Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It's been nearly five years...

...since I was diagnosed with cancer.  B cell follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma, to be exact.  Oct. 1, 2009.  A date I won't forget.  Nor do I want to.

Family and Friends,

OK.  Most of you know the story.  Riding my bike from Layton, UT to Logan, UT to see the fireworks with my family on July 3, 2009.  Hit by a car.  5 broken ribs and a punctured lung.  Some lymph nodes that were a little larger than they should have been.  Tests.  Scans.  Surgery and a biopsy.  And then, on Oct. 1, 2009 at Huntsman Cancer Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, Dr. Martha Glenn confirmed what we knew- it was cancer.  But, that day she told us a lot more, and we've learned a lot since.  And, here we are five years later.  I'm still alive and healthy.  I still have cancer.  It's incurable, and pretty much untreatable right now.  It probably won't go away, and most likely will transform from indolent (slow growing) to aggressive one day, but then it can be treated with chemotherapy.

So, I have every reason to care about cancer fundraising and research and prevention and education.  Those are the things that Huntsman Cancer Foundation Institute and Hospital do so well.  And that's why I raise funds for Huntsman every year.  And, yes, that's why I e-mail you every year and ask you to help me raise funds.

5 years ago, before I was diagnosed with cancer, I decided to use my cycling addiction to help me raise funds for Huntsman through their Huntsman Hometown Heroes fundraising program.  My mother had just been diagnosed with uterine cancer.  So, while she was battling cancer, I decided to battle it with my bike and with the funds of those who would be generous enough to donate.  Since that point, I simply have decided I will be a Hometown Hero for the rest of my life.  Cycling.  Fundraising.  Battling.

I know, I know..."what's your point, Todd?"  Well, plain and simple- I NEED YOUR HELP.  More to the point, I need your money.  Actually, what I need, and what I'm asking for, is your generosity.  I need it personally (I'm a Huntsman patient, my next 6 month checkup is in November), and so do all the others that are being treated at Huntsman Cancer Hospital, and all the clinicians and researchers and medical staff at the hospital and Huntsman Cancer Institute.

In June of this year (for the third year in a row) I rode my bike 670 miles from Reno, NV to Salt Lake City, UT with 11 other cyclist friends of mine.  All in five days' worth of riding.  Then, three weeks from tomorrow, I'll be racing my tenth LOTOJA Classic- 206 miles from Logan, UT to Jackson Hole, WY.  I'll be on the road with over 1,000 racers, but also with 74 other Hometown Heroes who have signed up to raise funds for Huntsman Cancer Foundation.

That's 670 miles from Reno to SLC, and then 206 miles from Logan to Jackson.  Almost 900 miles. On a bike. Pedaling.  I'll do the "hard work".  Will you do the rest? Will you help me and consider donating whatever you can to Huntsman Hometown Heroes and the Huntsman Cancer Foundation?  The donation may be tax deductible (talk to a tax expert), but I can tell you it will certainly prolong your life and buy you some blessings in heaven (well, maybe not, but it will buy my eternal love and gratitude, and isn't that almost as good?)  :-)

If you feel you can donate (any amount, that's up to you), you can click the link below and go directly to my LOTOJA Hometown Heroes donation page. I choose to roll my Huntsman 140 fundraising into my LOTOJA fundraising so I only have to ask friends and family once, and not pester them over and over (too much).  You can donate via credit card right on the page.  Or, if you'd like to donate via check or cash, you can send them to me and I'll get them to Huntsman.  My home address is:

1597 E. Ridge Rd.
Layton, UT 84040

In closing, let me thank you for reading to this point.  Even if you choose not to donate, or can't at this time, know how much I appreciate your love, support and interest.

I thank you all in advance for anything you feel you can do. I’ll continue to post updates of fundraising progress on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/toddjhandy), my blog (http://www.toddhandy.blogspot.com/), and via Twitter (http://twitter.com/toddhandy).

