Christian Completes 800-mile Haute Route Ride Through French Alps for Cancer Center

Sep 21, 2016

Christian Completes 800-mile Haute Route Ride Through French Alps for Cancer Center

Posted by Cindy Hickey on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 - 11:07 AM in Employees , Tour de Mercy 2014


We are so proud of Chris Christian, LAN administrator with Mercy Information Services! Earlier this month, Chris completed the Haute Route, an arduous, seven-day, 800-kilometer bike ride through the French Alps.

Chris Christian Completes Haute Route 2016 for Mercy Cancer Center, Canton, Ohio

It was the equivalent of running a full marathon per day for seven days.

Cycling to honor the memory of friends and family members who have died from cancer, Chris raised $2,348 for the Mercy Cancer Center with help from the hospital's wellness, health & fitness, and fund development teams.

Chris says the camaraderie of the other cyclists was an important difference between the Haute Route, which includes many roads used in Le Tour de France, and the solo ride he completed two years ago through Italy and France. It helped him finish the race.

The day after he completed his ride, Chris shared this update:

The Haute Route is over. Every evening [after riding] I noticed there were more and more riders missing. I found out it's because they had gone home early due to injury or just gave up.

Stage one on the first climb, I nearly gave up. I didn't want to, but I was having serious hip and lower back pain. It was stage one where I decided look one meter in front and take it a meter at a time.

As the week went on, I was surprised I was getting faster and stronger — not the other way around. By the time [day four] rolled around, I made it up Col du Galibier, one of the most difficult climbs in cycling. Every rider on the Haute Route this week who reached the summit also made amateur cycling history.

Let me be clear. There was nothing amateur about it. I'm very proud to have made that summit, and I was told I may have been one of the biggest riders to ever do so. Most of these guys are no more than 85 kilograms; I'm pushing 100 kilograms. I was, in fact, the biggest rider in this year's Haute Route Alps event.

The rest of the week, I continued to get better each climb. Stage 7 was my best day of the week with four cols climbed and a very fast pace from the last col to the finish, totaling 146 kilometers and at a near sprint the last 30 kilometers.

In closing, I would say I don't think I will ever do anything like this again on this level. I can honestly say this was truly a life-changing event and once again I'm humbled. This race has taken a lot out of me, but I'll be fine in a few days. I especially hope I have left something for my children and my wife to remember me by. Thanks to everyone who supported me and encouraged me, including my parents and all my friends back at Mercy. I remembered your posts every single day I was out there.

This Saturday, Chris will join the many Mercy employees who are participating in the Akron Marathon.

See the complete Haute Route photo album on Facebook >>

Chris Christian on the Haute Route French Alps 2016

Haute Route French Alps 2016 for Mercy Cancer Center

About Cindy Hickey

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Cindy Hickey, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Mercy Medical Center, began working at Mercy Medical Center in 1982 after completing her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University. She serves on the advisory board of About magazine and is a graduate of the 21st Class of Leadership Stark County.


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