The Lake Oconee Velo Eatonton Cycling and Tri Club hosted the Love 100K Breast Cancer Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 3, and a time trial on Sunday, Oct. 4, to help raise funds for two local women who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.
One hundred and seven people showed up on Saturday to ride their bikes and support Marie Rainey and Amy Johnston in their fight against breast cancer. Some participants traveled from Florida and Virginia to support the two ladies.
A 60K, 30K and a 5K family route were provided for bikers who preferred to ride a shorter distance than the metric century ride. Social distancing measures were strictly enforced during registration and packet pickup and riders were encouraged to wear masks until the ride began.
Rainey and Johnston both participated in the 5K family ride alongside family members and friends.
“This weekend was incredible experience. Amy and I are so overwhelmed with all the love and support,” Rainey said. “Going through cancer is very hard but knowing you have the love and support from your community and friends is empowering and keeps us motivated. The weather was beautiful, and the organizers did such an amazing job pulling out all the stops.”
1984 Olympic silver medalist Nelson “Nelly” Vails attended the event as a special guest and rode with the participants during the 100k ride. He also rode in the time trial held on Sunday and finished with a time of 27:17:63. He said his time isn’t as important to him as the camaraderie he gets to share with local riders and he looks forward to coming back next year and smoking his time from this weekend. This is the second time he has ridden in an event in Putnam County.
“This year was bigger and better than ever,” Vails said. “The ride and the cause were fantastic. I’m always excited to come here.”
According to Jim Stone, the event organizer, they raised over $8,000 that they were able to give directly Johnston and Rainey. He also said there were several instances of people in vehicles asking riders what they were riding for and then gave them donations to give to the two affected families.
“I think the Eatonton and Lake Oconee cycling communities really came together to support these families. It’s something we want to do every year to help people in our community,” Stone said.