The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Great Cycle Challenge

 

August 12, 2020

This September, I will be riding to raise money to fight Children's Cancer in the Great Cycle Challenge. The Great Cycle Challenge was founded in 2015 and is one of the biggest cycling events in the United States. Working with the Children's Cancer Research Fund, the challenge has raised nearly $25,000,000 in support of research, the development of better treatments, and the search for a cure for childhood cancers. Participants have ridden a total of 18,831,310 miles in their fundraising efforts.

This year will be my fourth time participating in the challenge, though I was uncertain if it'd be happening at all this year. Normally in June, the challenge was postponed this year because of the Covid shutdowns. Later, the organization announced that the ride will be taking place during the month of September instead.

I started participating in the ride after finding it on Facebook. Through my work in ministry over the last twenty years, and the difficulty of watching those close to me with cancer, I've had the opportunity to see firsthand how miserable fighting cancer can be. It's been even more heartbreaking to see children go through it. This was the biggest reason I chose to participate in the Great Cycle Challenge. My first-year goals were conservative: I planned to ride 200 miles and raise $500. I didn't find either challenge easy to accomplish. In the June of 2017, I went out three or four times a week, riding my bicycle up and down Kenilworth Road. I had a hard time raising the money, but was able to trade various silly stunts for donations. One friend offered $100 in exchange for me wearing a hot pink cycling jersey for all of my rides. Another donated $150 if I would attach streamers to my handlebars for my rides. In bits and pieces, I managed to raise my $500 for children's cancer research. The silly trades have fallen to the wayside in the years that followed, as I've raised nearly $2500 total in the years since. I've been grateful for family, friends, and neighbors in Big Sandy who have been very generous in their support of this cause. My mileage count has increased as well to 300 miles last June.

This year, my goals are more modest. With the ride happening in September, it will probably be more challenging to fit in the time for riding, though I have to travel 200 miles. As in years past, my fundraising goal is $500. Anyone who would like to help fight Kids' Cancer through my ride this year can do so from my Facebook page or online at http://www.GreatCycleChallenge.com/Riders/ErikSietsema1. You can also contact me directly if you'd prefer to not donate online: 406-399-3803. Anyone interested in joining in on the Great Cycle Challenge can register on the website. In fact, many riders choose to form teams to share miles and fundraising efforts. Anyone who would be interested in forming a Big Sandy team should contact me.

 
 

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