A Canton man is getting ready for the ride of his life, biking 3,000 miles from California to Florida. The cross-country trip is about more than checking something off his bucket list. His reason for riding is deeply personal and he is hoping to help save lives along the way.
One month from now, Steve Pachan will set out on an unforgettable journey.
“The Ride Across America has been a goal of mine for years and I've always felt that I wanted to do it someday,” he said.
And since he retired in January, he decided to make "someday" happen now.
“Also along with that, if I'm riding across the country, I thought well, let's do it as a fundraiser for something that's important to me, which is colon cancer research,” Pachan explained.
Important -- because colon cancer runs in his family. All but one of his siblings, as well as one of his sons, tested positive for the gene mutation that causes it, known as Lynch Syndrome. He has also seen the toll the disease can take firsthand.
“My father passed away at age 59,” said Pachan. “About two years ago, I lost a brother to colon cancer and two of my brothers, my oldest and youngest have both had sections removed.”
So Pachan will ride with a purpose. It is something his family says they are very proud of.
“Steve is probably the greatest guy that I know,” remarked his sister-in-law, Lanette Ginese. “He's very strong, very dedicated to his family and I cannot wait to follow him on Facebook daily to see how he's doing. I'm very proud of him.”
During the ride, Pachan will collect donations for colon cancer research. But he says his mission goes beyond that.
“It's more if I can affect somebody to go get checked and they find a polyp or a cancer in them and they catch it early, it's curable. And that's my goal, is to make people aware.”
Pachan has been training four to five days a week, riding anywhere from 20 to 65 miles. His good friend and riding partner, Ted Lloyd, will be with him, helping to push him every step of the way.
“Will it be difficult? Yes,” said Pachan. “There's going to be some hard days. We have a 109 mile day and then the next day is a 90 mile day so there's going to be some challenges along the way, I'm sure.”
The ride starts October 1st in San Diego and ends in St. Augustine, Fla. on November 15th. You can follow along with Pachan’s journey through his Facebook page at fb.me/RAA4DDR.