Skip to main content.

The Closer to Free Press is our monthly Ride newsletter. It’s the ultimate destination for Ride news, participant stories, promotions, fundraising ideas, training tips and more.

Closer to Free Press 2024

June 2024+

Welcome to the June edition of the Closer to Free Press! We had a record number of new riders join us in May, so we welcome you to the Closer to Free family! June is the perfect month to turbocharge your fundraising and training, so read on for tips on both. Let’s get to it!


2024 LAWN SIGNS ARE HERE!

You might already have a pink flamingo or garden gnome…but what your front lawn really needs is a free CTF Ride lawn sign! Get yours at Cohen’s Bagels, New England Brewing Company Tap Room, the Smilow Cancer Hospital Boutique, the Norma Pfriem Breast Center in Fairfield or Zane's Cycles. Signs are available for pick up starting Tuesday, June 11th. Click here to check out the hours and details for each location. Snap a pic of your lawn sign, share it on social media, and tag us #CTFRide for a chance to win some cool CTF swag. 


JUNE FUNDRAISING CHALLENGE 
 

Need an incentive to move your fundraising along? The top overall fundraiser for June will ride off with a fun-filled package of CTF swag and a $100 gift card to the delicious Heirloom restaurant at The Study at Yale, our long-time Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor... You’ve got until June 30th to raise as much as you can and we’ll announce the winner in early July. Need inspiration? Grab some tips in our fundraising guide.

 

Fundraising Guide


WHY I VOLUNTEER: WALTER OSTRINSKI

This month, we spotlight a remarkable long-time CTF Ride volunteer, Walter Ostrinski. Walter shares why he wouldn’t trade his one Sunday a year at the Guilford Rest Stop for anything…

Smilow has profoundly impacted the lives of many of my close friends and running partners. Despite planning for retirement, working long hours, and managing my personal life, one thing remains crucial to me: helping enrich others' lives. 

I cherish the camaraderie of our CTF Guilford Rest Stop team. Supporting the brave riders who raise much-needed funds for such a great cause is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. As long as I am able, I will continue to volunteer and support the Closer to Free Ride!

 

 


KNOW SOMEONE WHO NEEDS COMMUNITY SERVICE HOURS? WANT TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT THE RIDE?

We're looking for volunteers to put up promotional posters all around the greater New Haven area.

For more information, contact us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

 

 


MARSHAL-LED TRAINING RIDES: JULY AND AUGUST

We still have two training rides remaining (with a few more in the hopper to be announced soon). Closer to Free Ride Marshals have pulled out all the stops for another round of epic group training rides. 

Whether you're a cycling newbie or just want to polish your skills, these 25-30 mile rides will cover everything from road rules to gear shifts, bike TLC, and even fueling strategies to keep you going strong.

 

Training Rides


#CTFJERSEYJOURNEY

Whether you're hitting the road for a training ride or planning your summer travel, don't forget to pack your CTF Jersey and snap a pic!

Share it on social using #CTFJerseyJourney or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org for a chance to win awesome CTF swag. One winner will be randomly selected each month leading up to the Ride.

 

 


CTF RIDE RANDOM FACTS

- Our fastest Riders keep a pace of 18 miles per hour, which means you could finish the CTF 10-mile route in just over 33 minutes and put your feet up before joining the finish line cheering squad!

- New Haven is one of the country's most respected and recognized pizza destinations AND is thought to be the birthplace of the hamburger. We’ll have pizza, burgers and eight other local food truck options waiting for you at the Finish Festival at the Yale Bowl!

- Yale Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center in Connecticut, and one of only 56 in the nation.


GET SOCIAL

You know you’re on your phone anyway. Keep up with everything that’s happening by joining us on social. Tag us throughout the season using #CTFRide. We love seeing your training and fundraising progress!

Instagram  Facebook   X  

Ready to up your cycling game? Join our official Closer to Free Ride Strava Club! With 1,500+ members strong, it's the ultimate hub for sharing routes, gaining motivation and connecting with fellow Riders before, during and after Ride Day!

Strava

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

It's time to dive into spring with the Closer to Free Press – your one-stop shop for all things Closer to Free! May is National Bike Month and prime time to jumpstart your training, ramp up those fundraising efforts and soak up that sweet sunshine!


Refer-A-Friend Month is Here: Earn $25 when your friends join the 2024 Ride!

