Lampart delivers to animal hospital

Lake Clear cyclist Floyd Lampart spent the weekend at the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, Utah, celebrating the opening of its new animal hospital, which he raised more than $55,000 for with his two long distance bike rides in the past year.

The first ride took place from April to early September last year and required him to bike 12,000 miles around the perimeter of the continental United States. The most recent took place over about six weeks and was from Saranac Lake to Kanab. He finished that 2,600-mile ride last Tuesday. Lampart said the final tally of how much raised from this last trip hasn’t been completed.

“It’s a beautiful, a very environmental efficient building. It’s geothermal heated and cooled,” Lampart said. “It’s everything they need for taking care of the animals.”

Lampart said the animal society takes care of 450 dogs, 600 cats, 50 horses, parakeets, potbelly pigs, goats and even burros.

“Best Friends is the last chance for a lot of these animals,” Lampart said. “A lot of them have real serious medical issues that have to be addressed before they can be adopted, so they’re busy. It’s a busy place. This is a place that was really needed here. It’s going to be good for the outfit. Good for the animals.”

Lampart and his wife Martha have been volunteering at Best Friends for years. They go out to visit every year for a week to 10 days. Martha helps out with the special needs cats and Floyd takes care of senior dogs. The pair have adopted five dogs in seven years from the clinic.

The time at Best Friends in recent days has been theurapeutic for Lampart, who endured a very challenging ride to get there. He faced very difficult mental and physical obstacles.

“The whole ride essentially was the toughest I’ve ever done,” said Lampart, who has been on several long-distance rides. “I had the headwind from Indiana right through Illinois, Nebraska, Wyoming. (Until) I got to Utah, the riding wasn’t really that great. Some of the temperatures weren’t too bad but the wind was just brutal.”

Lampart also said the threat of tornadoes was something he hadn’t really calculated into his planning but it became an issue during the trip. He never really felt threatened by a tornado on the trip, but he got closer to them than he would have liked. One came through the town of Sutton, Nebraska, just two days after he rode through there.

“It was really scary,” he said. “I missed the real severe weather but you could see it building every afternoon. It was not the nicest place to ride. You were right out in the open bucking a headwind, and you don’t know if you’re going to be able to make it to a safe place. It’s not a good feeling sometimes when you’re out there on the flatland. No place to hide.”

He also ran into some snow in Wyoming. Luckily for Lampart, he was able to find a ride around the storm from a man driving west through the area. Lampart was able to connect with the man in the pickup truck with the help of a humane society in North Platte, Nebraska.

Another big challenge on this trip was the mental aspect. It was difficult having so much time to himself so soon after the death of his son, Christopher, who was hit by a car in Ithaca on Jan. 15.

“Losing my son, I thought it would be a good thing to get out there and give it some time to think about things,” he said. “The problem with the ride is that you get too much time to think. It was tough in that respect. It was great to get here and feel that we had done something together but the actual ride at times was kind of difficult.”

Lampart said prior to the trip that he was not only fundraising for Best Friends, but he was dedicating the ride to his son. Several times on this trip, Lampart said he thought about stopping. In the end, he kept going with his son in mind.

“I carried the picture of my son in my map case and that kept me going,” he said. “It was an inspiration to finish the ride because I had dedicated it to him. I felt like I wasn’t going to quit. I was going to finish this thing up.”