For the second straight year, Blue Jackets defenseman Dalton Prout is gearing up for one of the city's biggest cancer research fundraisers -- and this year, he's bringing new teammate David Clarkson along with him.
This is Prout’s second time riding and 2015 will mark the seventh Pelotonia ride in the event’s history. Pelotonia, which started in 2008, was established with the objective to fund life-saving cancer research.
The 2015 funds raised to date is already more than $11 million with close to 8,000 registered riders.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Prout told BlueJackets.com. “My first time around, I got a bike that didn’t quite fit right, and (this year) I got one that is a little bit lighter and I’ve gone out for a few more training rides, so I think this time around I’ll know what to expect – knowing when the rests are, knowing when to go a little easier, when it opens up and isn’t as busy at the start of the race. Just little things and doing it before that will make the race a little bit smoother.”
|The 2015 Pelotonia will be Dalton Prout's second ride. (photo: Jim Coleman) |
According to the Pelotonia website, “Pelotonia’s operating expenses are covered by generous funding partners so that 100 percent of every dollar raised by Pelotonia Riders, Virtual Riders and Volunteers goes directly to fund cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.”
“I think any time you can give back and raise money and do things (it’s important),” Clarkson said. “It’s a little bit of a long ways, but I think the group we’re going in, Prouter’s gotten to know these guys pretty well, I’ll get to know them a bit… and this is one of the longer ones I’ll do, but I’m excited.
The hockey players, who will be amongst thousands of others participating, will be riding on the 50-mile route which begins downtown Columbus, goes southeast into Fairfield County, and finishes in New Albany.
Even for two well-conditioned professional athletes, they're anticipating quite the challenge.
“I’ll do the adventure,” Clarkson joked of the lengthy ride. “Prouter did one with me last week, the (Pedal-with-Pete fundraiser in Hilliard). So I figured I’d do this one. Everyone seems to tell me what a good experience it is, how much fun they have, so I’m excited to do it.”
In addition to bicycling, the three-day event also incorporates entertainment and volunteerism. Pelotonia has raised more than $82 million for cancer research in its first six rides -- and it continues to grow each year.
It's a cause that's well worth the physical challenges.
“Living here in the summer, I try to make it a point to not just work out and not just hang out with the guys on the team,” Prout said. “I want to get to know people in the city. I want to help out in any way I can and the position that we’re in, I feel like there’s a fun responsibility in trying to give back and we’re fortunate enough to be in the position that we are that we can.
“The people that I’ve met through doing this event, how overwhelmingly well put together it is... it expands your horizons in the city and it’s a lot of fun to be a part of for those reasons.”