The Ride is more fun with friends! From now until May 31st*, refer friends to register as Riders and when you do, you’ll earn a $25 fundraising credit! Here’s how it works:

1. Have your friend register in May at rideclosertofree.org. They must be a new participant (they’ve never participated before)
2. Have them input your name when asked “I was referred by…”
3. That’s it! Your $25 fundraising credit will be awarded in early June


SPRING CTF STORE PROMO

We’ve extended the CTF Store spring promotion! Get 15% off all CTF Ride Store orders between now and May 30th, 2024*.

This includes all store items including shorts, tanks for women, launch shirts, wind jackets, sunglasses, cycling gloves and more. Plus, if you missed out on getting an exclusive 2024 “I’M IN” long-sleeve shirt, you’re in luck, they’re back in stock! When checking out, use promo code SPRING24 at shop.rideclosertofree.org.

 

 

 

 


Why I Ride: Jenna Kearney

Shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019, Jenna fearlessly tackled her first Closer to Free Ride. Now, as she gears up for the 2024 Ride, it's not just her 5th Ride, but also her 5th year cancer-free!

I’m a breast cancer SURVIVOR, mom, wife, friend, sister, and daughter! I’m riding for my family and friends who are battling, have battled, or lost a life from this terrible disease! I’m grateful for the beautiful life and supporting the cause and research to bring us one step Closer to Free!

 


Fundraising Tip: Add a May Milestone!

On your fundraising page, encourage supporters to get you to a May Milestone. Choose a goal and let your supporters know how much money you’re trying to raise in May. Visit our CTF Ride app page to learn how.

Keep your supporters updated on your progress and celebrate when you hit your goal by sending out an e-mail thanking your May donors for their support.


May Marshal-Led Training Ride: Intro Ride, May 25th

Our amazing Closer to Free Ride Marshals have pulled out all the stops for another round of epic group training rides. Whether you're a cycling newbie or just want to polish your skills, these 25-30 mile rides will cover everything from road rules to gear shifts, bike TLC, and even fueling strategies to keep you going strong. Space is limited to 25 riders per ride, so sign up below.

Date: Saturday, May 25th
Time: Meet at 7:30 AM for 8:00 AM departure
Meeting Location: Branford Train Station; 39 Maple Street, Branford, CT 06405
Distance: 25-30 miles (Branford to Guilford)
RSVP: At this link (Reservation form will be closed once we reach capacity)

Can’t make this one? More dates later in the season can be found here.


GET SOCIAL

Join the CTF Strava Club! Ready to up your cycling game? Join our official Closer to Free Ride Strava Club! With 1,500+ members strong, it's the ultimate hub for sharing routes, gaining motivation and connecting with fellow Riders before, during and after Ride Day!

It’s free and easy to join here! Once you’re in the club, make sure you log in every time you ride so your miles add to our club total as we train and prepare for Ride Day! Using Zwift or Peloton? You can sync those workouts too!


#CTFJerseyJourney

#CTFJerseyJourney is back for the 2024 Ride season! Whether you're hitting the road for a training ride or planning your next adventure, don't forget to pack your CTF Jersey and snap a pic! Share it on social using #CTFJerseyJourney or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org for a chance to win awesome CTF swag. One winner will be randomly selected each month leading up to the Ride!


Got Stuff?? We Need Stuff!

The Closer to Free Ride would not be possible without the support and partnership of our incredible sponsors. This year, we're on the hunt for connections to hardware, grocery, or big box stores to stock up on supplies and snacks that'll keep our Riders fueled up and ready.

Sponsoring the Closer to Free Ride isn't just about giving back—it's about seizing the spotlight! From online and social media shoutouts to branding opportunities and unforgettable experiences at the Ride, the benefits are endless.

Got the inside scoop on potential sponsors? Send us an email at RideCloserToFree@ynhh.org.


CTF Ride Random Facts

- The 5 CTF Ride routes span 18 different Connecticut towns

- Riders and volunteers consume almost 4,000 bananas and 2,000 Cohen's Bagels on Ride Day

- The highest elevation of all of the routes is mile 34 of the CTF Century, with an elevation of 518 ft (hey, it’s not the Rockies, but we do PLENTY of climbing!)

 

 


Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and X

Keep up with everything that’s happening throughout the season by joining us on social. Tag us throughout the season using #CTFRide. We love seeing your training and fundraising progress!

Thanks for reading. As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

*$25 fundraising credit for each new Rider referral from May 9th 10AM ET through May 31st 11:59 pm ET. Credits will be applied in early June.


Welcome to the October edition of the Closer to Free Press. It’s been almost a month since Ride Day and we miss you already! Read on for a shout-out to our top fundraising teams and individuals, some 2023 fun facts and the reveal of this year’s Ride photos!


