Rob DeCou – Solo RAAM 2016

June 18, 2016: RAAM and Brain Cancer–The Similar Paths

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 18, 2016 No comments

This is the fifth day Rob has been on the road.  Over and over again I think, “This reminds me of Christina’s journey through brain cancer.”

Of course, no one asks for brain cancer.  And yet, Rob is entering into suffering willingly to stand with those who had no choice in their suffering.

I watch.  I wonder.  I am overwhelmed.

Rob has asked for his community to help him, support him, surround him in good times and hard times.  When Rob got off his bike last night, he had to be helped to bed, and the community surrounded.  Nurse Kim, massage therapist Darla, faithful friends, listening, loving, and laughing.  I sat there thinking how often we sat around Christina’s bed when she was spent—too much pain after surgery, or too weak to move.  Her community surrounded her in exactly the same way.  It brought hope, joy, help and the way through.

Madisyn Heinstand, Jo Dee Ahmann, and Darla Workman massage Rob before he tries to get a couple hours of sleep.

Madisyn Heinstand, Jo Dee Ahmann, and Darla Workman massage Rob before he tries to get a couple hours of sleep.

The fight to go on—even when you don’t feel like it.  That is Rob.  That was Christina.  She worked hard to have a normal life in spite of all that was happening to her.  She started a non-profit, she married, she had a baby.  It would have been easy for her to quit and just watch TV and eat ice cream.  But she persevered through every breath.  And that is what Rob is doing.  After the intensive treatment in the hotel last night, he got back on the bike in 1 ½ hours and headed down the road—at 10:30 P.M.

Rob awakes in the coldest environment he's faced yet at 38 degrees.  His crew gets him fed and warmed up before taking the trip to Wolf Creek Pass.

Rob awakes in the coldest environment he’s faced yet at 38 degrees. His crew gets him fed and warmed up before taking the trip to Wolf Creek Pass.

Christina prayed and worked to keep her mind engaged until her dying day.  She was not a fan of dying of brain cancer.  She prayed and prayed for her mind to stay focused.  At one point she said, “Tell everyone I am working really hard, it may not look like it but I am.”  It looked like she was laying in bed unable to see but her sweet little tumor infested brain was working overtime to stay alert.  On the last day of her earthly life, she tried to sing along with me as I sang one of her childhood songs.  Yesterday, I told Rob that he needed to work that hard to focus—even when his brain feels foggy, his eyes want to close, and he feels discouraged.  And, oh my, he is working!

"I feel good, really good.  I pray I get rest because I want to keep riding," said Rob before he tries to get some shut-eye.

“I feel good, really good. I pray I get rest because I want to keep riding,” said Rob before he tries to get some shut-eye.

Rob asks over and over for prayer.  He knows that God is sustaining and carrying him.  He felt physically pushed up the hill last night.  Christina also leaned hard into the arms of her Savior and He met her in unusually powerful ways.  This is the part of life that cannot be predicted, the hand of God intervening for those who call on His name.  Hope in the hard.

Christina did not choose brain cancer but she chose to live, love, give selflessly to those around her, and let joy and peace be the main expression of her life.20160618_WOLF-10

Rob chose this RAAM suffering but he is choosing to live, love, give selflessly to those around, and let joy and peace be the main expression of his life.  Today he rode by and said, “Hi Luke.  Good job, Jo Dee.”  Wait.  We are trying to encourage Rob and he is encouraging us.

Rob’s niece, Madisyn, is reading all the encouragements from the donation page.  Rob said it helps him power on.  This also, was like Christina.  When her eyes weren’t working well and she was experiencing pain or weakness or despair she would ask for “storytime”.  We would read encouraging notes sent to her.  It was relief for her aching heart.

As you give here and encourage, know that you are bringing strength to Rob and hope and encouragement for all whose lives are touched by brain cancer.

Thank you for following, loving, giving and encouraging.

