While Katelyn Cardoza’s friends are busy this summer trying to figure out what they’re going to do in order to pass the time, she’ll be busy trying to figure out how to get from the top of the United States to the bottom.
On a bicycle.
The soon-to-be-graduate of Park View Elementary School in Ripon will be embarking with her father next week on the Great Cycle Challenge – trekking from Victoria, British Columbia down through the Pacific Northwest and clear down California en route to Tijuana, Mexico – to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
So far, the team of two – which are calling their team and the adventure “Cardoza’s Bike The Coast” – have surpassed their $5,000 team fundraising goal by more than $2,000, Out of the 40,000 participants who will be logging miles on the road through the month of June for charity, Katelyn Cardoza is currently in 5th place. With her father Jerad’s pledges thrown in, the team of two is the third highest grossing team on the leaderboards – with the team above them, for the sake of perspective, carrying more than 100 members.
“She’s really a remarkable kid,” Jerad Cardoza said about his daughter who will turn 14 somewhere between Canada and Mexico next month. “She’s already put in 1,200 miles to get ready for this thing, and she’s dedicated to this – to think that she got all of those miles in before daylight savings time started shows her level of dedication to this.”
The idea for the father-daughter bike ride – which will cover more than 1,800 miles from start-to-finish – was born out of an idea that Jerad’s grandfather once pitched to him when he was just a child. Wanting to ride a bicycle from the Central Valley up to Oregon, Jared said he never put too much thought into it before the idea of the Great Cycle Challenge just kind of fell into their lap.
And there couldn’t be a more fitting beneficiary for the hard-work and dedication that the Cardoza family is putting in.
According to Jerad, his oldest daughter’s boyfriend, Tanner Peterson, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was still a student a Sierra High School in Manteca. A promising baseball player, Jerad recalls having a front row seat watching the star athlete go through chemotherapy and radiation, and seeing just how much of an impact cancer can have in the lives of children.
So when the opportunity arose, and he started looking into Katelyn’s idea about raising money through their team journey, supporting the Children’s Cancer Research Fund seemed like it was simply “meant to be.”
And it won’t be an easy journey.
In order to cover the ground needed to arrive at their destination by their projected date, the two of them will have to average 57-miles on the bike every day – with some projected to be as short as 19-miles, and others as long as 75-miles depending on the terrain that they’ll be covering.
Jerad, who has been cycling for almost 15 years, helped his daughter train by taking her to places like Knight’s Ferry, Patterson Pass and Mount Diablo – marveling every single time she tackled a course more challenging than the one before it.
Not bad for a girl whose only experience climbing on a bicycle before this was traversing the Wilma Road overcrossing.
“We’re going to be taking a route that follows along Highway 101 and Highway 1 a good majority of the trip with some surface roads that’ll make traveling a bit easier, but we’re going to see some good climbs in there,” Cardoza said. “There’s no way to get around Leggett Pass in Fort Bragg, and there’s no way around Big Sur.
“But seeing her on the training rides that we did – Mount Diablo is a tougher climb than anything that we’ll come across and she did that in a day and was ready to go the next – I knew that we were going to be able to do this.”
In order to make them more efficient the duo will ride lean with the least amount of gear as possible so that they can make good time – meaning that they’ll have to rely on stopping in towns along the way and sleeping in motels. While it wasn’t much of a problem mapping the route through California with places to stay, some of the more remote areas of Washington and Oregon were a challenge and will require some long days.
But with the once-in-a-lifetime experience before them and the picturesque beauty of the coastline of the Western United States serving as their backdrop, Jerad says that the excitement level is an all-time high leading up the Memorial Day departure.
“I think that it’s a really cool thing that she’s doing,” Cardoza said. “I’m pretty sure she’s going to be the only kid at Ripon High School next year that has done something like this. It’s going to be something to remember.”
Those interested in making a donation in the name of supporting childhood cancer research can do so by visiting greatcyclechallenge.com/riders/katelyncardoza – a donate now button is prominently displayed.
Anyone interested in tracking their progress on the journey can do so by visiting cardozasbikethecoast.blogspot.com.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.