Riding for Hope

Jun 08, 2012 by Laurie Bushbaum

Last Sunday, June 3, I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to join the MN. Tahoe Bike Team at 5:15. After checking all our equipment one more time, we lined up and rode to the corral for our 6:15 start time. The weather was a perfect 55, the sun coming up and not a cloud in the sky. Every TNT chapter attaches some identifying object to their helmets: apples for NY, peaches for Georgia, flying monkeys for Kansas. And what did we Minnesotans have? A SPAM can! Yes, SPAM comes from Austin, MN. Never tased the stuff but our "hood ornaments" made for great conversation along the ride. Still, I think I'll vote for a loon next year.

The first climb, starting at about mile 10, was 5 miles of switchbacks to a summit overlooking Emerald Bay. Spectacularly beautiful! At this point the road was still closed so heading down I finally put on my brakes at 34 mph!

The food and technical support all during the ride was fantastic. But the most important part of the ride for me was mile 87 1/2, a half mile from the

summit after an 8 mile climb to Spooner Pass. Needless to say I was getting pretty tired. To give me the strength I needed to get to the top I started reciting, out loud, the list of names I carried in my pocket. As I said, "Nina, Tim, Dann, Sharon, Susan, Pat, Vicky, Dave, Phyllis, Rita..." the tears starting pouring down my face. All day I had been enjoying the beauty, concentrating on eating and drinking enough, battling incredible headwinds. And then I remembered why I was doing this. "...Gabe, Connie, Ronald, Judith, Robert, Marti, Bill, Bobby, and Axel. " And all of my teammates who are survivors and their children who are survivors... and for those who have just received their diagnosis.

I rode to try and make the road ahead a little easier for those still living with cancer and to remember those who are gone. Thanks so very much for supporting me and the thousands of patients we will never meet. The MN team raised $110,000 dollars and the whole event raised over $5 MILLION! Your giving made a difference.


(On this youtube, at about 7:08 you can see me start out. I'm wearing the bright purple windbreaker and waving as I go by.)


I'm in Tahoe!
Jun 02, 2012 by Laurie Bushbaum

I meant to write so many more posts these last two months but caring for my mom became my first priority. This often meant that I couldn't make training rides with my TNT team but I did put in all the miles. And oddly enough, the longer rides brought me such solace and joy during this stressful spring. I needed to plan longer and longer rides each week; my Twin Cities bike map has become creased and worn... The first 40 mile ride, then 50, 60 , 70, the 80 mile Northfield ride, and finally 2 weeks ago, the 90 mile ride.

I have loved discovering parts of the Twin Cities area that I have never seen before. My new favorite route is the St. Paul side of the river from the Ford Parkway bridge beyond downtown St. Paul to Lake Phalen, where I catch the Gateway trail out beyond White Bear Lake. I have learned to repeat any hill I encounter to try and prepare for the ascents here in Tahoe. But standing last night on the beach, as the sun set, gazing all the way around the lake, clockwise as we will ride tomorrow, the climbs seem daunting. I will have to take them one pedal stroke at a time, one mile at a time, the way those living with cancer must take it one moment, one day, one treatment at a time.

On our flight out here, the plane was mostly filled with TNT riders. The Minnesota team, Michigan, Conneticut, D.C., Wisconsin. The flight attendant announced that the combined fundraising total for just these few teams was over $400,000. Minnesota alone raised $110,000.

At the Inspiration Dinner earlier this evening, we heard about the remarkable results of two new drug trials funded by LSS. In one, remission rates have more than doubled!

Thanks to each of you who have supported me. This had been an amazing journey. Most importantly, someone else's journey with cancer will be easier because of it.

I'm excited and nervous. Fortunatley we will have a nearly perfect day for the ride, starting at 6:15 with the temperature in the mid 40's and ending with clear skies and 75.

Hoping for a good night's sleep and enough strength for all 100 miles.

I want Axel to grow up
Mar 21, 2012 by Laurie Bushbaum

The World magazine just published an online version of an article that will come out in the print magazine in May. It features several of us who are doing "ministry by bike." Read the article here: http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/198467.shtml

Last Saturday we threw a birthday party for our "honored teammate" Axel, a local, just-turned-5 year-old who is living with leukemia. It's been a long time since I

have shopped for a 5 year old and it was so much fun. I wasn't sure I could go to the party though; it hit too close to home. My niece Nina was 3 1/2 when she died. But I did go and Axel was a goofy, adorable boy who, like most children, wanted to eat his ice cream before his lunch. This is why I'm riding Tahoe; so Axel, and thousands like him, get to grow up.

I'm halfway to my fundraising goal of $5,000. If you haven't made a donation yet, please consider doing so.

So far in FY12 (July 1, 2011 – June 31, 2012), LLS’s co-pay program has given approximately $264,000 to patients in MN, ND and SD! Patient Financial Aid has given $79,700. What you give matters!

Falling with Grace
Mar 12, 2012 by Laurie Bushbaum

The last weekend of February, Minnesota had a heatwave. On Saturday it was a whopping 44 degrees (above zero) so I went out for my first outdoor ride of the year. I was riding a favorite 18 mile loop and surprisingly, most of the bike paths were cleared. But much to my surprise, there I was on the home stretch, on a great section of the trail wide open in the sun when I hit a huge patch of ice. Not like the slushy stuff I had ridden several miles back.

This was a deeply rutted, 3 inch layer of deep, hard ice. I knew I was going down.

In that moment my yoga training was my best resource. In yoga I've learned to move from total focus on strength to utter release in seconds flat. And that was about what I had; a second or two to realize that my best chance of avoiding an injury was to fall gently. Which I did. I had to ride the last few miles with just my left leg because my right side was bruised from ankle to shoulder, and my knee wasn't working at the moment.

