June 07, 2012

Intro & Twelve Days

Hi! I am Venkatesh Srinivas; this summer, I am cycling over 4,000 miles, from Baltimore, MD, to Portland, OR!

I am riding with the 4K for Cancer, a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund; there are twenty-six riders headed to Portland and twenty-nine riders each on two other routes, to Seattle and San Francisco. Each one of the eighty-four riders raised at least $4,500 to ride; in total, we raised roughly a half-a-million dollars for the UCF.

Before the ride, I raised over $9,000 for the 4K; I'd like to thank my unbelievably generous donors for helping so much and making this ride and the programs it supports possible. Each donor has their own reasons for supporting me and the 4K; together the power of all these reasons and all these contributions help good work 'get done'.

This is the eleventh year of the 4K for Cancer; the program started as a student organization at my alma mater, Johns Hopkins, called the 'Hopkins 4K'. It expanded to a standalone non-profit in 2010 and merged with the Ulman Cancer Fund this year. The original program only had a Baltimore to San Francisco route; the Seattle and Portland rides were added last year.

On May 27th, all of the riders lined up in McKeldin Square in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and dipped our back tires into the Chesapeake Bay; we will dip our front tires into the Pacific Ocean at the close our journeys. On the Portland route, we will reach the Pacific on August 2nd, at Canon Beach, OR.

The first day of the Portland journey took us from Baltimore to Waynesboro, PA. This was part of the original San Franscisco route, so many alumni of earlier 4K incarnations rode with us.

Each team split into riding groups of four to six cyclists; on the first day, I rode with Nellie Honan, Jasper Curry, and Sophie Jin. Also riding with us was 2011 Baltimore-to-Seattle alumnus Elan Hourticolon-Retzler, a long-time friend and former co-worker. We rode out of Baltimore's Inner Harbor, up Calvert Street, and across University Parkway, along a route I had rolled along and trained on so many times. From there, we turned north along Roland Avenue, then Falls Road; and then into terra incognita.

Today is day 12 of our ride, a rest day; we are staying at Vineyards Westside Church in Cheviot, OH, a suburb of Cincinnati. We have only been riding for twelve days, but as a team, we have already faced new physical and mental challenges; we crossed the Appalachian mountains early in our route, we faced a twelve-hour day of solid rain. We have to figure out how to ride together; how to spend our time together. And how to draw support from and to provide support to each other.

Posted by vsrinivas at June 7, 2012 02:48 PM