Archive for Cycling

When “WE” is “YOU”

Hi everyone and thanks for checking in. This will be my final blog post for 2014.

It’s been a great year and we are extremely excited about everything 2015 has in store for us.   I can promise you that 2015 will be epic, and I hope all of you will continue to follow our journey.  Once again, and I can’t say this enough, thank you to all our donors and followers who have been following along in this journey.  We can’t do this alone and it is because of you that “we” are helping to change lives. 

Please remember “WE” includes “YOU”.  Thank you!

The holiday season is always a special time of the year for many reasons, but it has an additional celebratory meaning to both Deb and I.  Deb completed her cancer treatment in December 2007, right before Christmas and 2 weeks before I retired from the Navy. As you can imagine this was both a celebratory period of time for us but also a drastic shift in our life styles.

By the time Deb finished her radiation treatment, she had already returned to work but now it was time for me to find a job following my retirement.  Unfortunately the only job available at the time was located in Patuxent River MD.  I ended up accepting that job while Deb remained in Virginia and I commuted each weekend back to VA only to return to MD the following Monday

While there was some discussion to having Deb move up to Maryland permanently, one of many reasons we opted out of this plan was that Deb and I both felt that we wanted to continue having her current medical team nearby before we took that leap of faith and turn that responsibility to over to someone new.   The security of having her medical team nearby helped to provide us with our own security blanket. We were also concerned with her getting a job and Insurance with a pre-existing cancer diagnosis as many Insurance companies would refuse to pick her up so quickly following treatment.

So why am I telling you this?

Because, these are the issue we are trying to help cancer patients navigate through by placing a Patient Navigator at medical treatment centers such as the Walter Reed Medical Center.  Imagine your life thrown upside down and sideways for a year or even longer and once you complete your treatment you are still confronted with obstacles as a result of your Cancer diagnosis.  Cancer diagnosis follows you well after your treatment ends.

This is one, of the many, reasons I have chosen to ride in the 2015 Key to Keys ride benefiting the Ulman Cancer Fund.  Your donations will go to assist and provide services and resources to families and cancer patients directly confronting those similar issues today.

Your donations will directly impact and provide the assistance and support needed not just during treatment but following treatment as well. 

Please consider being part of “WE” by making any size donation to the fight.

Steve’s Fund raising Page

Thank you and happy holidays.

Steve & Deb

 

 

 

The Power of the Social Media Site in Fund Raising

Hi everyone and thanks for checking in.  I can’t tell you enough how appreciative Deb and I are of your overwhelming generosity so far.  We still have a ways to go but we remain confident, not just for our own individual fund raising, but also for every member of the K2K Team.

Fund raising is a definite skill and the use of social media these days is critical.  How did they do fund raising before all the social media was available?  Recently, I did a cupcake event at work to promote the K2K journey and included personal flyers about the event. Note to self: long extended hyperlinks on flyers don’t work really well!!!

I’ve had a lot of friends ask how they can help besides, or in addition to, donating. Simple answer, just share the post on occasion with your own friends and family.  Cancer affects so many, it is unlikely that you have a friend or family member that hasn’t been impacted by Cancer or knows someone who has.  This whole process we are undertaking is to help those that are, or have been, impacted by Cancer.  It really is that simple….

If you do the math, sharing one post a week will reach each of your friends who may even further share the post with their friends and it becomes a snowball effect and gains momentum.  That in itself is helping to spread the word on what this is really all about which is letting folks impacted by cancer know they aren’t alone.

I’ve been doing a lot of behind the scene fund raising in addition to the use of social media sites and hope to continue that all the way through April.  Social media sites make it simple, but in many cases it’s the one on one and the sharing of the “why” you are doing it that really gets to the heart of the matter.  Don’t be hesitant to knock on a few doors.

As a reminder, it would be a great honor to ride either in memory of, or in honor of, someone you know who has been impacted by Cancer.

 

Thanks for Checking in….

 

 

 

The Importantance of the Patient Navigator

I continue to be encouraged by my friends and family to keep the blog posts going as WE continue this adventure and what an adventure it promises to be. Don’t forget that all donations are tax-deductible, meaning that as the end of the year approaches you can still take advantage of donating to this worthy cause while also taking advantage of a tax donation. WIN – WIN !!

As we gain more momentum on a lot of great ideas that are coming our way on how best to maximize our fund-raising and awareness efforts, I can’t say this enough, WE cannot do this journey without YOU.

I get many questions as to where these donations go. In this case the funds that YOU contribute will help place a Patient Navigator at local MD Cancer Hospitals including Walter Reed Medical Center to assist cancer patients and family in navigating the many hurdles associated with cancer treatment. These Patient Navigators are truly providing outstanding services to not only the cancer patient but to their immediate familiesl.

