‘The Big C’ is something that has touched all of our lives. A cancer diagnosis brings fear and sadness, but the warriors who fight it and the communities supporting them can find light in the darkness. This month, we’re featuring a member of our community who is known for being a light! As she fights her own battle with cancer, her sun-shiny attitude has not wavered – and neither has her love of all things ElliptiGO! Our July 2022 Rider of the Month is Kaye Lengerich.
It all began last year when Kaye was at a doctor’s appointment.
“I have a family history of cancer. My mom had colon cancer. My dad had bladder cancer and grandma had breast cancer. Dad lost his battle after seven months and mom fought for four years. I feel like I knew it was coming but it’s still a shock when you’re told, ‘There’s a mass in there and I think we need to look further into it.’”
“I was diagnosed June 14, 2021 with bladder cancer, and it definitely spun me! Who wants to think they have an expiration date? All I could see was seven months down the road! I wasn’t ready. There was a lot I still wanted to do and see.”
She told us, “Each time I see the urologist and my oncologist they both ask, ‘Are you still riding?’ I always answer, ‘Yes,’ and they tell me to keep going, don’t stop! I made a commitment that I was no longer going to walk up any more hills while riding, I would ride up every one, it’s me tackling cancer one hill at a time!”
While cancer may be the biggest obstacle Kaye has faced thus far, she is no stranger to perseverance and has always faced challenges with a positive attitude. She was born, raised, and resides in Ohio. She is a wife and a mom. She was active as a kid – pursuing all kinds of sports like volleyball, softball, and cheerleading. As she grew up and started a family, it was hard to make time for herself and for fitness.
Kaye told us, “I didn’t start running until after the boys were in high school and realized that I was so busy with them I wasn’t staying active myself and the weight was adding up!”
She enjoyed this new form of fitness, but, like so many runners, she found herself facing a major injury. Kaye would need to have a joint replaced in her foot. She thought it meant she would never run again.
That’s when her husband Gary saw an ad in Runner’s World magazine for ElliptiGO bikes. “We looked online and found a place close to us to test ride, bought the floor model, and haven’t stopped riding since,” Kaye said.
They purchased a red 8C, and didn’t wait long after bringing it home. She rode 20 miles that same day! Since then, Kaye and her husband have added two original SUBs and two MSUBs to their collection.
Riding her ElliptiGO bike has been a comfort during her treatment, which can cause side effects like cramps, spasms and aches. She says they are minimized if she gets out there for a ride.
“Being outside riding definitely clears your head and brightens the day. I can’t imagine having this diagnosis and sitting in the house dwelling on it.”
Kaye has become an ambassador of stand up cycling in her local community. She regularly is stopped by curious folks she rides past, no doubt because of the sheer joy that she radiates while on the GO!
“A couple of years ago, a priest talked about always having a smile on your face…that it makes you approachable and makes people who see you smile back. It’s hard not to smile while you are riding through the streets on the ElliptiGO bike and, if anyone asks, I’m more than happy to stop and talk about the GO and offer to let them try it out. It’s as easy as riding a bike – without the saddle soreness!”
Having a fitness routine that doesn’t feel like exercise at all certainly makes it easy to stick with. Kaye rides at least five miles a day. She said, “Honestly, if you’re going to head out you may as well make it worth your while and spend 25 minutes in the fresh air. I would much rather be outside than stuck indoors, give me sunshine!”
She often rides alongside Gary. She also has two amazing riding buddies in her friends Becky and Cindy. They meet up most days after work for the ultimate happy hour: logging 20 miles. She is even joined by her grandkids on their bikes from time to time!
Kaye noted, “It never seems as long when you’re GOing with someone else.”
She is a member of the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club and is motivated by the club’s challenges. She is also active in the ElliptiGO Facebook Group. “We push each other! After riding different events and meeting more GOers, I would find the people I know on the GERC list and I would ride to try and pass the ones ahead of me, one point at a time. I didn’t realize I was so competitive.”
Speaking of events, Kaye’s list of rides completed and ElliptiGO gatherings attended is long! They include the 5 Boro ride, Tour deDonut, Spring Classic, Winter Classic, High Trestle Bridge, Fun in the Sun ElliptiGO Tour, Kentucky Challenge series, and Seagull Century.
Kaye shared, “These are all fun rides, but what makes them awesome and makes you want to do them again is riding and meeting other ElliptiGO riders. Yep, said with a smile on my face remembering who I met there and who I rode with!”
All of those happy miles shared with family and friends, plus her solo rides, have added up to some mind-boggling totals.
“I have ridden 14,106 miles and climbed 343,743 ft. I’ve completed two century rides” Kaye told us…and that doesn’t include her first year of riding where she wasn’t tracking her mileage or elevation.
Despite her diagnosis, Kaye is keeping her head up and continuing to do the things she loves. She said, “I’m just going to keep riding my 5+ miles a day and ‘climbing/tackling’ each obstacle that gets thrown at me! I will keep fighting and I will beat this!”
Kaye, we know you’ve got this. Your unwavering dedication to your goals and to our ElliptiGO community, even as you face this fight, has blown us away. You are making the most of every moment, and we can’t wait to see what memories you’ll make next on the GO.
Learn more about our collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer®
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