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Chemo? Been there. Fat tires? Scary.

Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyAllan Goldberg, who recently completed chemotherapy treatments for cancer, is spending a lot of his time training for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race.
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VAIL ” In the mornings, Allan Goldberg got chemo. In the evenings, he went running.

“It felt like it made me have some control over my situation,” said Goldberg. “It really helped my mental game.”

Even as Goldberg was losing his hair from the treatments, he ran about 20 miles a week. Goldberg ” who has competed for years in marathons, endurance races and triathlons ” said he was lucky that he felt well enough during treatment to exercise.



Goldberg had some firsthand knowledge of the benefits of staying active. He is executive director of First Descents, a local nonprofit that runs adventure camps for young cancer survivors.

Within weeks of accepting that job last year, he was re-diagnosed with cancer.



“It was very surreal,” he said. “It definitely made me think how our programs benefit young adults. … I can speak straight from the heart because I’m there.”

Within weeks of accepting that job last year, he was re-diagnosed with cancer.

“It was very surreal,” he said. “It definitely made me think how our programs benefit young adults. … I can speak straight from the heart because I’m there.”



Goldberg had been treated for rhabdomyoscarcoma, a cancer of the muscles, at age 12. Despite a low survival rate, he beat cancer that time. But because of the aggressive radiation treatment he received then, the cancer returned last year.

He again got radiation treatment, then chemotherapy. He finished chemo about six weeks ago, and his prognosis is good.

Even with that recent triumph, Goldberg is not waiting for his next challenge.

He is training for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race in August, a grueling trek that he hopes to finish in less than 12 hours.

Goldberg will ride the race with Brent Goldstein, a childhood friend with whom Goldberg grew up in Rockville, Md. It was Goldstein who sent out a letter to friends, family and business acquaintances to raise funds for First Descents in conjunction with their race.

The result? Donors have given $70,000 to First Descents in honor of Goldberg and Goldstein’s ride.

“It’s cancer, it’s friendship, it’s youth, it’s a great cause,” he said. “It’s all of the above,” Goldstein said.

The Kind Cyclist bike store in Edwards helped with bikes, and Dogma Athletica gym in Edwards is helping with training.

Even though Goldberg has battled cancer twice and competed in some of the toughest races in the world, the Leadville race intimidates him, he said.

“This race scares me the most because it’s out of my experience,” he said. “It’s out of my comfort zone.”

Nonetheless, he has plenty of inspiration to draw from. When he hits the wall, he will think of the many young people he has known who have battled cancer ” some have won, and some have lost.

“That seems to take the pain away and allows me to keep pushing,” he said.

Goldberg’s experience with young people with cancer and his own battles with the disease have taught him to live in the moment, he said.

“It’s about living each day,” he said. “Life’s uncertain. I think the biggest illusion we have is control.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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