2023 Closer to Free Ride Top Individuals and Teams

On September 9th, we came together in New Haven and around the globe for the patients and staff of Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center. Fundraising for the 2023 Ride is now closed, and we’ll be revealing the final overall fundraising number soon. We thank each and every one of you for your fantastic fundraising efforts, especially our top three fundraising individuals and teams:

TOP INDIVIDUALS
Gina Malafronte $36,475
Brian Hetherington $31,342
Patrick Haynes $23,685

TOP TEAMS
Team Craft Beer $230,666
Team Steve $66,754
Team Ray of Hope $66,051  

TOP VOLUNTEER
Gary Dangle $6,685

The top three individual fundraisers will receive:
1st Place: One-night stay for two with breakfast at The Study at Yale
2nd Place: Gift card to Heirloom Restaurant, New Haven
3rd Place: CTF swag bag

Our top volunteer will receive a gift card to Zanes Cycles.

Ride Day Photos

We’re still basking in the memories of the 2023 Ride, and now you can relive it all with the reveal of the 2023 CTF Ride photos. Please feel free to download and share. Don’t forget to use #CTFRide and #HopeRidesWithUs when you post to your favorite social channel. 

2023 CTF Ride by the Numbers

1,886 riders
599 volunteers
195 teams
308 survivors participating
26 states represented  
3,000 bananas fueling riders
1,100 route signs throughout Connecticut
Thousands of miles ridden Closer to Free!

Save A Spot for 2024

It’s not too early to think about getting registered for the 2024 CTF Ride which will take place on September 7, 2024 - stay tuned for details! Save your spot here and we’ll let you know when registration is open with complete information and a special registration discount.

CTF Ride Store 

Gear up for fall rides and weather at the CTF Ride Store. The CTF winter beanie, arm warmers, gloves and more are available here

Complete the 2023 Survey 

We need your help! As we look ahead to 2024, your insights and ideas are crucial to our continued success. Please share your thoughts on this year's Ride by completing a brief survey here.

Congratulations to our September #CTFJerseyJourney Winner

Caroline Hendel took her CTF jersey on her adventures to Puglia, Italy. Congratulations, Caroline!

From all of us at Smilow Cancer Hospital, Yale Cancer Center and the Closer to Free Ride, thank you. As always, should you have any questions, please reach out to us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

-Jessica Scheps and the Closer to Free Ride Team

It’s September…and that means we’re only days away from the 2023 CTF Ride! This edition includes important Ride Week information for your favorite day of the year.


Let’s start with some important dates and deadlines:

September 5th (TODAY!): In-Person Rider fundraising commitment is due by 11:59pm ET (the credit card on file will be charged after this time). We hope you’ll continue to fundraise until September 30th, however, the minimum fundraising of $500 ($250 for youth/students) is due tonight by 11:59pm.

September 8th: Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at the Yale Bowl (New Location!) check-in for all In-Person Riders from 11am until 7pm. All Riders who did not earn Home Check-In MUST attend Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule to check in. You can also drop your bike off at the Yale Bowl so you're ready to ride on Saturday morning! An email with important check-in information will be sent to those who have not earned Home Check-In by the end of the day Thursday, September 7th. Please remember to check your email and have the QR Code in the email handy at Pre-Ride.

September 9th: Ride Day. If you haven’t seen it yet, the Ride Week Details section of our website has even more information for all Riders, both In-Person and Remote. In-Person Riders should plan to arrive at the Yale Bowl at 5:45am. The Opening Ceremony starts at 6:45am ET and will be broadcast live on our Ride Week Website (launching tomorrow).

Still Not Registered to Ride? It’s Not Too Late!

Even though we Ride Closer to Free in just a few days, there’s still time for you to join us – or for you to get friends to join you. You don’t want to miss this incredible experience, so click here to register today! Are all of your teammates on board? Did that friend of yours who said they were riding with you actually sign up? Now is the time to get them registered!

Ride Weekend Strava Challenge

Don’t forget to join the CTF Strava Club to participate in our Ride Weekend Strava Challenge! We'll have awards for the most remote miles ridden, the ride completed the farthest distance from New Haven and the ride with the greatest elevation gain. Each winner will receive the 2023 Limited Edition Closer to Free T-shirt. Winners will be determined based on rides logged on September 9th and September 10th.

Not a member of CTF Strava Club yet? It’s free, and a great way to connect with each other before, during and after Ride Day! Using Zwift or Peloton? You can connect those to the Strava club too! Join here.

