Friday, May 30, 2008

Hopkins4K on WKBN-27 News in Youngstown, OH

Cross Country Bike Run

by Dennis Biviano

See video of the news broadcast:

Coast-to-coast bicyclists are riding to raise awareness for cancer research...They call themselves 4-K for Cancer.Tonight about 25 members of the group made a pit stop in Boardman. But, they won't stick around for long... Because as Dennis Biviano tells us... They still need to pedal 3-Thousand miles....

After a 53 mile trip in from Butler Pennsylvania.....a well deserved rest....But the Hopkins 4-K for Cancer bicyclists have just begun.


Each of the 25 riders have to come up with 4-thousand dollars worth of sponsorship. They are hoping to raise more than 100 thousand dollars for the Baltimore Hope Lodge which is headed by the American Cancer Society.


The group travels with three cargo trucks...and makes stops at local churches or community centers across the US. Westminster Presbyterian Church of Boardman hosted them tonight for the second year in a row.


The entire trip...4--thousand miles...of course taking a few detours from here to San Francisco California...They're expecting to arrive there Saturday July 26th. Members say the best part of traveling the country is meeting new people along the way.


After a good night's rest...they rise with the sun...pack up their belongings...and ride on....70 plus miles northwest...destination Cleveland.

Article in the Youngstown Vindicator

Students cycle across country for cancer
Published:Friday, May 30, 2008

BOARDMAN — Not just anyone could spend the three hottest months of the year bicycling across the country, but one group of college students from the East Coast is doing just that.

Their cause — helping to find a cure for cancer.

And late Thursday afternoon they came to Boardman. About 15 of the 25 riders participating in the Hopkins 4K for Cancer arrived at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Stadium Drive, promptly kicking off their shoes and helmets and making themselves at home on the front lawn.

The Youngstown area was just one stop along the 4,000-mile bike trek for the students, who ride anywhere from 50 to 120 miles each day.

Dan Ingram, a junior at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., said some of the cyclists fell behind due to flat tires.

“We have a set schedule that we follow, but some groups do fall behind,” he said. “It seems like there were two groups cursed with flat tires all day long today.”

Ingram said three vehicles stay with the groups at all times. They are in charge of setting up respite stops so the riders have enough food and water throughout the day.

“We burn about 5,000 calories per day, and it’s really hard and dangerous to bike hungry,” said Clare Blubaugh, a recent graduate of Johns Hopkins. “It’s important to eat at every stop, even if you don’t feel hungry, to avoid dehydration.”

This is Blubaugh’s second time riding in the Hopkins 4K. In 2006, she decided to ride for a close family friend who was fighting breast cancer. This year, she’s riding for the people she met along the way the first time.

“That was one of the best experiences ever,” Blubaugh said. “I learned so much about myself, my peers and the people I met along the way. I saw such a wonderful side of people.”

Ingram’s motivation came from his grandfather who died of leukemia when Ingram was 12.

“I heard about [the bike ride] from a girl in my class wearing her Hopkins 4K hoodie, and right away I was super interested,” he said. “It was my last summer to do something spontaneous, so I went for it.

“It’s hard, but I just think about [my grandfather,] the person I am riding for, and I keep pushing.”

Blubaugh said the hardest part for her, and many of the other cyclists, is the first week.

“We start with the Appalachian Mountains, and even those who have been training will find that difficult, especially because we’re just starting out,” she said. “They can be very daunting.”

The 9-week-long journey from Baltimore to San Francisco kicked off Sunday, as the 25 riders ceremoniously dipped their back tires in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and will end July 26 at the Golden Gate Bridge, where they will dip their front tires into the waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Each student is required to raise $4,000, although Ingram said almost all of them have gone above and beyond that amount. So far this year, the 25 riders have raised more than $100,000, most of which will be given to organizations working on the fight against cancer. In its seven years, the Hopkins 4K has raised more than $500,000 in the name of cancer research and awareness.

Blubaugh recalled her most touching memory during a stop in Greensburg, Pa., a few days ago, when a woman came over and asked what they were doing. After they explained who they were, the woman went over to an ATM close by and returned with money.

“She handed us the money, and said, ‘I know it’s not much, but I want to tell you my story,’” she said. “She told us that she’d recently been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and she thought what we were doing was amazing. I think she only gave about $5, but it didn’t matter.”

