By Sam Wheeler
For Oregon Beer Growler
Riding 1,000 miles in one day on a motorcycle is no easy feat.
It wasn’t supposed to be easy, said 29-year-old Dave Marliave, who rode that distance to raise $8,260 for the National Brain Tumor Society. The co-owner and brewmaster at Corvallis’ Flat Tail Brewing was inspired to push himself through the journey by a member of Oregon’s craft beer community. Angelo De Ieso, founder of the beer blog Brewpublic, was diagnosed with a rare and — for now — incurable brain tumor in 2013.
“It was a weird wakeup call for everybody because Angelo knows everybody, and everybody knows Angelo. It just hit so close to home,” said Marliave, who met De Ieso more than six years ago when Flat Tail was a young 7-barrel operation.
“He gave us some love on his blog and helped spread the word about us when we were just this tiny little brewery that no one had ever heard of. We just kind of kept in touch from that point on,” Marliave said. “Angelo is one of those guys that is just a staple in the [craft beer] community.”
And it’s not just De Ieso’s battle; Marliave has other friends who are living with brain tumors, and there are more than 688,000 throughout the U. S. who face the same challenges, according to the National Brain Tumor Society.
“It’s almost hard to find people who don’t know someone who has been affected by a malignant or benign brain tumor,” Marliave said. “It’s not only one of the fastest-growing types of cancer, but one of the least understood. No one knows what’s causing it. I think it’s really important that we figure it out.”
So on March 29, Marliave took off from Corvallis on his BMW R1200GS to ride as far as he could. With help from the National Brain Tumor Society’s Portland chapter, which created a “Highway to Health” webpage to accept donations, Marliave garnered flat-rate donations and pledges ranging from 10 cents to $1-per-mile for the ride.
Averaging about 56 miles per hour, 18 hours later, he was in San Diego.
“The outpouring of support was incredible, and it was almost all small Oregon breweries and related businesses,” he said. There is a list of donors, including the Flat Tail kitchen staff, which can be found at braintumorcommunity.org.
The trip went rather smoothly, said Marliave, who also received a $500 donation, a set of tires and free technical support from Hansen’s BMW Motorcycles of Medford.
“Doing a long endurance touring-style ride wasn’t new, but the 1,000 miles in a day I had only really done one other time,” Marliave said. “One of the biggest things about doing a ride like this is staying safe. And when you’re getting tired on that 15th, 16th hour — things can get really unsafe, really fast.”
It’s wasn’t until the day after the 1,000-mile ride, on a 500-mile route between San Diego and Petaluma, Calif., that Marliave’s bike started acting up. It was just a little brake noise — something that was determined to be a non-issue after he sent a few cell phone videos to Hansen’s BMW mechanics.
The fundraiser was an enormous success, Marliave said, and he continued to receive donations three-to-four weeks after concluding the ride, which helped Highway to Health surpass its goal of $5,000.
“Not only are we going to do it again, but next year we are setting the goal at $15,000 and hope to clear $20,000. This is definitely something we’re going to keep doing every year, and we’re going to stick with the NBTS,” which will continue to receive 100 percent of the donations.
Anyone who would like to be a part of next year’s fundraiser can contact Marliave at: firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, Flat Tail footed the bill for the entire ride, but Marliave said donations specified for ride expenses will also be accepted in the future.
Stories from the print edition of the Oregon Beer Growler.