Rewards Reminder

In-Person Rider and Volunteer Rewards must be picked up at Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at the Yale Bowl on September 8th or on Ride Day at the Yale Bowl. Remote Riders who earned rewards after August 24th and In-Person Riders who earn rewards AFTER September 9th will be mailed in late fall 2023. Don’t forget that you have the entire month of September to keep fundraising. Not only does 100% of your fundraising go to research and care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center, but it can also earn you some great new CTF swag along the way.

Why You Ride: Share Your Story to Win NY Yankees Suite Tix

Thanks to the generosity of PepsiCo, we have 8 suite tickets to the Thursday, September 21st New York Yankees vs Toronto Blue Jays game at 7:05pm! All you have to do is email rideclosertofree@ynhh.org and tell us why you Ride, who you Ride for and who you would bring to the game if you win! Entries must be received by 11:59pm ET on September 12th. The winners will be picked at random and notified by September 15th.

August Fundraising Challenge Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our August Fundraising Challenge. Our top two overall Rider fundraisers in August were Brian Heterington and Gina Malafronte. Both have won overnight stays with breakfast at The Study at Yale. Our top two overall Volunteer fundraiser in August was Gary Dangle, who has won a $100 gift card to Heirloom New Haven at The Study at Yale. We thank you all for your incredible fundraising and thank The Study for being our long-time Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor!

 
Congratulations to our August #CTFJerseyJourney Winner

Jaime Krasnitski took her CTF jersey on her adventures to Phoenix, AZ. Congratulations, Jaime!

Be on the lookout for all of this year’s #CTFJerseyJourney submissions on the LED screens at the Yale Bowl and during the pre-show of the live streamed Opening Ceremony on our Ride Week Website.

 

Shoutout to our Diamond and Elite Sponsors

100% of participant fundraising goes to research and care because of the generosity of our sponsors. A big thank you to our Diamond Sponsors and Elite Sponsors for this year:

As this is our last Closer to Free Press before the big day, we’ll see you soon – either in person at the Yale Bowl or on the Internet from wherever you are riding remotely. Remember to use #CTFRide when you post to your favorite channel. Make sure your social media profiles are marked as public (you can change this just for Ride Week!) so we can see them.

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

Welcome to the August edition of your Closer to Free Press. With just 40 days until Ride Day, we love seeing so many of you out and about training and we really love seeing your fundraising increase day after day!! Read on for the latest CTF Ride news, tips and reminders! 


FUNDRAISING TIP: CLOSER TO FREE BINGO BOARDS

The Closer to Free Bingo boards are back! With both lower and higher donation board options, you can challenge your friends to help you fill your board one donation at a time on your social media. Include your fundraising link at the bottom of the board to make it easy for donors. Download your board below.

HIGH DONATION BINGO BOARD

LOW DONATION BINGO BOARD

 


AUGUST FUNDRAISING CHALLENGE 

Use those bingo boards to win our August Fundraising Challenge. Our top two overall fundraisers in August will win a one-night stay for two with breakfast at The Study at Yale in downtown New Haven. You have until August 31st to add to your fundraising total. We’ll announce the winners in early September and you’ll need to use the stay by September 5, 2024. The stay can even be used the night before the Ride, giving you a short 5-minute drive to the Yale Bowl on Ride morning! It’s a $350 value and we thank The Study for being our long-time Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor.  


Why I Ride: Caitlin Celella

This month we highlight Caitlin Celella, who rides in honor of her husband, Andy, who passed away earlier this summer after a battle with brain cancer.  

Caitlin credits the team of doctors, nurses, and staff at Smilow with the extra 4 years her family had with Andy after his diagnosis. Andy completed his 2022 Closer to Free 25-mile ride just 4 weeks after his 3rd brain surgery. He rode on his stationary bike at home and beat Caitlin’s ride time! 

 


NEXT MARSHAL-LED TRAINING RIDE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 13th

Our LAST Marshal-Led training ride is Sunday, August 13th. Space is limited to 25 riders per ride, so sign up below. Complimentary vintage CTF training jerseys will be available for everyone who joins us! 

Date: Sunday, August 13th 
Time: Meet at 7:30 AM for 8:00 AM departure 
Meeting Location: 550 Orange Ave, Milford, CT (Platt Tech)
Distance: 22.4 miles

RSVP TODAY


SUMMER MILEAGE CHALLENGE WINNERS

With thousands of miles logged in the last two weeks, our CTF Ride community is really hitting the road! Here are the top three registered participants who logged the highest number of miles on Strava for the last two weeks of July: 

1st Place- 331.6 Miles- CTF Hoodie: John Thomas
2nd Place- 268.3 Miles- CTF Gloves: Elise VonHousen
3rd Place- 241.6 Miles- CTF T-Shirt: Brian Shea

Didn’t win this one? Be on the lookout for our Ride Week Strava Challenges coming up in September. 

