Laguna Beach bike enthusiast Max Isles and friend Ryan O’Malley will set out Tuesday, Sept. 2, with a goal of pedaling 500 miles in five days to raise money for The Alzheimer’s Association.
Both cyclists have close family members that have suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia and hope their join effort raises awareness and funds to battle the degenerative disease.
On their San Francisco to Los Angeles trek, Isles anticipates spending around 10 hours each day in the saddle and covering 100 miles per day. Isles, 44, who generally bikes 20 to 30 miles a week, sometimes making the 10-mile jaunt to his job in San Juan Capistrano, stepped up training to 150 miles a week. “Rode 55 miles today and it was a killer,” wrote Isles, describing a ride with a headwind and a 9,000 foot elevation gain at their page: http://act.alz.org/goto/maxandryan. “We have a lot more training to do before we can ride 100 miles day after day!”
Isles’ grandmother suffered from dementia, and now his father has been diagnosed with it. O’Malley’s grandfather died of Alzheimer’s.
“Being witness to a loved one’s slow decline is heartbreaking and extremely taxing on the family and close friends helping to care for the sufferer. I can’t begin to imagine how frustrating and depressing it must be to witness your own decline,” Isles and O’Malley wrote on their page, which seeks the public’s support for Alzheimer’s research.
O’Malley, 33, like Isles is a native of Britain. “My training has been similar to Max’s but with a lot more cloud cover,” said O’Malley, who lives in San Francisco.
His wife, Annalee, will follow the cyclists in a car. “We are going to camp during the ride to keep costs down. This is not a large organized ride like the Aids ride with back up vehicles, mechanics, medic and 100s of riders. It’s just Ryan and I riding; we are planning the route, food stops, camp sites, etc. We will just be carrying what we need for the day, water, repair kit, first aid kit, snacks.”
The riders have support from Laguna Beach-based Cyclewerks for advice and bike servicing, Clif bar and New Belgium Brewing for cycle jerseys and end-of-day beer.
All donations go to the association. “Max and Ryan do not get to waste any of the money on flashy bikes and fancy hotels!” the site notes.