Monday, October 27, 2008

The Dangers of Not Biking

Well, I have officially discovered the danger inherent in doing something other than biking when training for a long bike ride...

On Friday I went hiking with a friend and turned over my ankle, and now have a mild sprain. I missed a beautiful 74mile bike ride on Sunday with the team because of it, but have been staying off the ankle in the hope that I can get back on the bike by Thursday and be there for our 80mile ride next Saturday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Metric Century Completed! (that's 100km or 62miles)

The rides are getting longer, the recovery more difficult, but I can see the goal in the distance!

View Interactive Map on

On Saturday we rode a beautiful ride that goes over 4 covered bridges and took us through the Gettysburg battlefield and through both Maryland and Pennsylvania!

Most of the team was there, and we all got started at 8:30am when it was a mere 42 degrees! Thanks to Maura, I didn't freeze, because she loaned me a windbreaker. And did I ever need the windbreaker! There were 20mph headwinds for at least 20 miles of this's never a good sign when you're pedaling as hard as you can on a flat stretch and you realize you're only going 9mph...

But it was all worth it because I did it with a great group of people, and saw some amazing scenery as we went. On those bad days, when all you want to do is ask the SAG support to just take you home, it's knowing I've got the support of my team and knowing that I'm doing it for a wonderful cause that makes it possible.

Here's some more pictures from this week's ride...I'll let them speak for themselves:
At the first SAG was still only in the 40s at this point

A house built in 1830

Doug and I in front of one of the covered bridges

Gettysburg Battlefield Park

Erika on the Road

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just One Story

I am riding for all of those that can't. I am riding for everyone who might need the help of a great organization like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I don't have any personal stories to share, but training with a team motivates me in ways I never thought possible. As my teammates share their personal stories, what I am raising money for becomes that much more real. The last hill of the ride seems that much less painful when I compare it to the pain of cancer and chemotherapy and losing your family member, friend, or loved one. As you read this story from one of my teammates telling all of us why she rides, I hope you will take the time to donate here and make riding for a cure no longer necessary.

Rachel's Story --

I started this adventure with TNT for no other reason then to be able to say, "I ran a marathon". Now I fundraise and train in hopes that the money I raise funds finding a better treatment and eventually a cure for Blood Caner so my friends loved ones can live.

Here is my story.

I started with Team in Training in 2002 as a Marathoner. I had always wanted to run a marathon and a close friend of mine called me up one day to tell me he had just run his first Marathon. I quickly decided if he could do it, I could do it and the next day a post card for TNT showed up in my mail box. The post card obviously talked about the endurance training they offer you as a participant and in return you raise money for finding a cure. I thought, "perfect". This will keep me motivated to complete the training and actually finish the Marathon. Little did I know that this one event was going to change my life.

I asked one of my girl friends to join me and she immediately jumped on board as her 5 year old cousin was currently in the hospital fighting for his life. He had Leukemia. As we trained and fundraised I found out a co-worker and good friend of mine's Brother was a Blood Cancer survivor. Izzy made a donation to my fundraising saying he'd been looking for an organization he could donate too. I now had a personal connection. I wrote Ralph's name on my arm and ran 26.2 miles in his Honor.

Two years Later I decided I was ready for another challenge as I got a phone call from my Dad telling me my childhood role model had Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I signed up immediately for a century ride and started raising money for TNT. I obviously was doing this Ride for Clayton (our hometown TV Meteorologist) in hopes that he would win his fight against Blood Cancer. I called Clayton and asked if I he would mind if I put his name on my arm and ride in his Honor. He said yes. While I was fundraising again I found out another co-work/friend of mine's step father was fighting Blood Cancer. Leslie made a donation to my fundraising and I asked if I could put Charlie's name on my leg and ride in honor of him and in hopes that he would win his fight. She said yes so I did my first century ride in honor of 3 people...Ralph and Clayton on my arms and Charlie on my leg, they gave me the strength to finish the hardest 100+ miles I'd ever ridden. I felt like I was helping to save these guys lives.... unfortunately Charlie lost his fight and died a few months after I finished my first Century ride.

