Bike riders are adventurous. They cycle rain or shine and brave all kinds of weather conditions to go on excursions. For one cyclist, his passion has not only taken him on an unexpected adventure but has also made him a dedicated supporter in the fight against pancreatic cancer.
It all started in Elm Creek Park Reserve in Maple Grove, Minn. Doug Kreusch was finishing a bike ride and upon returning to his car, he noticed people were setting up for a bike riding event. Curious, he asked about the event.
“I had a great conversation with Pancreatic Cancer Action Network volunteers from the Minnesota Affiliate, who told me they were setting up PurpleRideStride, a fundraiser bike ride and walk for pancreatic cancer. I decided to get involved after learning they wanted my help,” Doug said. “I attended a planning committee meeting and I was immediately inspired because I could already witness the teamwork, love and devotion this event brings out in people. I joined the event planning committee in April 2014.”
Being a former Ironman participant and a 17-year participant and volunteer in The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) and other events for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Doug is no stranger to cycling events.
But this one was different…the universe had something in mind, he now realizes.
Doug explained, “The reason this chance encounter with the PurpleRideStride volunteers was so special was because I had been off the bike for a while.
“I had been injured and had been working with a physical therapist and personal trainer, and I finally had gotten to the point where I felt good enough to ride again. It felt amazing! The first day I made it all the way around the five-mile loop at Elm Creek, which was also the day I ran into the volunteers.
Doug, normally a “behind the scenes” guy, has taken on an upfront role for this year’s event – he is leading as PurpleRideStride Co-Chair and is looking forward to creating a fun and inspirational event for riders and striders.
“Our mission is to raise as much money as possible to fight pancreatic cancer and to do that, we need to reach out beyond those who have been directly affected, he said.
“PurpleRideStride is an event like no other because of the bike riding and walking elements. We want to keep the family-friendly feel but we also want to attract large corporate teams to join the event.”
He emphasizes the importance of team-work in the event planning process. “We have such a great planning committee – we could not accomplish this event without their help,” Doug said.
In addition to co-chairing the event, Doug is using his knack for technology, especially Google Earth, to enhance the experience of PurpleRideStride.
The Elm Creek Park Reserve sprawls approximately 49,000 acres and includes 15 different bike trails covering a total of approximately 82 miles, so event participants have a lot of beautiful ground to cover. Doug makes it easier for them to do that.
“I use Google Earth to map out the event, he said. “I draw the map on a satellite image of the trail. There is also technology that can track your heart rate and measure how far you’ve gone.”
He is also working on a PurpleRideStride app that will help future volunteers manage the event. Doug’s appetite for adventure and passion for cycling and technology prove that when you do what you love, going great distances is a joy.
Join others like Doug and get involved in your community! One way is by attending a local PurpleStride event. Find one in your area here.