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Happy cyclists cross continent for cancer fund

 

Cross country bicyclists bound for Seattle rest at the Grand Coulee Community Church where they were able to shower, eat dinner, and sleep last Wednesday before another long ride to Twisp the next day.

Bicyclists on a cross-country journey stopped in Grand Coulee Aug. 1 on their way from Baltimore to Seattle.

The group "4k for Cancer" is a fundraiser for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. Doug Ulman was a young adult in college when he was diagnosed with cancer and found there weren't many services available for his age group, and so he and his family set up the organization in 1997.

Ulman went on to be Chief Executive Officer of Livestrong, the cancer charity organization, until 2014 when he went on to be president and CEO of Pelotonia, another cancer charity organization.

There are five teams making separate cross-country journeys: one team each bound for Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, or Baltimore, all set to finish around the same time.

The five teams combined have raised $800,000 in donations for the Ulman Cancer Fund.

There are 22 people on the Seattle team, set to finish the 70-day, 4,378-mile journey. The riders each get 10 rest days when they get to ride in the van that has supplies and sets up water stations along the way.

"I'm pumped for the Cascades," said Isaac Pritt, one of the bicyclists. "It's about a 5,000-foot climb. We'll see if they stack up to the Appalachians."

Riders on the team said they hail from Syracuse and Poughkeepsie, New York; Austin, Texas; Ohio, Arizona, and more, spanning 14 states and four countries: the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and Ireland.

The riders said they've gone through roughly 100 inner tubes so far on the journey.

The team rode their bikes 92.7 miles in a single day from the Bowl and Pitcher Campground on the Spokane River to the Grand Coulee Community Church. The day before they had stopped into the Spokane Cancer Research Center, where they spent an hour-and-a-half with a couple of patients "talking about aliens and all sorts of stuff," Pritt said.

Team members said they've stopped at about seven cancer centers so far on their journey.

"I like meeting all these wonderful people," Pritt said. "The team, the best people I've ever met, these are friends that I'll have forever. Plus, places like this, Grand Coulee. So many small towns, so many different people."

"If there's a body of water along the way, we jump in it," said another bicyclist. "On our rest days we hiked in Glacier [National Park], jumped in an iceberg lake there. We saw Mt. Rushmore."

They moo at cows when they see them, and the cows get mad, team members said. They saw a mountain goat, and one young woman saw a bear cross the road in the Appalachians.

From Grand Coulee the team went to Twisp to take the North Cascades Highway over the mountains. They expect to be in Seattle on Aug. 12.

It doesn't appear as if the smoke in the air has put a stick in their spokes, as updates on their website show the group continuing to travel through Washington.

For more information go to http://www.ulmanfund.org, or to donate to Team Seattle, go to http://www.4kforcancer.com.

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