Biking against breast cancer – New Jersey Herald –

KeepHealthCare.ORG – Biking against breast cancer – New Jersey Herald –

Posted: Jul. 13, 2018 12:01 am

Al Reszel, 59, has been an avid bicyclist for most of his adult life, a self-described “weekend warrior” who often takes rides of 50 to 75 miles during his spare time.

When his wife, Terry, was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, Reszel focused his efforts on fundraising rides devoted to the fighting the disease. Terry soon recovered, but the Reszels were determined to step up their game in hopes of helping others affected.

“We decided we wanted to do something bigger, and also do something to try to find a cure,” Al Reszel said.

In the summer of 2016, Reszel — a teacher from Richmond, Minn. — rode about 500 miles from his home state to Chicago, and last year he traveled more than 1,700 miles from Minnesota to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation headquarters in New York City. While both were impressive feats, Reszel shattered that combined distance this year with a ride across the country, including a brief appearance in Sussex County, that is expected to again conclude in New York City this morning.

Al Reszel’s latest journey, totaling approximately 3,403 miles when finished, will have taken him through 13 states and stretched 41 days. Terry Reszel, making the same trip by car, is never more than a few miles behind or in front of her husband at any point, making sure he stays on course and remaining nearby in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

“I’ve got his Gatorade and his food gels and whatever he’ll need,” Terry Reszel said Thursday as the couple rested during a break in the ride near Chatham.

This year’s trip began about six weeks ago with a three-day car ride from Richmond to California after Al Reszel’s school year ended. On June 3, he got on his bike on the Santa Monica Pier and set off on his longest trip yet.

A typical day sees the Reszels get up around 5 a.m., with Al’s goal to be on the road by 7 each morning. He bikes an average of about 90 miles daily, stopping for lunch before finishing his ride anywhere between 2 and 4 p.m. depending on the day’s conditions.

From there, the couple checks in at a hotel, where Al Reszel soaks his muscles in a cold bath and examines a map with Terry for the next day’s planned route. Al is usually in bed between 7:30 and 8 p.m. to prepare for the next day, when Terry drives him to the exact spot he stopped the previous afternoon so he can continue the ride.

The trip has not been without its struggles. The Reszels have had to stop twice to fix the gears on Al’s bike, and Al has suffered three flat tires so far.

In addition, the fluctuating weather has led to some more difficult stretches of riding. Al Reszel specifically recalled the three days he spent crossing the Mojave Desert, where the temperature at the beginning of his ride around 5 a.m. was between 40 and 50 degrees but climbed to an oppressive 117 degrees by the early afternoon.

Despite the adversity, Terry Reszel pointed to her husband’s resolve as one of the main reasons he has been able to fight through any problems on the trip.

“He’s very driven,” she said. “When he makes his mind up to do anything, he does it.”

To further this point, Al Reszel, who turns 60 in October, remembered speaking with a rider in his 20s on a similar trip who had to take multiple day-long breaks in a shorter period of time.

“I don’t know if I’m in better shape or crazy,” Al quipped, “but I haven’t taken a day off.”

Al Reszel’s work ethic has him poised to complete his ride three days earlier than scheduled, thanks in large part to the flat terrain and good wind conditions in the Midwest. He made his way into New Jersey this week, starting in Warren County and passing through Stanhope and Netcong before heading south.

Al Reszel is expected to cross into New York via the Paulus Hook Ferry in Jersey City this morning, where his two sons and their families have flown in to greet him, before arriving at the BCRF headquarters on 44th Street around 10:30 a.m.

Reflecting on the past 40 days, the Reszels both agreed that the trip could not have gone much better. They have gathered over $20,000 in donations combined on the three trips, roughly $10,000 of which came this year, and have also gotten to speak with countless individuals about their mission.

“Every place you stop, almost everybody you talk to has been affected by breast cancer,” Al Reszel said.

One in eight women today are diagnosed with the disease, according to Terry Reszel, a figure the couple is hoping to reduce through the money and awareness raised from their efforts. To Al, the hope of someday finding a cure is what motivated him the most as he prepared to finish up his trip.

“It’s going to be, when I’m done, a great ride,” he said.

Kyle Morel can also be contacted on Twitter: @KMorelNJH, on Facebook: Facebook.com/KMorelNJH, or by phone: 973-383-1292.

Source: http://www.njherald.com/20180713/biking-against-breast-cancer

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