Nursing Student Interested in Research to Cycle for it via Ride for Research

| UAMS nursing student Bethany Reinbolt, 31, was not familiar with myeloma before she read about the UAMS Myeloma Center’s Ride for Research set for Sept. 29.

“I had tUAMS nursing student Bethany Reinbolt plans to ride the full 100 miles of the Myeloma Center's Ride for Research on Sept. 29 to support researcho look it up,” Reinbolt said of the rare cancer of plasma cells in the blood that develops in the bone marrow.

But she was familiar with endurance sports. The challenge of riding the full 100 miles of the race, called a century, drew her in. The fact that it benefited medical research at UAMS made it all the more appealing.

“I’d just gotten new bike, a Specialized Ruby SL4, and I’ve always loved endurance sports so I Googled ‘How long does it take to train for a century?’ and the answer that came back was eight to 10 weeks so it was perfect timing.”

The Riverside, California native who grew up Searcy was looking for a way to meet other people at UAMS who participate in endurance sports.

“I’m also interested in medical research, which the proceeds from this ride supports, so it all fit together,” she said.

Reinbolt, who ran a 50-mile run in December, said the longest distance she’s ridden is 82 miles. She trains three or four times a week on her bike and does cross-training with activities like running or yoga the other days. She received some advice recently from Mark Hagemeier, a cyclist and managing associate general counsel with the UAMS Office of General Counsel. He suggested she ride the hills west of Little Rock on the 100-mile course prior to the event. She did and appreciates Hagemeier’s advice.

“They were intense,” she said the terrain. “It actually wasn’t that bad but I know it will be worse during the actual ride. Now I know what to expect. It was a confidence builder for sure.”

Reinbolt believes she can complete the full 100 miles.

“I think I can do it in seven hours,” she said. “Now I just need to work on my speed.”

During a recent early-morning ride with her dad Lynn, 66, who’ll ride the 68-mile course with Ride for Research, Reinbolt had a startling experience as they cycled for a short stretch along Highway 36 in Searcy at sunrise.

“The driver of a passing SUV had the sun in his eyes and didn’t see me,” Reinbolt said. “His side mirror brushed up against my arm and it was pretty scary. I’m just glad it wasn’t worse.”

Adventure is nothing new for Reinbolt. After graduating from Eternity Bible College in Simi Valley, Calif., she spent three years living and working in Nepal on a research visa where she researching root causes of human trafficking to implement prevention measures.

“The need for education on basic health care issues like handwashing was so great, combined with learning about all the deaths of women who were giving birth, many of which were preventable, led me to return to Arkansas and pursue a nursing degree,” Reinbolt said of her experience in the South Asian country.

She hasn’t decided yet how she will use her bachelor’s degree in nursing, just that she help others, either by practicing or through research.

Until then, Reinbolt is looking forward to being a part of the second annual Ride for Research and beginning the ride with her dad.

“Some of my earliest memories from my childhood are of being on the back of his bike in my little seat.”

She hopes sharing her story will inspire others who want to take part in the ride but pedal at a slower pace.

“The ride is fun and raises awareness of myeloma,” Reinbolt said. “If anyone is afraid to do the ride, they can contact me if they need someone to ride with because I’m slow and need riding friends,” she said, laughing.