Reynoldsburg resident Erin Gilchrist lays out her motivation in her online Pelotonia profile.

"I ride in honor of my Brian. I ride for my children to honor their loss," she wrote.

Gilchrist, 46, lost her husband to colon cancer on July 14, 2013. They have five children, ages 26, 20, 18, 8 and 7.

"Brian fought hard and enjoyed life and left a profound legacy of courage, perseverance, strength and amazing love for our family," she said.

When she climbs on her bicycle Aug. 5 and 6, it will be her fourth year riding in Pelotonia and raising funds for cancer research.

She will ride the 180-mile route, first from Columbus to Gambier, where she'll spend the night in a Kenyon College student dormitory, before pedaling back to New Albany the next morning.

"It's super hilly in places, so it's a challenge," she said.

Child care also is a challenge, she said. As the ride gets closer, Gilchrist completes 40-mile training rides twice a week. On weekends, she rides 45 to 80 miles.

Her support network is nanny Natalie Green, who is "a member of the family now" and her mother, Sharon Boyden, who helps in the evening for the weeknight rides.

Gilchrist is required to raise $2,500 because she chose the longest route, but signed up voluntarily to be a Pelotonia High Roller.

"Because I signed up to be a High Roller, I'm committed to raise $5,000," she said. "Last year, I raised a little over $9,700 and this year I would love to raise $10,000."

Gilchrist rides in the Team Safelite AutoGlass peloton, for which riders pool some of their fundraising efforts, then divide the money among the riders.

"If riders raise over their commitment, then we can all help each other," she said.

All the funds raised go toward cancer research.

"The James Cancer Hospital research affects cancer patients all over the world," she said. "I ride for cancer patients and survivors, my husband and many relatives who have beat cancer or are still fighting.

"I don't know anyone who does not have some sort of connection to a cancer fight or loss," she said.

She said the good news is the Pelotonia ride grows each year.

"The number of riders and dollars raised grows every year, which is all the more reason for me to continue to support such a good cause," she said.

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek