate Cancer

Every dollar counts. Please support lifesaving research today.