Thank you for your relationship with me, and for your love and support!
Much love,


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ride From Reno 2014- Day 3 (Riding Angry)

Today I rode angry.

Here's the deal.  I wanted to send a clear message to cancer, my cancer, that I'm the one in charge here, not it.  No mutant cells in my body get to tell me what to do, how to do it, and when/where to do it.  I'm the one in charge.  I determine what hurts, when, and for how long. And today I wanted to be in charge and send that clear message.

We summited five peaks today.  You can see from the elevation below that we climbed 6,243 feet- some good amounts of climbs.  And, each time we climbed, I rode to the front as quickly as I could and attacked the climbs.  I wanted to hurt. I wanted to leave it all on each climb. I wanted cancer to be scared of me! This disease takes so many people, and hurts so many more.  I've been blessed that I've not been too affected yet, but who knows what the future holds?  There are several with us who've also been affected personally, and who've had radiation, chemo, surgery, etc.  And even more so, there are names on lists that nearly all of us are carrying that honor those who have won their battles, others who've lost theirs, and a whole bunch who are currently battling.

I've been blessed. I'm riding this ride with cancer- but it's not stopping me now, and it's not going to.  So, yeah- I'm angry.  At cancer.  But that's it.  I'm blessed, I recognize the Lord's hand in my life and my family's, and we'll take what comes. I just didn't want cancer to think I wasn't paying attention.  I am.  Got that?  I AM IN CHARGE!

Here are my stats for the day.  A handful of podium finishes and strong times.  Lost a KOM to one of my new friends, Jon Rose, by 36 seconds.  GOOD FOR YOU  JON!

Much love,

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ride From Reno 2014- Day 2 (This Ride Is A Metaphor For Cancer!)

Well, today was "interesting", to say the least.  We had cold, rain, wind, and even snow (though it didn't stick). We also had some sun, and a pretty difficult day.

As the title of this post states, this ride is a perfect metaphor for cancer.  You can have all kinds of people supporting and cheering you on, but YOU and only YOU can turn the crank time after time, day after day. Only YOU can get from point A to point B.  There's no option to quit, and no option to just coast. You have to work hard, be mentally tough, deal with adversities, enjoy the tailwinds, and just hang on and "get 'er done."

Today's ride was that metaphor to a tee.  We started out with overcast and cold temps, only to get sprinkles and then more full blown rain.  At the top of the first full climb we actually had snow flurries.  We had some folks not feeling well, all of us feeling cold, and a difficult headwind and crosswind at times.

But we also had some tailwinds, some downhills, incredible support and the purpose of this ride- to work hard and raise funds for cancer research.  So, that doesn't afford us the option to quit- we keep riding, keep turning the crank, keep getting back on the bike.

Just before we climbed to the top of Austin, the sun came out. Many of us were taking off arm warmers, gloves, etc.  Then at the top of Austin the wind was blowing into us pretty fiercely, and that just made it incredibly cold.  Most of us ate then then sat in our cars to get warm. When the time came to get out and descend, none of us felt really good about it- we were all shivering uncontrollably and not all that excited to descend and get cold all over again. I personally had to fight "speed wobble" all the way down as I couldn't stop from shivering, and my handlebars were chattering back and forth.  We then climbed Bob Scott and descended again.

We did have some times of tailwind, where we were sitting up riding 25+ MPH with heart rates in the 100-110 range.  I'll take that!

As we flew into Eureka, we realized that we will be starting in 43 degree weather tomorrow morning, in shadow, as we climb Pinto Summit. But, we've had one tough day, we can conquer another.

I love this crew I ride with, and the support folks are the best.  You couldn't ask for higher caliber people, and I'm glad to call them all friends and "family."

I had some podium finishes on Strava, and came oh so close to a KOM!  Check it out...

Day 2 is in the books!

Much love,


Monday, June 16, 2014

Ride From Reno 2014 Day 1 Recap

OK, so here goes- the 2014 edition of the Ride From Reno is officially on!

