This FAQ page is split up into sections for the following topics (click to jump to that section):
Q. Isn’t skin cancer one of the most curable forms of cancer?
A. The "typical" skin cancer, sometimes called nonmelanoma skin cancer, is usually less worrisome, because the cancer starts in the skin cells and does not spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma skin cancer starts in the melanocyte cells of the skin, and then spreads to other parts of the body through the lymphatic system.
Melanoma is also particularly insidious because even after successful treatment, there is always an increased risk of the melanoma returning. As an example, in the fall of 2001, Lance Armstrong had his final cancer checkup on the five-year anniversary of his original diagnosis. Fortunately, all the tests came back clear, and he is now no more likely than the average person to get cancer again. Unfortunately, there is no such cut-off date after which melanoma survivors can be considered "safe."
Melanoma Research Foundation FAQ
Q. How much of my donation goes to support melanoma research?
A. 100% of your donation goes directly to the Melanoma Research Foundation (MRF). The MRF is a volunteer-run organization with no paid staff. Currently, between 80-90% of their yearly expenditures go to support melanoma research, in the form of research grants to top investigators. The remainder is spent on other programmatic activities such as publications and a small amount on administrative overhead.
Coast to Coast 2004 FAQ
Q. How many people rode all the was across the country with you?
A. There were about 24 of us who were along for the entire trip, not counting the Cycle America staff members. Other people joined in as their time allowed, most for one week, some others for two or three weeks. The smallest group was the fifth week (through eastern South Dakota and Minnesota), where there were only two additional riders. The largest group was the final week, where the size of our group was more than doubled.
Q. Were all of the people on the ride raising funds for a cause?
Q. Where did you sleep at night?
A. Most of the time, we camped on gymnasium floors in schools that were willing to put us up for the night. Usually, those who wished could set up their tents on the school lawn instead of sleeping indoors. Sometimes (one or two nights per week), we would stay in commercial campgrounds, such as a KOA. Most people used a sleeping bag and a Thermarest-style sleeping pad, although a few people had full-size inflatable mattresses.
Q. How did you transport your clothing, camping gear, etc?
A. The Cycle America staff had a large panel truck that they used to transport all of our gear for us during the day. We were permitted to bring two large duffel bags each. The only things we had to worry about carrying while cycling were the items that we might need during the day, like cameras, extra snacks, and maybe a spare light jacket or other clothing that we might need for changing weather conditions.
Q. Did you have to ride your bicycles every day?
A. No, every Sunday was a rest day, except for the very first Sunday when we rode out of Seattle, WA.
Q. How far did you have to ride each day?
A. Our average per day was about 75 miles. Our shortest days were about 40 miles, such as from Newcastle, WY to Custer, SD and Plymouth to Manitowoc, WI. Our longest day was 112 miles from Ludington to Mt. Pleasant, MI.
Q. What would you do if it rained?
A. We would continue riding whatever the weather brought. We got lucky, in that in the two month period, there were only about six days where we saw any rain at all, and only two days where it rained more or less all day.
Q. What did you eat?
A. Anything and everything. All of our meals were provided or arranged by Cycle America. We were on our own for dinner on Saturdays, and breakfast and lunch on Sundays.
Most of the time, when we were staying in a local school, our dinner and breakfast were provided by a student organization within the school. Cycle America returns to many of the same schools year after year, and for many of these student groups, the visit by the cyclists is one of their major fund-raising projects for the year.
Sometimes, when meals were not available at the schools or campgrounds, Cycle America made arrangements for us to eat in a local restaurant for breakfast or dinner.
For lunch, the Cycle America staff set up a "picnic stop" somewhere along the route, where they provided us sandwiches, fruit, and other food and snacks. Often, after eating at the picnic stop, we would pack an extra sandwich and/or some snacks to tide us over before dinner. To make sure we stayed adequately hydrated, they also set up coolers at several places along the route (usually every 15-20 miles), where we could refill our bottles with water and/or Gatorade.
Many of us got into the habit of visiting local establishments when we arrived at our daily destination town. This gave us time to socialize with each other as well as the local citizens, as well as check out some of the local favorite fare, typically ice cream, pie, pizza, coffee, or beer.
With all of these options, we never went hungry, and I still ended up losing about 10 pounds over the course of the trip.
Q. How did all of these people have time for such an extended trip?
A. Many of the participants were young people fresh out of college, looking for an adventure before entering the working world. Some were retired, and a couple were teachers who had the summer off. A few, like myself, were "between jobs" or in some other mid-life transition period.
Q. Why do some cyclists shave their legs?
A. Many people think that it is to help increase the cyclist’s speed. This is true in the sport of swimming, but in cycling, the wind resistance caused by the hair is not really a factor.
The primary reason is that for people who spend a lot of time cycling, and especially racing, crashing is inevitable. We refer to the large patches of abrasion caused by these crashes as "road rash." Caring for road rash is a lot easier in the absence of leg hair. There is less chance of infection, and as you can imagine, changing bandages and tape is a lot less painful without them getting stuck to hair.
Another benefit that I discovered is that it is a lot easier to apply sunscreen. With hair, trying to rub sunscreen lotion onto your legs results in a gooey mess.
Q. Where are you from, and where do you live now?
A. I grew up in Adena, Ohio. I went to college in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and lived there until just after completing the Coast to Coast bike tour. In October of 2004, I moved to Chagrin Falls, Ohio for a new job, and now reside not far away in Peninsula, Ohio.
Q. How is your last name pronounced?
A. Say it like "Mad’s Eye."
Q. How long have you been into bicycling?
A. Like most people, a bike was my main transportation as a kid, but I abandoned it once I turned 16 and got a driver’s license. In 1998, I bought a bike just to have another thing to do once in a while, but once I started riding more often and for longer and longer distances, I became hooked. I enjoy all kinds of riding, like mountain biking, road biking, and long-distance touring. Although I’m not very competitive, I enjoy entering races for the occasional challenge and thrill of seeing how well I stack up against my cycling peers.