Not a member of CTF Strava Club yet? Join our official Closer to Free Ride club to see where your fellow Riders are and the miles they’re putting in. With over 1,400 community members, it’s a free, easy and fun way to connect with each other before, during and after Ride Day! Once you’re in the club, make sure you log in every time you ride so your miles add to our club total as we train and prepare for Ride Day! Using Zwift or Peloton? You can connect those to the Strava club too! 

JOIN STRAVA CLUB


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR JULY #CTFJERSEYJOURNEY WINNER

This month’s winning #ctfjerseyjourney submission came from Michael Morton, who took his CTF jersey on his journey to Savannah, GA. Congratulations, Michael! 

Bring your CTF Jersey along on your travels this August and snap a picture to enter our competition for a chance to win CTF swag. Share your photo on social media with the hashtag #CTFJerseyJourney or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. One winner will be randomly selected for August!

 


We Want Your Photos and Messages for Ride Day! 

Don’t forget to share your photos and messages to be shown on two LED screens at the Yale Bowl and on our Remote Rider festival website. Share a photo of yourself, your team, or an image that represents why you ride, accompanied by a brief message (no more than 10 words please!). Your message can be to anyone - someone you’re riding for, another Rider, or the entire CTF Ride community. Photos and messages are due by September 1 via email to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. Please make your photo at least 1MB, and keep your message to ten words or fewer.


REWARDS, KEY DATES & DEADLINES! 

Don’t forget about our Closer to Free Ride Rewards. There are still 23 days to qualify for Home Check-In for mailed credentials and the ability to come right to the Yale Bowl ready to ride on September 9th! 

Here are some important dates and deadlines to keep in mind: 

August 24: Final day to qualify for Home Check-In (for in-person Riders)*
September 1: Deadline to move/allocate Team money to members
September 5: Fundraising commitment due by 11:59pm ET (credit card on file will be charged after this time)
September 8: Pre-Ride check-in for all in-person Riders (not receiving Home Check-In)
September 9: Ride Day
September 30: Fundraising closes & final day for rewards qualification (to be mailed late Fall 2023)

*In-Person Rider and Volunteer Rewards must be picked up at Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at the Yale Bowl on September 8th or on Ride Day at the Yale Bowl. Premier Circle Jerseys will be mailed in home check-in packets if qualified by home check-in date. Rewards earned AFTER September 9th will be mailed late fall 2023.


Survivor Sundays at NEBCO

Thirsty? Our longtime Diamond Sponsor, New England Brewing Co., will again host Survivor Sundays every Sunday in August at the Brewery - 175 Amity Road - Woodbridge from 5:30-8:30 pm. Come support our guest bartenders while connecting with others in the CTF Ride community. Food trucks will be on-site. You can also pick up your CTF lawn sign and grab some free vintage Ride Day jerseys in the taproom!

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. 

Welcome to the July edition of the Closer to Free Press. We hope you’re enjoying the beautiful summer weather and getting some training miles in. Let’s get to the latest CTF Ride news and notes!  


KEY DATES & DEADLINES! 

As we’re just over two months from Ride Day, we want to make sure you’re prepared and know all the important dates and deadlines out there. Questions? Contact us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.

August 24: Final day to qualify for Home Check-In (for in-person Riders)*
September 1: Deadline to move/allocate Team money to members
September 5: Fundraising commitment due by 11:59pm ET (credit card on file will be charged after this time)
September 8: Pre-Ride check-in for all in-person Riders (not receiving Home Check-In)
September 9: Ride Day
September 30: Fundraising closes & final day for rewards qualification (to be mailed late Fall 2023)

*In-Person Rider and Volunteer Rewards must be picked up at Pre-Ride sponsored by Thule at the Yale Bowl on September 8th or on Ride Day at the Yale Bowl. Premier Circle Jerseys will be mailed in home check-in packets if qualified by home check-in date. 


JUNE FUNDRAISING CHALLENGE WINNERS

We asked and you delivered. We are amazed with your June fundraising efforts! Congratulations to our top two fundraisers for the month of June, who have won a one-night stay for two with breakfast at The Study at Yale. We thank The Study for being our long-time Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor.