For those who aren't familiar, the Ride From Reno was started by my dear friend, Jeff Warren, 13 years ago when he finished his cancer treatment.  He had head and neck, stage IV cancer, and did more courses of chemo than I care to mention.  He wanted to do something to celebrate beating the odds, so being an avid cyclist he decided to ride from his home town of Reno, NV to the steps of Huntsman Cancer Institute/Hospital where he did his treatment.  Since then it's grown, and in 2010 Huntsman Cancer Foundation put their support behind it and we've grown it to a healthy fundraiser- raising $300K this year, with over 400 riders registered across all distances of the Huntsman 140, the event on the last day of the Ride From Reno (140 is the distance from Delta, UT where we take a rest day to Huntsman).  This is my third time riding the RFR, and 8th time riding from Delta to Huntsman.

Mom and I drove to Reno last night. Stopped in Wendover for buffet lunch like we do, 'cuz her cousin Gene is the head chef at the Peppermill, so we get a good meal and get to visit with him.  Lisa and the girls came along, 'cuz they like to do that, and since it was Father's Day we all wanted to be together.

Made good time to Reno, got checked in, set up and caught some ZZZs.  Up early to get ready and drive to the arch.  11 of us today- one who'll swap out tomorrow with one who ode separately due to a family commitment.  Riding were:
Jeff, Brian, Jason, Darcie, Dan, Jon, Rich, Scotty, Larry, Rob and me.  Tomorrow Rob won't be with us and we'll be joined by Joe.

Rode out of Reno and climbed Geiger Grade- hello legs!  Geiger is a long, hard pull, with lots of switchbacks.  But, it's also a beautiful view, and a reminder that we're going to work hard for the next five days- this isn't just a joy ride, it's work!

Dropped down the back side of Geiger to Jeff's Dad's place in Virginia City. What a great little town!  Jeff's Dad and sisters always support him to Delta, so we visited for a few and then dropped down the aptly named "6 Mile Canyon".

When we hit the bottom of 6 Mile, we turned left to head to Fallon, and ended up with a west wind (tailwind)! We were riding around 30 MPH with little effort for many miles, as the tailwind carried us swiftly to Fallon.

In Fallon we always eat lunch at Lattin Farms, owned by Vicki Linton's Dad, Bill.  Bill wasn't there this year, as he's in a long term care facility, but he will come see us in Delta on Friday.  What an incredible man, and his employees are so good to feed and care for us.  Thanks Bill- take care!

Th ride out of Fallon had a lot of crosswind, and was a little more difficult.  However, when we turned due East and headed towards Sand Mountain, the tailwind picked back up and pushed us up Sand Springs Pass.  Last "hard" climb for the day, though still some climb left before we would end.

Dropped down Sand Springs Pass and fought with the wind here and there.  Stopped at the Shoe Tree, then started the 12 mile slog up to Cold Springs where we would end the day.  My Garmin bonked on me at Latin Farms, and I ended up having to reset it and lost the first 75 miles of the day.  Here are my stats for the second half (from Fallon), as well as my stats for the whole Day 1 ride from last year for comparison.

Oh, yeah- and finished the day at Jerry's with the traditional burger, fries, Coke and chocolate shake.  That's what I'm talkin' about!

I'll be detailing the ride here all week.  But, I need to also mention that the purpose for this ride is fundraising for Huntsman Cancer Institute. So, if you're so inclined, you can donate through my Huntsman Cancer Foundation page at Todd Handy's fundraising page

I've not begun my fundraising in earnest, so you'll see there's not much activity there, but I would appreciate anything you think you can donate to help fight cancer and fund research for more tolerable treatment and to try to find a cure for cancer.

Thanks to all, and especially my dear Mom who is supporting me this week of the third time.  I love spending the week with her, and am so grateful for her love and support.  She's a fellow cancer survivor, so this means a lot to her, as well.  I love you, Mom!

Much love,