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June 12, 2016: Countdown to RAAM

by Jo Dee Ahmann on June 12, 2016 Comments Off on June 12, 2016: Countdown to RAAM

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


by Marshall Reeves on June 9, 2016 Comments Off on Perspective

With RAAM just over a week away, we thought things were going pretty well. The team had coalesced, all the gear had been procured, travel plans made, and excitement was building. Lesson number one, if things are too good to be true, it’s because they are too good to be true. Over the weekend, Jim Merchant, our RN/LMT was starting his journey west in the support vehicle with bikes and all the gear. Somewhere near El Paso, he was involved in a horrific rollover accident. He wound up in the hospital ICU with serious injuries, and the car and gear destroyed. He has since left the ICU, but is still in the hospital. I am on my way west now with Ross Parker and Adam Darby. We will try to salvage what we can from the car, and check on Jim. The gang at Infinity Bike Shop worked feverishly to make sure we had all the gear and bikes we needed, just in case. Thank you Lukas, Geoff, and Frank! But before we can get to El Paso, we must wait at the Mercedes dealership in Baton Rouge to have our Sprinter van fixed. Did I mention things had been going really well? Here is where perspective comes in. We are preparing for what is arguably the hardest bicycle race on the planet, but it is for a fantastic cause, “3000 Miles to a Cure”, a charity working to find a cure for brain cancer. Yes Jim had an accident, yes our support car is destroyed, and yes we are busted flat in Baton Rough (waiting for a train), but we will all live to talk about it. Those afflicted with brain cancer do not have that luxury, unless we find a cure. Please consider helping this great cause with a donation of any size. Fate will have to try a lot harder to keep us from that finish line in Annapolis, and to the finish line in the war on brain cancer!

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Marshall ReevesPerspective

One Month To Go!

by Marshall Reeves on May 15, 2016 Comments Off on One Month To Go!

Well, RAAM is fast approaching. Less than one month to go. Last time I talked about the race in general. This time I want to touch on what is needed for the race. The following is a list of what we will have for our two week odyssey.

3 vehicles. A dedicated follow car, a shuttle car, and an RV.

Bikes! After trying several models, decided to go with the Eddy Merckx Mouranx 69. This bike combines the best characteristics for this event. Comfortable, stable, and fast. One primary, and one spare. Extra wheel sets, and enough spare parts to practically build a third bike.

Accessories: saddles – Serfas Rx, and an Infinity. Alternate to reduce the chance of saddle sores. Lights – Serfas again. Front and rear. Shoes – Northwave, and Serfas. Pedals – Speedplay. Bibs – Endura. Tires – Vittoria endurance. Flats are always a problem.

Food and drink: Anything I can think of! Mostly liquid. Try to replace about 12000 calories per day. Plenty of Ensure shakes. Carbo Pro and Gu for carbohydrates. Endurolyte and EmergenC for electrolytes.

Finally, and most importantly, CREW! Right now, it looks like a crew of 6 (we have room for a couple more if your’e in the mood for the adventure of a lifetime). A crew of six allows for two people per vehicle. Fatigue is the greatest obstacle for the rider, as well as the crew. Sleep will be at a premium. Next time, I will introduce the crew.

Finally, a great cause: “3000 Miles to a Cure”. Please consider a donation towards their effort to cure brain cancer ( If you donate, and pass this along to 5 of your friends, something nice is bound to happen for you!😊


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Marshall ReevesOne Month To Go!

Crossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

by Maria Parker on May 12, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

By now your 4 or more weeks into your training.  By this time some of the excitement of beginning is wearing off and we’re still a long way from the event.   If you find your motivation is starting to fail, below are some reminders of the benefits of this training program.  

But before we get into that, I’d like to thank you again for what you are doing. Your training and fundraising will make a difference for the many families impacted by brain cancer. A friend of mine recently was diagnosed with a brain tumor. As I watched he and his family struggle with the diagnosis and decide which of his limited treatment options to take, I felt angry and inspired again.   He knows he has just a little time left and he and his family are desperately trying to come to terms with this difficult diagnosis.  What you are doing will make a difference for my friend and others like him… so thank you again.

