Web Unlimited VP Operations Takes on Cancer by Riding 2,100+ Miles
Howdy! My name is Chris Hunter. I’m the VP Operations for Web Unlimited and I will ride 2,147 miles from Houston, TX to Baltimore, MD this summer (June 2-30) to raise money and awareness for cancer research. Why am I taking on such a monumental task? Keep reading. This post turned into kind of a long post, but it’s worth it so keep reading.
How to Change the World
Have you ever wondered what you can do to change the world? I have. When my Dad and lead programmer for Web Unlimited, Michael Hunter, was battling pancreatic cancer in 2009, he asked me to do two things. The first was to take care of my Mom when he passed. The second was to get rid of that disease so nobody else would go through what he was going through.
Pancreatic Cancer has a very high mortality rate. In fact it’s one of the deadliest cancers coming in at a typical mortality rate of 95% in the first year of diagnosis. That’s because by the time you know you have it, it’s most likely in stage 4 and has started to spread. That’s the worst type of cancer because you aren’t dealing with just one area, you’re battling several areas of cancer. And if you’ve ever studied Sun Tzu’s Art of War, then you know you only want to battle on one front and not multiple.
So when my Dad asked me to get rid of Pancreatic Cancer, well let’s say that I was a just a little overwhelmed and thought to myself, “How in the world can I do that?” I racked my brain for nearly two years before I came up with the answer.
How I Lost Almost 60 Lbs in 2011
On January 1, 2011, I woke up very overweight. In fact as I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. I was the heaviest I have ever been. During the Christmas season just before that date, I had received a pair of jeans from my wife that I barely fit into. They were size 38 – something I told myself I would never grow out of – and I had.
So I decided to lose weight. Since I was a heart attack waiting to happen, I needed to do something to ensure that I would stick around for my wife and kids. As an Internet Marketing expert and programmer, I sit around a LOT. My lifestyle would definitely be described as sedentary.
I needed to lose weight in a BIG way. I set my goal at 50 pounds. Now for the hard part, how do I achieve that? Enter the “4 Hour Body” book I picked up that was authored by Tim Ferris. In it there are a lot of shortcuts you can take to lose weight. So I read the book and started putting one thing into practice at a time.
1. Changed Diet
The first was to change my diet. I cut out all things white. Simple. No breads, sugars or milk. I switched to mainly meats, legumes (beans), and salads.
2. Added Exercise
Second, I started walking. Initially, I walked 20 minutes every morning – no matter what. That was the key – to ensure that I walked every single morning. After a couple of weeks, I moved to 30 minutes and progressively worked to 45 minutes with running mixed in.
3. Exercised in the Cold
Third, I exercised in the cold and took cold showers. In the 4 Hour Body book there is a chapter that I ended up reading over and over and over. It’s the chapter entitled “Ice Age” and is written by a now friend of mine, Ray Cronise. To sum it up it outlines a way to triple your caloric burn by simply getting cold while you exercise. That’s how people like Michael Phelps can eat 12,000+ calories per day and still stay trim.
It’s due to thermodynamics and how your body acts as a heater to stay at a constant temperature. If you trick it into being cold then your metabolism goes into hyper-drive to maintain the same temperature and you can achieve a 3-4 times caloric burn.
This was perfect as I started walking in the coldest months of the year. So instead of bundling up for my walks, I instead opted for short sleeve shirts and a hat and gloves. I sure got a lot of looks from the other walkers and runners!
At first I would freeze, but as I exercised, my body would warm up nicely and by the end of my walk/runs I would be in a flop sweat.
The effect? By the end of March I had lost 30 pounds. Wow. Amazing considering that according to my calculations I was at a 500 calorie deficit each day which should only put me at losing 1 pound per week. Most weeks were about 3-4 pounds of weight loss and I believe it’s entirely due to thermodynamics.
* To learn more about Thermogenex (what Ray calls this effect) and how to supercharge your weight loss naturally, go to Ray Cronise’s blog here.
Added Biking to the Mix
So I kept at it and added in biking to work in March. I remembered that in college, I rode my bike to and from school every day about 5 miles. I was in excellent shape then. So I decided to start biking to work which was a 5 mile one-way trip.
