Trekking for a good cause
Silent Sports Editor
The 27th annual Trek 100 Ride For Hope featured a special headliner cast of former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre and his wife, Deanna, professional biker Jens Voigt and former Oakland Raider and Kansas City Royal Bo Jackson on a blazing hot day on June 11.
They led out a crew of 2,000-plus riders, who chose routes of 100, 62, 36 and 19 miles and raised money for the Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund. Lots of money for a great cause, based on a $2 per mile requirement. The ride has generated $13.1 million in funds for the charity, even before the 2016 funds are tallied, to support pediatric cancer and related blood disorder research.
It’s paying off. According to UW-Madison Dr. Paul Sondel – who spoke before the ride – the childhood cancer cure rate has improved drastically, from 20 per cent to 80 per cent over the last four decades.
The trek begins and ends at the world headquarters of the Trek Bicycle Corporation in Waterloo, Wis., located 15 miles northeast of Madison. Owner John Burke was a big part of the send-off and joined in the ride. The event featured live music and a wide variety of food and drink at rest stops, with more music, food and beer after it was over.
The MACC Fund – started by former Milwaukee Bucks sharpshooter Jon McGlocklin, who also spoke at the event – has raised more than $55 million since its inception in 1976.
Kelly’s Letter From the Editor:
What a trek!
So, what do you get when you cross Brett Favre, Jens Voigt, Jon McGlocklin and Bo Jackson?
Yes, I said, “Bo Jackson!“
Well, I’m not exactly sure what you get when you cross them, but when you bring them all together at the same time, you’re at the 27th annual Trek 100.
Four guys of large stature, both in size and popularity.
Three helped lead out the four options of the celebrated ride for the MACC Fund charity, while the ex-Milwaukee Buck McGlocklin is the founder of said charity.
One blazing hot day to ride, after taking photos of the famous people.
The somewhat low-key introduction program for the ride included touching testimonials from cancer survivor Alexis Ormsby, UW-Madison cancer doctor Paul Sondel, Trek owner John Burke and McGlocklin, along with greetings from Favre and Jackson.
Then most everyone moved a few feet to their bikes under the inflated Bontrager rainbow for the official roll-out of this year’s ride.
After photos, it was time to switch the photo equipment for bike gear. Despite a premium parking spot close at hand, by the time I was out-fitted – making sure nothing was left behind on a heat-stroke day (I didn’t; shocking to me) – the self-policed swift waves were long gone. I jumped in at the tail end of the third or fourth wave and was surprised to notice I wanted to ride faster than most around me.
I started to pick up the pace and pick off some bikers when a crew of six guys shot by me. It seemed like my kind of group, so I quickly latched on and over the next few miles I decided they were riding just the pace I hope to run. Unfortunately, a couple of hills seemed to crack a few of their members and when they didn’t follow on a climb, I knew I needed to find different help.
Instead, it found me. The only member of their group also doing the 100 – Tim – jumped on, as did Tony, someone who had followed my example earlier without me realizing it.
The three of us worked together throughout the ride, drafting and taking turns pulling. It was especially effective on a windy day, and provided a big bonus in the mental game, talking with new friends through moments of serious pain and fatigue.
One surprise to me, considering how well our impromptu cooperation helped make the miles melt away, was when we would pass struggling solo rider after struggling solo rider, many less than a quarter mile apart after 60-plus miles. At that rate they literally were traveling less than one mph slower. Why didn’t they team up and enjoy the benefits we were?
Late in our ride, the hills finally took their toll on the flatlander in the group, Tim. He hadn’t ridden a full 100 in a day before this day, and it eventually showed. Since it wasn’t a race, I was willing to slow down and to pull him for more than 10 miles. We finally separated on the last steep hill on the outskirts of Waterloo, but met again to share lunch.
Burke joked before the event that some riders would actually gain weight due to the smorgasbord available at rest stops. There surely was no shortage of options, many in the traditional vein of Clif Bars and Honey Stinger chews, but others were truly out of the pale such as Famous Dave’s chicken wings, bread pudding and home-made pizza, and snow cones served by a delightful little hostess. I surprised myself by saying yes to the first three, but reluctantly told the attentive sweetheart that I couldn’t do a snow cone at that 82-mile point after pigging out on delicious strawberries and fresh pineapple. Despite passing on dipping them in the chocolate fountain.
The friends and the food made this an event to remember, and the boon to the MACC Fund – now reaching $14 million – just made it that much sweeter.
But, Bo Jackson? Priceless.