How I Use my Bicycle to Stop My Cancer . . . 

Part of my post-treatment survival plan was more exercise, so as soon as things healed up after my prostate cancer surgery in May 2003, I jumped back on my bicycle and started riding again. Since May 3, 2003, I’ve ridden just over 27,318.28 miles – [yes, I track every ride I take and more about that later] – more than the distance around the earth.

PCAP founder Robert Warren Hess climbing Mt. Baldy

Climbing Mt. Baldy

I initially thought I was riding because I’d read that exercise helped prevent cancer recurrence, and I was determined to keep my prostate cancer from recurring. But, I’m not so certain that’s the real reason.

What Exercise Research Says About Why We Exercise

I was in San Francisco on January 15, 2016 for inaugural Cancer Survivorship Symposium as a patient Advocate for the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)and one of the key themes that kept recurring through all of the presentations on both days was the importance of lifestyle change – exercise and nutrition – in the post-treatment part of cancer journeys.

But speaker after speaker noted the difficulty cancer survivors have in making and maintaining exercise in their lives, even though they know it’s critical to their quality of life and even, perhaps, for their survival. So, if exercise is that important, why do some survivors – like me – exercise like crazy and others don’t?

Why Do We Exercise? Or Not?

I’ve begun reading about exercise psychology and I’ll be posting more about that here in our blog. For myself, I think the answer is just one word: fun. I love to ride. And I love to ride long – 100 mile century bicycle rides. And up steep hills like Mt. Baldy, where the last part at the top is a seriously-steep 17 degree slope.

Why is this fun for me? I don’t know yet but I’ll definitely report in as I read more deeply into the literature.  One thing I’ve already, though, is that you don’t need to work as hard as I do to get valuable benefits from exercise. Even walking less than 10 minutes at a time is hugely benefit. More on that later.

My New Serenity Marvel S Track Bike

I live on the west side of Los Angeles so I have easy access to the only world-class indoor velodrome in the US, and I train there as much as I can. I’ve won two California championships over the past 8 years and in 2017 the World Masters Track Championships will be held at the Velo Sports Center here in Carson. So, it’s time to get ready for Worlds! At right a shot of Nate Koch working on the fit for my Serenity.

Nate Kock working on Robert Hess's Serenity Marvel S

As you might imagine, I’m pretty excited about the new bike. But my wonderful wife says “One more bike in, one bike out!” She’s actually my biggest supporter!!

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Until next time, Allez!

Robert Mt Baldy 2015