Mission Complete: Anchor Paul Joncich Finishes Pan Ohio Hope Ride

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A four-day bike ride across Ohio - from Cleveland to Cincinnati - could be the key to helping find a cure against cancer!

The American Cancer Society's Pan Ohio Hope Ride is raising thousands of dollars for cancer victims right here in Cleveland - and 19 Action News Anchor Paul Joncich successfully completed the ride Sunday evening - check out his amazing journey below!

Joncich Blog Day #4


What a way to end a successful ride! You're not going to believe this but Paul prepared an entire blog for your reading pleasure and lost power on the bus! But 19 Action News wanted everyone to know that the Pan Ohio Hope Ride is complete! The finish line was met with tears of joy and happiness today. About 200 riders made the trek to Cincinnati and to top things off, there were no accidents and no major injuries today. Paul will have more when he rests up. Congratulations to ALL who made the ride!


Well, we made it!   About 200 riders rolled into Cincinnati at 3:15 pm today.  We arrived at the hope lodge, completing a 328 mile journey across Ohio.

Out in front of the group during it's final leg was a teary eyed Maggie Keenan.  A 68 year old cancer survivor.  Maggie is a sweetheart of a lady.  On the morning of Day two it was pouring rain and we were about to leave for a 95 mile ride to Columbus.  I could tell, Maggie didn't think she could do it.  But we pushed off together and she made it all the way to Columbus.  And then continued on.  Maggie was determined, and it paid off.  She is the secretary for the Cleveland Clinic's Chief of Police, and she told me how much she was looking forward to seeing her "boys in blue" when she got back.

James Bond rode the whole way again.  Bond is a legend in the Hope Ride.  Diagnosed with cancer years ago, doctors told him he didn't have very long to live, but he is still alive and an inspiration to everyone.  James rode the whole way again this year.  In fact, he rode an extra 10 miles on Sunday when he took a wrong turn.  But in true James Bond fashion, when the SAG car picked him up, he would only let it take him back to the original trail...no extra help.  He was looking good coming into Cincy and finished strong.

One of the remarkable stories: Barry and Joanie Glennan.  They rode a tandem the whole way and Joanie is blind!  They are strong riders.  I know because they passed me on the route just about every day.   Whoosh.  The first time I was walking my bike up the last 50 yards of a steep hill.  I didn't realize Joanie was blind until I was struggling against the wind one day and about to go over some railroad tracks when they whizzed past and Barry suggested to Joanie: "raise up off your seat, we're about to hit some tracks."   I spoke with Joanie Sunday and was not surprised to find that she was the spirit of an eagle.

I rode alone today for about 40 miles.  Luckily, just when I was about to go crazy I ran into Cleveland Clinic Psychiatrist Dr Lou Klein.  We knocked out another 20 miles talking about life and death and living.  Thanks Lou for the therapy, the check is in the mail.

Just before Lou got there I was struggling, hurting so much, I was singing songs made up entirely of swear words.

The bus ride home was interesting.  About half the riders were asleep within 20 minutes.  Thanks to Dave Walkowiak.  He was Johnny on the spot with the beer on the ride home.  I started drinking after my laptop lost power and ate my original blog.  Come to think of it, NO THANKS to Dave Walkowiak.  He's one of the guys who talked me into this.

Saturday night I ran into Cleveland councilman Eugene Miller.  He rode the whole way.  In fact he was the last person to finish on our 95 miler.  They had to go out looking for him.  But he eventually found his way...getting in about 8pm.  That's 13 hours on the road!  He actually had a smile on his face.  He's a tough guy and it was good to see him out there.

Big thanks to Neal Roberts and Ben Blanquera.  They took me under their wing the first day when I was gripping the handlebars so hard my hands went numb.  Neal shot some really cool video and we are still trying to get it online.  Keep looking for it.

Props to the Cleveland Clinic team.  They were the top fundraiser with over $27,000.  Pat, the team captain was a man on a mission all week.  I tried to ride with them a couple times but they gapped me.

The total amount raised so far is over $270,000.

Great support all along the route.  Every rider I spoke with was very positive about the organization of the ride.  This being my first ride ever, I have nothing to compare it to...but I was impressed.  The only thing I would add to next years ride.  For beginners like me, there needs to be a staff proctologist...if you catch my drift...I am hurting...mommmma.

