Rider spotlight: Rider to complete #BikeSTP in honor of her dad and his love for bicycling

When Emily Lavely-Holloway registered for the 2013 STP she told herself she didn’t have to like it, she just had to do it.

“I just need to finish it, and then I never have to do it again,” Emily said.

She’s riding the STP for her dad, Rick, who discovered the joy of bicycling later in life and absolutely loved riding.

“We lived in California and he flew up to ride the STP twice,  in 2001 and 2004.  After his second time, I told him I wanted to ride the STP with him before I turned 30,” said Emily.

Rick during the 2001 STP

But then Rick got sick.  As his bad days began to outnumber his good, riding became more and more challenging. He had signed up for the 2007 STP and bought the jersey, but ultimately was too ill to ride.

In 2009, he passed away from complications of Myelodysplastic syndrome, despite having received a bone marrow transplant the year prior.

“One of my regrets of my time with my dad is that I didn't ride often with him.  I was away at college so there wasn't as much opportunity.  I rode with him occasionally when I was home on summers,” said Emily. “One of my favorite memories is when we were out riding and there was a straight away, he just took off, shouting behind me to ‘let loose--it feels like fllyinnnnnng!’. Just then a train sounded its horn and was running alongside of the bike path and I could see my dad trying to race it.”

So last summer, for her 29th birthday, Emily bought herself a bike, telling herself she’s would ride the 2013 STP.

“As New Year’s rolled around I decided riding the STP this year was going to be my resolution.  I started researching the ride and the more I learned, the more I felt that everything was telling me I HAD to ride,” she said. “Registration opened on the anniversary of my Dad's passing. I registered that day to honor him and his love for cycling.”

July 13, day one of STP, will be exactly one month before Emily’s 30th birthday.

“On day two, I will cross the finish line in my dad’s 2007 STP jersey [which he never got to wear], with the people he rode with during both his STPs,” said Emily. “Crossing the finish line in Portland will be bittersweet. I’m so excited to do it, to finish and know how hard I worked. I’m so looking forward to that moment, but I also know I will be missing my dad.”

“There are times when I miss my dad so much it knocks the wind out me,” Emily continued. “Biking has helped me with that but it can also be incredibly hard because I don't get to talk to him about what I'm doing - what a great ride I had or the hill I climbed. I have no doubt that my dad will be with me the whole time on STP, being the tail wind when I "open it up" and helping pull me along when I don't think I can.”

Emily and her parents

On Sunday, July 14, Emily will not only cross the finish line in memory of her dad, she will also be celebrating her new-found love of bicycling.

Emily will be riding with bib number 4763, be sure to give her a shout-out when you see her!

Who else is riding? Find more rider spotlights, here.