Cure on Wheels bike-a-thon: Aubuchon to ride to support cancer research
For the third year, Aubuchon Team of Companies President Gary Aubuchon will put on his gear and hop on his bike to “ride with passion and conviction” with the help of the community for this year’s Cure on Wheels bike-a-thon.
The camaraderie with his fellow riders cycling for a noble cause is what he enjoys the most about the Cure on Wheels ride.
Cure on Wheels is an organization that raises funds for individuals and families in the Tampa Bay area in an effort to help them cope with the diagnosis of cancer. According to the Cure on Wheels website it has donated more than $900,000 throughout the Tampa Bay area to targeted programs to help families whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
The annual bike-a-thon travels from roads north of Tampa to the state capital.
“It really combines two things that are very important to me. One is being able to help others and the other is the love of physical fitness. Being able to do those things at the same time to me is extremely gratifying,” Aubuchon said.
He said he enjoys the cause because it raises awareness with the issue of far too many people still dying from cancer.
“When we arrive in Tallahassee we will arrive in the plaza between the old capitol and the new capitol. There are typically a couple hundred of people that come out for this. Many of the state representatives and the senators come down to the plaza and greet the cyclist coming in. There are plenty of media speeches. It underscores not just cancer as an issue, but as a need for the Legislature to continue to fund cancer research,” Aubuchon said. “It’s a ride that accomplishes several things on different levels.”
To prepare for the lengthy ride on Jan. 14 – roughly 325 miles- he tackles year round training on a spin bike about four days a week with his trainer, David Salko. Salko also will travel from the area to Moffitt Cancer Center where the ride begins.
“He and I will ride together as part of the group,”Aubuchon said.
The ride from Tampa to Tallahassee consists of three consecutive days of cycling 100 miles each day.
By the end of the third day, the riders will be on the outskirts of Tallahassee.
“On the fourth day, this will be on Wednesday, we will have a police escort that will escort the group of riders right to the capitol,” Aubuchon said. “The last morning is really a celebratory ride.”
The weather tends to be the most challenging aspect of the ride.
“Typically, it is the weather as it can be windy and cold and that can wear you down over the course of 300 plus miles,” Aubuchon said. “So, we hope for good weather and a safe journey.”
Cure on Wheels does all the logistics for the ride, setting up the safest route to get from Tampa to Tallahassee.
“We are not going on a direct route. We are not taking the main road to get there. We are taking the safest route possible. They also provide full support during the ride, so they will provide us with hydration, food and everything we need to get from the beginning of the ride to the end of the ride,” Aubuchon said.
As a rider, he pays the registration fee and makes a donation for the cause, so that every dollar he raises goes directly to support Cure on Wheels and cancer research.
Those who would like to support Aubuchon can do so by visiting www.cureonwheels.org, and clicking the donate button. Type in Gary Aubuchon. His initial goal is to raise $5,000.
“It is so heartwarming of the outpouring of generosity in Southwest Florida. I only send out one email. Every year I am humbled by the response from people who want to give and be a part of it,” he said.
Aubuchon said it is saddening that, literally, everyone’s lives have been touched by cancer in one way shape, or form.
“It is something that if we are all doing a little bit together we can do something about,” he said.
Every year Aubuchon has ridden in support of someone. This year that someone is a past employee of his, Debbie, who retired a couple of years ago. He said Debbie is battleing cancer that started in her lungs and has now metastasized.