ITHACA, NY – What does cycling, wine, and heart issues have in common? Ride for Heart Health — an annual bicycling ride held at King Ferry Winery, maker of Treleaven wines, which benefits the Cayuga Heart Institute (CHI) at Cayuga Medical Center (CMC).
Heart disease frustratingly remains the #1 killer in America, and on the local front so many of our family members and friends are afflicted with it. Events like this ride allows the CHI to partner with Peter Saltonstall, of King Ferry Winery, to expose the menace of heart disease with community education.
The ride is personal with Saltonstall. He told his story of surviving a near-fatal cardiac arrest to his neighbor, who as a passionate bicyclist has participated in charity bicycle rides; the neighbor suggested organizing a ride to get the word out about heart issues. The idea took root when the local crossfit gym, Barnwarrior Crossfit, also signed on as a sponsor.
Organizers wanted to keep the proceeds from the ride local, CHI was approached as the beneficiary of the funds raised. “The Cayuga Heart Institute was honored to be chosen as the beneficiary of Ride for Heart Health” said President and CEO of the Cayuga Medical Center John Rudd, a life-long cycling enthusiast himself. “It’s through partnerships such as these where we can make headway in our fight against heart disease.”
Last year, money raised went toward an automated external defibrillator that is kept in the Cortland cardiology office in case of an emergency. This year, funds will go toward setting up a public access defibrillation program.
The ride, now in its fourth year, has been very successful, attracting cyclists from across the Finger Lakes and as far away as Missouri. Says Saltonstall, who has recently taken up cycling as part of his new approach to heart-healthy living, “After my life-changing event, I wanted to share my experience and do something that helped others.
With this ride, we’re raising awareness and money for a great cause. We’re excited to see it grow and be something that people really enjoy participating in.” Saltonstall continues to be monitored closely by CHI for optimum medical and cardiac health.
This year’s ride happens on Saturday, June 25, beginning at the winery in King Ferry and taking people through farm country, rolling hills, and backroads in the heart of the Finger Lakes, with beautiful lake views of both Cayuga and Owasco Lakes. 30, 50, and 70 mile rides are offered. The ride starts at 9:00 a.m. and upon return to the winery, cyclists enjoy a post-ride party that includes lunch, a band, free wine tasting, discussions with staff from CHI, and more. Unlike most charity rides, participants are not required to raise additional funds.