My name is Beth Skau and I will be one of the riders this July on the 300 mile ride for Less Cancer. I am newer to the sport as I have only been riding for about thirteen years; however, I like to say that my love for the sport is so huge that “once I got on the bike, I never got off”. One of the most special aspects of riding is the camaraderie and friendships that are forged on the bike, and this Less Cancer ride is the purist illustration of that. Less Cancer has reunited me with some of my most special relationships.
As a child, my earliest memories are with the O’Brien family. Our mother’s were best friends and consequently our families had many fun times together. Now after little contact in recent years, my Less Cancer teammate and motivation on this long ride is Miles O’Brien who was the “older brother” on our early family outings.
Later in my childhood, I was introduced to Bill Couzens who was my mother’s young and hip friend. She loved Bill and thrived on his passion and creativity. Now, it is his same passion and enthusiasm that has brought me to Less Cancer and inspired me to ride for such a great purpose.
Like my Less Cancer teammate, Tom Petzold, my love for cycling blossomed in the small town bike shop of Harbor Springs, MI. Bike shop owner, Bill Prall and his wife Shirley, spent countless hours on the road teaching me the basics. It was with them that my eyes were opened to the world of professional cycling when they took my husband and I to Hamilton Ontario for the 2003 World Championships. A year later, one of my most monumental experiences was inspired by Less Cancer teammate, Tom, when he and his wife Jeanne took me on my first century.
Over the years, I was blessed to be able to make a career out of cycling. For seven years, I worked as the Sponsorship Coordinator for the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team. Now as my life takes a new turn, I am able to channel my cycling passion to the Less Cancer Ride to Mackinac. Cycling has the power to reunite old friends, forge new friendships, find individual hidden strengths and, most importantly, spread the word about the importance of health and wellness in the prevention of cancer.