Cherie Fitzpatrick rides eight days for a cause

By Valerie Reeves, Reporter, The Friday Flyer

Cherie at the start of the race.

Credit: Cherie Fitzpatrick

Cherie takes a break in Big Sur after a 65 mile bike ride.

Credit: Cherie Fitzpatrick


When the Arthritis Foundation’s 16th Annual California Coast Arthritis Bike Classic (CCC) kicked off on Saturday, September 24, from Pier 39 in San Francisco, Canyon Lake resident Cherie Fitzpatrick was there.  

Cherie, a special education tutor at a local middle school, is a cyclist who really puts in the miles. She is on a mission to bring awareness to Arthritis. One way she does that is to ride in the annual Arthritis Foundation's “Ride of a Lifetime” California Coast Classic Arthritis Bike Tour (CCC). CCC is an eight day tour down the coast of California’s famous Highway 1. It stops along the way in Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, Cambria, Oceano, Buellton and Ventura, concluding in Pacific Palisades of Los Angeles on October 1. The Tour covers 525 miles with an elevation gain, from start to finish, of 26,299 feet. To participate, a rider must obtain a minimum of $3300 in sponsorships.

Cherie started her six month endurance training for the tour back in April. She would have preferred to start training sooner but she experienced unexpected health issues in January and had to patiently wait for the green light from her doctors. “This training was a motivation to save my own life,” says Cherie who used her training and exercise to help her recover. "It was a win-win, goal to goal.” Cherie dedicated her time to strengthening her own health while helping to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Cherie, being a fifty-something woman, says, "Like most people my age, I have some arthritis."

Training for the CCC included driving to Oceanside and riding to San Diego and back. It's a route Cherie completed many times. If the weather was not cooperating she would take the commuter train from San Diego and return to Oceanside. Her training routes would fluctuate between 55 to 90 miles, which is what she had to look forward to on the tour. The bike Cherie used on the tour to carry her through eight days of beautiful California coastal scenery is an 18-pound Giant CoMax hybrid road bike.

Residents may have spotted Cherie riding around Canyon Lake over the past few month. The hills of Canyon Lake were perfect training for her ride. “Riding through our community gave me an advantage because some of the riders didn’t get the extra hill training,” says the cyclist. “Bike riding can give you the same cardiovascular benefits as aerobic exercises, such as walking or jogging”

Cherie's experience in the CCC was more than just a ride, it was a personal journey. She says she met wonderful people along the way, each with their own motivation to ride.

Each day large companies and organizations provided five-star catered meals and hot showers in a converted semi-truck in order to accommodate the participants.

All funds raised by the participants were sent directly to the Arthritis Foundation to support its goal of finding a cure. This year's tour raised over $1 million for the Arthritis Foundation.

For more information about the next California Coast Arthritis Bike Classic, contact Cherie at