Deb and I were not fortunate enough to have a patient navigator to help us through the mine field. At the time, I was stationed onboard USS George Washington with the possibility of immediate overseas deployment. As you can imagine while my loyalty to the Navy was always a priority it immediately took a back seat to the challenges that Deb was about to undertake.

Imagine a young service member being told “You have Cancer” and being issued orders to report back to the states leaving his/her family and friends behind when they need them the most.

The patient navigator that YOU will help put in place at Walter Reed will help those service members navigate through the process and provide support and assistance.

 

I can not think of a more honorable calling then to be able to provide assistance to our outstanding service men and women when they need it the most. To all my friends and family please consider donating today and to all those that I have served with please help me help those that need it the most.

For more information on Walter Reed Medical Center where America Heals their Heroes please check out

Walter Reed Medical Center

 

Cyclists4ACause March Update and Cycling Tip

Hello everyone and thank you for taking time out of your busy day to stay up to date on Cyclists4ACause. I figured it was time to get an update out there so here it goes…

Training continues to go well. We had a slight break from the snow / cold and even had a few days where the temperatures got into the 70’s. Fortunately I was able to get out and get some good miles in during that time, but as always is the case in Virginia the weather has since turned colder and we are back to having to bundle up for the outdoor rides. There seems to be more and more cyclists out there every day despite the cold and inconsistent weather so we hope that trends continues.

Sometime over the last week or so we went over our 1000 mile (Road + Trainer) milestone in route to what hopefully will be a 5K year. I’m still taking it slow and trying keeping the mileage down to no greater than 20-25miles for any single ride/effort. I was able to sneak in a 40miler the other day with no detrimental impact but I do not want to risk back to back long days yet. My goal is to continue this upward trend until I can get back to riding 50miles consistently and with little to no repercussions the days following. There are a few metric centuries coming up later this year and I hope to get a few of those in, but that also means I need to start doing some hill work which I am a bit hesitant to try yet. The one thing I learned during this come back is how so important core strength is to a rider. I never previously took this into account and always counted on my leg strength to get me through any difficult rides.

Cyclists4ACause was able to collect and provide some support to a great bunch of folks who will be riding from Baltimore MD to Key West FL later in the year. This group has their work cut out for them but it should be a great ride and support a great cause. I am anxious to hear the route they will take as I hope to have some supplies / support somewhere along the ride for them when they come though on their epic journey.

Training Tip #4
With the rash of cold / brutal air this season and the fact that I started the training cycle back in January, which is 2 months earlier than any previous year, I relearned the importance of dressing warm. Let us be clear, even if I dress warm I still hate to ride in the cold ! Not sure if it is my imagination but everything on the bike seems to work in SLOW motion. The brakes don’t seem as responsive and the gears don’t seem as smooth. It may also be the fact that the rider is doing everything slower but I rather blame it on the bike. Nevertheless the key to cold weather riding is the ability to dress in layers. The other key is to walk outside and if you feel cold despite having your cycling kit on go back inside and put more layers on. You should actually feel warm and be able to ask yourself “did I over dress ?” If you start off on a ride feeling cold chances are it’s not going to get any better and more than likely it will get worse and get worse quickly. It is so much better to start off feeling warm and slowly shed the layers if you’re able to during the ride, than to start off cold and hope you warm up. I’m still finding it increasingly difficult to drink on colder rides but hydration is as important on colder rides as it is on warmer/hot rides. There are a lot of tricks to shedding your layers while riding but if you plan your route right you might be able to leverage some stops along the route where you can stash some gear and pick them up later, just make sure you pick them up as Cyclists don’t litter !! It’s even better to have a support vehicle available for the longer rides but that usually is hard to come by as most cyclists would rather ride than drive but support vehicles provide both a safety aspect and a huge convenience to the riders with the ability to stash supplies.

Thanks for checking in and stay safe  & warm on your rides….

Cyclists 4A Cause Kicks off 2014…

Now that the blog competition is over I guess I still owe a blog or two on occasion to keep all my readers up to date on the Cyclists4ACause efforts in the battle against cancer. The 2014 training cycle is going well despite the recent cold. We were able to get out to one of our local hot spots while the temperature was in the 60’s and get some good base work in. This early into the season I am much more concentrated on time in the saddle vice the mileage. I will gladly sacrifice mileage for time this early on. Unfortunately I had to bring everything inside once the temperature dropped well below what is considered safe. There is definitely a point where you have to say NO to any attempt to ride outside if the temperature is this cold. As I learned, injuries are more prone to happen in the cold than at any other time. As a result we moved our training inside on both the stationary bike (not fun) and the trainer (even less fun). The trainer is set up in the garage so it’s about the same temperature as outside so most of the inside training as been working on the stationary bike. The only good thing about both the stationary and the trainer is the ability to “plug in” and jam out to some great music while riding, something that most riders don’t or shouldn’t do on the roads. Stay safe!!

