When Pickerington resident Kimberly Ralston hits the road for Pelotonia next month to raise money for cancer research, she won't be alone.

Ralston will have her peloton, Ralston's Riders, pedaling the central Ohio roadways right along with her.

She also will no doubt have the throngs of dedicated supporters lining the roads cheering on her and thousands of others.

And she will have her late husband of more than 31 years, Robert Ralston, on her mind.

"My husband wanted to get better," Ralston said. "He wanted to ride and help others fight the fight."

Diagnosed with stage 3 colorectal cancer in 2014, Robert Ralston waged a quiet yet relentless battle against the disease until he died in early February, she said.

Ralston, 53, said the family was not prepared for the loss.

"He was very much a trouper," she said. "He was always a 'glass half-full' guy. I always believed he would fight and win this battle."

Ralston's Riders, an eight-member team that includes friends and family and Ralston's three grown children, Jeremy, Kyle and Megan, will carry the torch at Pelotonia in the fight against cancer.

Ralston will ride the 45-mile route from Columbus to New Albany.

"I'm scared to death to ride 50 miles but this is for Robert," she said. "I am going to wear a jersey with Robert's picture on it.

Although she never has ridden in Pelotonia, Ralston has volunteered at the 25-mile stop at Pickerington High School North.

"The Pickerington community really turns out," she said. "There are people lining the street, bands are playing. It's very emotional. I'm looking forward to experiencing that as a rider."

She said Ralston's Riders would ride together and support each other, making sure everyone is OK, especially her as she learns to navigate life without Robert.

"We always did things as a family," Ralston said. "We've always been involved with our kids. We lived our lives being part of our kids' lives. Now I have to figure out who I am without my husband."

She takes comfort in knowing her team's efforts will make a difference, especially for colorectal-cancer prevention and research.

"My husband was only 50 years old (when he was diagnosed)," she said. "He was not yet to an age where they even check for the disease yet. Now my kids will have colonoscopies because of Robert.

"We are riding in the Pelotonia so my children and my children's children don't have to go through what my husband went through."