Monday, November 24, 2008

We Did It!!!

On Saturday, November 22, 2008, at 4:06pm, we finished riding 109 miles in El Tour de Tucson, completing the ride in 9 hours and 3 minutes!

The results are here.

It was an amazing day, filled with fun, excitement, and firsts. Firsts include:
  1. First endurance event (for Anya)
  2. First time riding 100+ miles
  3. First time riding in a line with other riders
  4. First time fording a dry river bed carrying a bike with thousands of other riders (and did it twice in one day...)
  5. First time riding 37mph on my bike
  6. First time raising funds to find a cure for blood cancer!!!
We woke up WAY before dawn (4:15am to be precise), and headed over to the Waffle House for breakfast with friends Erika and Alena:
After breakfast, at 5:45am we assembled at our lovely (hah...NOT!) hotel with our Team in Training friends to head over to the start line with the 8000+ other riders.
It was at the start line that it really hits you what you are doing and how 3 months of training culminates in a great experience with friends and the satisfaction of knowing you're doing it for a great cause.

The ride started at 7am, and before long we were out in the desert, riding in a group with friends Jared and Erika. We passed an old airplane graveyard, and began a cool 9-mile descent down at 2% grade towards the mountains:
At about mile 46, we encountered the 2nd river crossing of the ride, the Sabino Creek crossing, next to Canyon Ranch. Unfortunately this involved a 3/4 mile hike, carrying our bikes, across a dusty riverbed with about 1,000 other riders who were doing the 67-mile ride. Needless to say it was exhausting. I wish I had a picture of the craziness but I think I was too stunned by the number of riders we suddenly encountered to remember!

After a nasty steep climb, we coasted to our lunch spot at about mile 56, where our hero, Jim, had sandwiches and re-supplied us with our energy gels and electrolyte drinks. A group of us took some time to take a photo before heading off for the 2nd half of our ride:
The rest of the ride passed in a blur, as we had a long slow climb that lasted about 10 miles. We passed some great scenery on the way, that I managed to remember to photo:
But after that climb, lordy were the next 15 miles FUN!!! Doug leading, the three of us (Doug, Erika, and I) averaged about 25mph down a long long decline to the valley floor. It was a blast, and we stopped at another rest stop at the bottom, mile 85, where again Jim and Jackson were waiting with beverages and an update on all our other Team members whom we hadn't seen since the start line.

After about a 10 minute stop to re-hydrate and re-fill, we were off again for the final stretch (no stopping from 85-109 miles!!!). Feeling great, we came to the finish line at 4:06pm, and met up with friends (and a much-deserved cup of bubbly!):
All in all, it was an amazing experience. You can't help getting a little teary-eyed when you finally make it 109 miles on your bike. When I think that there were people riding on Saturday that are battling cancer, or currently in treatment, I am awed at their strength and courage. I hope you will join me in making a commitment to this cause, knowing what these people are struggling with and the fight that still remains. Please help me on that last short step to my fundraising goal here.

I thank you so much for all your help in this journey, and hope you will share your thoughts with me. I plan on continuing my commitment to this cause in the future, and hope you will too!


Monday, November 17, 2008

Countdown to Tucson....

Well, the training is done, the bikes are somewhere west of here being shipped to Tucson, and the nerves begin. The list of what to bring is growing, but in the end I think all we need to bring is our enthusiasm and dedication to the people who made this possible...YOU!

We fly out with the Team on Thursday, and start riding at 7am on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be able to take lots of pictures of El Tour de Tucson, to share with all those who have supported me financially or otherwise.

I'll try and send an update from the road, but until then...THANK YOU!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Final Training Ride - Tour of the Potomac

Well, on Saturday we had our final training ride. 85 miles, three states, three trails, 7 hours, a very welcome beer, and some lime Tostitos, we achieved victory, and had time for a team picture:
Literally over a river (we had to take a ferry at one point) and through the woods, it was a surprisingly grueling ride with a lot of long hills. The slopes were not too steep, but they just kept going on...and on...and on.

View Interactive Map on

Nearly the whole team was there, as Coach Mark and Coach Ed threatened us with bodily harm if we didn't show up, which made it a great capstone ride for all of us. For 4 of us it was the longest distance we had ever ridden (me included).

If you had asked me at the beginning of this whether I thought I could do it, I would have said no. But thanks to the support of my Team, and thanks to the knowledge I was riding to raise money to cure blood cancers, I did it. We're having a fundraiser on Wednesday to try and meet my fundraising goal, but if you can't make it, I hope you will consider donating now to help save lives!

Here are some pictures from the road this weekend...only a week and a half until El Tour de Tucson and 109 miles!!!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Exciting Leukemia News!

Scientists have apparently isolated the mutated genes in leukemia cancer cells! Just one more step to finding a cure.

Read about it in the New York Times.

Every step helps. That's why I'm working hard for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and helping my friends on my Team raise money to find a cure!

Please join me by donating today!

Monday, November 3, 2008

80 Miles! I Can't Believe I Rode My Bike 80 Miles!!!

Well, we're getting close to the finish line...on Saturday the team rode out from Davidsonville, Maryland on a big 80 mile loop that took us all the way to the Chesapeake Bay and back. It was a crazy feeling to know you had 80 miles ahead of you when you start off in the morning, but it is also an amazing feeling to know that you've done it when you make it back to the car after 6 hours!

We had a great team meeting before we started out, as several people met extraordinary fundraising goals. I am humbled by their dedication to the cause and only hope that I can meet my goals and help find a cure for blood cancers, especially after hearing stories of friends and family suffering from the diseases as we ride along the beautiful fall roads. So please think about donating here to help people who really need our empathy and support. Otherwise, you can show up to our fundraiser on November 12th!

The ride went well, despite my sprained ankle. I am very glad I pushed through the ache and finished the ride, because for the first time I can really believe that I can finish the ride. It was quite a long ride with some interesting hills (interesting in a "lord that's a tall hill" kind of way):

View Interactive Map on

We had some great scenery along the way

And then there was the rest stop on the bay...little did we know it would be followed by a brutal hill....

But we made it! And next week it's 85 miles...then two weeks later the big ride at 109 Miles!