Highest Overall Fundraiser for June: Chris Patsiga
2nd Highest Overall Fundraiser for June: Caitlin Celella


WHY I VOLUNTEER: ALIENNE SALLEROLI

The Closer to Free Ride would not be possible without the support of our incredible team of Volunteer Marshals on the route. This month we spotlight our long-time Marshal, Alienne Salleroli, who shares her CTF story. We thank her for her dedication to keeping our Riders safe! 

I volunteer not only for all the patients I have cared for in my 20-year career in Oncology, but for my parents as well. I lost both of my parents to cancer. My mother used to travel to Yale from NJ once a month as it was the closest support group to our home. Giving back to this community has a deeper meaning for me. Giving back to somewhere that gave my mother so much. I want to use my abilities to do something that helps someone else’s mother and father. This is how I honor my family. It is who we are.


JULY Marshal-Led Training Ride: SUNDAY, JULY 9th

Our next Marshal-Led training ride is Sunday, July 9th, and will focus on road and bike safety, gear shifting, bike maintenance, fuel, hydration, and more. Space is limited to 25 riders per ride, so sign up below. Complimentary vintage CTF training jerseys will be available for everyone who joins us! 

Date: Sunday, July 9th 
Time: Meet at 7:30 AM for 8:00 AM departure 
Meeting Location: Branford Train Station; 39 Maple Street, Branford, CT 06405
Distance: 25-30 miles (Branford to Guilford)

RSVP TODAY

Registration form will close once we reach capacity. More dates on our training ride page!


#CTFJERSEYJOURNEY

This month’s winning #ctfjerseyjourney submission came from Jay Hirsch who took his CTF jersey on his journey cycling the entire distance (360 miles) from Buffalo to Albany on the Erie Canalway Trail. Congratulations, Jay! 

Bring your CTF Jersey along on your travels this summer and snap a picture to enter our competition for a chance to win CTF swag. Share your photo on social media with the hashtag #CTFJerseyJourney or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. One winner will be randomly selected each month leading up to the Ride!


6 WEEK Training Plans 

No matter what distance you choose to ride, training and preparation are important. Thanks to our Exclusive Cycling Sponsor, Zane's Cycles, we have suggested plans to help you (and your bike!) get in shape for your desired distance. Each plan is set up as a 6-week program, so with just over two months until Ride Day, this is the perfect time to get started. If you haven’t yet checked out our training plans courtesy of our friends at Zane’s Cycles, download them today below!

VIEW TRAINING PLANS


FUNDRAISING TIP: FUNDRAISING REWARDS ARE WITHIN REACH

Our Closer to Free Ride Rewards are designed to inspire you and help you receive some great benefits in return. Check out our reward levels and see how close you are to your next reward!   

Don’t forget to check out our Fundraising Guide for tips to move your fundraising along.


JOIN THE CTF STRAVA CLUB!

Join our official Closer to Free Ride club to see where your fellow Riders are and what miles they’re putting in. With over 1,300 community members, it’s an easy and fun way to connect with each other before, during and after Ride Day!

It’s free and easy to join! Once you’re in the club, make sure you log in every time you ride so your miles add to our club total as we train and prepare for Ride Day! Using Zwift or Peloton? You can connect those to the Strava club too!

JOIN STRAVA CLUB


We hope to see you out there training and encourage you to share photos and routes with us on Strava, Facebook, Instagram or send them in via email!

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. 

Welcome to the June edition of the Closer to Free Press! The weather for riding has been spectacular lately, so we hope you’ve had a chance to get out there. And with the 2023 CTF Ride only a few months away, we hope you’re getting some quality training miles in. Let’s get to the latest CTF Ride news and notes!  


Lawn Signs are Here!

Every lawn looks better with a colorful CTF Ride lawn sign on it. Free to all participants, lawn signs may be picked up at the following locations: Cohen’s Bagels, New England Brewing Company Tap Room, Smilow Cancer Hospital Boutique and Zane's Cycles. Click here to view hours and details for all locations.


June Fundraising Challenge

Need an incentive to move your fundraising along? Need a relaxing getaway in a beautiful hotel? Our top two overall fundraisers for the month of June will win a one-night stay for two with breakfast at The Study at Yale. We’ll announce the winners in early July and you’ll need to use the stay by September 5, 2023. It’s a $350 value and we thank The Study for being our long-time Exclusive Hospitality Sponsor.  


