Tyler and Taylor Miller aren’t avid bike riders, but after their grandfather, Larry McNutt, died in October due to chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, they felt they needed a way to give back.
After moving to Santa Clarita to help his grandmother in mid-November, Taylor says he needed a way to “escape for a few hours each day.”
“I loved that bike for the peace of mind it brought me,” Taylor said. “I would ride to and from the gym, often taking the longest route I could come up with due to the time it allowed me to cope with my distraught emotions.”
Once Taylor realized Santa Clarita is only 50 miles from the beach, he said he decided a bike ride to the Pacific Ocean would be the perfect way to honor his grandfather. Tyler, who lives in Indiana, flew out for the weekend to accompany his brother on the journey.
Just last Thursday, Taylor contacted the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society, and in less than a week, they were ready to go.
“Sometimes these things just fall into our lap,” said Matt Krinsky, campaign manager for California Southland Team In Training, the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society’s sports-related fundraising program. “They had a strong mission, strong desire and a great idea — and they did an amazing job leaping and bringing it to fruition.”
The Millers started their journey around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, planning to ride 50 miles to Marina Park in Ventura and rest overnight, only to make the return journey the next morning.
They say they didn’t train for the ride whatsoever. Tyler had to borrow his uncle’s bike, which certainly wasn’t a “50-mile bike,” and says he even purchased a helmet just for the occasion.
“I thought, ‘We’re fit, we can do this,’ but it wasn’t that simple,” Tyler said.
“I’ve never done anything that hard. You’ve got to push yourself physically and mentally.”
The twins arrived back at their grandmother’s house around 3 p.m. Wednesday, exhausted. They both sported significant tan lines from the jerseys they wore the first day, and Tyler’s arms were almost purple from the burn.
After returning, they immediately cracked a beer and took a celebratory “ice bath” in the pool. They said the ride was harder than they imagined it would be, but definitely worth the pain.
“I think we made it in six hours the first day and at least six and a half or seven on day two,” Taylor said. “All the support we got definitely helped push us … I would definitely do it again.”
All proceeds from their campaign will go toward lymphoma and leukemia research, as well as supporting patients with the disease, according to Krinsky. In less than a week, the Millers already had raised $1,570 toward their $2,000 goal.
To help Taylor and Tyler Miller reach their goal, visit tinyurl.com/tnt100miler, or to learn more about the Team In Training and the Lymphoma & Leukemia Society, visit www.teamintraining.org/.