Riding for a cause

Emily Arnick smiles after completing America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride on June 5 at Lake Tahoe, Nev. (Photo courtesy of Emily Arnick)

For her first ever bike race, Emily Arnick went big.

How big?

A 100-mile tour around Lake Tahoe, Nev., in a race dubbed America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, on June 5.

The Kodiak resident and 1993 graduate of Kodiak High School was one of more than 1,100 people who took the ride as part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training.

“The training is hard and it is a lot of time,” Arnick said. “But, you just think about who you are riding for and the bigger purpose. It wasn’t just for me to say that I did something; it was for a bigger picture.”

Competing in a Team in Training event has been on Arnick’s bucket list for more than 10 years, since she found out that her friend’s daughter-in-law, who had a 10-week-old baby, was diagnosed with a form of Leukemia.

“I’m a mom and that just crushed me,” Arnick said.

She decided to ride in the race this past February, even though she considers herself more of a runner.

In order to participate as part of the Team in Training, she had to raise money for the society. Her goal was $3,900. She raised $4,734.93.

“The community has just been awesome … everybody has been so generous and supportive,” she said.

Raising money was the easy part. Training in the Kodiak weather was the difficult part.

“I would sneak out when I could, but when the weather was bad I would do a lot of spinning stuff,” she said.

Her longest training ride was 60 miles.

“That jump from 60 to 100 is pretty steep,” she said.

The race itself turned out to be cold and wet. It rained a total of six inches during the race.

“There were points where you literally couldn’t see where you were going and just praying you are going to hold straight,” Arnick said.

She finished in 6 hours, 40 minutes, a time she said she was very pleased with.

There was a moment early in the race where she didn’t know if she could finish.

“There was a point at Mile 25 that I was so cold and wet I couldn’t feel my toes anymore,” she said. “I called my husband from the side of the road crying. I was frustrated because physically I could do it, but I was just so cold and wet.”

Her husband, Rachid, told her to cover her feet in garbage bags. The trick worked and she rode on.

Arnick now would like to compete in two more Team in Training events — a marathon and triathlon — to complete the Triple Crown Challenge.

But, before she focuses on a marathon, she still has one thing left to do.

“I thought I would finish this ride and never get on a bike again,” she said. “But I have been itching to go for a ride. It is kind of funny.”

Mirror writer Derek Clarkston can be reached via e-mail at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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