Scott Bianchi: My STP was my impossible goal

Over the next few months, we'll be sharing some stories from past Seattle to Portland riders. Their journeys are varied, but their fortitude is constant. We hope you're inspired by the people behind the bib numbers, and we hope to see you out there in 2018. 

In October 2012, Scott Bianchi’s life changed in an instant. While living in Tokyo, Scott made a routine stop in a convenience store. One step later, his leg shattered beneath him. Scott was rushed to a local hospital, where two weeks later he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a deadly bone cancer. 

For the next four months, Scott endured chemotherapy and bedrest. It would be the following spring before he was even able to step foot outside the hospital. After four rounds of chemo and a limb salvaging surgery, Scott’s leg was saved. But he wasn’t out of the water.

All of the activities that he had once loved and done without second thought were now in question: tennis, basketball, ice hockey and even walking. “I was very optimistic at first because in my mind I just had a broken leg,” he said of the initial news. 

After four more rounds of chemo, Scott was finally released from the hospital. The freedom didn’t come without a price, however. “After being cared for in every way imaginable for over half a year, I was on my own and barely able to walk,” he recalled.

From months of bedrest and lack of physical activity, Scott gained nearly 100 pounds. Upon finally returning to Washington in September 2013, he knew the road ahead would be long. Scott started a rigorous rehab program and began to shed the weight. More success came as Scott finally managed to walk again sans crutches and cane. Continued progress was slow, though. Scott struggled to play a variety of adaptive sports, either because they were too dangerous due to the fragility of his leg, or because lacking half a quadricep made his ability to run, jump or even bend his leg enough to ride a bicycle all nearly impossible. 

That’s when he came across a handcycle in 2016. While his new bike afforded Scott the freedom he had so longed for, it wasn’t without its challenges. Scott struggled to ride long distances and knew he would need a bigger goal to motivate himself. “I knew I wanted to set a ridiculous goal, like riding the 2017 STP,” Scott explained. And he told everyone he knew. 

Scott’s rides went from two miles to 10, then 25. Progress was happening. And then winter came. Rather than slow down with the weather, Scott bought an indoor trainer, and before long it became his go-to tool for reaching his STP goal.  

After about 2,000 miles of training, the week had arrived, and Scott was ready. Success came as he crossed the finish line in Portland in July 2017. “The funny thing is I would never have attempted this as an abled body person,” Scott added. “Handcycling has given me back a part of my life that I thought was lost forever and I'm truly grateful for that.”

Scott rode for his impossible goal. What will you ride for? Learn more about the 2018 STP

Interested in more stories like Scott's? Read about the STP journeys of Cindy, Dave and Leah

 

Diana Bryant's picture
Diana Bryant