It took a few years for Wichita State's women's basketball coach Jody Adams' friends to get her on her Harley for a fund-raising ride. Now that she's done it — snowstorm, long days and all — Adams can't wait for next year.
Especially since the "Cruisin' For A Cause" motorcycle ride is likely to move south into warmer climates.
"We want to be hot for awhile, so maybe we'll finish in Baton Rouge (La.)," Adams said. "They have me locked in. I was happy to be invited and included, and now I'm stuck."
It is a good group to be stuck with and a good cause to be stuck on.
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Adams rode her pearl white 2003 Heritage Softail for eight days from South Dakota through Wyoming and Utah to Las Vegas. The 11-person team of riders — and a motor home for support — averaged around 300 miles and 6-8 hours a day. They ended their trip at the Breast Center at Sunrise hospital in Las Vegas, where they talked to doctors about cancer research and showed off their bikes.
"It was so empowering to hear that each and every day new things are evolving to fight breast cancer," Adams said.
Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick and LSU coach Nikki Caldwell started Champions For A Cause to raise money to fight breast cancer. This is the fifth year for Cruisin'. Last year, Adams said, the ride raised around $100,000.
"We have always loved to ride motorcycles," Adams said. "So they came up with the idea: What better way to put breast cancer awareness out there than to do something we enjoy doing, and so we hop on our bikes and go see different parts of the country. First and foremost, it's the cause that was of interest."
The trip didn't lack for adventure. They ran into snow and ice passing through a gorge on their way out of South Dakota.
"It was really dangerous, and you're making decisions on whether to stop," Adams said. "We had to keep moving, because it would continue to only get colder as the day progressed. At some point, you're working on frostbite."
Like in sports, adversity can bring people together. Adams learned things on the trip she wants to apply to her team. When the group stopped, it took a group effort to assist people with their boots and bikes.
"How you would help each other, and just natural instincts," she said. "Automatically, you go into this mode of helping everybody, we've got to make sure everybody is safe, sound mind, confident and we're all feeling good about the plan."
The trip featured plenty of lighter moments. Adams visited Wall Drug Store and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and Devils Tower in Wyoming. She loved the peanut butter chocolate pie in Lusk, Wyo., and tried fly-fishing.
"To be on your motorcycle, and you could basically reach out and pop a buffalo on the rear as you go by — it's intimidating," she said. "Prairie dogs — you wanted to take those home. It was a beautiful part of the country."
People can donate to Champions For A Cause at championsforacause.com.
Bayliff bouncing back — If you arrived at baseball games early enough in recent weeks, you could watch outfielder Garrett Bayliff sweating through agility drills.
He moves well for a player who tore up his right leg just a few months ago. He thinks his recovery is on pace to play when his summer team opens next month.
Bayliff, a sophomore, dislocated his ankle and broke his fibula sliding into second base during a game on Feb. 26. After surgery, eight pins and a plate that runs up the ankle are permanent.
He runs with a bit of a limp, but is getting close to regaining his stride.
"I'm not quite up to a sprint yet," he said. "I'm kind of at a fast jog. But I'm hitting 100 percent and throwing 100 percent."
Bayliff will join WSU pitchers Mitch Mormann, T.J. McGreevy and Albert Minnis with the Santa Barbara (Calif.) Foresters. They open against the San Diego Waves on June 3.
"I'm hoping to be ready by then," he said.
Bayliff started WSU's first six games in left before the injury. He hit .389.
Moving on track — Sprinter Audacia Moore will be the busiest of the Shockers competing in the NCAA West preliminaries beginning Thursday in Eugene, Ore.
Moore, from Heights, will run the 100-meter dash, the 200 and the 400 relay. She also competes in the triple jump.
Aliphine Tuliamuk will run the 5,000 and 10,000. Tonya Nero qualified in the 5,000, but will run only the 10,000. She holds the second-fastest time (33:11.71) in the region.
La'Taish Brown will compete in the long jump. Natalie Morerod qualified in the 400 hurdles and Tanya Friesen in the heptathlon.
For the men, Dylan Hartnett will run the 200 and 400 and in the 400 relay. Three Shockers — Lawson Montgomery, Todd McKown and Sam Garrison — will compete in the 110 hurdles. Tyler Simmons is also a member of the relay team and will long jump. Brandon Childs will high jump and Josh Crawford qualified in the triple jump. Brett Trudo and Adam Capps qualified in the javelin.
The top 12 finishers in each event advance to the NCAA championships June 8-11 at Drake.