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Riders on cross-country quest

Andy Kosick (above) will join Marty Minkoff (not pictured) on “The Big Ride.” Donations can be made via the American Lung Association’s website. The goal of the effort is to raise $250,000. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Andy Kosick (above) will join Marty Minkoff (not pictured) on “The Big Ride.” Donations can be made via the American Lung Association’s website. The goal of the effort is to raise $250,000.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Islanders Andy Kosick and Marty Minkoff to pedal for Lung Assoc.

Thankfully, Andy Kosick’s lungs are fine.

Fine enough to pedal through Provence and Tuscany. Through unforgiving Austria. And from Seattle to Portland in 11 hours. Now, at 64, he’s hoping they’ll carry him 3,300 miles, to raise money for those whose lungs aren’t suited for such a journey.

“There are a lot of people out there who struggle with breathing every day,” Kosick said. “It’s something most of us take for granted. But if I can help one of those people it will make this all worthwhile.”

Kosick aims to raise $10,000 for the American Lung Association by riding his bicycle from Seattle to Washington D.C. as part of its annual “Big Ride.”

The ride, which will include 42 cyclists from 21 states and three countries, begins June 25 and snakes eastward until the group winds up its trip Aug. 11.

Kosick will be joined by his wife Ann, who will be part of the support team during the 48-day ride.

Incidentally, he’ll also be joined by almost-neighbor and fellow Big Ride participant Marty Minkoff.

“It turns out he lives about half a mile away,” Kosick said of Minkoff, who tracked him down via the Big Ride website after noticing another rider from Bainbridge Island. “Before that I didn’t even know he was there.”

Now they sometimes train together.

Kosick said he trains about 15 hours per week. On weekends he often takes advantage of the hills and dry weather of Yakima.

Minkoff said he’s logged some 1,400 miles since signing up for the Big Ride in January.

“You’ve probably seen me,” he laughed. “I’ve done about two-thirds of that here on the island.”

He said he does variations of the Chilly Hilly to switch things up.

For Minkoff, the Big Ride has been in his datebook for a long time. It melds two topics that have greatly influenced his life, cycling and lung-related health issues.

Before he took to pedaling 10 years ago, he endured the passing of his father, a heavy smoker.

“Back then people didn’t think about it the way they do now,” he said. “It was just something you did.”

After thinking about the Big Ride for several years, Minkoff finally saw his opportunity to participate, as he transitions from his former job at Sound Transit to the opening of his new transportation consulting firm, The Eagle Harbor Group.

Soon the days of both men – Kosick owns Eagle Harbor Insurance – will shift from the office to open road.

The group will rise at around 5 a.m. each day and begin riding soon after. They will ride an average of eight hours and 83 miles on most days.

At night most will sleep in tents. Kosick will sleep in the recreational vehicle, in which is wife will be following close behind or, in some cases, just ahead.

As part of the support team, she’ll set up periodic rest stops for the riders, he said.

“It’s the only way I could get her to go,” he joked.

Minkoff said his wife, Betsy, will stay behind most of the trip, though she will join him on several of the group’s days off. He also plans to meet up with family along the way in small-town Ohio.

“Ill have plenty off support along the way,” he said.

There has been no shortage of support for either man here at home.

Minkoff has already eclipsed his $6,500 fundraising goal by $3,400, and Kosick is nearing his $10,000 goal.

“I’m just overwhelmed by the tremendous support and generosity shown by people,” Minkoff said. “It’s beyond what I ever imagined.”

Kosick agreed, saying that he too has been astonished by the continuing kind wishes and contributions from the community.

Both men thanked the local bicycle shops for preparing them to hit the road.

All that’s left now is to pedal.

“This is going to be great,” Kosick said.

“I’m so energized I can hardly stand it,” Minkoff added. “And it’s such a great cause.”

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Cross country

Islanders Andy Kosick and Mary Minkoff will ride their bicycles from Seattle to Washington D.C. Each man has created a blog so people can track their journey. Kosick’s is http://acrossthecountry.blogstream.com. Minkoff’s is www.martysride.blogspot.com.

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