Ingram said for him the best part is being able to understand why the journey is so important.

“All of us have a personal reason for doing this. For me it’s my grandfather, and if I didn’t have that I would have a hard time because I wouldn’t understand the reason behind it,” he said.
“We fight every day to keep going, just like the cancer patients.”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to Ohio! - Youngstown, OH (Day 5)

What's high in the middle and round on both ends? Give you a hint – it's where we've arrived at today. That's right, Ohio! After a relatively short day, we've arrived at Broadman, Ohio tonight. Thanks to some wonderful route planning today, we still had quite an adventure. The weather has been beautiful however, so there are no complaints about the trip so far!

We started the day bright and early at 6. We've become slightly more efficient at packing now after Clare's pep talk last night. After some wonderful granola and yogurt for breakfast, we set off around 7:30, and ran headlong into one of the most brutal hills so far less than a block from where we stayed. Normally, this hill wouldn't be a problem – it was extremely steep, but very short. However, the extreme cold and the lack of any actual warmup meant lots of pain and suffering. My team, the “Trailblazers”, was assigned the job of backup route marking, in case the vans couldn't stop to mark them. We set off first and blitzed up the hill at full speed – something I regretted for the rest of the day. Part of the problem today was that the route yesterday was far too dangerous and packed with cars (blame Greg!). Thus, we looked at today's route and tried to route around any dangerous roads. Unfortunately, this meant we had to change the directions as conditions required.

Team Trailblazer was moving full speed when we arrived at the first water stop. After a quick stop and welcome to the rest of the team, we set off again at top speed to mark the turns. Shortly after we left, a text message arrived with some new directions – no problem at all, we'll mark them as needed. We flew into New Castle, PA without incident. The rolling hills posed very little problem for team trailblazer and our average speed topped 16 mph. Still following the directions, we smacked into the scariest hill we've seen so far on the trip. This monster hill was extremely short, probably only half a mile. However, the grade was off the charts! Figuring the directions MUST be right, we followed them up the hill, and past it for a good 3 miles before we figured something was wrong. Something WAS wrong – another change was made while we were climbing the hill, and we unfortunately had to descend the scary thing to meet with the rest of the team. Ah well, the price you pay for being a trailblazer...

Lunch was delicious and came none too soon. Joe's Pizza graciously donated three absolutely delicious pies, which we scarfed down without hesitation. After lunch, Trailblazer's job was finished, and we settled into a more sane pace. After the hectic traffic of yesterday, the beautiful countryside was a dramatic breath of fresh air. We were all extremely excited to see the Ohio state sign, and there was a marked improvement in roads too! Before long, we passed Poland and entered Broadman, excited to get to (another) Westminster Presbyterian Church.

We showered at one of the most beautiful YMCA's we've ever seen. The dinner spread that was laid out was absolutely impressive! Roast chicken, sloppy joes, casseroles, and salads all tempted our ravenous appetites, and we devoured almost all of it.

Looking forward to a wonderful day to Cleveland tomorrow – team Trailblazer away!

-James Gao

Day of Dangerous Roads - Butler, PA (Day 4)

Have you ever heard the expression “Go the extra mile?” Well, today my group biked 8 extra miles. We started off the day eating breakfast with a preschool class at the YMCA in Greensberg. The class provided us with breakfast and enough laughs for our long journey ahead. The children were timid at first, refusing to enter the room. After a few moments, the children integrated themselves into our groups. One child, Josh, challenged a rider to an eating contest. Surprisingly the five year old out-ate a 4Ker. Another kid, Nathan, was asked the question “what do you learn about at school” and replied “arts and crafts.” The college students surrounding him wished for a time when life was that simple! After our moment of silence, we rode off for Butler getting as many high five's from the kids as we possibly could. They wanted to accompany us, but we figured it was in their best interest not to take them along.