Two years later when I got a phone call from one of my best friends that her 15 month old nephew had just been diagnosed with AML (Acute Myelogeneous Leukemia) a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. I knew what I needed to do. I signed up for my 2nd century with TNT in honor of 15 month old Mason and started raising money. I wore a picture of Mason on the back of my Jersey and I climbed the mountains around Lake Tahoe. Mason is now in remission and has been cancer free for 8 months. I hope with all my heart he stays that way.

So as I am training with you I ride and fundraise for 4 very special people. In Honor of my personal Champions...Ralph, Clayton and Mason and in Memory of Charlie.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Half Century!!!

This weekend we accomplished a huge milestone - our first team half century ride (yes...that is 50 miles in one day!) It was a stunningly beautiful Saturday morning in Manassas, Virginia, where the leaves were just starting to turn, it started off at around 47-degrees, but ended up in the low 70s by the time we were finished.

After our ride in Napa, I was seriously hurting for the first 10 miles of the ride, as we did some nasty up and down hills as you can see on the elevations on this course map:

View Interactive Map on

But the coolest thing about Team in Training, is that there is always someone to help out when you need it. When I was aching, struggling to breathe, and wishing I could just stop, Ann and Rachel were right there, egging me on, staying back with me on the hills and helping me get through it. Then later in the ride when someone else had a broken brake on her bike, our team captain Kelly was right there with tools to help out.

This principle of helping out is why Team in Training is so great, and follows with what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is all about - that we can, together and only together, find a cure for blood cancers. Because it is an endurance event, you have to work together and everyone has to pitch in to help out. I hope you will join me by donating now, and helping all of us reach the finish line...a cure!

In the meantime, here are some other pictures from the ride:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Training Update

It is amazing how much time studying, training, and doing everything else life requires of us takes. So that is my pitiful excuse for not posting in a while. 3 weeks ago our weekend training ride was canceled due to a tropical storm coming through, 2 weeks ago it was raining and lightning on Saturday so the training ride was postponed to Sunday, and then I was sick on Sunday, and last week Doug and I were in California for family visits, a wedding, and finally...a truly challenging half-century (yes...that's 50 miles).

Now that all the travel and craziness has ebbed, I will be back to giving everyone who has been so generous in helping me find a cure for blood cancers updates on how things are going. The big news is that thanks to you, I have raised $1,805, more than 35% of my goal. However, there is still a long way to go, and I need you to reach out to all your friends and tell them about the great work the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is doing to help find a cure for blood cancer!

I thought I'd share some stories from the road. We were out in California for a week, and really needed to get some training in. So we managed to get both cross-training and our long ride in over the course of the week. I have to say, the cross-training was much more exciting than the usual go to the gym type of thing. We hiked in Yosemite for our cross-training! Here's a picture from about 9,000ft at the top of Cathedral Pass:

Just in case folks were wondering, we stayed in Curry Village overnight so that we were able to see both sides (Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley), and get in some hiking on the Yosemite Valley side before most of the tourists. The scary thing is we were staying in the tent cabins that this week were hit by avalanches...but fortunately we were there last week before the avalanches happened. But waking up nice and early allowed us to get this great shot from Sentinel Dome of Half Dome:

But the real training happened on Monday, where we stayed in Sonoma, rented bikes in Napa, and with the help of the nice folks at the bike shop found a route to ride a 50-mile training ride. And there's where the fun began. First of all...never rent bikes when you've been training for endurance rides - we were both miserable very quickly, as we were not used to the geometry of the bikes. Second of all...make sure you know what the terrain is going to be before you set out on a loop. We started on our loop, and after about 10 miles of climbing (I mean ALL climbing for 10 miles), we realized between the bikes and the hills, there was just no way we would be able to do our 50. We made it to this gorgeous lake before we turned back though:

But we didn't give up! Instead of doing the loop, we rode back to the Silverado Trail and rode out until we hit mile 32 on our odometers before riding back:

View Interactive Map on

And the best part...we finished! And we got a great shot of us in front of some beautiful vines...