The Toughest Journey in the World
by Robert Warren Hess

Every cancer survivor faces their own, unique journey through the rest of their life. I know, because I’m an 11 year prostate cancer survivor.

It’s a life-changing journey of survival that requires changes in what we do, what we eat, and how we think. In my case, my survival program included getting back on my bicycle and riding around the world*, because exercise helps build the body’s immune system and helps with changing to a healthier life system.

Le Tour de France 2014
The Tour de France is, without question, the toughest bicycle race in the world. The 2014 edition of the Tour de France lasts 21 days and covers 3,664 kilometers – that’s 2,276.704 miles! Just finishing the Tour de France is an incredible feat. The journey of a lifetime for a professional cyclist.

But, as is almost always the case, the focus is almost soley on the most talented riders – the race leaders, CG contenders, king of the mountain contenders, and the sprinters. There’s even a special category for the best younger rider and the most courages rider of the day. But there is no recognition for the riders at the end of the 198-man strong peloton. Until now, that it.

As you probably know, we use bicycling events as one of our major prostate cancer and breast awareness programs because we reach lots of men and women and cycling promotes a healthy lifestyle that aids in cancer prevention. Our biggest event is Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Loop Gran Fondo, held each September in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

The PCAP Lanterne Rouge Jersey
We award King and Queen of the Mountain jerseys to the fastest riders in their age category. But we also created something very special for the last person to finish the ride. The person that just ‘gutted it out’ and made it happen.

We call it the “Lanterne Rouge” jersey, because that’s what the French call the last person to finish each stage of the Tour de France. Lanterne Rouge means Red Lantern, which is what a train conductor uses on the caboose to signal to the engineer.

Prostate Cancer Awareness Project Lanterne Rouge Cycling Jersey

To date, we have awarded three of these jerseys at our annual Alpine Loop Gran Fondo event.

Question for Comment

We think this is a fun idea. What do you think? What other jerseys might we create to help with prostate and breast cancer awareness?


*Around the World in 10 Years
It took me 10 years to finish my 24,901.6 miles. I rode it day-by-day, just like my cancer journey. You can join in my next trip around the world and do it by riding right in your own area. Click the following link for full details on how you can ride with me |Around the World Challenge.