Why We Volunteer: Joelle, Molly, and Jodi

This month we spotlight three remarkable CTF Ride Volunteers: Joelle, Molly, and Jodi. They tirelessly give their time and energy in memory of Joelle's sister-in-law, Brenda, as well as other family members who are still in the midst of their own battles. Their dedication and compassion inspire us all… In recent years, our family has faced the profound impact of cancer, as two of our beloved sisters-in-law were diagnosed with different forms of the disease: breast cancer and appendix cancer. Tragically, this past February, we experienced the heartbreaking loss of our dear Brenda, who lost her battle with appendix cancer. In her memory and in honor of all those affected by cancer, we are committed to carrying on the fight. We firmly believe that a cure is out there! 

 


Fundraising Tip: Download the CTF App

Take your fundraising to the next level with the CTF Mobile App sponsored by Haynes. With the app, you can unlock a range of valuable features, including:

  • Updating your fundraising page directly from the app

  • Displaying a personalized QR code, making it easy for others to donate

  • Sending donation requests, thank-you messages, and follow-up with donors

  • Tracking your individual or team progress in real-time

  • Motivating donors through milestones and incentives

For more information and to download the app, click here


Summer Closer to Free Ride Store Sale!

We’re kicking off the warm weather with a special sale in our CTF Ride Shop. This week only, save $10 on all cycling shorts and bib shorts in the store. Use promotion code SUMMER23 through June 13th!

 


Congratulations to our May #CTFJerseyJourney Winner

This month’s winning #CTFJerseyJourney submission came from Mario A. Lupone who took his 2023 CTF Premier Circle jersey on his journey all the way to Greve, Italy (Tuscany). Congratulations, Mario! Bring your CTF Jersey along on your travels this summer and snap a picture to enter our competition for a chance to win CTF swag. Share your photo on social media with the hashtag #CTFJerseyJourney or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. One winner will be randomly selected each month leading up to the Ride!


June Marshal-Led Training Ride: Saturday, June 24th 

Our next training ride provides another opportunity to brush up on your cycling skills! These 25-30 mile rides will focus on road and bike safety, gear shifting, bike maintenance, fuel and hydration, and more. Space is limited to 25 riders per ride, so sign up below. Vintage CTF training jerseys will be available for everyone who joins us! 

  • Date: Saturday, June 24th

  • Time: Meet at 7:30 AM for 8:00 AM departure 

  • Meeting Location: 550 Orange Avenue, Milford, CT (Platt Tech)

  • Distance: 22.4 miles

  • RSVP: Here (Reservation form will be closed once we reach capacity)

All upcoming dates can be found on our training ride page.


June's Rider-Suggested Route

We love seeing so many of you out riding and about tracking your miles in our CTF Strava club. Rider Robert Dube has shared one of his favorites with us, a 28 mile ride from Bolton, CT

We encourage you to share photos and routes with us on Strava, Facebook and Instagram or send them in via email at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org 

Bike Safety- June Training Tips from the CTF Ride Marshals! 

Before you head out on your bike make sure you’ve got all the necessities to keep you safe and healthy. Our Ride Marshals suggest the following basic items:

  • Adequate hydration: water or sports drink (or both!)

  • Fuel for your body: energy bars, fruit, peanut butter crackers etc.

  • Phone: be safe and be prepared!

  • A few dollars for emergencies

  • Patch kit with an extra tube

  • Know your cycling route

  • ID and emergency contact information 

  • Always let someone know where you will be riding and when you anticipate returning!

If you haven’t yet checked out our training plans courtesy of our friends at Zane’s Cycles, download them today!

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org

 

Welcome to the May edition of the Closer to Free Press – your monthly update on what’s happening in the world of Connecticut’s Best Ride! With almost 1,000 Riders and Volunteers already registered, we’re off to a great start. We hope you take advantage of this month’s spring weather to get out on your bike, expand your fundraising efforts and connect with our community. Let’s get to it!


Refer-A-Friend Month is Here

Earn $25 when your friends join the 2023 Ride! 

Help us grow our Ride community and get credits towards your fundraising in return. From now until May 31st, refer friends to register as Riders and when you do, you’ll earn a $25 fundraising credit for each new registered participant!

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Have your friend register at rideclosertofree.org. They must be a new participant (they’ve never participated before)
  2. Have them input your name when asked “I was referred by..”
  3. That’s it! Your credits will be awarded in early June

​As an extra incentive, new participants who register from 5/1 to 5/7 will receive a vintage CTF Jersey from past Rides (specific design at the discretion of CTF staff). Returning riders only may choose a CTF saddle bag instead of a vintage jersey. Jersey sizes provided during registration will be used for fulfillment. Jerseys run small, please order 1-2 sizes up.  


