Hagemeier to Hold Training Rides for Myeloma’s Ride for Research

| July 10, 2018 | Mark Hagemeier, managing associate general counsel with the UAMS Office of General Counsel, believes in the power of teamwork. He also believes it’s important to be prepared, whether he’s in an office or courtroom handling legal issues or unwinding after hours on his bicycle.

So it’s not surprising he’s volunteering to help other UAMS employees interested in participating in the 2018 UAMS Myeloma Institute’s Ride for Research, held in conjunction with the Big Dam Bridge 100 on Sept. 29.

Cyclists Lance Rocke, Cesar Caballero, and Mark Hagemeier cool down after riding 68 miles in UAMS Myeloma Institute's 2017 Ride for Research.

Cyclists Lance Rocke, Cesar Caballero, and Mark Hagemeier cool down after riding 68 miles in UAMS Myeloma Institute’s 2017 Ride for Research.

“It’s a great cause,” said Hagemeier, who joined UAMS in 2008.

He has scheduled an orientation ride at 6 p.m. July 13 for UAMS employees, relatives, and friends 18 and older who are considering joining Ride for Research this year.

This will be the second year for Ride for Research and the first time the institute and UAMS has been a sponsor of the Big Dam Bridge 100, which draws 3,000 riders annually and continues to grow.

“It’s not a competition,” Hagemeier said. “It’s so much fun to ride a bike and I’m a firm believer that we must take charge of our own health. What better way to do that than to help others participate in a fun, healthy activity?”

To participate, riders must register for the Big Dam Bridge 100 and choose to ride 14, 26, 50, 68, or the full 100 miles. All routes begin and end along the Arkansas River in downtown North Little Rock. Riders then can visit https://myeloma.uams.edu/ride-for-research/ to sign up for the UAMS team. Those who aren’t riders can assist by making donations or holding fundraisers on behalf of the institute.

Last year more than 80 patients, supporters, family members, friends and employees rode to recognize and honor patients of multiple myeloma and related blood cancers. The event raised $75,000 for research and increased awareness of the disease within the community.

Hagemeier said his July 13 orientation ride will be 10 or 15 miles to test the waters. It will be a no-drop ride, meaning there will be someone in the back to ensure the slowest person in the group makes it back with the group.

“This will just be a great opportunity to take a bike out,” Hagemeier said. In addition to teaching bike handling skills, he will discuss what to wear, how to stay hydrated, how to keep electrolytes balanced, and how to ride in a group. He’ll also address how to slowly increase distances by 10 percent each week during training.

“You have to be able to successfully complete at least 75 percent of the total distance you’re attempting during the actual ride,” he said of the training.

Hagemeier took up cycling as an adult in 1984 with an aluminum-framed Cannondale but put it temporarily on hold during his early years of parenting.

In 2013, when his daughter graduated from high school and he could see an empty nest on the horizon, he bought a Trek Madone 4.5 and has been cycling regularly ever since. He averages 3,500 to 4,000 miles annually. In addition to cycling about four days a week, Hagemeier swims the other three days.

He’s participated in the Big Dam Bridge 100 for four years, completing the 100-mile route three times and the 68-mile one last year. This will be his first year to ride in the institute’s event.

Once he holds his initial training session, Hagemeier will assess the skill levels of attendees, decide on a regular training schedule, and possibly create smaller groups for varying abilities. He may direct the more experienced cyclists to other local riding and training groups more appropriate for them.

“If you’re intrigued by this, come on out,” Hagemeier said. “Cycling is a great way to be healthy and get fit. You’ll find you lose pounds, eat better, sleep better, and it’s also great for the brain.”