The Messenger,

Jo Dee Ahmann

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Jo Dee AhmannJune 18, 2016: RAAM and Brain Cancer–The Similar Paths

June 17, 2016: Rob Rocks the Ride

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 17, 2016 No comments

I am sitting in the village of Mexican Hat, Utah after chasing Rob down this morning.  We were at Monument Valley (so stunning) filming the sunrise when we heard that Rob was on the bike and moving toward us.  Already???  After 1 ¾ hours of sleep?

A bird flies over Monument Valley hours before Rob DeCou comes through.

A bird flies over Monument Valley hours before Rob DeCou comes through.

It was true.  We raced toward him to have a few words at a pullout.  Rob, always aware of the crew around him said,  “Thanks for being here.  I mean, where else would you want to be on a beautiful Friday morning?”20160617_monumentlow-4

Chris Clemens and Kim Godawa massage and bandage Rob's feet in Monument Valley.

Chris Clemens and Kim Godawa massage and bandage Rob’s feet in Monument Valley.

He said his short sleep felt like a full night.  He woke himself up (unusual in this ferocious race), and got his team back on the road.  I pray the pattern continues for the next 8 days.

Each time I talk to Rob, he mentions his massage therapist, Darla Workman.  He says she is definitely a rock star. His nickname for her is Healer.   Her massages have been perfect for him—and she’s generously working on the rest of the crew.  She is giving good reports on the state of Rob’s muscles.  Healthy, not swollen, and strong.

This morning, Rob’s crew loaned Darla to our other 3000 Miles to a Cure cyclist, Marshall Reeves.  Marshall’s massage therapist was in a horrible, rollover car accident on his way to the start of the race.  He was pretty banged up and certainly unable to come on this trip.  So…Darla   gladly gave up her sleep to help out Marshall this morning.

Before we began the race, Darla told about her brother-in-law, who died of brain cancer.  She asked Rob if she could be on his team.  When a spot opened up on Rob’s team, she jumped in and has served tirelessly.  20160613_lowres-5

I spoke with Darla after she worked on Marshall.  She was thankful for the opportunity and she wanted to DO something.  This is a big DO.  Darla is a giver—like Rob, like Christina. She loves being able to do her part to keep Rob and Marshall on the road and help raise money to fight brain cancer.

Please join us in our race to find a cure for brain cancer.  The donations have been coming in beautifully these past 24 hours.  The notes with them are so encouraging as we read them to Rob!  You can give here. Thank you for following Rob and sharing with your friends. The great cloud of witnesses is increasing by the hour.

The Messenger,

Jo Dee Ahmann


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Jo Dee AhmannJune 17, 2016: Rob Rocks the Ride

June 16, 2016: Community at Work

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 16, 2016 No comments

Rob said to me this morning, “I am beyond myself.  This is beyond what I can do.  I cannot believe how great I feel.”  Rob woke up his crew after 2 ½ hours of sleep and said, “It’s time to ride.”  And off he went—community following.

He loves that God is answering his prayers.  He is constantly calling out to His God for help.  “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.”  Isaiah 26:3

And he said his community is keeping him going.  Last night when the hour was late and the going was tough, his niece Madison (age 9) read all the messages to him.  She called him repeatedly with her laughter, encouragement, and words from all of you.  He said it brought him those last few miles into the hotel in Flagstaff.

Madisyn Heistan watches her uncle Rob pass by during a pit stop.

Madisyn Heistand watches her uncle Rob pass by during a pit stop.

I now know one more reason why Christina was such an inspiration to Rob—Listen to her words,   All of you…. all of you are an integral part of this journey, and I feel like I need to reiterate that. You are making this a unique, incredible, and faith-building experience for me but you are also on your own adventure. And for whatever reason I got really excited about your adventures today… I have no idea where you are at in life and what you are going through but I do know that God is passionately pursuing you… whether you feel it or not, whether you believe it or not, whether you feel surrounded by him or a million miles away. God wants your heart.”

