To Live or Livestrong: Personal Reflection on Livestrong Ride Austin

Elizabeth Quintanilla at Livestrong Ride AustinThis guest blog post is by Elizabeth Quintanilla

I shouldn’t be alive today, but I am. In 2002, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and not expected to live. There were doctor visits upon doctor visits.

Additionally, I had to face the challenge of figuring out how to keep a job for medical insurance that would pay for most of the services and prescriptions. There’s nothing worse than realizing you are under-insured and have a monthly pharmacy payment in excess of $400 because you ran out of prescription benefits.

Though I haven’t had cancer, I can empathize with those who are or have faced challenges due to cancer. We all know someone who has had cancer. Some of us smile at the cancer survivors in our lives today, and some do not. I choose to support Livestrong because of the difference they make in the fight against cancer.

Livestrong Ride Austin: October 21, 2012

Livestrong Ride Austin 2012

4,300 riders participated in Livestrong Ride Austin

The stats:

  • 15th anniversary of Livestrong Ride Austin
  • 4,300 riders total
  • Raised over $1.7 million for the Livestrong Foundation’s programs and services

In 15 years, a staff of about 90 people has taken a little idea and raised more than $500 million to touch 2.5 million lives.

Livestrong Ride Austin marked the first appearance of Lance Armstrong since his scandal. He appeared humble, and what stood out to me was this quote: “I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse.” All of us have personal hardships of various kinds in our lives, and it was refreshing to hear Lance’s perspective before starting the ride.

65 miles for Livestrong Ride Austin

The course for the ride featured an out-and-back loop that was ideal for intermediate to experienced riders who were looking for a longer, more challenging ride. After crossing the start line, riders turned right onto South 1st Street, heading for the South Austin neighborhoods and Atkins High School. Afterwards, all the 65 and 100 mile route cyclists turned right onto Old San Antonio Road, heading west past Buda into the Texas Hill Country. We cycled past Salt Lick and down other country roads.

There were points where I found the gorgeous rolling terrain a bit challenging. I nearly fell off my bike twice and I got off to push my bike uphill to reach one of the pit stops. However, all the volunteers and my fellow riders kept encouraging each other with compliments and cheerful dispositions. There were six “pit stops” along the route and I stopped at four of them. Peanut butter and bananas never tasted so good, especially with water!

Livestrong Ride Austin pit stop

One of six Livestrong Ride pit stops

A mere six hours later, I finished my first 65 mile ride and kept my integrity with all those who donated and believed in me. My personal team contribution was $750.

At the end of the day, your biggest challenges are the ones that you impose on yourself. When it’s hard, you find the part within yourself to keep on going. I would recommend that everyone push the envelope and see what challenges you can overcome. It’s worth it.


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Elizabeth Quintanilla is a positive, people-oriented, performance-driven Marketing Gunslinger, consultant, and speaker who focuses on understanding the customer perspective. She consults on market research, messaging, channel strategies, understanding the impact of emerging business trends, web technologies and strategies, social, and product marketing. Elizabeth actively serves as a Vice-Chair on the Austin Community Technology and Telecommunications Commission. Find her on Twitter at @equintanilla.

  • ElizabethQuintanilla

    Thank you Eric and Brittany for posting my reflection about the ride! I’ll share my video from my GoPro soon!

  • Scott Joy

    Congratulations on your achievement! So glad you rode!

    • ElizabethQuintanilla

      Thank you! I was happy to ride and look forward to next year’s ride!