There was not a cloud in the sky all day, but the wind was cold which made the riders anxious to warm up. At the first water stop in a shopping strip parking lot, a woman passed by who wanted to donate after her trip to the ATM. After getting some cash, she requested a group hug which we promptly gave her and she told us she was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. Words could not describe the look of joy in her face after seeing us; the entire group was touched.
The directions for the day consisted of one thing: follow Route 8. Apparently this should have been enough information to get us to the next host . . . but our group experienced differently. The first wrong turn came when Route 8 took a right turn that was allegedly signaled by a sign. We did not see this sign. Fifteen minutes later we were close to Pittsburgh and on a very populated street. After noticing a lack of Route-8 signs, we decided to ask for directions. The first man told us to go straight for three miles, the second woman told us to turn around and travel eight miles, and the third man told us to turn around and travel three miles. After calling the van drivers, we turned around and found the right turn.

Excited about being back on course, we started conversing and soon after found ourselves off of Route 8 again. Dumbfounded about how we could have landed ourselves off the road once more, we turned around and again found the right turn that we had missed. Lunch tasted especially delicious after biking eight miles out of the way. Amy's brother, Andy, generously provided the team with foot-long sandwiches. The rest of the day was challenging: hill after hill with no relief. When we finally arrived at our next host we were exhausted and felt extremely accomplished. This journey is all about the unexpected . . . and today we got our share of surprises.

Signing off,

Ben Margolis, Meg Hindle, & Sarah Biggart

"the lost ones"

Climbing Every Mountain - Greensberg, PA (Day 3)

Hey 4K Supporters, Friends, and Family!
Last night in Bedford, PA while having dinner, one lady warned some 4K'ers that the next was going to be very difficult. Since our ride to Bedford was challenging, I got slightly nervous.
Everyone got up around 5:30 this morning and most of us were still tired from yesterday's ride. However, everyone still had that look of confidence and determination to take on what is “supposedly” one of the hardest rides throughout our journey. Our wonderful hosts from the church in Bedford made us a amazing breakfast and then we were off.

After 15 miles, we hit our first mountain of the day. The summit was around 3000ft and it was a steep climb. After we past the mountain we had our lunch at Burger King who donated free hamburgers to the team. After lunch we continued biking and hit some rolling hills. The rolling hills we slightly challenging but nothing the 4K'ers couldn't handle. While riding, the scenery was amazing and at a water stop Ben and I visited a local shop and bought some Flight 93 postcards since the memorial was only a few miles off our course. All of 4K'ers wanted to visit the site but we were on a strict schedule to arrive at Greensberg, PA around 6 pm. After climbing some more steep hills most of the team arrived at our destination at around 5:30pm.

Dinner tonight in Greensberg, PA was very special. The parents of a past rider hosted the whole team for a amazing dinner. The food was excellent and all of the people there were very welcoming. I admit that today's ride was challenging but it is during time like these when we get to meet generous and kind people that make the ride worth it. When the 4K'ers arrived at the house everything was already setup and they even had their swimming pool open for us. All of the riders were very hungry and filled up their plates.

We all thanked our host for an amazing dinner but a simple thank you does not truly describe how grateful all of us are. We know all of the preparation and planning that must have taken days and we sincerely appreciate all of the kindness and generosity of those who have help the 4K in a variety of ways. It is truly amazing that, even during time of economic hardship, the people we meet are still very generous and willing to help out. I thank all of all of these people because without them, our mission would be impossible.

-Henry Peng

Monday, May 26, 2008

Article in the Baltimore Sun!

'Great things can happen'
Cyclists launch cross-country cancer benefit

By Jennifer McMenamin

May 26, 2008

Alison Zhao is not what you'd call an expert cyclist or even a biking enthusiast.

Until March, in fact, the 20-year-old college student hadn't been on a bicycle since middle school.

But with a few months of training ("What is it called? Spinning?" she responded when asked about her preparations) Zhao joined a group of 25 students yesterday who began pedaling 4,000 miles across the country to raise money for cancer treatment and raise awareness about the disease.

"It was kind of spontaneous. But I wanted to take a more active role in the fight against cancer," said Zhao, whose grandfather died of lung cancer several years ago. "I never felt like I did enough."

The group of students, mostly from the Johns Hopkins University, ceremoniously dipped the back wheels of their bikes into the Inner Harbor yesterday morning just before starting their journey. They plan to dunk their front wheels when they end their 60-day trip at the Golden Gate Bridge, where the San Francisco Bay meets the Pacific Ocean.

