There’s No Place Like Home
Pancreatic Cancer Victory Tour
After 112 days, 18 states and approximately 6,300 miles of bike riding, Eric McIntyre has finally ended the Pancreatic Cancer Victory Tour right where he started, in the comforts of New Orleans. “The best part of being home is being with Liz, eating her cooking, sleeping in my own bed and being with my cat and dog again.” Eric goes on to say that normal life stuff is “absolutely fabulous.”
The second half of Eric’s ride was a real challenge on him physically. Once he left Oregon and hit Southeast Washington, it was excruciatingly hot and dry with temps reaching as high as 120 degrees. “I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I was in strictly survival mode during those three days of riding in the heat,” Eric recalls. But once out of the heat, Eric had eight rides where he clocked over 100 miles in a day, with his longest ride being 114 miles. Not too bad for a 58 year old grandfather.
High temperatures were just one obstacle he had to overcome during that last half; another were the road conditions. The last seven states that he rode through did not allow cyclists on the interstate, so rural highways and back roads were his only options. When we say back roads, we are talking about, in some cases, dirt and gravel farm roads that made riding quite difficult.
With high heat and poor riding conditions, Eric never once thought about quitting. At times he was concerned that his body might give out, but never once did he think about giving up. “There were too many reasons to keep riding. Several days I rode in honor and remembrance of people who had lost their battle [with Pancreatic Cancer], and that was too much motivation to think about quitting.” Eric was amazed by the strength he got from doing something he truly felt ordained to do. His purpose was far more important than quitting.
Eric’s ride didn’t only touch people across the country, but to date has also raised around $40,000 for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation and cancer research. “I’m not done. The ride might be over for now, but I am not done.” Eric explains that the relationships and awareness that the Pancreatic Cancer Victory Tour built are amazing and he plans to keep the momentum going.
When asked, “What’s next?” Eric responds with, “Liz is my largest priority. Being here for her is first and foremost.” They will continue to be there for others and stay open to opportunities to be of service to those fighting cancer. This tour opened the doors to many options and Eric and Liz will work to cultivate relationships so that others will be helped.
Eric is still recovering from the tour and reflects on the abundance of gifts he received along the way. Not just the gift of donations in many forms, but on the support, kindness and reaction of others. The Pancreatic Victory Tour was not a memorial, but a fight and celebration. It was a celebration of those who have fought or are fighting for their lives.
Eric started this tour wanting to change the trajectory of pancreatic cancer by bringing awareness and raising funds for research. He got much more than that. He also gave much more than that. The story of Liz and Eric McIntyre changed the lives of those that crossed their path and for that, many are very grateful.