 And today, I received this message from Sean Flanagan, Rob’s crew chief.

“I went into this over preparing, thinking I was under-prepared.  I thought data, analytics, documents and spreadsheets would be the source of getting us there, numbers that I geek out over!  But that is a past life, a corporate one, and an old perspective on how I approached and wanted to be prepared for work and/or life obstacles.  Probably a control thing, which most anxiety people deal with, and I am most definitely one of those people.  Yesterday, when our entire Team, the Media, Day and Night Crew all merged into and were focused on Rob when he needed us the most after his crash, that exemplified what community is.  No data or spreadsheet could predict or help Rob with that.  While the crash was out of our control, we were all very much in control of the situation and everyone just knew what to do.”

Madisyn Heistand and Sean Flanagan help Rob get to a chair to rest after racing through the desert.

Madisyn Heistand and Sean Flanagan help Rob get to a chair to rest after racing through the desert.

This traveling community is keeping Rob on the road.  The media crew is keeping it publicized in order to raise money for brain cancer research—that is Rob’s goal in this difficult journey. Giving is a major way to encourage Rob.  We tell him of your financial support and read him your encouraging words.  Give here     You, his global community, are keeping him on the road with your encouraging words, prayer, giving, and “following at a distance support.”  In fact, we run alongside on uphill stretches and read your words to him.  He smiles, thumbs up, and continues the journey.

Kristin DeCou runs alongside her husband Rob as he chugs some iced coffee.

Kristin DeCou runs alongside her husband Rob as he chugs some iced coffee.

Ride on Rob.  Through the mountains, deserts, and lonely roads.  We love you more than you know.

The Messenger,

Jo Dee Ahmann







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Jo Dee AhmannJune 16, 2016: Community at Work

In Your Corner

by Maria Parker on June 16, 2016 No comments

This morning the media team breakfasted in Blythe, CA after a short night’s sleep in a Comfort Suites hotel. We sipped our coffee and strategized about how to tell the story of our racers, Marshall Reeves and Rob Decou as they rode through the desert.

A middle aged man approached us asking about our 3000 Mile to a Cure T-shirts. In a quaking voice he told us the story of his best friend, a teacher,who’d just had his third surgery to remove a brain tumor.  As he showed us cell phone pictures of the man and his young family, grief and frustration emanated from him.

The desire to do something, to take any action, to save a loved one is so familiar.   Mostly all we can do is sit by and watch them slide away from us – first surgery, then radiation and chemo, more surgery, more doctor’s visits, more medicine.   We hope, we support, we love, we pray, but these things seem so quiet. At times there is is a desire to hack at and punch and tear the horrible, evil cancer apart, screaming a warrior’s cry all the while.

Race Across America is a tough, physical battle. Rob and Marshall fight for us. They FIGHT. They fight the mountains, the heat, the nausea the exhaustion.. They’re on our team, doing what we cannot, fighting cancer with all the physicality they have. They will not stop.

Cancer sufferers and your families,  we’re in your corner.  We’re with you.  Hang in there.  BC_RAAM_2016_06_15-3

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Maria ParkerIn Your Corner

June 15, 2016: Desert, Heat, Crash, and Go!

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 15, 2016 No comments

The first 24 hours of this race have passed.   It is day 2 and Rob rode through the night.  He had put in some fast miles.  We woke up and got on the road to try to find Rob (with the help of Race tracking info).  We finally found him around 12:15 just after he had veered off the road and crashed.  In his words, “I shouldn’t have looked back to see the truck.  I’m just tired and didn’t think clearly.”

Kim Godawa patches up Rob after he had a fall in the Sonoran desert.

Kim Godawa patches up Rob after he had a fall in the Sonoran desert.

He had a good bit of road rash on his left thigh which his nurse attended to.  I may not have mentioned that I am Rob’s life coach.  He told me he was fine, just a little rattled from the accident.  I prayed with him and then he whispered, “I really am good.”

