Ron Ponder always wanted to ride his bike cross-country. Even before he jotted it down on his 25 things to before I die list, he has dreamt about making the journey.

But when the time finally came that the 52-year-old Ponder could make the trip, he didn’t want to do it just for the sake of doing it. Ponder wanted his dream to have meaning.

“I am doing it because I just wanted to do it,” Ponder said. “But that sounds selfish. So I thought I would help people out. I am raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation.”

Ponder will take off from California Aug. 10 and wants to land in Virginia 45 days later. He plans to ride 85 miles a day.

Along the way he hopes to make stops in cities and towns raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and cancer research.

“They work with survivor issues, not just finding cures,” Ponder said. “Helping people who have cancer and how they can live their lives more fully.”

Ponder wants to raise at least $30,000, which he feels is modest compared to what others involved with the battle against cancer are bringing to the table.

As of now, Ponder’s route has him rolling through Kansas instead of his hometown of Norman. But he said that can easily be changed.

“If I can get something planned then I swing down here,” Ponder said. “I’m flexible. It’s my own time.”

Having the opportunity to make his own schedule and make the journey is something Ponder has been thinking about for quite some time.

“I was in restaurant management business,” Ponder said. “I always pictured myself quitting one job and going onto something better. But before I would start, I would take two months off to do this.”

However, as Ponder found out, life can take a different course than the one that is mapped out.

With his job and family commitments, Ponder never found that open two months on his calender to accomplish his goal. And soon it became part of his to-do before I die list. In fact, the cross-country bike ride is No. 1.

But with Ponder not getting any younger, he figured this was the year.

“I am calling my own shots now so I can do it,” Ponder said. “When I told my wife that this is the year, she knew exactly what I was talking about.”

Even though this has been a dream of his for some time and his wife will be following him in a RV, Ponder knows the ride will not be an easy task. And that at some point he will face a day when his body turns against him.

“The hardest thing will be when I am miserable that I just don’t turn the RV around and go home,” Ponder said. “After you have done 100 miles one day, that first five minutes back in the saddle is terrible. At some point it will come back to me why I am doing this and say no, this is my goal.”

Ponder believes that once he gets past that point, he can finish the ride and that the last 500 miles will fly by.

When the ride is complete, not even Ponder knows what he will do.

“I am not sure what I will do with the rest of my life,” Ponder said. “I will have to reevaluate the list. But this will always be No. 1.”

Trending Video