We all know exercise is good for us and we should do it more. We also know spinach is good for us and we should eat it more.  I honestly didn’t start eating more spinach until I discovered creamed spinach and spinach dip (spinach mixed with sour cream).  The point is, you have to figure out what makes exercise delicious.

One of the ways I make exercise delicious is to notice and focus on the ways exercise makes me feel when I am not exercising.  I won’t list the obvious ways exercise is good for you, the mainstream media has done a great job with that.  I want to enumerate the ways exercise benefits me mentally and spiritually.

  1. Exercise makes me more alert and productive.  For three hours after I exercise, I am clear thinking and motivated. This is such a noticeable benefit of exercise that lately I’ve started to go directly to my computer after exercise (do not  take a shower, do not collect a breakfast) and jump into the most challenging project I have.  This has reaped great rewards in terms of getting hard things done.
  2. Exercise makes me sleep better. As a menopausal woman, good, deep sleep is a rare treat.  When I exercise, particularly long or hard, I fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply.
  3. Exercise makes me happy, just ask my husband. Early in our marriage when I was cranky or irritable, my husband would kindly (and sometimes not so kindly) suggest I go out for a run.  He knew that when I got back I would be calm, happy and ready to deal with whatever had set me off before the run.
  4. Discipline begets discipline.  No one demonstrates this more than my son Steven.  He is married, with a child and one on the way. When we talk, I always ask him how his workouts are going.  The reason I ask him is that I know if he is working out, then everything else in his life is going well. By his own admission, when he works out he is a better husband, father and employee and, in general, feels much better about himself.
  5. Exercise gives you more hours in the day.  Exercise can be the first thing to go when life gets hectic.  I have found from long, painful experience that things are a lot easier on days when I exercise. There is some kind of magic going on here that I don’t really understand. When I exercise I seem to have more time to do everything else. Invest an hour in exercise and get back 2 hours – don’t ask me how it works, it just does. Try and see for yourself.
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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Mental/Spiritual Benefits of Training

Crossing the Canyon: Equipment

by Maria Parker on May 11, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Equipment

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Hopefully your training is off to a good start and you are also beginning your fundraising campaign. Remember to go steady on both!

Crossing the Canyon in one day requires just a little equipment, but it makes sense to have it early in your training so that you can use it during your training.  

  1. Waterproof Sunscreen – remember to use it during your training, and bring it with you on the trip.
  2. Camelback-type water bladder (enough to carry at least 100 oz).  Use it while you train so you can get used to drinking from it frequently and refilling it as needed.
  3. Lightweight hiking shoes or running shoes. Whatever shoes you decide to wear, train in them.
  4. Bodyglide or vaseline – I use this under my bra straps and on my toes to keep blisters from forming.  Your first long hike should show you where you are likely to develop rubs or blisters.
  5. Food – carry high calorie easy to eat foods with you on your long endurance hikes.  Trail mix is named that for a reason. It’s loaded with calories and easy to carry.  
  6. Camera – if you are planning on bringing it on the hike, get used to carrying it. At the very least carry a cell phone on your training hikes so that you can call someone if you get into trouble.
  7. Buff – this is a terrific piece – something you can wear on your head or neck that will keep you warm or cool.  I bought one for Crossing The Canyon last year, and have worn it many times since.  The description from the Buff website says it all:  multifunctional tubular accessory ideal for many activities. Designed to keep you warm in the cold, will also wick moisture (sweat) away from your skin to keep you cool when it is hot. The lightweight, breathable, microfibre fabric is extremely comfortable to wear. USES: can be worn as a neckerchief, headband, wristband, mask, hair-band, balaclava, scarf, headband, scrunchie, saharaine, pirate cap, beanie and bandana.
  8. Salty foods and/or electrolyte pills. As you train this summer and fall, be sure to replace your lost electrolytes with electrolyte pills or salty foods such as pickles or salty chips. I take a product called Salt Sticks which has sodium and other electrolytes in it. When I am sweating heavily, I take a pill every hour or so.  

