Enjoying the Great Outdoors One Pedal at a Time - New Mexico VA Health Care System
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Enjoying the Great Outdoors One Pedal at a Time

Dr. Prevost and Dr. Danczyk prepare for the Ride

Dr. Prevost and Dr. Danczyk prepare for the ride

By Ron Bassford, Public Affairs Specialist
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

On your drive into work, have you ever noticed a cyclist or cyclists commuting to work and admired that person for doing so, or maybe, you think, it would be cool to ride a bike to work one day?

Perhaps it's crossed your mind that bicycle commuting not only helps the environment and saves gas money, but it can also help you stay fit and burn a few extra calories. One avid cyclist here at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center commutes, via bicycle to work, 2-3 times per week. Dr. Merideth Prevost, a PSA/Hospitalist advises that she really enjoys the fresh air.

“I ride to work relieve stress, increase energy and improve my fitness level,” Prevost said. “A colleague and I will be participating in the Death Ride Tour, which is a 3-day, 235-mile ride that travels through some of Colorado’s most scenic areas.”

When asked what motivates her to participate in events such as this one, Prevost said, “It is a great way for me to challenge myself, push my limits and do something active for a good cause. I have had many patients and friends affected by ALS and have seen firsthand its devastating effects. It is my pleasure to be able to do something to increase awareness of the disease and help fund research to find treatments. In addition, it is an opportunity for me to reflect on my own life and priorities, honor and remember those lost and cherish the life we have.”

Prevost went on to say that she usually participates in several bike events each year and usually does at least one charity ride each year to raise money and awareness for the charity she chooses. This ride will be in honor of Master Sgt. Karl Toponce, father of Julie Hinzman (PA-C Vascular Surgery) and fellow faculty members who suffer from this disease.

“The Hospitalist Medicine Faculty have also been affected greatly by ALS, with two our colleagues suffering from the disease,” stated Prevost.

As daunting as this will sound, the riders will cross over 5 mountain passes with steep declines, traveling at speeds of over 60 mph, then transition into a climb reaching an elevation of over 11,500 feet. If you plan on doing one of these type events, you must be in top physical shape to complete a tour like this one. Those who have done this loop before know just how pleasurable it can be.

Oh, the feeling one gets when they cross the finish line is indescribable, and knowing they not only completed the tour, but also contributed to a very loyal cause.

Whether you’re an avid cyclist like Dr. Prevost or a novice, the thought of riding a bike to work could be a good alternative when it comes to commuting each day. After you outline some strategies to be successful on that first commute, you might find yourself wanting more. The commuters that I have met here that bike to work regularly do it because the personal rewards are so great. The savings on gas, the exercise benefits they get out of it, the open road with time to think, and the cool crisp air keeps them coming back for more. Make no mistake, it takes a special person to be a bike commuter and if anything, we can admire from them for their true grit.

We want to wish good luck to Dr. Prevost and Dr. Danczyk, on June 8-10, 2019, they will both be out there riding for the ALS cause and as they challenge themselves on this very difficult tour. We will be right there in spirit with you every pedal of the way!

The tour will start in Silverton, head south down to Durango and then climb up the million-dollar highway to Telluride, before ending at the starting point back in Silverton. The Death Ride tour is a non-profit event that helps support the war on ALS and helps make a difference in the lives of those fighting this horrible, devastating disease.


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