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Fremont teens visit Auburn during 1,000-mile bike ride

Losses inspire teens to fundraise for cancer research
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Chris Chan, 16, and Arvind Mahesh, 17, are Fremont American High School students who took a pit stop in Auburn Wednesday from a 1,000-mile bike ride to raise money. The two teens started a nine-day cycling trek in San Francisco earlier this week. The 2011 Tour of the West ride is 1,000 miles and is scheduled to end in Salt Lake City. The ride benefits the National Foundation for Cancer Research. The teens have a goal of raising at least $5,000 and as of Wednesday afternoon had raised $3,698. Chan and Mahesh completed an 850-mile 2010 Pacific Coast Tour last summer, raising $12,000 for their cause. Chan and Mahesh sat down with the Journal Wednesday during one of their scheduled rests in Auburn before heading to Truckee Thursday. Question: Why did you want to do this? Chan: For the past 10 years my dad fought cancer and it was pretty challenging watching him do it. In winter 2009 I came up with doing a bike ride to fundraiser for the organization. Me and my dad worked really hard on having the bike ride, and in early 2010 he passed away from cancer. At that time I didn’t want to do the ride at all because (his death) took a heavy toll on our family, but then I realized it motivated me even more to do the ride. Our friend Samir Pendse fought Leukemia for the past seven years and that motivated us to do this again. He was 18 years old when he passed away. Mahesh: Personally me and Chris’ family, we are also pretty close, and I have had plenty of relatives who have passed away from cancer. When Chris came up with this ride … I was like, ‘Sure, I want to do that.’ Q: How are you raising donations for the foundation? C: Mainly we are doing it through e-mail and online, promoting our cause. Last year we organized quite a few events where we actually raised a whole lot of money. Q: What has been the hardest thing about your journey so far? C: I think we could both agree it’s the heat. (Tuesday) our riding was all flat, but it was so hot it was probably one of the hardest days I have ever ridden. Starting in about two days we are going to start biking at night instead of the day. M: The climbs I could do any time, but it’s the heat. Other than that I’m fine. Q: How many miles do you ride a day? C: Every day is different. (Tuesday) we did 70. (Wednesday) we accidentally only did 50. It was a pretty easy day. On our last day from Wendover, Utah to Salt Lake City is 130 miles. Q: What has been your favorite part of the trip so far? C: I would say one of my favorite parts is probably staying with the hosts because you can share stories. Our last host last night has been all over the world. He has been bike touring since like 1947. M: I like when we pass the towns and find a market and just blast the cold air (to get out of the heat). Q: How do your families feel about your ride? C: My mom is generally really supportive of this even though I told her about all the risks and dangers. We stay in contact with our families. M: My parents are pretty supportive, too. My dad said, ‘If you think you can do it, you can do it. If you think you can’t do it, call me and I will come pick you up.’ Q: Are you staying with hosts at every stop? C: We only have three hosts. On our seventh day we are staying in Elko, Nev. with another host and for the rest of our days we will be camping. Q: Chris Carmichael, how did you hear about their ride? Carmichael: There is an organization that is used by touring cyclists to hook up hosts with the cyclists and it’s called Warmshowers.org. I have used the help of Warmshowers.org to find other hosts across the nation (when I tour). So that is how these guys found me. They said, ‘Hey, you are the guy in Auburn.’ For more information about Chan and Mahesh’s ride or to donate, visit their website ride-against-cancer.org. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com