Cyclist of the Month: Linda Deller

Linda Deller

Age: 53
: patient service representative, Urology Northwest
: Longview, WA
: B.A. Business, Washington State University
Specialized Ruby Pro

Local cancer survivor finds friends and therapy through bicycling with Cascade Bicycle Club.

Ten years ago, Linda was riding a thirty-pound Novarra cross bike ten miles to Woodinville. She used to wrap her feet in plastic bread bags, and didn’t even carry a water bottle.

Today, Linda is a veteran of some of Washington’s most challenging endurance rides — including RAMROD, RAW, RSVP, and Redmond Rotary’s Red-Spoke.

What’s even more impressive is that Linda trains competitively after surviving breast cancer, and taking care of three kids, including her 24-year old developmentally disabled son, Andrew.

Andrew has tuberous sclerosis (TS) – a rare genetic disease that causes benign (noncancerous) tumors to grow in many parts of the body, such as the brain and kidneys. Tumors can also grow in the nervous system, heart, lungs, or retinas. There’s no cure for tuberous sclerosis, and there’s no way to predict the course or severity of the disease.

So Linda drives Andrew to Bothell, where he takes part in Northwest Child’s adult day program. As a result, Linda often needs to rise before 5:00 a.m. to ride from home or, when the weather is poor, for 5:30 spin classes at the Northshore YMCA. Last year, Linda retired her Cannondale with over 40,000 miles.

Like 60%-90% of people affected with TS, Andrew has seizures. Linda and her husband, Jim, each take turns caring for Andrew so that they can pursue their respective hobbies – hiking, cross country skiing, and other outdoor activities.

The daily rides program first attracted Linda to Cascade Bicycle Club. She discovered her favorite Snohomish route through the weekly MUMPS ride. And to remember great routes like Edmonds’ Olympic View Drive, she saves all of her ride cue sheets.

Linda highly recommends Ralph and Carol Nussbaum’s organized tours; including this month’s sold-out Washington-BC Tour.

In 2001, Andrew’s godfather convinced Linda to ride from Seattle to Portland. Now, Linda’s social life revolves around cycling.

Linda’s pet peeve is cyclists passing unannounced. She has learned to “expect the unexpected,” and appreciates Cascade’s efforts to increase awareness among bicyclists and drivers.

Linda credits her oncology nurse with stoking her passion for cycling. After her chemo therapy, they would share bike stories during Linda’s recovery.

A decade later, Linda happily suffers through any mountain pass. Not too difficult for a cancer survivor who ran the Vancouver Marathon and completed RAMROD to celebrate her upcoming 50th birthday. Linda enjoys cycling for its social, therapeutic, and fitness qualities. She likes to ride away from traffic in rural areas – like Monroe, Snohomish, Twist, and Winthrop.

And when November brings Northwest rains, Linda often travels to Arizona to ride the Tour de Tucson century. “You can’t train for the heat in Eastern Washington or Arizona, so you need to use sunscreen, go slow, eat, and drink before you are thirsty.” Compared to the 6,000 feet of elevation gain on the Tour de Blast or the 7,500 feet of elevation gain on the High Pass Challenge, the relatively flat Tour de Tucson leaves Linda “feeling like a champion.”

But with all of the challenges that Linda has faced, she should feel like a champion every day.

Learn more about Cascade’s multi-day fully supported regional tours. Scott Marlow was marketing director for Cascade Bicycle Club from 2001-2005. The Club record-holder for the shortest commute (under six seconds), he provides website design and communication services from his home office in West Seattle. Nominate a cyclist of the month!