Keep up the good work with your training and fundraising!

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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Equipment

Crossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

by Maria Parker on May 10, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

Fundraising for brain cancer research will bring a sense of purpose to your training over the next months and weeks.  It’s much easier to train when you know your event will benefit others.  It can be challenging fundraising though, so below are some tips to help you get started.

  1. Start early.  As soon as you have your fundraising page set-up begin fundraising. E-mail people the minute you start.  E-mail them frequently. Do a weekly blog talking about your experience training and send that out to friends and family.
  2. Ask, Ask Ask and don’t be inhibited about it.  Get over the nervousness early in the process.  Remember you are asking your friends and family to give to a charity that will give hope to people with brain cancer. Hope is in short supply when it comes to brain tumors.  Be proud of raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure.  Remember you’re giving people an opportunity to be selfless and help others.  
  3. What’s your personal connection to the cause? Do you know someone who has brain cancer, someone who whose family was impacted by a brain tumor? Were you inspired by someone who led you to do the Crossing the Canyon?  Read about brain tumors to understand it’s impact. Read about research and the hurdles that researchers must overcome to find a cure. Talk frequently about your connection to the cause.
  4. Create a fundraising letter/e-mail that is compelling and personal.  It must explain why you are raising money for 3000 Miles to a Cure, and why it’s a great cause for people to donate to.  Tell people your personal story, what brings you to this cause.
  5. Include a call to action in your fundraising letter.  This seems obvious, but be sure to ask for donations and to ask your supporters to forward the request to others who may support 3000 Miles to a Cure.  
  6. Share your story with everyone and anyone you can think of.  Most people know someone who has suffered from cancer.  It’s impossible to predict who will relate strongly to your cause.  If you are doing the crossing with some one particular in mind, be sure to reach out to that person and/or their family and community for support.. Use snail mail too. Many people will respond to a letter or card they receive in the mail more readily than to an e-mail. Other communities to remember: neighborhood association, work friends, congregation and clubs.  
  7. Social Media.  Tell your story on facebook, twitter and instagram.  People may like or share your story and increase your reach.  Social media is also a great way to keep people posted on the progress of your training and fundraising.  
  8. Follow-up.  If someone promises to donate, set a reminder on your calendar to follow-up. Don’t be too aggressive, but most people don’t mind being reminded if they have already committed to giving.  
  9. Send personal thank you notes to every contributor. Make sure they know that their gift will have an impact on people who are fighting brain cancer and their families.

Fundraising is an opportunity to bring people together for a cause. Most people are delighted to give if they know it is a cause you care about.  Asking for their support allows your community to become  part of something bigger than themselves.


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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Fundraising Tips

Crossing the Canyon: Training Plan

by Maria Parker on May 9, 2016 Comments Off on Crossing the Canyon: Training Plan

This is part of a Crossing the Canyon blog series. In it, we’ll share training tips, motivation and some fundraising suggestions. If you’re planning to hike, check out Maria’s 12 Week Couch to Rim to Rim training plan here. For more information about Crossing the Canyon or to sign up to join the team, head here.

We’re grateful you are joining us in this adventure! Experiencing the descent from the North Rim, crossing the Colorado River and ascending onto the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is incredibly beautiful and deeply symbolic of the fight against brain cancer.

Thank you for your commitment to use this experience to raise funds to fight brain cancer. Last year, when I did it for the first time, I was changed by the experience. I hope as you train for your crossing, and raise funds to fight brain cancer, you experience the pleasure of an increasingly fit body and the knowledge that you are using this experience to improve lives and give hope.

Crossing the Grand Canyon in a day is a great physical challenge. It will be more enjoyable and safe if you are in excellent physical condition. Today and in the upcoming weeks we’ll present training tips, motivational words and fundraising suggestions.. Most of the training tips will be for those of us who plan to hike the event. If you plan to run it, please follow a marathon training plan like this 16 week mountain marathon training plan.

  1. A couple of disclaimers:
    This is a strenuous event. Once down in the canyon, not finishing is not an option. There is no quitting if you are injured. Please come to the event physically prepared.
  2. Before starting this or any exercise program, you should consult your healthcare professional.

