Just after dawn on Saturday, June 25, more than 200 cyclists began to gather in Highland Falls, NY, for the Cancer Research Institute’s inaugural Answer to Cancer (A2C) cycling fundraiser, sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The day began with an assortment of delightful muffins and quiches from a local favorite, Pied Piper Pies, whose warm hospitality was second only to their delicious baked goods. Following breakfast, riders began to trickle into the chute for opening remarks from Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute; Chris Boerner, president of US commercial at Bristol-Myers Squibb; Ariella Chivil, a cancer survivor who was treated with immunotherapy; Highland Falls Mayor Patrick Flynn; and Col. Landy Dunham, U.S. Army Garrison West Point Commander. At 7:30 a.m., the first group of riders was released.
Riders began their 25, 50, or 100 mile journeys with a procession through the United States Military Academy at West Point before continuing through the Lower Hudson Valley. With clear skies, temperatures in the high 70s, and a balance of beautiful but challenging terrain, the Lower Hudson Valley proved to be an excellent home to our event.
The hilly course was exceptionally well-suited for the King or Queen of the Mountain Challenges—timed climbs among one or two of the course’s most brutal hills for the 50 and 100 mile groups. Our 50 mile winners, Shane Mulrooney and Dana Walton, and our 100 mile winners, Taylor Fletcher and Debra Kalsell, were each awarded a special jersey from the Challenge sponsor, Basin Holdings.
Also riding were three members of the Holowesko-Citadel professional racing team: Chief Sports Director Thomas Craven and cyclists Mac Brennan and Joe Lewis. For a few of our riders, A2C was not their first time riding alongside Cravens and Brennan, who led a training ride through Central Park in April.
The event closed with a finish festival fit for our incredible riders: live music from Wonderous Stories and Mack and Soul, and some well-deserved pampering! Between the massage and physical therapy services and unlimited food and beverages, including catering from Highland Falls’ Andy’s Diner and beer from Brooklyn Brewery, there was no shortage of smiling faces. Check out photos from the event here.
“The Answer to Cancer had such an incredible energy among all the riders and volunteers. As a first time rider, this was an experience I will never forget!” –Will V., 25 mile rider.
We are incredibly proud to announce that with the help of our riders, more than $800,000 has been raised so far—and 100% of that money will go directly to critical immunotherapy research!
Our top three fundraisers to-date are Priyanka Sewhani ($9,375), Joe Mulrooney ($7,135), and Ken Umezaki ($4,208). Fundraising efforts will continue until September 1, and the individual with the highest total will receive a set of premium Reynold’s Cycling wheels valued at over $2,500.
Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible—we couldn’t have done it without you!