Along the way, they'll ride 70 to 110 miles each day while crossing 12 states. They'll stop in 53 cities and towns, bunking at churches, YMCAs, community centers and the occasional camp site. They'll share their stories and those of their friends and loved ones whose lives have been affected, or ended, by cancer. And they'll encourage the people they meet to take advantage of every test, every screening and every precaution that can lead to early detection or prevention of the disease."

It's important for communities to know that they're not alone," said Anna Johnston, a 20-year-old Hopkins student whose grandmother survived breast cancer and whose uncle died three years ago of melanoma that spread through his body. "Hearing stories of recovery, you learn that great things can still happen against all odds."

The annual bike trip - called the Hopkins 4K for Cancer - started in 2001 when two students, including one whose father died of the disease in 1995, decided to blend their desire to help fight cancer with their dream of biking across the country.

Since then, the 4K riders have raised $511,000, with much of it going to the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, a center that offers free housing for out-of-town cancer patients undergoing treatment in Baltimore. Many Hopkins students who participate in the bike ride also volunteer at the center during the school year.

For the past two years, donations also have gone to the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.

With the sun still low on the horizon and the air crisp and cool, riders began arriving at the Inner Harbor early yesterday. Gathering between the two pavilions of Harborplace, the parents, friends, boyfriends and girlfriends of the cyclists mingled together in a sea of Blue Jays blue and T-shirts emblazoned with the cycling group's logo - a stretch of road that loops from the Golden Gate Bridge into a cancer ribbon and then the Baltimore skyline."

It's scary," said Christian Weaver, 20, whose girlfriend of nearly two years was heading out on the bike ride while he stays back in Baltimore to take summer classes at Hopkins. "I've never been away from her for this long. At first, when she signed up, it seemed so far away. But now ... she's actually going across the country for two months. I have faith she can do it, though."

This year's group of 10 female and 15 male riders includes students riding in honor of grandparents who died of cancer, aunts and family friends who beat breast cancer and a best friend who survivied leukemia. It includes a Massachusetts native inspired by his father and Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, both of whom fought non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. And it includes a graduate student who intends to pursue a career in health advocacy and a neuroscience major who hopes to advance cancer treatments through a career in biomedical engineering.

Several of the students spoke of knowing that no matter how difficult their days on the bikes are - even as they climb grueling mountain roads or cross blazingly hot stretches of asphalt in the Nevada desert - the struggle pales in comparison to those of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments."

I think that if people can go through something as bad as cancer, I can pick up biking and ride these 4,000 miles," said Ankit Sharma, 22, a cycling novice who graduated in May from Hopkins with a degree in engineering mechanics.

Judy Penati, a 19-year-old sophomore whose grandfather underwent treatment for prostate cancer, described the cause as "magnificent." Through her months of training, a friend mistakenly thought that she was training for a 4K bike ride - that is, 4 kilometers.

"He finally said, 'Why are you doing so much work for two miles?'" she recalled, laughing as the riders prepared to dip their wheels in the harbor, just in front of the Constellation. With roughly 3,998 more miles than that ahead of her, Penati adjusted her helmet and wheeled her bike toward Pratt Street to begin the trip."

I have heard that the first few days are quite demoralizing," she said. "But I can get through because I'm not biking for myself."


Riders with the Hopkins 4K for Cancer will be contributing to a blog as they pedal their way across the country. Find it at

Copyright © 2008, The Baltimore Sun

Day of Two Mountains - Bedford, PA (Day 2)

Hi 4k supporters, family, and friends,

After a restful night's sleep in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, I awoke at 5:10am to “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochran, a very fitting selection of music. After a solid breakfast of cheerios and banana's provided by our gracious hosts, I was well fueled and ready to tackle the day.
Still tired from last days ride, I searched for a riding team that wanted to enjoy the scenery at a slower pace. I found five others who shared these ideals, and we decided to call ourselves, “Team Take It Easy.” However, the day was anything but easy.

The day started off well enough. On the first stretch, we encountered several rolling hills that provided us with good momentum. Living up to our team name, we took several interesting scenic breaks including one where we stopped at a school playground where we played on swings and slides. We contemplated replacing our highly uncomfortable saddles with the wider, ergonomically shaped swing seats but decided that the idea was probably not the best and continued biking on. I regret our decision – my butt is feeling the pain.