"I feel really good," whispers Rob DeCou after praying with Jo Dee Ahmann while recovering from a fall.

“I feel really good,” whispers Rob DeCou after praying with Jo Dee Ahmann while recovering from a fall.

When we were all back on the road, he asked me to call him.  He laughed a bit, told me his plan, and told me that he wanted some of his longtime friends and mentors to call him.  He said, “I need my community.  It does not go well when I am not in touch.”  The friends and mentors include some high school teachers and coaches and a woman who has had some severe medical issues including transplants and a few kinds of cancer.  Her name is Jan Stanton and she, like Christina, inspires Rob with her joyful, upbeat approach to life.  One of Christina’s favorite Bible verses describes Jan perfectly, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”  Proverbs 31:25  Rob loves to surround himself with people who laugh at the days to come—courageous, joyful, strong—no matter what the circumstances.

Rob pedals on through the Sonoran desert in 100 degree heat.

Rob pedals on through the Sonoran desert in 100 degree heat.

His plan is to cycle until 11:00 P.M. tonight and then take a 3 hour rest.  For those of you doing the math that is 33 ½ hours of continuous cycling.  It is something I can’t fathom.  I am just riding through the desert in a car and dealing with dehydration and a headache.  How can a human being push the limits of endurance this way?

Signing off,

The Messenger, Jo Dee Ahmann

Rob is racing to raise money for brain cancer research.  His goal is $20,000.  Would you please consider giving here

You can leave him a note of encouragement. We are reading notes to him as he rides.

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Jo Dee AhmannJune 15, 2016: Desert, Heat, Crash, and Go!

June 14, 2016: And the Race Begins!!

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 14, 2016 No comments

Rob is on the road!

Here are some highlights.

Rob arrived at the start at about 11:15 and gathered his team.

He asked his close friend from Rotary, Joe Chehade, to lead us in prayer.  Here it is:

“Lord, before Rob starts the race, we wanted to pause for a moment, and first of all thank you for the journey that led to this moment, the planning, the training and the support of everyone present and not present.  We thank you for the life of Christina Nevill, as we honor her legacy of faith, courage and joy.

We ask you to remove all anxiety and replace it with your hope, strength and peace.  We know You and your angels will accompany Rob and the crew along the way.  We ask You to keep them safe, in good health and in high spirit, Your Spirit.

If challenges surface, we will repeat with David: My help comes from the Lord…He will not let your foot slip.  He watches over you.  He will not sleep.

We have faith that what is impossible for man, is possible for God.  We can’t wait to witness all the miracles you will do along the way from here to Annapolis.  Amen”20160614_start-1

With that, Rob told us of the challenge his ultra endurance support team is undertaking. They have thrown down the challenge of doing one burpee for every mile Rob pedals.  That is 3069 burpees in 12 days.  We watched their first 10 burpees at the start line.   A very fun challenge indeed!!  I think Tyler Clemens is the crew member who came up with the idea.BC_RAAM_2016_06_14-13

Rob also instructed his team to come up with positive nicknames for the whole crew.  There are a few–Chris “Tarzan” Clemens.  Mine is Messenger.  Rob’s unborn baby is “Little Buddy”.20160614_start-5

Some have asked why Rob rides a recumbent bike.  The major reason is comfort.  Think—no saddle sores, no numb arms and wrists, no severe neck problems.  On a 3000 mile bike race, those things are crucial.  Rob is a big guy and all of those issues would be exacerbated.  The recumbent bike can be the very thing that helps him across the finish line.

Rob’s goal is to cross the finish line within the time limit.  That is 12 days.  His motto is “Slow and steady.  Steady is fast.”

In light of slow and steady, we caught up to Rob after a huge, steep descent into the desert.  He looked over at us and asked how we were doing.  After our “fine, great, and you?”  He said, “That was a great descent, better than the climb.  I hit 54 mph.  It’s the fastest I’ve ever gone…but then I slowed down…for my mother.”