Funny line from Tom Bonda on the bus ride home - when the bus driver wouldn't start driving until we watched the safety video.  Tom: "We just rode our bikes 328 miles through the streets, I think we're safe!"   Good stuff.  Tom is a funny guy, kept me in stitches on the way home.

Thanks for reading about our ride.  Coming into Cincy was a great feeling.  I don't know if I got sunscreen in my eyes or what, but I had to wipe away some tears when I saw all the Hope Lodge folks cheering for us.  A worthwhile journey.

Remember, you can still donate to the cause by going to www.panohiohoperide.org     Simply put in a riders name and donate anything you can afford.

And Thanks again to everyone for their generous donations...you rock!

All the Best,
   Paul Joncich

Joncich Blog Day #3


It sure felt good pulling up to Wittenberg University today.   We rode 67 miles, wrapping up day 3 of the Pan Ohio Hope ride.  That means we have peddled 241 miles so far, and 87 more to go.  Today we pushed off at 7:30 and finished around 2:30.   Tomorrow we will ride on to Cincinnati and have a little ceremony at the Hope Lodge.  They tell me it's mostly downhill and a lot of bike trails tomorrow which will be nice.

Today was not too bad.  We were riding into the wind for about 30 miles or so along country roads.  No injuries that I know of, but some of the riders are struggling a little bit.  Physically I am fine, but I am walking like I've been riding a horse for 3 days...if you know what I mean.  Good thing I have a nice bike.  Eddy's bikes loaned me one and I'm telling you there's now way I could do this on my old mountain bike.  So thanks to Eddys again!  Riders see my bike which has a big Eddy's Logo on it...and they say..."hey I love Eddy's I got me bike there, too."

Today I rode with real nice guy from Canton.  His name is Brian, and as we were riding...sometimes very slowly into the wind, we were talking about our families and about people we know who have battled cancer.  Brian's mom is a cancer survivor, I can tell he is so happy to say that she has beaten breast cancer.  He is also carrying a list of about 20 names in his pocket.  He asked all of his donors if they had anyone they wanted him to ride for...so that's what he's doing.  You should see him chugging down the road.  He's riding a hybrid bike, which is more difficult to ride on these long distances, but Brian is big time determined...  I've seen him along the route over the past couple of days...usually riding alone, but just chugging...doing a great job.  Brian also has kids-twins and talked about his family...as we all miss our families.

One of the highlites today was eating lunch at the Dutch Kitchen in Plain City.  Good Amish cooking, it was tasty.  I had eggs, bacon, french toast, fried potatoes and half a creme filled donut.  One of the great things about doing this ride is you can eat whatever you want because you burn it off.

(When I finished today, I chugged a protein shake and washed it down with a cold Bud Lite Lime.)

The dorms here at Wittenberg University are very nice.  I am in a room on the third floor.  Bathroom and showers down the hall.  Was coming out of the shower with a towel wrapped around me and there was a woman on my floor.  Times have changed, when I was in school, they kept the boys and the girls separated.  Have to make sure to wrap up!

Well, time for dinner. So I am going to limp,waddle,hobble over the cafeteria and get some grub.  87 more miles to go!

Thanks for reading this.  And remember, to donate to the cause, just go to 19actionnews.com and click on the picture of me in the bike jersey...that will take you to the donation page for the cancer society.

All the best,
   Paul Joncich

Joncich Blog Day #2

Well we made it. About 190 riders, including myself cranked out 95 miles today from Wooster to Otterbein College just outside Columbus!  Man that was a H.A.U.L.

We pushed off about 7:30 am, and got rained on for the first 26 miles.  I was covered in mud and worse, because we rode through Amish country and there were lots of road apples on the trail...if you know what I mean. Anyway, I didn't finish until 7pm. Got a quick shower and then ran to the cafeteria so I could eat before it closed.

Here's what a novice I am.  I finished at 7pm....some of the riders got here by about 4:30.  Those guys are good.  In fact there's one rider out here from Milwaukee, get this, he is riding a single speed bike.  One gear!  And he's one of the fastest finishers.  Guys got pistons for legs. He is a beast.  He's got beer  bottle caps wedged in his spokes, and wedged an ear of raw corn into frame just cause he felt like it....dude was born to bike.  At dinner tonight, people are like "did you hear there's a guy riding a single speed?" I snapped a picture of him.  Name is David Zwart.  Like most riders, he's lost loved ones to cancer, including his mom who died at the age of 48.

