A few weeks ago, I interviewed Jeff Tredup, a cancer researcher at Bristol-Myers Squibb who is a member of the 2005 Tour of Hope National Team. I first met Jeff at the dedication of a segment of The Lawrence-Hopewell Trail that took place at BMS's campus in Hopewell, NJ. He lives in Pennington, NJ, which makes him the only member of the Tour of Hope National Team who lives in my home area.
I asked Jeff how he got into riding a bicycle? He said he started riding as a kid, and at the time he thought of riding a bike as his little bit of freedom on the road. He got into mountain biking in 1991 when he moved to New Jersey from Illinois. He joined the Princeton Freewheelers, a large local biking organization and more or less switched to road biking. Jay Stevenson of the 2003 Tour of Hope team is also a member of the Freewheelers.
Tredup said that he got into drug research after studying plant genetics in college. He started working in an immunology lab at the University of Illinois after graduation. He got his job at Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1991.
I said, "You were diagnosed with thyroid cancer more than four years ago and your bio says that you still have detectable cancer cells in your body. What does that mean in terms of your prognosis? Are you still under treatment?"
Jeff said that his thyroid cancer spread into his lymph nodes, which makes it very difficult to totally eliminate, but he's doing well enough today to participate in the Tour of Hope as a National Team member.
Tredup first applied for the Tour of Hope National Team in 2004, but had to widthdraw his application because he had a recurrence and had to go through a second round of radiation.
I was surprised to learn that Jeff hadn't participated in the Tour of Hope DC Fundraising Ride before, since the first two years of the ride were short and relatively easy to complete. He said that he didn't participate last year because he broke his collarbone while trying to recover from his second bout with cancer.
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A friend of mine has a brother who was recently diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I asked Jeff where my friend should look for information about clinical trials that may reduce his brother's drug and care costs. Jeff recommended the following websites:
I recently moved to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, so I was curious where the Tour of Hope National Team rode when they had their first training camp in Princeton back in June. Tredup said that they rode over the Washington's Crossing Bridge on the Delaware River and into Bucks County. They also went into the area around Pennington, NJ. He wasn't anymore specific than that. I guess they might have ridden along many of the same roads that I did on my 23-mile ride on Tuesday that took me through towns like Newtown, Solebury, and New Hope.
Jeff said that Carmichael Training Systems has a web-based training journal where the National Team coaches post a series of workouts a week in advance. He doesn't upload data from his heart rate monitor, but has it available during discussions with his coaches. He had lost 20 pounds between mid-June and the last week in August as a result of his training.
The National Team was planning to taper off their riding in the last week before they left for San Diego. This was according to a plan which would have them arriving fresh and close to their peak fitness, rather than over-trained.
Jeff said that the National Team met in Madison, Wisconsin for a training camp in August. At that time they visited Trek's manufacturing facility and did a number of training rides. He said that the intensity level of those rides was much higher than the rides during the camp that they had in Princeton in June. The team members have come to know what they need to do in order to be ready for the Coast-to-Coast Ride.
He felt that the team had tremendous focus when they were together in Wisconsin. When they came together in June, many of them were still reacting to the sensations of being chosen for the team.
I got the impression through this interview that Jeff Tredup embodies all of the qualities that the Tour of Hope organizers look for in a National Team member: commitment to the cancer cause, athleticism, modesty, intensity, and excellent communications skills. It was an honor to interview him, and I hope that I've done a good job relating what he told me to the readers of Operation Gadget.