Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pelotonia 2011 Update (duplicate post)

Well it wasn’t easy, it never is. But Amanda and I have reached our minimum fundraising goal. The final money will be coming in this week, just before the student deadline of next Monday. This includes a bake sale at Champion Feed and Pet Supply in Delaware, and sponsorships from Amanda Hills (water for the bake sale) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. It’s really tough getting my mind in gear for a race which is still over a month away and after the start date of my research project, but Amanda and I have started riding and getting in the habit of riding more often. To be honest, this fundraising and the jersey printing has gotten me even more excited for the race.

I also want to take the time to thank everyone who donated to both mine and to Amanda’s ride. Fundraising last year was a function of some really big sponsorships and that was great, but it was so much more moving to receive small donations from so many people. It is a great and true example of how many people are touched by the suffering of cancer. Every person who donated has their own story, their own motivation for why they donated. I don’t know all of the stories, but I know many of them. And I can tell you that they are my inspiration for riding. My ride serves as my only way to give an embrace of encouragement and gratitude towards the people who have shared, who have struggled and who are praying for a cure.

Cancer is a serious story, and I focus this race often on the serious side – encouraging your support for my ride based on your compassion for those in your community who need your support and the hope that comes through research. But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t provide a little light entertainment for you as well. And trust me, it’s a real pleasure to embrace fitness through this challenge on behalf of cancer patients and families. So here are a couple of light thoughts to share with you about my Pelotonia experience so you can gain insight into what an average person thinks during preparation for this great event.

Last year’s ride made me want to curl up in a ball and sleep for days. This picture doesn't do justice to the pain and exhaustion I felt at the end of 180 miles. Physically exhausting is how I would describe the first day, the longest ride of my life. Before that day I had never ridden more than 45 miles and I relied on pure youth to pull me through. But if Saturday was physically exhausting, Sunday was a battle of the mind. Singing stupid little songs over and over pounded through my head and I hated groups like the Black-Eyed Peas for their repetitive music that was impossible to clear from my head as a captive listener to my own head as I rode on. It was like an 8 hour trip to the dentist.

This year I decided to try and ride more before the Pelotonia to be in better shape. Great thing about central Ohio is that there are lots of open places to ride. The problem with great rides is that you always want to keep riding. But eventually you have to come home. The return trip is never as fun as the way out, and such was the case last week. I swear the wind always switches directions when you turn around. I had been looking forward to an Irish blessing style, downhill, wind-to-the-back ride on the way home. Instead, the sun started blazing and the wind picked up – in my face. All I could think about on the way home was how I was going to eat all-you-can-eat pizza at Cici’s. An hour after Cici’s, all I could think about was what a terrible idea that was. I probably ate 2 pizzas single-handedly.

The most important part of the ride is the bike. Believe it or not (probably not if you ever see my bikes) but I know a lot about bikes. I know the good brands, the right questions, the things you can afford to fix and the things you can’t. I know how to fix nearly everything, but I would rather pay someone else who was formally trained to do it. I know what a good price is, what is a ripoff and what is a steal. But I also know the value in having a bike that gets you there and leaves some cash in your pocket. That’s where my silver speckled, 1990s Peformance Focus comes into play. It has all the right parts and just gives up a little on the aesthetics side of things. I love the bike more and more every day. In fact, if I have a weakness, it’s that I fall in love with bikes and am unwilling to let them go. I used Craigslist to sell last year’s bike and when I pulled it out I barely was able to let it go. It rode so beautiful, with a 70s style pristine paint coat and basically no rust. But last year it betrayed me and the whole pedal mechanism jumped ship on the ride. I had to keep reminding myself of that as I sold it to a new kid who was less picky than me on what bike he rode to Athens. We’d been through a lot together but it was time to let it go and pick up a new bike, a new story for the next ride.

Compression shorts are awkward. Even more awkward is the fact that they have a changing room for trying them on at the bike store. I remember growing up thinking that I would never look like one of those guys, but I have relinquished in favor of common sense. Athletes wear clothing designed for athletes. It’s lighter, breathes better and wicks away sweat; every pound that I don’t have to haul with me to Athens is a pound faster that I can go. I’m still getting used to the idea of wearing them and I feel pretty exposed biking in them in public. But I’ll get used to it over time; it’s just like any other athletic outfit – designed for specific purposes and let me tell you that it makes the ride SO much better.

Sunglasses are vital to a decent ride (unless you ride in the rain, then your bike is probably rusting away). I don’t have a great history of keeping sunglasses uncrushed, so I try not to spend a lot of money on them. The result is that they break and I just feel less guilty about it. But when they all break and I need some to ride in, out comes the super glue. Amanda’s suggestion turned out to work great. While waiting on hold with an office calll I held the superglued glasses together in a firm grip. I reapplied superglue in thin coats every few minutes and at the end of the call let go. It held together great and now we’re ready for another ride. When it comes down to it, I’d spend money on a water bottle or speedometer any day over a pair of sunglasses.

If you’d like to hear more about the ride, please find us at Champion Feed and Pet Supply this coming weekend for the Pelotonia bake sale fundraiser there. I’d love to talk and tell you more about anything you want to know AND you can shop around a little, too! Champion has been a great partner to work with and we are very excited to be hosted there this weekend for the sale. They also have a nice store with everything for pets, horses and livestock.

As I said, I will have soon reached my sponsorship goal and will likely exceed it, as has Amanda. We are very grateful and still will continue receiving your donations. Every dollar goes toward cancer research and the more we can raise for this great goal, the better. I also encourage you to consider donating to 3 other great people who I know that are riding this year and still working towards their goal. Beth Wenner, Christopher Fullam and Mary Connolly. They are good friends who are riding with great reasons this year. Please check out their profiles on, and if you feel so moved, consider giving a tax deductible donation to any or all of them, or to myself or Amanda. The biggest key is to give; it all goes towards the greater good: Ending Cancer.

Here’s OSU’s movie for some final thoughts about the Pelotonia. We got an email to be on this movie, since Amanda and I are both a part of Team Buckeye, but it just didn’t fit into the schedule with everything else.

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