June 26, 2013 - Bob Light isn't a stranger to endurance events after completing three Ironman, over 20 marathons and hiking long distances.
Now the Independence Township resident is preparing for 300 miles of cycling in the 26th Annual Wish Bicycle Tour for Make-A-Wish Michigan, July 25-28.
"It is for a good cause," Light smiled. "We are riding on Team Jenna. Jenna Kast was a young girl who lost her life to cancer at age 11. We are raising funds and awareness for kids with unfortunate diseases. Under Make-A-Wish the funds grant wishes for those kids."
He explained one of his friends participated in the event last year and asked Light if he would do it this year. Light said yes because it was for a good cause and is an endurance event.
"It is a good mix of both," Light added. "It was an opportunity to do some good, raise some money and awareness and something to train for and do."
Each member of Team Jenna has a goal for how much they would like to raise for the event. Light's goal is to raise $2,500.
The event spans three days with cyclists traveling a 100 miles per day in the 300-mile route. Light is preparing with lots of bike riding.
The longest distance he has ever biked was 120 miles in one day so he is taking time when he can to prepare. During the week he tries to ride 25 miles at least 2-3 nights on the Polly Ann Trail. He takes longer rides during the weekend.
"It's tough," he admitted. "You have to build into it. I trained in the winter on the bike in my basement watching television. Then with this spring it was difficult because the weather was so bad."
Light added there is a physical element to get in shape for it and there is also a mental element to prepare for during the long distance.
"Endurance tests really helped me with a lot of time on the bike," he said. "You have to be in the moment. You have to be patient to deal with the fatigue and boredom. Everything builds on itself."
When he hits a mental snag during the ride he is prepared to tackle it by thinking of the kids and making their wishes come true.
"Knowing it is going to be for this good cause, and that we are going to grant wishes for kids is what is going to be the piece to pull it together," Light explained. "When things get tough and I am out there on the road with Team Jenna, everyone will struggle at different times but when I have my moments I will think about those things – the money I have raised and the good it is going to do."
He added he has received a lot of support from his friends, family and his employer, Complete Automation in Lake Orion where he is the Chief Financial Officer.
"They are supporting me with time off and donations," he explained. "It's good to have your employer support you like that. I thank them for it."
Light has been in the Clarkston community for 15 years and runs with the Wolfpack Running Club and is part of the Clarkston Multisport Club.
Light and members from Team Jenna invite the community to their fundraiser at the 24th Street Sports Tavern, 13 S. Washington Street in Oxford, July 9 from 5-9 p.m. They will have a 50/50 drawing, prizes and an auction.
To make a donation, please visit www.wishamile.org and search for Bob Light.
The cyclists begin in Traverse City and finish on the track at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. They meet one of the wish heroes, one of the children who had their wish granted, and receive a medal from the wish hero.
"I hear it is pretty emotional," Light added. "The event is going to be really fun. I know last year they ran into some tough weather. We have had tough weather training this year. We have had rain, cold and wind. Hopefully we can pan anything Mother Nature throws at us."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.