Go Rob!!!

Jo Dee Ahmann, The Messenger

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Jo Dee AhmannJune 14, 2016: And the Race Begins!!

June 13, 2016: The Day Before

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 13, 2016 No comments

The last day before the race is complete.  I pray that Rob can sleep.  It was a day full of last minute details. The 3000 Miles to a Cure team started the day all together—breakfast and some special moments of sharing our stories and lives.

Then everyone scattered for interviews, inspections, photo sessions, and mountains of paper work that needed completion.

Race Across America interviews Rob before the start.

Race Across America interviews Rob before the start.

The day culminated in the gathering for the RAAM final instructions and introduction of the solo racers.  It was a festive international atmosphere.  Riders from all over the world are gathered here for this premier ultra endurance bike race.  We all wonder which riders will overcome the immense obstacles ahead—desert, mountains, plains, heat, altitude, sleep deprivation and exposure and actually cross the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland.  About half of the riders will drop out due to injury, accident, or exhaustion.

Rob DeCou shakes hands with a fellow cyclist for the Race Across America the night before the competition.

Rob DeCou shakes hands with a fellow cyclist for the Race Across America the night before the competition.

Rob DeCou's team cheers him on as approaches the front of the Race Across America meeting with the other competitors.

Rob DeCou’s team cheers him on as approaches the front of the Race Across America meeting with the other competitors.

Rob is ready to ride.  The time has arrived—finally.  All this preparation, fund raising, gathering his community has led to the big start.  He is ready to test the limits of his endurance, rely on the sustaining power of God, and ride to support those who are facing an even harder obstacle—brain cancer.  We talked about hope this morning.  Rob is choosing to enter into suffering in order to stand with those who did not choose their suffering.  When a person has a brain cancer diagnosis it is dire news.  To know that someone is standing with you brings hope.

Rob is riding in memory of Christina Nevill and for all those who are in the midst of their struggle.  Christina spoke of the importance of the community of support after her first brain surgery.  She wrote,

“At one point while I was in the hospital trying to put facts and feelings together, knowing a lot of what I was hearing wasn’t ‘good news’, I suddenly saw this very clear picture that stopped me in my tracks.  I saw myself all laid out, hospital gown, tubes, IV’s and all–but with no bed under me. Instead what was under me were all you wonderful people holding me up with your prayers – passing me hand over hand through the crowd as you prayed both silently and out loud. I saw distinct faces of college friends, missionary friends, childhood friends, family, even people I didn’t know, and a peace  just washed over me. I realized that this is not a battle I fight alone in my heart. The battle is being fought for me. I felt such a relief at that moment I almost laughed.  My burden was being carried…”

Thank you for standing with us as we start this epic journey.  And may all of you who are fighting the battle you did not choose, know that you are not alone.

Jo Dee Ahmann

Rob DeCou and his team wait for team photos and interviews the day before the race.

Rob DeCou and his team wait for team photos and interviews the day before the race.








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Jo Dee AhmannJune 13, 2016: The Day Before

June 12, 2016: Countdown to RAAM

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 12, 2016 No comments

The beginning of RAAM 2016 is two days away.  The riders and their teams have gathered in Oceanside, California for pre-race inspections, meetings, and last minute details.

I am here at the invitation of Maria Parker and 3000 Miles to a Cure.  My name is Jo Dee Ahmann.  My daughter, Christina Ahmann Nevill, died of brain cancer 3 years ago.  Her high school friend, Rob DeCou, is racing in honor of her and raising money for brain cancer research.

I will be writing about Rob’s race, about Christina’s legacy and about hope.

