Aubuchon raising funds for Cure on Wheels
Although a bike crash a little more than a year ago stopped one Cape Coral man from participating in the more than 325-mile, three-day bike ride, he has almost reached his $8,000 goal for Cure on Wheels.
The deadline to support Gary Aubuchon’s Virtual Ride to Tallahassee is Friday and can be done by visiting flipcause.com.
“For me this year was really about keeping the fact that cancer doesn’t sleep first in people’s minds. Even though I couldn’t ride, I could still do something to raise awareness and money for research,” Aubuchon said.
Cure on Wheels holds an annual bike-a-thon to raise money for cancer research and family support services.
As of March 20, Aubuchon has raised 64 percent of his goal, $5,125.
“We only have $2,875 more to go,” he said.
Last year’s more than 325-mile Cure on Wheels Capital Ride from Tampa to Tallahassee in three days started off great.
“It was a great ride. I was feeling really good. We had a rare trailwind, so that was moving us quite nicely along U.S. 90 that runs between Lake City and Tallahassee. Probably because we were getting close, I probably relaxed a little more than I should have,” Aubuchon said.
The rider in front of him unexpectedly hit his brakes, leaving Aubuchon without a chance to stop. He hit the rider’s back wheel causing his bike’s front wheel to go sideways, throwing him off the bike onto the road at 22 miles an hour. That happened Feb. 21, 2022.
“I was extraordinarily lucky. When I fell there wasn’t any traffic in the lane that I was traveling in,” Aubuchon said.
When the ride begins, all the riders start together and then throughout the day break off into smaller groups based on the speed of the riders. There are SAG, support vehicles that follow the riders with water, nutrition and lunch, as they bike all day long.
“We were in one of the front groups. I was fortunate there were two physicians in my group and two paramedics that came up behind me in the following group. There wasn’t anything to do, except keep the traffic diverted around me until the ambulance came,” Aubuchon said.
He spent six days at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, as he had six broken ribs, a punctured lung, as well five breaks in his clavicle, which needed surgery.
“I spent six days in the hospital until surgeries could be scheduled and a team of physicians decided on the best path forward for me. They used two plates and about 16 screws to piece my clavicle back together. Then my ribs just healed on their own over time,” Aubuchon said.
It was not until 48 hours post-op that his wife was able to drive him back home. It took about four to five months before he felt he could workout with intensity again and about a year until he really started to feel normal.
His goal is to join the Capital Ride again next year in person, as his endurance was not yet there to ride for three days this year.
“The hope is to have a new bike to ride next year,” as his trusty 1997 Schwinn Passage, which needed minor repairs after the accident, is being retired to leisure rides. “I have been back on the bike and have done a little tour with my wife on that bike.”