But falling reminded me of one of my favorite Peter Mayer songs, called "Fall."

What if the highest destination

Of any given human life

Was not a place that you could reach if

You had to climb

Wasn’t up above like heaven

So no need to fly at all

What if to reach the highest place

You had to fall

Fall, like a drunkard on your face

Like a parachuter jumping from a plane

Fall, like an astronaut from space

Or an acrobat from making a mistake

And what if all the sages

Talking about realms out of reach

Would memorize the pages

Of gravity

What if getting to the highest place is

Like learning what you know

Or like going to where you are now

Like coming home

Fall, like Adam falling down

From the strange, unearthly angels whence he came

Fall, finding a way of trusting in the ground

As if the highest and the lowest places

Are the same

What if the highest destination

Wasn’t up above at all

What if, to reach the highest place

You had to fall

What if you had to fall


So, yesterday when the thermometer hit 60 and I went out for a 30 mile ride, I was very mindful: I watched for ice, for sand, and was prepared to fall gracefully in a momen'ts notice. I've decided this is a good skill to master.

Happy trails to each of you.

Feb 06, 2012 by Laurie Bushbaum


Even after I signed up a few weeks ago to ride around Lake Tahoe with Team in Training, I wondered if my efforts would really matter. I sent a post about my ride to my online ministers' community. Only a few hours later I got this reply, from Rev. Bill Kennedy, a colleague from California I have never met. I share it with his permission:

Dear Laurie,

I rode America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride ( Lake Tahoe) with Team in Training in 2000. It took me every bit of 12 hours to get to the finish line. I loved it. Then I started working on my application to seminary which I started in 2001.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with Myeloma. I began treatment in early 2004. I also began my service as an honoree with the Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay team. I tried to ride in 2004 but my feet didn't work very well that year. Side effects. Since then I have managed 54 miles in Honolulu in 2007 and 63 miles in Solvang in 2008. I'm hoping to get back on the road again soon.

One thing I always tell the team members is that what they are doing is saving lives. Literally saving lives. No kidding. Because of your commitment, training, and fund-raising someone will live. Someone will be cured. Someone will get help finding lodging they can afford while they are being treated far from home. You are making that possible. Really. LLS funded the transplant program that got me 3+ years of remission, so I know. Then the most important 2 words I know. Thank you.

So when you're grinding up one more hill and you want to quit, remember that you are making a real difference.

Sending You Light,

Bill Kennedy

Older posts

Supporter Comments

    "Good luck!"


    Fri Feb 17 10:56:35 EST 2012

    "Go Laurie! On behalf of my Wasatch Academy Class of '77 in memory of Tim and his gentle spirit... Chris Serdahl, M.D."

    christian serdahl

    Tue Feb 28 01:20:16 EST 2012

    "Go bananas;-)"

    Stephanie Pretzer

    Tue Mar 06 03:26:47 EST 2012

    "My brother Bobby died at age 10 of A.L.L. and dad died of multiple myeloma. Have a great ride! Thanks Dave Sanderson,Unitarian Church of Underwood"

    Dave Sanderson

    Sun Mar 25 01:31:34 EDT 2012

    "Ride for all who can not. Ride like the wind! "

    Advance Consulting

    Sun Mar 25 05:35:08 EDT 2012

    "Ride with joy and thanks!"


    Wed Apr 18 11:29:45 EDT 2012

    "Hello Laurie, Congratulations on signing on to do the Tahoe Century! I have ridden it as a participant, a mentor, and a coach for TNT, and it is a truly gorgeous ride, with excellent support and lovely lovely people. Keep in mind the altitude; you will tire faster. Hydration (and prehydration) is key. I didn't realize that Tim Nelson had died, nor that he was ill. He was a kind and gentle person. I'm glad you had some spiritual time with him beforehand. The miles I have ridden for TNT are such a precious part of my life; all of my honored teammates, whether survivors or not, have a piece of me with them always. Good luck, good weather, and a good, good ride! Cathy Bowman"

    Catherine Bowman

    Fri Apr 27 05:02:32 EDT 2012

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $4,685.00 | Goal: $5,000.00
94 %

Make a Donation

We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

My Thanks To

Catherine Bowman $300.00
Kai Bottomley $250.00
Daniel Bishop $200.00
Anonymous $100.00
Kevin Marshall Elias $100.00
John Bellaimey Mickelsen $100.00
Jeffrey and Gail Watson $100.00
Advance Consulting $100.00
Ronald Prieve $100.00
Lauren Palmer $100.00
Jamar Marketing Inc $100.00
Renee Younglund - Davis C... $100.00
Eric Gilbertson $100.00
Ann Frost $100.00
Cindy and Jack Shelton $100.00
Christopher Lupke $100.00
Douglas Kottke $100.00
Bonnie Gruen and Bill Tol... $100.00
Bruce Sutor $100.00
Stephanie Austin $100.00
Richard Perry $80.00
John Faughnan $50.00
Morgan Sellers $50.00
Grace and Tom Lynch $50.00
Karen & Mike Buchanan $50.00
Leonard Summers $50.00
Edwin Myers Jr. $50.00
Ronald Graham $50.00
Stephen Weber $50.00
Dave Sanderson $50.00
D'Ann Prior $50.00
Karin Larson $50.00
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Anne Benosn $50.00
Armida Alexander $50.00
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Marianne Cotter $50.00
Melissa Scott $50.00
Stephanie Pretzer $50.00
christian serdahl $50.00
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Pat Ferrian $50.00
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Laurence Parent $30.00
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