Jeff Warren began the final leg of his bicycle ride across Nevada on Friday saying he wanted to increase awareness of the devastation cancer causes both victims and their families and raise money to find a cure.
But, he said with a wry smile, there is a slightly twisted kind of revenge involved as well.
"My body tried to kill me," said Warren, who needed two surgeries, 38 radiation treatments and chemotherapy to beat lymphatic cancer a year ago. "This is me telling my body, 'You hurt me. Now I'm going to hurt you a little on my terms.'"
With aches and pains in places he didn't know he even had a week ago, the 48-year-old said it's working.
Monday, Warren set out from Centerville just north of Salt Lake City. Riding westward along Highway 50 at an average of nearly 20 miles an hour, he reached Carson City just after noon Friday -- a distance of more than 600 miles.
"I've got the saddle sores to prove it," he said.
Warren planned to finish his ride at the Arch in downtown Reno by mid afternoon.
Reno was the logical place to finish his ride. He and his wife Janet, who followed him in the family van, grew up in Reno and lived there until a corporate transfer moved them to Utah 13 years ago.
"Metaphorically, I'm coming home because Reno will always be home for us," said Warren, adding they have "lots of wonderful friends" to visit before returning to Utah.
He said he also wants to prove to people battling the disease "there is life after cancer."
"Your life may be a little bit different after than it was before, but you can still have a great life," he said.
Most of the trip, he said, went smoothly. But he said he has a few complaints for the state highway department about the brutal climb up Bob Scott Summit outside Austin.
"You get to the top and then there's about a mile and a half of downhill before you have to climb Austin Summit," he said. "That was a killer."
Probably the most interesting event was the crickets.
"Two miles east of Eureka, we ran into crickets that were on the highway so thick every step crushed a dozen of them. It was this moving brown carpet 20 miles long. By the time we were through it, I had cricket guts up my back, cricket legs hanging from my bike. Disgusting."
Then there was the dog outside Fallon he compared to Stephen King's fictional monster "Cujo" who pushed under a fence and crossed the highway barking and snapping at him.
Overall, he said, it was a great experience.
"I really don't want this to be over," he said.
And in a sense, it won't be over. To get a closer look at what Warren did, check out the Web page his brother built for him at: www.ikickedcancersbutt.org.
ON THE NET
Web page for Jeff Warren