Reaching the base of our first major “hill”, my team mates and I encountered our first major challenge. Since my fellow riders were moving at a faster pace, I found myself separated from the group. As I pushed up the hill, I felt my legs throbbing in pain and had fleeting thoughts of quitting. But I found the inner beast within me, gave a couple of grunts, and pushed on. I took several breaks to catch my breath but made it to the water break at Tuscarora Summit at an elevation of 2123 feet. There, I was greeted by enthusiastic 4kers who cheered and yelled. The team has been great and certainly great motivators.

After a refreshing and somewhat scary downhill ride at 40+ miles per hour, I met my team for lunch and had, what was probably the greatest ever turkey sandwich. The team pushed on and met our next hill which was longer than the first. This hill was even more painful than the first, but yells from other riders and a keep going attitude helped me reach the Sideling Hill Summit at 2195 feet. There were several smaller afterwards and my teammate, Andrew Telzak, had an interesting experience with a flat tire, but overall, the rest of the ride felt a lot easier (other than the mad amount of fatigue settling in).

Battered and owned, we arrived at our hosts at 4 something PM and were later treated to a wonderful dinner filled with pasta, desert, and “awesomeness.” So far, this journey has certainly been painful, but emotionally satisfying. I hear tomorrow will be even harder.

- Ankit Sharma

Sunday, May 25, 2008

First Day on the Road! - Waynesboro, PA (Day 1)

Our journey began today at 5:45, when the team met to load our personal gear into the vans. By “personal gear” I mean the 3500 cubed inches or less as Clare described...(like we were supposed to calculate the exact volume of our duffel bags?) After loading all the gear and filling the water jugs for our first water stop, we mounted our bikes and began the ride to the Inner Harbor. The ride was nice because it was pretty much all down hill. It didn't seem bad until we arrived and realized we had to go back up that hill. Once we were all downtown we had a few great speeches, and dipped our bikes into the Inner Harbor, before officially starting.

Somehow we all managed to make it out of the city without any flats, despite all the potholes downtown. We made it out of the city pretty quickly and were soon biking through beautiful wooded twisting roads. The hills gradually became more frequent and slightly larger, but we soon made it to our first water stop; a fire department 15 miles away. The station was selling snowballs as a fund raiser. Within seconds there was a line of 4k'ers waiting to have an ice cold and refreshing treat. After snowballs, a few stretches, and water refills we hopped on and began riding again.

We had another water stop at 30 miles, and stopped for lunch 48 miles into the trip. For lunch we started off with junk food and hard boiled eggs, until the van arrived with everything to make sandwiches. After eating and a little lounging around, we pressed on and shortly made it to the Pennsylvania border were we quickly snapped a few pictures and continued to look for the “mountain” of the day.

After more foothills we finally made it to the base of “the mountain,” which was about 2 miles of uphill at around 7-10% grade. Without hesitation we started to climb, pedaling hard in the lowest gear possible. When we made it to the top, a water stop waiting for us. After a quick refill we were happy to start the 2 mile descent, some of us nearing the speed limit (40mph) on the way down.

Once at the bottom we had a few very small hills in town and quickly made it to our hosts for the night. We all showered, stretched, and then devoured the salad, pizza, fried chicken, and ice cream our host had prepared for us. Afterward we spent time socializing in the gym, and after not too long the riders began to slowly pass out in their sleeping bags, resting for the two, large mountains in tomorrow's ride.

-Chris Beksinski

(Time-lapse video from the Inner Harbor to the first water stop - Courtesy of Taylor's CycleCam)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Send-off Weekend Information

The 7th Annual Hopkins4K for Cancer Send-off is this Sunday, May 25.

A half-hour public send-off ceremony begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Inner Harbor. Representatives from the American Cancer Society and WellPoint Inc., a health care plan that is also major sponsor of the ride, will be speaking, along with Dr. Jean G. Ford, the director of community programs and community-based research at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

At 8:30 a.m., the students will ceremoniously dip their bikes' back tires in the water before embarking on their 4,000-mile coast-to-coast trip. The journey will end on July 26 at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Upon their arrival on the West Coast, the students will dip their bikes' front tires in the water.

We hope to see you all there!

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Hi friends and family of the 4K for Cancer!

Welcome to our new, interactive blog.

Check back here over the summer for daily journal posts from the road!