SEARSMONT — For the sixth year, Searsmont resident John Strassenreiter participated in the annual Great Cycle Challenge, a month-long fundraiser raising money via cycling to fight kids’ cancer.
Traditionally held in June, the challenge moved to September, also known as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Founded in 2015, the challenge has raised more than $24 million in its first five years to develop better treatments and find a cure for childhood cancer, according to its website. Cyclists in all 50 states combined for over 18 million miles in the challenge’s first five years.
Strassenreiter’s largest motivating factor is his niece, Kelly Rogers, who was diagnosed with kidney cancer at age four and again as a teenager.
“Most people don’t realize the devastating effects of chemo and radiation on a child and that’s why she got cancer again 10 years later,” commented Strassenreiter. “She’s my hero!!”
Strassenreiter also cycled this year as a member of Team Nat, a collective group of cyclists.
In an interview after his participation in the challenge in 2019, Strassenreiter noted Rogers had a second surgery and chemotherapy for cancer in her other kidney as a teenager and was engaged with a wedding on the horizon in 2020.
That wedding was safely held this year, and Strassenreiter was able to tailor his 2020 cycle challenge schedule around the wedding.
Strassenreiter himself is a two-time cancer survivor.
“When I was treated for two different cancers I saw the kids at Memorial Sloan Hospital in NYC and couldn’t help but think of Kelly,” he stated, in 2019. “[W]hen this Challenge came along in 2015, I just knew it would be the perfect thing for me to do to help raise awareness of kids cancer.”
During this year’s challenge, Strassenreiter rode 565.8 miles and raised $1,000 to fight childhood cancer.
John Strassenreiter’s Great Cycle Challenge Rides
Sept. 1: 21.5 miles from Searsmont to Belmont
Sept. 2: 12 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 3: 13.2 miles Belfast Rail to Trail along Passagassawakeag River
Sept. 3: 8 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 4: 12.8 miles from Searsmont to Liberty
Sept. 4: 8 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 5: 20.4 miles around Searsmont
Sept. 6: 14.3 miles from Belfast to Quantabacook Lake
Sept. 7: 21 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 8: 17.5 miles around Belfast
Sept. 8: 5 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 9: 12.8 miles from Rockland waterfront to Samoset
Sept. 9: 8 miles from Hope to Searsmont
Sept. 10: 18 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 11: 22.5 miles from Searsmont to Belmont
Sept. 12: 13.6 miles from Belmont Corners to Belfast/Augusta Road
Sept. 13: 13 miles from Belfast to Quantabacook Lake
Sept. 13: 8 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 14: 13.7 miles around Rockland waterfront
Sept. 14: 10 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 15: 15.1 miles from Scarborough to Old Orchard Beach
Sept. 16: 5.3 miles from Pond Road to Searsmont Village
Sept. 16: 16.1 mile ride
Sept. 17: 12.1 mile ride around Belfast
Sept. 17: 8 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 18: 10 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 19: 13.8 miles around Long Island, New York
Sept. 19: 5 miles around Long Island, New York
Sept. 19: 12.7 miles around Long Island, New York
Sept. 20: 3.5 miles around Long Island, New York
Sept. 20: 10 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 21: 21 miles from Quantabacook to Belfast
Sept. 22: 15 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 23: 15.1 miles from Moody Mt. to Appleton Ridge
Sept. 24: 10 miles around Freeport
Sept. 25: 15.2 miles from Searsmont to Liberty
Sept. 26: 15 miles around Belfast
Sept. 27: 11.2 miles from Falmouth to Freeport
Sept. 28: 14 miles from Muzzy Ridge to Pond Road
Sept. 29: 21.9 miles from Quantabacook to Belmont Corners
Sept. 29: 5 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 30: 18 miles on an indoor spin bike
Sept. 30: 12.5 miles from Quantabacook to Lake St. George
Sept. 30: 7 miles on an indoor spin bike