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‘In it to win it:’ Tallahassee mountain biker ready to face cancer challenge

Published: Jan. 10, 2022 at 10:23 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A father, husband, and competitive mountain biker is embarking on his most challenging course yet, battling an aggressive form of cancer.

The news, as it so often does, has shocked a family, but opens the door for another hard fought victory.

For Jeff Asbell, the news is still very fresh. But the 56-year-old is staying active and ready for what comes next.

Through the years, he’s raced with purpose -aiming for the podium, never afraid of a few cuts or scrapes. Along the way, he’s made lifelong friends.

“It’s really close knit family,” he said.

But during the most recent racing season in November, he noticed a small lump on his neck. It quickly grew.

“It came back as squamous cell cancer. It’s in my Neck and throat,” he said.

The news stunned his family. But you won’t find despair here.

“Hardship and animosity that can go with all that, I just can’t put that in me. That’s negative energy, and I don’t have that,” he said.

His brother-in-law, Jason Cupp, has his own cancer connection, watching his father battle the disease years ago. He knows finances can become tight.

So, he started a GoFundMe page to help Asbell’s family deal with the burden. The mountain biking community is showing it’s love.

“Even the racers down in Miami and other places, it just shows there is people out there who really do care. The pay it forward is real,” Asbell said.

Spirits remain high among his friends and neighbors, including Joyce Rolle.

“He’s got something to fight for,” she said. “He will fight this, he’ll go the distance.”

“He don’t lose,” Cupp said. “If he does, he fights harder and comes back.”

“You have to,” Asbell said. “Because it is easy to give up. There’s nothing like a good challenge.”

For Asbell and his family, the race is on.

“Everybody who knows me knows I don’t like to lose,” he said. “This is just another race. There is no second place in this one. So it’s either win it or lose it. I’m in it to win it.”

Right now, doctors are in a wait-and-see mode in terms of next steps. And until then, Asbell promises to keep riding.

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