Rob is ready to ride.  He is surrounded by a crew of faithful friends and family.  He is most definitely a warrior.  A gentle warrior.  His calm demeanor, his compassionate spirit, and his love of community almost hide his fierce tenacity, his endurance, his strength, and his commitment.BC_RAAM_2016_06_12_Watermarked-3

Nobody signs up to get brain cancer.  Nobody stands in line and says, “I want to suffer through the unthinkable.”  And yet, suddenly people like my beautiful daughter, Christina, find themselves battling through fear, pain, despair, and hopelessness.  It is a battle.  It is about being a warrior.  It is about finding strength, courage, hope, and joy in the midst of dire circumstances.

Christina would love what Rob is doing.  He is aligning himself with those who may have lost hope.  He is willfully entering into suffering to walk a bit of the journey with those who had no choice.

What Rob and Christina share in common is their huge faith in their Lord Jesus.  They both know they can do impossible things in His name and with His power.

Just before Christina left this world she wrote this,

“I have fought this disease, this, pain, this potential hopelessness, every second of the way, but not without His grace. It has been through many ups and downs, tears, laughter, adventures, heartbreaks, but even overflowing happiness. He has not given me a spirit of defeat. I will be thankful and soaking up every day He chooses to give me, and I will also look forward to that beautiful day I get to walk into my Savior’s arms and be finally swallowed up by LIFE. The life we are designed for! 2 Cor. 5:4-7”

Friends and family pray over Rob DeCou to ask for strength, safety and perseverance before the Race Across America starts Tuesday.

Friends and family pray over Rob DeCou to ask for strength, safety and perseverance before the Race Across America starts Tuesday.

In two days Rob will hit the road.  He is joining in a fight against brain cancer, in a fight against hopelessness.  He knows the truth of doing all things through Christ who strengthens him.

Join us as we make our way across this country.  Follow the journey.  Give at  Let those who have brain cancer know that you care.  Let their families know that you stand with them.  If you pray, please pray for Rob and his team and all those he honors as he rides.

Thanks for checking in,

Jo Dee


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Jo Dee AhmannJune 12, 2016: Countdown to RAAM

Countdown to RAAM 2016: Q&A with Rob DeCou

by Caroline Jennings on April 8, 2016 No comments

This summer, Rob will be racing nonstop all the way from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland to raise money for brain cancer research.  We hope this little Q&A will give you an idea of why we’re so excited to have him on our team…

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself, Rob.

A. Grew up in Port Angeles Washington just outside the Olympic National Park in the Olympic Peninsulas.  Went to undergraduate at Pacific University where I studied business and philosophy.  Completed my graduate school work in Education, Business, and Leadership through Grand Canyon University.  Married in June of 2014 and planning on having kids in the next year or two.  I was a former business, marketing and entrepreneurship instructor and recently started my own company with my friend Nick Lerum.  We have been building up and Animation Studio here in Los Angeles – Lux Virtual the past few years.

Q. How did you get into cycling?

A. Started as an ultra endurance runner and in 2006 I had the opportunity to do my first cross country tour with my high school youth pastor.  We covered about 3,200 miles in 40 days from Port Angeles Washington to Bar Harbor Maine.

Q. What inspired you to take on RAAM?

It has been a habit of mine to try to take on something tougher than I have ever done before about every 2 years.  After finishing the Leadville Trail 100, and the qualifying race for RAAM in Oregon a few years ago it was a race big enough to excite and scare me a little, which makes it all the more fun.

Q. Do you have any lucky charms you plan to take with you?

Nope, just a lot of prayer, and gathering close friends and community around me.

Q. What have you been doing to train for the big event?

A. Lots of cycling… 🙂  I started my training last December and planned it out for an 18 month build up.  I do long rides on the weekends, hills and speed during the week with a few sessions on the trainer in our apartment during the week while watching Netflix and Amazon movies on our projector.  I run once or twice a week and do a morning routine of pushups, squats, planks and squeeze in other workouts from time to time.

Q. Let’s hear a fun fact about yourself.

A. First crazy ultra endurance event I completed was at age 16.  I was a Rotary exchange student in India and completed 50 hours of non-stop aerobics with 15 other people for a World Record.

