Local triathlete rides for a cure

Published 4:03 pm Friday, July 23, 2010

This past weeks Ride to Remember to benefit the Alzheimers Association is one Landrums Land Heintzberger doesnt want to forget.

I was so impressed by everyone there they all had such passion for the cause, Heintzberger said. I was impressed by all the people involved and all the organizing efforts. It was inspiring to be around such a great group of people.

Heintzberger, a triathlete who formerly raced for a professional team in Germany, rode the 280 miles from Simpsonville, S.C. to the historic streets of Charlestons Battery and Rainbow Row along with 59 other cyclists. The combined effort raised $37,000 for the Alzheimers Foundation and awareness about the disease.

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But Heintzberger was already well aware of the costs that Alzheimers can weigh on a family.

My grandmother (Jean Loveday) passed away from Alzheimers about two years ago, and I moved here with my family to help take care of her, Heintzberger said. Going through that experience and seeing the effects of Alzheimers made me want to do the Ride to Remember after finding out about it.

He also said he was dismayed to learn some cold statistics about Alzheimers over the weekend, including one that says the number of cases of Alzheimers is growing while deaths from other dread diseases are on the wane.

It affects everyone in the family, Heintzberger said. When you see someone you love going through that awful experience its like you lose them before theyre gone.

While Heintzberger would normally be used to a long bicycle trek, a shoulder injury has kept him out of competition as a triathlete for the past two years. Prior to the injury, he said he routinely rode 400 miles per week to prepare for Ironman events.

Its been tough to be on the bike a lot the past couple of years with the injury, he said. So, this was a good chance to get on the bike and start getting back into shape, and it was great to be around other athletes.

Heintzberger said he hopes to return to competition next year. But he said he also wants to return to the Ride to Remember as well.

I got in a little late this time, so I didnt get to do as much fundraising as I wouldve liked, he said. Hopefully, next year, I can jump in a little earlier.

The goal next year is 100 riders for $100,000. I want to be a part of that.

The Ride to Remember will be accepting donations through its website at http://aridetoremember.kintera.org/ through July 26.