Biking For A Cause

Biking For A Cause

Follow Joe’s journey as he trains for Pelotonia.

If I learned one thing during the last few weeks it would be that I am not a very good blogger! It has been a long journey so recapping was all I found time for.

On Aug 6th I completed the 100 mile Pelotonia bike ride and being part of something of this caliber was an experience like none other. I was one of 7,748 riders that took off from downtown Columbus Saturday morning. Around every corner as far as the eye could see was nothing but riders. I would like to give a shout out to all of the support crew that took care of us during the ride, best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ever! The police officers that were at every intersection to keep us safe, the families that took time out of their weekend to come out and cheer us on, and the village of Granville that lined the streets with people cheering and giving high fives to the riders as we came through, absolutely amazing. We could not have done this without all of your support, thank you!

I have been asked why I decided to ride 100 miles on a bicycle. To be honest the first time I heard about the ride I thought you would have to be crazy to try that. Maybe I am, but maybe not. You take any group of individuals and ask how many of them have an immediate family member that has or are battling cancer and most of them will raise their hands. I have watch a close high school friend just out of college loose her battle to cancer as it consumed the space where her heart was leaving no room for it to beat anymore. My college roommate in the midst of graduate school overcome with throat cancer that slowly blocked off his airway. My wife’s cousin that lost her battle to cancer. A close friend that was diagnosed with breast cancer won the battle only to have the fear return each year as she goes in for annual testing to see if the cancer has return.  You see once you have had cancer there is no escaping the fear that it may return. A co-worker and friend whose wife is now in the battle for the second time. As each year passes the list keeps growing.

Remember, I said ask any group about an immediate family member, well it to has hit close to my home. My Mom was diagnosed in 2012 with bilateral breast cancer. After a very long road of treatments and surgery was told she was cancer free. Then early last year was given the news that the cancer had returned and was now in her bones. There is no cure for bone metastasis cancer. But this was still not the driving force that got me to ride in the Pelotonia. Let’s diverge for a moment.

In 2012 when my mom was diagnosed with cancer my son Brandon, whose heart is made of gold turned to me and said “Dad, we need to do this bike ride for Grandma”. I replied as I think most fathers would that had not exercised for many, many years, “Are you crazy? Your old Dad would never survive something like that.” Over the next few years Brandon began his own battle with depression. Late 2015 he took a turn for the worse. We ran from counselor to counselor trying to find the right fit, hospitals, doctors you name it we were going to do whatever it took to help him. In December my wife and I drove him to NY to visit a specialist. During this visit the doctor set out treatment plan for him and then stressed how important a regular exercise program was and how the benefits after 6 months of regular exercise would out last any medication. I was all in. A parents love is never ending and if this would help Brandon I would do whatever it takes, even riding a 100 mile bike ride! By the way did I mention I didn’t even own a bike?

We came home from NY went straight the Three Sixty Bike Shop in Zanesville Ohio, great little shop would highly recommend them to anyone. Tell Mike I sent you. Bought 2 bikes with trainers so we could ride indoors until spring. We thought we didn’t need bike shorts. How bad could it be, right? Wrong! After 2 days of training went back to the bike shop to get those padded shorts! Who knew how much a little padding would help! Then I asked my favorite Creative Marketing Designer if she could make a large calendar with milestones leading up to the ride. Thanks Kerri! The calendar was a big motivator to keep my training on track.

So what did my training look like?  Every moment I had I would jump on the bike. To start I was lucky to get 5 miles in before I couldn’t go any farther. But I kept pushing myself and stretching to hit my monthly goals. My first goal was to ride 20 miles by March 5th and increase the distance by 20 miles every month. That way I would have ridden a 100 mile ride by July 4th 1 month prior to the big day.

Brandon and I rode from our house to New Concord and back on February 28th logging 24.6 miles! First goal achieved. Shortly thereafter I pushed too hard and Brandon stopped riding with me. Over the next month my riding was hit and miss but out of frustration with myself road 40.25 miles alone on April 2nd. Did some soul searching over the  next couple of weeks and with some help from my Vistage friends decided I had to go through with the ride even it was alone.  May 10th I rode to Heath and back logging 46 miles as a storm chased me back to the car. Felt great and confident that I could have hit the 60 mile goal if it wasn’t for the storm. May 28th took a nasty spill on the bike and had road rash half way up my shin and across my knee. Logged 0 miles the next week trying to recover. This about drove me nuts knowing the 100 mile ride was just around the corner and I was losing ground. Eased back into the training the second week after the crash and logged another 50 mile ride on 6/11. Now I am scared! I am way off course and was supposed to of had a 80 mile ride in by 6/4! Uncertainty started to creep in and I started to question if I would survive. July quickly came and I was nowhere near hitting my 100 mile goal. I kept pushing and riding whenever I could and logged 293 miles over the month of July leading up to the ride.

I about drove my family crazy during this time. Everywhere we went my bike was in tow. Even on vacation I took my bike. I road in Atlanta, Nashville, Florida, and Ohio. The week before the ride was able to get in more hill training on vacation in the Hocking Hills here in Ohio. It has been quite a journey to go from not even owning a bike to riding 100 miles in 7 months. During this time I logged 1,600 miles of riding, 116 bike rides, 112 hours of riding and burnt 104,000 calories! I was ready on August 6th and am looking forward to doing it again next year! Thank you Katie, Nathan, Brandon, Justin, and Kailyn for all your support while I was training. I know took a commitment from all of us for me to achieve this. I love all of you.

Back to Mom, she is doing ok and continues her daily battle. The treatments have slowed the progression of the bone cancer. Our thoughts and prayers are with her daily. Brandon is doing better also and is not letting the depression get the best of him. 2015 was a tough year for our family but 2016 has been a year of triumphs.  Sure there have been pot holes along the road but you have to just keep peddling and moving ahead 1 mile at a time! My wish for you is to set a goal and to never lose sight of it. With hard work and determination we can all achieve great things. Next year it may be team Reiheld tackling the 100 mile ride! Katie, Nathan and Brandon have all expressed interest in riding!

With the help of great friends like you I have been able to raise $1,843 for cancer research. Thank you!! Year to date Pelotonia has raised $14,220,148. It is absolutely amazing what we can do if we all pull together. If you didn’t get a chance to contribute but would like to still help you can. Pelotonia will be accepting donations up to Oct 7th. To make a donation, please follow this link to my Rider profile page:

Again thank you everyone for all your support. – Joe Reiheld,




Here are a few pictures of my son and daughter and I prior to the race. I am ready for Saturday.




Thanks for sharing your journey with us Chad, you should be very proud of this accomplishment. 335 miles in six days is quite an accomplishment which goes to show that anything is possible with a little hard work and determination. Who knows, maybe I will be crazy enough to go next time, great job Chad!

As Chad had mentioned I have also been training for a bike ride. While Chad’s was for fun mine is more personal. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing my story leading up to the ride. Please keep checking back for my updates.

But first, what is Pelotonia? Founded in 2008, Pelotonia was established with the objective to fund life-saving cancer research. In a nut shell it is a grassroots bike tour with one goal end – cancer. The best part is Pelotonia is able to direct 100% of every rider-raised dollar to cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

Please join me in making the end of cancer a reality.

To make a donation, please follow this link to my Rider profile page:

IMG_0119 Training for Pelotonia did not stop while I was in Panama City Beach with my family on vacation. It was hot, but I still kept up on the training.

IMG_0121Riding and taking pictures is not advised. However, I could not resist taking a photo of the the beautiful scenery that I had the opportunity to pedal by during my vacation.