Riding for a cause

He has run from Indianapolis to Bloomington and then ridden a bike the 53 miles back home. Twice.

A few times a week, Michael Luebbehusen hops on his bike to ride from his Greenwood home to his job at IU Health West Hospital in Avon, where he is the director of nursing.

In May, the mini-marathon wasn’t enough for him. He jumped into the 5K event that went with it.

And starting today, he will try to ride his bike 200 miles around the Butler campus in Indianapolis in the span of one day for the 24 Hours of Booty.

This is his fifth year riding in the event, and he hopes to hit a cumulative 1,000 miles for the fundraiser.

The event is a cycling fundraiser for cancer research through Live Strong Foundation and the IU Simon Cancer Center.

For years, Luebbehusen, 50, has ran and biked in fundraising events. He and his friends have ribbed each other on how far they can bike or run.

He has ran the Boston Marathon three times, including this year, and is preparing for the New York City Marathon in November. He has biked from Evansville to Indianapolis and across the state of Indiana to raise money for palliative care.

This weekend’s event is more personal than a little fun with his friends.

His mom, Jane, died from multiple myeloma in 2006. His father, John, is currently battling prostate cancer.

This ride honors them.

“Both my parents were diagnosed with different cancers before they were 60,” he said. “I’ve just been surrounded, unfortunately, by cancer.”

He always knew friends or extended family members with the disease. An aunt has battled breast cancer, so has his mother-in-law.

As a nurse, he hopes to inspire others to find exercise with his healthy lifestyle. The events allow him to help others and stay healthy, he said.

“I just married those two passions,” Luebbehusen said.

Sometimes, his dad is on the sideline. He cheered Luebbehusen on from near his Jasper home when Luebbehusen trekked from Evansville to Indianapolis.

For years before his mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, he rode in Miles for Myeloma specifically for that cancer. And one of his friends he made along the way ended up being her doctor.

This weekend, he hopes to ride 200 miles to help honor his parents.

About 15 hours of the 24 event will be spent actively riding his bike around the 3½-mile loop set up around Butler’s campus.

Friends and family can donate to cancer research through his page at the 24 Hours of Booty website. He has raised about $164 for research so far.

His plan to bike 200 miles was random, he said.

It is a round number and corresponds with the level of other events he does. And 200 miles will allow him to get to his goal of 1,000 miles biked at all of the Booty events he has participated in, Luebbehusen said.

Bikers have 24 hours starting at 7 tonight to get their rides in. Event participants are encouraged to camp. Luebbehusen’s plan is to immediately start biking at the opening of the event until the wee hours of morning. He predicts he will bike until about 3 a.m. His goal is to knock down at least half the ride in the first night.

He will then grab a quick bite to eat and camp on Butler’s campus. His ride will finish on Saturday.

Training to ride 200 miles hasn’t been too difficult, Luebbehusen said.

He is used to staying in shape and did a marathon, a 5K, a mini-marathon and other rides in the last two months which will help him in the cardiovascular part of training, he said.

“I spend most of my life staying in shape,” Luebbehusen said.

The key has been getting his body to adjust to being on the bike for an extended period of time.

His first sport is running, and he has to acclimate his legs to the different physical activity with a few rides before the event, he said.


Name: Michael Luebbehusen

Age: 50

Residence: Greenwood

Family: Wife, Teresa; three adults sons

This weekend, he will be biking the 24 Hours of Booty event in Indianapolis. The event raises money for cancer research.

To donate: go to: events.24hoursofbooty.org/fundraise?fcid=634365

He is also doing another Miles for Myeloma ride. Donations for that ride can be made here: cancer.iu.edu/m4m/

Author photo
Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.