CASPER — They're biking through the hills, against the wind and rain to help fight an uphill battle tougher than any terrain in the United States — cancer.
Nick Daniel, 23, and Michelle Malaska, 24, are biking in what's being called the Cancer Ride. The two began cycling across the United States, from Oregon to Virginia, at the beginning of June to raise awareness and seek donations for cancer research.
"Even if everyone who heard about us donated $10," Malaska said Monday in Casper, "it would be phenomenal."
Daniel came up with the idea after two grandfathers died of cancer and a girlfriend's family friend was diagnosed and later died of cancer.
The Cancer Ride was a way for Daniel to make sure he did his part. Malaska also said cancer has hit close to her home. She has an aunt going through chemotherapy.
"The frightening truth is any one of us can get this terrible disease regardless or race, ethnicity, diet, exercise or lifestyle," Daniel said on the Cancer Ride's Web site.
Daniel said he developed a route that is mostly highways and country roads, while staying away from the interstates.
The two said so far Oregon has been the toughest state to ride through, and on their best day they traveled 120 miles. On average, each day they travel between 70 and 100 miles.
They have been lucky so far, receiving donations for food and finding places to stay, they said, and have received a warm reaction from people across the country. Many people have told their own cancer stories. Daniel and Malaska stay with friends, at churches and with other, sometimes random, people along the way.
Although the Cancer Ride is to be finished sometime in mid- to late July, the two started working on the project long before the ride actually began. Daniel worked with the American Cancer Society and Team ACS, which make it possible for donations to be made directly through the Cancer Ride's Web site.
The Web site has a Web blog on the day's activities from the ride, as well as information about donating and the riders.
Malaska said she has found the trip to be an adventure because each day they're unsure of where they'll stay and what the day has in store for them. Both are marathon runners, but Malaska said she didn't do enough training for the ride.
"The first two days were pretty tough, but after a while you get in a routine," she said.