The 2014 calendar of events is still a work in progress. We have some great events coming up that promises to bring awareness in the Cancer Fight. One of our founding members is planning on participating in a great event in April and I hope to get the ok to promote her cause in future blogs. I wish I was doing this event but a full week on the bike with an estimated 60-70miles a day might be a bit overstretching my recovery plan.

Speaking of recovery plan, I once again give great credit to the Physical Therapists that are helping with my recovery. While the recovery is certainly not progressing as quickly as I would like I will go at the pace they set with all hope that no surgery will be needed. The one thing I have learned (and probably relearned) is the need for cyclists to strengthen their Core muscle group. For years I was more focused on cycling than anything else. I think that philosophy contributed significantly to my current lower back issue. It is essential to keep your core in tune with the rest of your body. Let’s hope I won’t have to relearn this lesson ever again !

I would love to hear what other cyclists reading this might be planning for their 2014 riding season. Please check my previous posts about who we are and what we are trying to accomplish here.

Thanks for Checking in….

Goodbye 2013 and Hello to 2014 !!

As this is the last weekend of 2013 prior to the start of the 2014 I thought it would be a good time to once again review some idea as to where we are going (hopefully) and where we’ve been.

Traditionally this time of year everyone gets into swing of establishing their own New Year’s resolutions and what changes (if any) they hope to make in the coming year. I happen to 100 % agree with that philosophy however I am the first one to admit that most of my New Year’s resolutions are centered around two things (1) My professional role and (2) Cycling and likely not in that order !! Unfortunately however I have not yet found a way to combine both roles, although I am still working on that. My goal for my professional role remains as it always has been and that is to continue to improve my Teams relevance and continue to provide outstanding support to America’s warfighters.

Regarding my cycling goals and resolutions I am still working on those, but my main goal is to enter 2014 with a frame of mind of injury prevention. Each year I am sidelined for a period of time due to injury. While I am entering 2014 already with an injury, I remain hopeful that my current physical therapy and conditioning program will help me to continue to improve. While I have been biking 3 or 4 times per week I actually find myself feeling better the days that I bike vs. the days that I don’t and I am hoping this will continue. While I am remain cautiously optimistic, I will also remain aware of when my body starts telling me to stop or slow down. I would love to set my mileage goal as I traditionally do each year but this year I am going to adjust from one month to another, however if pushed to make a goal I am hoping to reach last year’s goal of at least 4,000 miles, (See, I can’t NOT make a goal !!).

Regarding Cyclists4ACause, we continue to pick up potential new members and we will have to wait and see if more become involved. As I meet more and more cyclists and I have the opportunity to explain who we are and what we hope to accomplish, many seem to question the idea initially as this is an entirely new philosophy in organization and group think. The most common question I get is “how much to join” and my response is “nothing, zero,” and when they ask “why not?” I normally respond “Why should you pay an organization an entrance fee when you are trying to either raise funds or a charity that YOU choose to train for and represent and believe in”. While we may not have the highly decorated and sought after red, white or purple cycling Jerseys (we are still working on our own) we believe that the organization or specific cause that you wish to represent and train hard to bring awareness to as well as fundraise for doesn’t require a personal commitment from you other than your desire to make a difference and bring awareness to the Cancer fight. Cyclists4ACause will continue to help raise funds and awareness for charities and nonprofits in the fight against cancer without the need of a “buy in”.

Finally we want to wish everyone a Happy and prosperous and safe New Year!

Thanks for Checking in !!!

Top 25 & Some Cycling News

Now that we have established through a series of blogs who Cyclists4ACause are (we are more than 1) and what we hope to accomplish in 2014, I guess it’s time to actually execute the plan. After an extensive introspective and some conversations with fellow riders the plan for 2014 is to RIDE ! In reality it really is that simple. In addition I have determined to support 3 charities in 2014 along with helping others to reach their individual goals in both fundraising and their personal riding goals. The 3 charities are (1) Ulman Cancer Fund (2) Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, (FARF) and (3) LiveStrong. I think these three organizations are doing great work in their respective fight and each have a link to something I am passionate about helping. I am excited about the opportunity to help and hopefully bring awareness to each of their causes in 2014. Stay tuned for further updates and how you can help in future fund raising and awareness goals.
Onto the rest of the blog post that has more to do with the actual act of riding. Now that the winter cycling season is well underway and the bitter cold is upon us it’s time to place the bike on the trainer and get some miles in. Many of my cycling friends find training on the indoor trainer extremely boring and not challenging. I on the other hand enjoy the indoor trainer as it allows me to (1) concentrate on my cadence, speed or nothing at all and (2) listen to my music that I otherwise would not be able to do safely if I was riding on the streets. I thought it might be fun to post my “best of” cycling music list that gets me through those hours on the bike while going nowhere. Plus it will allow me to hopefully meet my minimum 500 word blog requirement.