I liked the biking aspect so much that in May, I ended up dropping my walk/run in the morning. Plus I found some calorie calculators online and noticed that I could burn about triple the amount of calories in the same amount of time by biking vs walking.
Training for the MS Ride
Then in May, a friend talked me into riding in an MS ride in October. Not only did I commit to that, I committed myself to riding 100 miles the first day and then 60 the next. At the time, my biggest ride was my 5 mile trek to work – on my mountain bike mind you so 100 miles seemed huge!
In June, my father-in-law loaned me his road bike, a 1986 Romic. A very excellent bike. So I worked up a little at a time in the upcoming months. By the end of July I was riding around 30 miles per day and going strong.
I won’t bore you with all of the details as that’s not the point of this post. But suffice it to say that I ended up completing the 160 mile ride with no problem. I had over prepared and rode both days extremely strong. I would say I finished in the 90th percentile in all of 10,000+ riders. Not bad for a novice right?
The biggest benefit of all? On the day before I left for the ride, I weighed in at 179lbs (58 pounds of loss). I was in shape and down almost 60 pounds from when I started on January 1. Yea!!
I Ride for Cancer
After the ride in October 2011, I struggled to keep motivated to ride. On each ride after that, I kept thinking that I needed to sign up for another ride to motivate me.
Then on a training ride in late October, it hit me. What if I rode cross country? If I broke it up, I’m sure I could ride the mileage. It’s basically what I’ve been doing in my training. Plus on top of riding cross country, what if I raised money for cancer? It fit into what my Dad asked me to do, so why not?
The only limiting factor at that point was having a support crew and the support of my family, namely my wife. I asked my wife a few weeks before Thanksgiving and she of course said yes. Then I asked my father in law, Vince Falbo to be my support crew. He is retired and has the luxury of taking off a month (what I figured it would take at that time) and best – has an RV. He said yes!
So we ended up starting a non profit organization called I Ride for Cancer that will promote riding to get rid of cancer (obesity comprises of 1/3 of the causes of cancer deaths each year) as well as raising money for cancer research.
In the upcoming months I started my training with doing CrossFit at Boomfit in College Station. By the way, if you need to get into shape (and I really mean getting fit), then I have no doubt in my mind that CrossFit is one of the best ways to do that. Call up Charlie Lima at Boomfit and he will get you into a program that will whip you into shape and get you in the best shape of your life!
2012 I Ride for Cancer Ride
So that bring us to today. It’s April 2, 2012 and I’m less than 60 days from leaving on this epic adventure. We have the route scheduled out with an average of 90 miles per day. That sounds like a lot, but it’s really not so bad. I figure I’ll be on the bike about 6 hours per day maximum. And if I start out at 7am each day, I should be done no later than 12 or 1pm each day.
All along the route I will be talking with people and groups like Rotary and Cancer support groups about cancer and spreading the message. We will also be asking biking groups all along the route to ride out with me each day.
I also plan on documenting the entire trip with videos and a blog and have already started with my “blog training” by documenting each training day on the I Ride for Cancer blog. I should be adding in videos soon to get that all down before the ride as well.
We Need Your Help!
So why am I writing about this here on the Web Unlimited blog? Mainly because we need as much publicity as possible. My goal on the ride is to raise $50,000 to benefit LiveStrong Foundation, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, MD Anderson, and Johns Hopkins.
Additionally, we need to raise $7,000 for the ride which is what we estimate that we’ll need for lodging, gas, food and incidentals that will indefinitely come up. I’m hoping for sponsors to pay for the ride itself and then for donations from individuals to go toward the fundraising goal of $50,000.
If you own a business, will you consider helping to sponsor the ride? In exchange for sponsoring the ride, we will add your logo to the I Ride for Cancer website, the jersey, any publicity we can get in any media and of course in each video we produce all along the way. It’s a great marketing investment as well as a way to help with cancer research – something that affects every single American.
In conclusion, this 2,100+ mile ride ride is very personal to me. I ride for my Dad. I ride for my wife and kids. I ride for my family. I ride for my country. I ride for my God. I ride for the hundreds of thousands of parents who are going to die this year from cancer. I ride for the children of those parents who will wonder the rest of their lives what they could have done differently to save their parent’s life. I Ride for Cancer.
Thank you and God bless you.
Chris Hunter – I Ride for Cancer