FUNDRAISING TIP: ADD DONATION INCENTIVES

You can set personalized donation incentives on your fundraising page to encourage donors and reward them for their support. You decide the levels and incentives; give gifts for certain donation amounts, or maybe do an over-the-top activity for a large donation amount! For instance…Donate $50 and I’ll buy you a coffee!! Donate $100 and I’ll knit you a hat! Donate $500 and I’ll wear a chicken costume to work! Be creative…you can add and edit incentives (including the specific number of incentives you want to reward) and they’ll appear on your page as seen above. More information is available in our fundraising guide


Why I Ride: Gina Malafronte

This month we spotlight a member of Team Craft Beer and one of our newest 2023 Premier Circle members, Gina Malafronte! Gina rides in memory of her brother, Chip:

I’ll be riding with all my heart, soul, and strength to honor the memory of my brother, Chip Malafronte-the fiercest of warriors and my greatest teacher. He was a favorite among the doctors, nurses, and staff at Smilow. It’s my honor and my pleasure to be riding in my 5th Closer to Free-my favorite day of the year!

 

 

 


May is National Bike Month... 

...and a perfect time to kick off your training and enjoy the weather. We have in-person training rides for those in the New Haven area and training tips, plans, and routes on our Strava page for those near and far. And make sure you check out this month’s safety tips so you stay in top shape for September!


May Marshal-Led Training Ride: Intro Ride, May 27th

Thanks to the incredible skill and support of our Closer to Free Ride Marshal team, we’re once again offering introductory group training rides. Perfect for the novice or those looking to brush up on their cycling skills, these 25-30 mile rides will focus on road and bike safety, gear shifting, bike maintenance, fuel and hydration, and more. Space is limited to 25 riders per ride, so sign up below. 

Date: Saturday, May 27th 
Time: Meet at 7:30 AM for 8:00 AM departure 
Meeting Location: Branford Train Station; 39 Maple Street, Branford, CT 06405
Distance: 25-30 miles (Branford to Guilford)

RSVP TODAY

Registration form will close once we reach capacity. More dates are coming soon!


Training Plans Courtesy of our Exclusive Cycling Sponsor, Zanes 

No matter what distance you’re planning on riding on September 9th, we have training plans for you! Thanks to our friends at Zane’s Cycles, our Exclusive Cycling Sponsor, we’ve got an entire set of training plans and tips for every level of cyclist on each of our CTF Ride routes. 

VIEW TRAINING PLANS

 

Join the CTF Strava Club!

Are you on Strava? Need new training route ideas or a little motivation to get out on your bike? Join our official Closer to Free Ride club to see where your fellow Riders are and what miles they’re putting in. With over 1,300 community members, it’s an easy and fun way to connect with each other before, during and after Ride Day!
 
It’s free and easy to join! Once you’re in the club, make sure you log in every time you ride so your miles add to our club total as we train and prepare for Ride Day! Using Zwift or Peloton? You can connect those to the Strava club too!

JOIN STRAVA CLUB


BIKE SAFETY
  • As the season starts, have your bike serviced/checked by a reputable cycling shop in your area. They will check brakes, cables, tire pressure and tire condition, nuts and bolts, bike frame, chain check, lubrication, as well as how you fit on your bike (you will want to be comfortable)
  • You probably need more air in your tires! Be sure to read the PSI rating on the sidewall of your tire, then use a pump with a pressure gauge to make sure you reach a number midway between the min & max. Too little air and you run the risk of a flat. Too much and you’ll feel every bump!
  • Check your helmet fit! A properly fitted Helmet with MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection) is recommended If you have an older helmet and are unsure, your local bike shop expert can evaluate your helmet for safety and fit.

Ale Alert: Closer to Free Hazy IPA

We’re thrilled to announce the 2023 Closer to Free Hazy IPA- a collaboration between our Diamond Sponsor New England Brewing Company and Two Roads Brewing Company, with proceeds benefiting the Ride. Beer will hit Connecticut store shelves in the next two weeks. More about the collaboration here.

 

 

 


#CTFJerseyJourney

Planning a trip soon or just heading out for a ride? Bring your CTF Jersey along and snap a picture to enter our competition for a chance to win CTF swag. Share your photo on social media with the hashtags #CTFJerseyJourney and tag @closertofreeride or send it to rideclosertofree@ynhh.org. Your social media profile must be public for our team to be able to view the post. One winner will be randomly selected each month leading up to the Ride!

 

 

 

 

 

 


We hope to see you out there training and encourage you to share photos and routes with us on Strava, Facebook, Instagram or send them in via email!

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at rideclosertofree@ynhh.org.