So here are my top 25 cycling and motivational songs of all time, at least in my opinion…

#1 The Only Way I know (Jason Aldean)

#2 Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
#3 Ride Like the Wind (Christopher Cross)
#4 Rock You Like a Hurricane (Scorpions)
#5 1994 (Jason Aldean)
#6 Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
#7 Runnin Down a Dream (Tom Petty)
#8 The Final Countdown (Europe)
#9 Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rock)
#10 Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins)
#11 Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
#12 Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses)
#13 Take a Little Ride (Jason Aldean)
#14 Mother (Danzig)
#15 Next Go Around (Nickleback)
#16 Born to Run (Bruce Springsteen)
#17 Rock and Roll (Led Zepplin)
#18 Paradise City ( Guns N’ Roses)
#19 Don’t Stop Believin’ (Journey)
#20 Heat of the Moment (Asia)
#21 How you Remind Me (Nickelback)
#22 Jump (Van Halen)
#23 Holding Out for a Hero (Bonnie Tyler)
#24 Back in Black (AC/DC)
#25 Take a Little Ride (Jason Aldean)
Honrable Mention:  Bicycle Race (Queen)

Not sure what this says about my music taste but the songs listed about have helped me get through many hours on the trainer and indoor bike. Well it looks like I made the 500 minimum blog requirement.

Thanks for Checking in….

Cyclists4ACause 2013 In Review

I guess it would be only appropriate to give a short review of 2013 season before we dive into 2014. While I stated in an earlier blog that 2013 wasn’t the year I had hoped for it certainly wasn’t a complete bust either.
The 2013 season started off in early January riding with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team in Training (TNT). While I always try to keep my riding year round as best I can, the fact that we started off riding in early January in the bitter cold added a new dimension to my training regimen. Despite the cold we were able to get in a few rides that helped prepare for the remaining season in good form. The training for the LLS TNT was all in preparation for the Tour De Chocolate later in the year.

By the time May rolled around we were all ready to take on the hills of Hershey and everyone completed their 100 mile ride and we actually had some fun along the way. As I stated before, I get enjoyment from watching riders accomplish their goals no matter what their goals may be. The only bad thing about the Tour De Chocolate was the fact that this was the 1st indication I had that something that wasn’t right in my lower back. Little did I know at the time that the little twinge I was feeling in my lower back would turn out to be a thorn in my side for much of the remaining 2013 season.
On July 4th we had our inaugural ride of the Cyclists4ACause group. This ride turned into a ride through the low lands of the Virginia Coastline and much of the ride was in nearly ½ foot of water runoff from the week prior rain storms.

In August, I participated in the 2013 24hrs Of Booty. Once again this ride is a pure joy to participate in and to have my wife and my Mom along cheering me on every loop made the event even more enjoyable. Even though I have been riding most of my life I always seem to find ways to screw up the day of the ride and 24hrs of Booty was no different. Despite knowing better, I erred in my preparation for the ride and as a result never really got into the ride either mentally or physically. Despite that fact the ride provided some fond memories and we definitely will be looking at participating once again in possibly even two of the Booty rides that are held each year.

Later in August I was able to complete the yearly 100 Miles of Nowhere Fat Cyclist challenge once again helping to bring awareness to the Cancer fight. The 100 Miles of Nowhere (100MON) is an event designed to test you both physically and mentally. This year I participated by doing 400+ loops around my office building. I still plan to participate in the 2014 100MON challenge but I think I am going to try and find a bit longer loops than the <1/4 mile loop I did in 2013.

 
Following the 2013 100 MON I took some time off the bike to let my body heal only to realize that the soreness in my back and the numbness in my feet weren’t getting any better with off time. It took a few months to get the correct diagnosis but once it was identified we started the necessary treatment and physical therapy that hopefully will allow me to ride even better in 2014. Just recently I was able to get on the bike and ride for a good hour with minimum discomfort and more importantly the day following I was able to walk with no more than just a bit of discomfort. I consider this a good measure on how well the treatments are working. Hopefully I will be able to continue this measurement as necessary to ensure that come 2014 I’ll be able to meet all the goals I have established.
Well that seems be the highpoints of the 2013 season.

