Sunday, September 16, 2012


A few weeks ago, one of the greatest adventures of my life came to a close. I am proud that I have created something that people I have never met want to read; I am proud that I have raised almost three times as much as my original target and I am proud that I have carried forward a cause that I wholeheartedly believe in. I think that if all the money spent on wars were given to cancer research finding a cure to cancer would not be talked about as an unrealistic dream but it would seem an attainable goal. It is a naive thought but it is true nonetheless. I hope that governments and people will devote more attention to cancer research and will invest more resources on efforts to funding a cure. I know that I will.
My bicycle ride might be over but my fight continues. The spirit with which I took on the wind and the mountains of America is an inextinguishable flame. And with it I will fight my cancer. I could have spent the past 5 months sulking, brooding, damning life but I decided not to. It would have been a losing battle anyway. I am convinced that no matter how desperate things are, your mind and your heart shape your approach to life. My cookie fortune message is this: your life is yours, until the very end. You control it.
This journey was tougher than expected and if you have been kind enough to read my blog you have gotten only a glimpse of how tough it was out there. 100-mile days in the wind, the cold, the rain, the traffic and the fear of being sick often felt like a punishment. However, it was never eclipsed by the joy of receiving messages of support from friends, acquaintances and complete strangers that wanted to support me, share their struggle and thanked me for what I did. It is because of your vicarious participation that I made it to Vancouver. It is thanks to your love that I have reached the Pacific coast. Had I been alone, I would have quit along the way.

The complete solitude of cycling hundreds of miles in the open land of North America made me stronger. And I loved every minute of it. Well...almost! When I look at my face in the mirror and I turn my head slightly to the right I can still see the patch of skin on the top of my forehead that showed through the gaps of the helmet that has been darkened by the sun light. I look at my hands and see the ridiculous tan line from the gloves that seems to cut my fingers in two. The line above the knees is still abundantly visible and so is the tan line on my forearms. When I walk I spot reminders of my trip all the time. Every time I see a cyclist I check out the bike and the gear and compare it to mine. When I feel the wind graze my skin I chuckle and revel in the thought that it could never be as strong as it was on an open road in Montana or Minnesota. When I wait at a red light I look up and gaze the deep blue of the sky and imagine myself cycling under the skies of the vast grasslands in North Dakota. The things we love never go away.
It is true that from now on my life will be from blood test to blood test, hospital visits to doctor’s emails and anxious waits in between. I cannot change that. But it is up to me to choose whether I want to be devoured by the anxiety or to just live my life and enjoy the ride, be it one month or twenty years. The sense of expectation with which I began each cycling day of my bike ride will be the same with which I will take on the next mountains.



Sunday, September 2, 2012


Total days on the road: 35

Money raised: US $25.000

Amount of money raised (average per day): US $714

Days cycling: 32

Days rest: 3

Total mileage: 3347

Average miles per day: 105.6

Highest elevation: 6646 ft (Logan Pass)

Coldest temperature: 44F St. Mary, Mt

Warmest temperature: 101F Washington DC

Flat tires: 5

Tires used: 4 (3 back tires and one front tire)

Days with rain: 7

Storms: 2 (Medora, ND - Beach, ND)

Days with a headwind: 11

Days with a tailwind: 1

Earliest start: 6:40 am (Glacier National Park, Mt)

Latest finish: 10:40 pm (Pittsburgh, Pa)

Fastest speed: 39.2 mph (North Cascades)

Longest day: 155 miles (Day 3)

Shortest day: 25 miles (Day 21)

Toughest day: Day 17 and Day 32

Sunscreen tubes used: 2 and 1/2

Pictures taken: 1521

Cheapest motel: 30 $ (Napoleon, ND)

Priciest hotel: 209 $ (Vancouver, BC)

Worst road for traffic : Highway 2 in some parts of North Dakota and Montana for the trucks

Best ride: Too many! (definitely North Cascades, Glacier National Park, Lake Koocanusa, Great Allegheny Passage, Grasslands North Dakota)

Most peaceful road: Montana, highway 37; North Dakota, highway 46, Minnesota and Wisconsin country roads

Biggest dinner: 2 double cheeseburgers, 2 large fries with mayonnaise, one large coke, 4 buns with 375g of nutella and 1 liter of milk

State where I spent most days: Montana 7 days

Least days: Idaho, 1

Biggest City: Chicago, pop: 2.7 million

Smallest City: Siler, VA, pop: unknown

The Centro Italiano di Cultura prepares a lovely welcome for me 


 Vancouver sky

 And another one

 and one more!

The sun is going down, almost time to fly back home.. 

And the bicycle is all ready and packed