Q. What is your most defining personal philosophy?

A. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5)

Q. What words of hope would you offer to someone affected–either directly or indirectly–by brain cancer?

A. Take courage, and know that you are loved.  Reach out to those around you for support in this time and choose to live life abundantly in spite of the current situation.

Q. What keeps you going when times get tough?

A. My ability to be present, to pray, and to take each moment at a time.  I don’t make decisions when I feel miserable.  I may slow down, and perhaps take a short recovery break but wait to make a decision until I am in a good headspace… The funny thing is we don’t tend to quit or stop when we are feeling good so it tends to work out well.

Q. Can you give us your favorite personal anecdote?

A. My first time running the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim I took my sister Christina and niece Madisyn along with me.  Madisyn was about 2 at the time.  It was a habit even at that age for Madisyn to run with me, and so we took a nice long run across the parking lot near Flagstaff Arizona.  About half way across the lot Madisyn stops and you could see her little chest pounding as she tried to catch her breath.  Between breaths she muttered, need to sit down, with this confused look on her face… It took me a minute to realize what was going on, but as many of us know it is very tough to run at about 8,000 feet and she learned it very quickly.

Rob with his niece and fellow adventurer, Madisyn.

Q. What/who is your biggest source of motivation?

A. My motivation stems primarily from my faith in God.  I yearn to be a good stuart to the gifts that he’s given me.


Be on the lookout for more updates from Rob as we get closer to the starting line!  In the meantime, please consider making a donation to support our cause.

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Caroline JenningsCountdown to RAAM 2016: Q&A with Rob DeCou

Rob DeCou guest post: Six months to go

by Rob DeCou on January 13, 2016 No comments

Six months to race day, Rob DeCou shares an update with family and friends. We thought the 3000 Miles to a Cure community would love getting to know Rob, too! Enjoy his letter below.

Dear Friends and Teammates,

We are now into 2016 and in less than 6 months we will be at the start line of the Race Across America.

I wanted to bring everyone up to speed on my training, finances, crew and share why I’m so excited about the slogan of this race.  These past few weeks I had the privilege of heading home to Port Angeles, WA.  During my time in WA, I took some time off the bike, took classes at the YMCA with my sister, and paced my crazy friend and RAAM crew member Kyle Downs on two 50k runs in the same week.  I also had some time to connect with friends and mentors and took my niece Madisyn on our annual breakfast goal setting date.

Rob's niece Madisyn receives her red belt

Rob’s niece Madisyn receives her red belt

Once again my brother Rich led the way in the Polar Bear dip, a family tradition.  This year it was literally 32 degrees outside when we took our ocean plunge three times.

The Polar Bear Dip

The Polar Bear Dip

After the time in Washington, I feel rejuvenated and ready for the time ahead.  I’m going to take the training day by day, week by week, and focus on monthly checkpoints.  Last weekend, I rode from LA to Santa Barbara on Friday (100 miles) and ran a very gentle 10K after meeting up with fellow crew member, Luis Escobar.

We reached a huge fundraising milestone and have just surpassed the 25% mark for my personal support.  Thank you so much for your support up to this point.  Weather it be financial, crew, or my prayer and positive thought team.  It is all very appreciated and necessary.  The aim is to raise our trip costs, plus an additional $20,000 to help cure brain cancer. Everything is feeling good.  My motivation is high and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to go through this journey this year.

To learn more about who is joining me on this journey, check out my personal page on the RAAM website.

Last but not least, our slogan for the year that I am embracing from 3000 Miles to a Cure is #impossibleisunacceptable.  It really resonates with me for what we are doing and the quest to find a cure for brain cancer.

I am so grateful for your support and encouragement through this journey.  I would be overjoyed if you want to join me at any of the upcoming races during this build up to the Race Across America.

Warm regards,


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Rob DeCouRob DeCou guest post: Six months to go