Thanks for Checking in…

Status of Cyclists4ACause

Has it already been another week? It’s amazing how time flies when you are having so much fun.

I’m not sure I am going to make the minimum 500 word weekly word count requirement this week but maybe if I type really really slow maybe I can do it.  I’ve made some minor updates to the Cyclists4ACause site to start including events that Cyclists4ACause will have representatives participating in in 2014. While I am not worrying about the format right now as for some reason I allowed by graphics designer to take some well-deserved vacation, but when he returns I hope to make some improvements to the site. I always believed it was better to get the information out there then get caught up in the design “churn”.

In addition I have added a Fundraising page that will be used to post links to any fundraising website that you have set up to support your cause. So in theory, you will be able to offer your donors just one more reference to help locate and raise funds to help in the cause of your choosing.

I am extremely happy to report that one of our biggest supporters and a great sounding board behind the concept of Cyclists4ACause and local fellow bike rider was selected to ride in an awesome ride next year. I have watched her complete her very first century ride last year in the Tour De Chocolate in Hershey PA. I am hopeful that she will allow us to tell her story in the future so please stay tuned for further updates as she prepares and starts training to participate in what can only best be described as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Hopefully we will be able to provide some fundraising assistance necessary for her to once again Take the Fight TO Cancer.

We also picked up some new supporters to Cyclists4ACause. Currently we have representatives from Virginia, California, Florida, Connecticut, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. If I missed anyone please let me know ! We hope to have more and more states represented in the near future and as the 2014 riding season / sports season gets closer.

Training for me is currently taking a slow course, but I remain optimistic that through Physical Therapy and some well-designed and more important well timed executed strengthening program, I can be back on the bike before the end of the year consistently. Right now I am happy if I can get in at least 1 or 2 rides per week obviously weather permitting. It is hard to believe today it was 77degrees and they were calling for possible snow showers within 48hrs. If that is indeed the case I might just have to break out the Mountain bike. The good thing about this down time is it provides the opportunity to catch up on my reading and develop even a better training plan that 2013. 

Again, I thank everyone for their comments and suggestions both positive and negative regarding what we are attempting to accomplish here.

Thanks for checking in…

2014 The Year of Booty !!

So if the title of the blog didn’t catch your attention hopefully the content will.  In this week’s blog I thought  i would start identifying some of the 2014 cycling rides that Cyclists4ACause will be participating in with the hopes that fellow cycling enthusiasts and blog readers might consider joining or even guest blog on some of their own upcoming 2014 rides that they hope to participate in.

While there are many rides that I participate in either for training purposes or in to support  my annual ride that I most look forward to is the 24hrs of Booty ride in Columbia Maryland. There are 4 separate 24hrs of Booty rides in other cities such as Indianapolis, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Columbia. For me it is a matter of great enjoyment to participate in the 24hrs of Booty in Columbia MD and to support the work the local community does in coming together all in the fight against cancer. For those that are unfamiliar with the ride, the 24hrs of Booty is a semi closed 2+ mile loop circuit where riders have the opportunity to ride as many or as few laps as they want.

There are riders of ALL levels who participate in this event. In my opinion the great thing about this ride is that even if you are the most novice of all novice riders you get the opportunity to see the same riders come by every few minutes, as such it’s a great motivator to see the same rider pass you over and over again. There are riders that set goals of 50, 100, 200, 300 and even 400+ miles in the 24hrs. I can only dream of doing 400 miles in a 24hr period and it is truly amazing to watch all the riders set and accomplish their individual goals. In addition to the ride itself an area is set up so riders and teams can set up tents in camp Booty to allow riders the opportunity to take a break and get some much needed sleep when the need arises. In addition to Camp Booty an area is set up that provides riders around the clock refreshments, meals, healthcare, and even entertainment for the entire 24 hours. In general it’s a party atmosphere for the entire 24 hours. Their motto is “Show up with a bike, any bike. The rest is taken care of” and the organizers have hit that mark out of the park.

While the ride itself and the support provided is worthy of participation, discussion and appreciation the real purpose of the event is the coming together of riders, volunteers and the local community in the fight against cancer. One of the more emotional events, and there are many, of the ride is the 1st loop of survivors where all participating cancer survivors lead all the rest of the riders in the 1st loop of the event. That alone is worthy of participation!!

For more information on the 24hrs of Booty series either as a Rider or Volunteer please check out http://www.24hoursofbooty.org .

Thank you for Checking in !!!

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