the Dirty Project


I know, it feels like only yesterday that you were grinding through your gears up Sawnee Bean in the 2019 edition of the DP, realizing that you still had more than 20 miles of dirt to get after!! But that's what makes you so amazing - your ability to put yourself in that moment and realize just how special every minute has the potential to be, especially when it comes to fighting cancer!! For those of you new to the Dirty Project, that moment awaits you in the 2020 DP ride (or the shorter but fiesty Dirty Little Secret 'DLS' ride), along with several other memories that you will truly treasure as part of the DP family.

From our chief inspiration officer, Brian:

Hi everyone!

Hope your 2020 is off to a great start! Mark your calendars for the 6th edition of the Dirty Project, Friday July 10. A few new things for DP '20 to highlight:

  • Another great route, 101-miles and 11,000-ft elevation! This year the DP heads to Woodstock and goes over Cox District to North Bridgewater before heading back to Pomfret and ultimately out to South Royalton. This year we also have added Dairy Hill! Second half of the course will have all the same classic signature DP climbs.
  • For the first time we will have an official second route! We have dubbed it the Dirty Little Secret (DLS)! At 51 miles and 5,900-ft of elevation gain, it's shorter but still packs a serious punch and overlaps the second half of the full DP route.
  • The start AND finish has been moved to King Arthur Flour where we will also have our after ride party, the After Dirty!

Stay tuned for more details on sign-ups and fundraising!





Some facts about cancer

There will be over 1.7-million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018. Just over 600,000 people in the U.S. will die of cancer in 2018.

For perspective... State of VT population: 625,000 State of NH population: 1.3 million So in the US in 2018, the equivalent of the entire state of NH will get cancer, and equivalent of the entire state of VT will die of cancer. Just in 2018.

Number of Americans who died in WWI, WWI, Korea, Vietnam combined: 633,000 (about how many people will die of cancer in 2018 alone).

40 out of 100 men will get cancer in their lifetime, and 38 out of 100 women. There are 80 people on this email list. You do the math...

None of the 1.3 million people who are going to get cancer this year are expecting it, and for the most part can’t prevent it. Our best chance is to find a cure.

I’ll close with some good news, In 1991, 215 per 100,000 people in the U.S died from cancer. In 2015, 159 per 100,000 people in the U.S. died from cancer. We are making progress. Research matters. Fundraising matters.

LET’S DO THIS!! Sign up is coming soon, so send some emails, and get ready to raise some money for a great cause!


From ride creator and chief inspiration officer, Brian Nolan, MD:

In 2006 a close friend of mine died of cancer at the age of 38.  Until 6-months before she died, I thought she was the healthiest person on earth.  She never drank, never smoked and exercised every day.  She had been an All-American D1 collegiate field hockey player for UCONN in the early 1990's. In February 2006 she thought she had the flu, but it didn't go away.  Two months later she was diagnosed with metastatic gastric cancer.  Six months after that, she was dead.   She had three kids age 3, 6 and 9.

The hardest thing I have been through both as a physician and as a friend, is not being able to help someone who is dying.  She and her husband Jeff would call me, at least once a week, sometimes every day with updates, to ask questions, to get advice.  Initially, I just tried to reassure them that everything was fine. But soon came the realization that everything wasn't fine, and there was nothing I or anyone could do. And the feeling that realization left me with, was awful.   

I have been involved with Prouty ever since Lee's death.  I have been on the Board of Directors for 9 years.  I ran the Prouty Ultimate for 7 years.   A few years ago I realized my run with Ultimate was over. There was nothing else I could do for that event - and so I decided I'd invest the money I spent to do the Ultimate and start a new event.  It's been a pretty good investment. 

The Dirty Project ride is just over 100 miles.  I'm pretty sure everyone will finish, but maybe 1 or 2 of us don't.  In cancer speak, that's 95% survival - pretty damn good.  Imagine the ride was 300 miles long. Even the best cyclists in the upper valley couldn't do it.  That's 0% survival.  And that's what some people with cancer are up against.  

I'm a vascular surgeon - it's a pretty bad-ass job.  But in that job, I rarely have to deal with "there is nothing I can do for you".  I couldn't do a job like that.  And I suspect that every one of you who want to be involved in the Dirty Project are like me, and understand that "bad-ass" is ACTUALLY way easier than the alternative.

~ Brian.

And with that the Dirty Project was born. Like Brian, many of us have been directly or indirectly impacted by cancer. This is our way of joining the fight. Spend some time on the site. Read up on the Project, the Route, and the People involved and who participate. Take a really close look at the 2019 complete route outline (available on Ride with GPS) or its younger sibling, the 'ripcord route' (also available on Ride with GPS). Ask us questions. And if you think you want in - mark your calendar for the July 12, 2019 ride date and then sign up.

Wrap up of the DP '19

We cannot thank you enough for participating in The Dirty Project on Friday, July 12, '19, and raising much needed funds to benefit Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC), one of 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country, and the only one in northern New England.

Congratulations on raising $84,891.28! Such an outstanding effort from a dedicated crew! We had 80 riders on the roster. Amazing fundraising work by all. The Dirty Project is a very challenging route, but the camaraderie on the road, the day out on the bike with amazing scenery, and the fundraising really make it special.

Thank you to Lisa Drummond for snapping these shots from the Teago and Strafford Rest Stops:

A THANK YOU note from Brian Nolan, Founder of The DP:

First off, thanks to each and every one of you for giving up a day of your lives for this ride and this cause. You are an amazing group of people and it is an honor to share this event with you. This is the 5th DP, and over 5 years we have raised over $300,000!  Each year we have been a top 10 fundraising team in the Prouty — this year we are 6th (out of over 300 teams). That’s an incredible accomplishment! I would like to give a special shout out to our perennial #1 fundraiser, Earl Zmijeski. Earl raised over $12,000 again this year! He also pre-rides sections of the course all spring and sends us recon reports regularly. Thank you, Earl!

I would like to thank our Board of Directors: Barney and Kayla Brannen, Paul and Leslie Robinson, Ken French, Bob Holley, Byron Haynes, Mike O’Neil and Josie Fisher. This is a remarkable, dedicated group who not only make the decisions but also underwrite the costs of the event. Though I am truly grateful to all of them, I would like to give special thanks to Barney, our sage voice of reason and legal counsel, and Ken for his overwhelming financial generosity.

Thank you to all our event volunteers: Shawn Mason, Lisa Drummond, Bob and Lisa Holley, Dan Chomko, Derek Mulcahy, Jodee Allen, Victor Henningsen, Todd Chewning (Cowbell), Karl Miller (VeloFix), Dick Drummond, and Kevin Moynihan. There is no way any of us could do this ride without them. Your smiling faces and encouragement make all the difference!

A huge shoutout to Rob Panzera who not only keeps the wheels on the bus but actually makes them roll in the right direction! His work as Event Coordinator is priceless for the DP and is truly appreciated.

See you ALL at the DP 2020!