Vinnie Tortorich was used to obstacles, training hard so his body would mould to the severe conditions that made him an elite athlete. But no amount of training could prepare him for the diagnosis of leukemia.
On July 28, 2007, Tortorich was thrown a curve ball. The ultra cyclist and personal trainer discovered he had cancer and the challenge was on. Now the battle was for his life.
A personal trainer with clients throughout West Los Angeles, Vinnie Tortorich lives in Beverly Hills. Tortorich had been racing since 1998, including the Eastern Sierra Double, the Solvang Double Century and 12 Hours at the Summit.
He was training for the Furnace Creek 508 when he was given his diagnosis. Less than a year ago, the cyclist began undergoing intensive treatment and chemotherapy for the ride of his life. With a chemo pump administering medication 24 hours a day, this was the most significant challenge he had yet faced.
Now in remission, Tortorich trained and rode in the one of the most grueling races in the extreme sport world, the â€œRace Across Oregon.â€ The non-stop two-day ride is 535 miles from Portland to Mt. Hood, with peaks ranging from 4000 to 5000 feet in extreme temperatures, from freezing to 110 degrees.
But this time Tortorich is racing with a new purpose. This race is to raise funds for the Maximum Hope Foundation, to help people suffering from the financial burden brought on by catastrophic illnesses. This race, every mile he rides will help someone in need by providing relief from the economic woes of cancer.
â€œI had good support and good friends,â€ said Tortorich. I learned that many people die waiting for treatment because they can’t afford it, or that they survive, but then literally can’t afford to live.
â€œLiterally 100% of the money raised goes directly to people in need. Completing this race is my way of showing my gratitude for the love and care I received and for the second chance that I have been given,â€ said Tortorich.