David Zwart is riding a single speeder!

I'm totally beat...so here are just some rough notes:  One of the oldest riders took a spill today.  Marjorie Ward hit her head but is okay...crediting a hard head and the new helmet she recently purchased.

The most serious injury, a shattered elbow and broken arm...happened in the rain on a bike trail. a couple other spills, nothing too bad.

Today I rode with a nice group of gals from Columbus. They were totally cool.  One is a retired school principal, the other works for a company that perform x-rays and other diagnostics on animals. Great gals, good riders, took care of me.

The last eight miles I drafted behind big Don Wallick, a Methodist Pastor. Big strong guy riding a not so great bike, he was earning every mile and I thank him for bringing me in the last 8.

I noticed lots of riders with names of people written on their legs and arms. One gal I rode with had a picture of a 16 year boy who recently lost a battled with brain cancer.

Otterbein dorms are nice. Their cafeteria looks right out on the football field, very cool.  Last night at Wooster college, they were also very nice. They have a beautiful campus! Tonight I have a bunk bed that's about five feet up and i don't know if i can make it up there...hope I don't fall out.

Nice scenery today, beautiful rolling hills and farmland. Amish country was interesting. I saw a car wash who's sign said "car, horse and buggy wash." I should have stopped and taken a picture.

I could go on and on about all the cool things i saw today, but i have to hit the sack and rest up for tomorrow's 67 mile ride.

Remember, to make a donation to the cancer society and this ride, all you have to do is go to 19actionnews.com and click on the picture of me in the bike jersery...it will lead you to a donation link.  I truly appreciate all of you who have donated. The cancer society does a great job providing support to folks battling this terrible disease.

I'll write tomorrow from Wittenberg College.

All the best,
Paul Joncich

 Joncich Blog Day #1

Hi everyone, I'm writing you from my dorm room at Wooster College.  Just completed day one of the American Cancer Society's four day ride from Cleveland to Cincinnati.  77 miles from Cleveland to Wooster and I am exhausted, my fingers are numb, legs are burning, but I'm rest of the ride.

We pushed off this morning about 7 a.m. and made it to Wooster by 3:30.  Thank goodness I didn't crash or make anyone else crash...which is what I was worried about since this is my first organized ride.  Not only is it my first organized ride, it's my first ride of more than 5 miles in my life.  And I still have 251 miles to go.

I wouldn't have made it through day one if it weren't for a couple of big time riders who rode with me and showed me the ropes.  Neal Roberts and Ben Blanquera are endurance athletes and they were slumming in back with me today...showing great patience.

Like most people on this ride, Neal has lost several loved ones to cancer and he is riding for them, particularly his father who passed away at the age of 56 from colon cancer.

As you may know, my brother's wife passed away in her mid 30s and I am riding for her and others.

One of the inspiring things is, there are several cancer survivors riding in this tour!

Over the next several days I hope to bring you some of their stories.  Also look for pictures from the ride and video courtesy of Ben and Neal!   Gotta run, they are serving dinner in the cafeteria and I don't want to miss that because after all that riding all that way, I could eat a horse.

Hopefully, another update tomorrow after our 95mile leg from here to Columbus.  Cross you fingers for me, tomorrow is going to be a bear.

All the best,
Paul Joncich

Paul Joncich's Journey

Thursday, July 30

6:45am with rider, James Bond

Cycling Buddies, Ben, Neal & Cows

Jim from Eddy's Bike Shop fixes my bike

Lunch in Medina - 38 miles in

Arrival in Wooster!!!

Day #2 - Friday, July 31st

Killbuck, the toughest hill yet!


Nothing's stopping 68 year old, Margie

Riding in memory a 16 year old brain cancer victim

Bikes in the dorm

Made it to croton, only 18 miles to Columbus

Outside Mt. Vernon

Day #3 Saturday, August 1st

Columbus Corn!!

Lunch in Plain Township with riding buddy Brian

Riding Buddies - Christy, Cassie, Pam & June

Heidi at breakfast - excited to ride past friends in  Dublin.

Cheers for Heidi!

Dorms at Otterbein...sweet!

Sunday Breakfast

Riding buddies Ed & Stacey

Riding buddy Brian

Cleveland City Councilman Eugene Miller is here!

A Cincy Hope Lodge with Maggie & Co-Chair Dennis

Showers in Cincy

Let's Eat Cake!

I MADE IT!!!!!

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