12 Week Rim to Rim Hike Training Plan

The training plan consists of walking, stair climbing, squats and lunges, and cross training. Walking is the most important part of the program with increasing endurance walks each week. Be sure to leave enough time on Saturday or Sunday for the long walk of the week. I find getting up very early and beginning my long walks before anyone else is up works well. When I get back, I’ve had a good workout, but I still have some of my Saturday left. Towards the end of the program, the long walk gets up to 22 miles. You might want to plan a couple of weekend trips somewhere new where you can enjoy the longer weekend walks. It’s also helpful to find someone to walk with. When I’m doing my longer walks or runs, I’ll get different people to walk with me for different parts of it. For instance, my husband might do the first few miles, my son the next section and a friend another part. If I’m doing my long walks solo, I will sometimes listen to a audio book or music. If you are doing your endurance walks in very mountainous areas, you can make them a little shorter.


On Monday after two days of weekend walks, an easy one or two mile walk can loosen up your legs. On Wednesday you’ll do a fast walk to improve your aerobic capacity, this should feel hard enough to leave you a little breathless.

Stairs: Doing stairs if you live in a flat area is very helpful for preparing for the ascents and descents of the Grand Canyon. I live in an area with no hills so I spend one day a week walking/jogging the stadium steps at my local high school. Both ups and downs are important.

Lunges and Squats: Lunges and squats, like stairs, prepare your muscles for the rigors of the canyon. Lunges and squats also help protect you from injury.

Squats: Stand with legs shoulder width apart and arms at your sides. Swing your arms forward and up, raising them above your head, palms facing forward. At the same time, bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair. Hold the Squat briefly, then stand up by pushing through your heels, until you are in a full upright standing position.

Lunges: Stand upright, feet and legs together, hands on hips, elbows out to sides. Step your right leg backward. Bend your left knee until the kneecap is directly above your foot, causing the leg to form a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously lower your right leg until the knee almost rests on the ground, forming another 90-degree angle. Step back to starting position, and repeat, stepping backward with the left leg. Continue to alternate legs

In general, the harder days are followed by easier days. If you find yourself very tired, back-off on the next workout or take a day off. If you have pain in a knee, hip or ankle on one side, see if it gets better after a few minutes warm up. If not, stop and take a few days off.

Cross training: This should be something you enjoy that is completely different. Yoga or swimming would be excellent choices.

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Maria ParkerCrossing the Canyon: Training Plan

Countdown to RAAM 2016: Q&A with Rob DeCou

by Caroline Jennings on April 8, 2016 Comments Off on Countdown to RAAM 2016: Q&A with Rob DeCou

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

RAAM 2016, third time’s the charm

by Marshall Reeves on March 21, 2016 Comments Off on RAAM 2016, third time’s the charm

RAAM 2016 is fast approaching, and I thought I’d give an update on our progress. This being our third try, we have experience to draw on, and have hopefully learned from it. I plan to post periodically and discuss topics such as the race itself, training, equipment, and strategy. If there is anything in particular you want to know, please feel free to ask. Most of you are familiar with RAAM, but I thought I would start this first installment with a brief overview.

The race is 3000 miles across the United States. It starts in Oceanside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland. It covers every conceivable terrain and climate. Temperatures range from 30°, to as much as 115°. Elevation varies from -170′, to over 10000′, with total climbing in excess of 100,000′. The route is determined for the racers, with 53 time stations (checkpoints) along the route. There are two intermediate time cutoffs as well as the final cutoff in Annapolis, of 288 hours (12 days) for solo men 60, and women. In the in the history of the race, only around 200 racers have finished the solo event within the time cutoff.

I almost talked myself out of it just now! Next time, I will discuss the logistics involved with such an epic undertaking, and why we are doing it.


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Marshall ReevesRAAM 2016, third time’s the charm

RAAM 2016: Meet Marshall Reeves

by Caroline Jennings on March 5, 2016 Comments Off on RAAM 2016: Meet Marshall Reeves

We are thrilled to welcome Marshall Reeves to our RAAM 2016 crew!  This June, Marshall will be biking all the way from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland to raise money for brain cancer research.  We thought you might like to get to know our fearless rider, so we asked some questions, and he gave some answers:


Q. Tell us a bit about yourself, Marshall.

A. I have a patient wife, Madge, of 35 years. She has a masters in counseling, which comes in handy when dealing with me. Two grown kids, Jesse and Molly. Jesse is a Full Sail graduate living in Portland, Oregon. He’s currently working on a film project with a classmate. Molly is in Philadelphia. She is applying for a graduate program at U-Penn in psych/counseling. We also have two emotionally challenged dogs: Rocky and Clementine (both inherited from Molly). I was born in Rhode Island, but grew up in South Carolina. Went to school there at USC. Majored in physics, and was in NROTC. Graduated and went to Navy flight school. 6 1/2 years in the Navy then on with Delta Air Line. Still there, flying as an international captain. Also part owner of Infinity Bike Shop. Make money flying, lose it with the bike shop.

Q. How did you get into cycling?

A. I played soccer at USC, so needed an athletic outlet after. I already ran, swam and cycled a little, so triathlon was a natural choice. Dozens of races later, including 11 ironman distance races, I realized that my affinity was cycling. I started doing endurance races where I met, and became friends with RAAM legend, Rob Kish. We did a two man European version of RAAM, called Le Tour Ultime, and the RAAM seed was sown.

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

A. I don’t have any lucky charms. I’m a little OCD, so try hard to avoid it. If I didn’t, every aspect would be riddled with obsessive routine!

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

A. Training comes easily. I like to ride, and my job keeps me off the bike for days at a time, so I am always anxious to ride, but not worried about taking days off. I live in Florida, and have a place in North Carolina. I can train year round, and have a place with hills. I get by with fewer miles, so it works out, and fitness has never been an issue. I also enter endurance events leading up to RAAM to test my fitness.

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

A. Some don’t think it’s fun, but my mind is always thinking of puns. Most I keep to myself, but occasionally, I torture people with them. My son is the same, and during last RAAM, we had a running pun-fest that lasted for hours. Kept us awake.

Q. What is your most defining personal trait?

A. I would like to think my defining trait is integrity. I have a strong moral compass, and make decisions based on that. Tenacity would be a close second. I guess three attempts at RAAM would demonstrate that…..or is that stubbornness?

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

A. Hope is tough with such a devastating diagnosis. One thing I always think of is the longer you fight, the greater the chance of a cure being discovered. Even if there is only a limited time left, think about the best equivalent time span in your life, and match that. Whether it’s 10 years, one year, or a month.

Q. What keeps you going when times get tough?

A. Honestly, and this charity comes into play here, when times get tough, I don’t have to look very far to find someone with an even tougher situation. It makes my problems seem trivial.

Q. Can you give us your favorite personal anecdote?

A. When you’re this old, there too many anecdotes to relate. I guess one good one is when, during an ironman, I couldn’t figure out why the bike leg was so uncomfortable until I was done and realized I had put my bike shorts on backwards in transition.

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

A. I feel as though I have been given the gifts of talent and opportunity, so my motivation is not to waste it. I know there are a lot of people who have dreams, and are unable to chase them because of circumstances.

Q. So you’ve attempted RAAM twice before…is third time the charm?

A. I hope the third time is a charm! We’ve learned much from the first two tries, and will implement that into this year’s effort. The biggest obstacle for me is sleep deprivation, so this year I am going to try to get on a regular schedule. I have the tendency to go too long, and wind up behind the power curve. Luck is also an important factor, so with our prior experience, we hope to minimize the risk. Injury was a factor the first time, and fatigue the second. My secret weapon this year is that I will be 60,  so they give me more time. The downside is that I will be 60 this year.

Be on the lookout for more personal snippets from Marshall as we get closer to the big event!  In the meantime, please consider making a donation to support our cause.

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Caroline JenningsRAAM 2016: Meet Marshall Reeves