My Fundraising Page
Dec 04, 2009 by Andrew Zack
Riding to Save Lives
6/8/2010: Yes, you can still give!
Well, it's done. On Sunday, 6/6, I joined my TNT teammates in riding America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. 100 miles around Lake Tahoe. The day was stunning. It started out in the fifties and rose to the seventies. Winds were light until the end of the day, when we had forty-mile-an-hour gusts going down the backside of Spooner. But we endured. No, we did more than endure. We ENJOYED! No flats, no mechanicals, and everyone did great. We averaged 12.1 miles per hour or more. We were on the bikes about eight and a quarter hours, but we rolled at 6:01 and came in at 4:40. The difference is that the bike computer only records when the wheels are turning and not when we stopped to eat or take a "natural break."
I felt better after that 100 miles than I did after most of my training rides. Probably the cool breezes helped and also that our training rides are often harder than our event rides. It's a not-very-secret TNT practice.
For those who donated, THANK YOU. For those that did not and were wondering "will he really do it?" the answer is yes. And if you would like to donate, you still can. I believe we have a couple of more weeks that this page will work.
However, if you get to this page and it doesn't work, you can still give. Just go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/sd/sdtrcla10/twilcoxzdf and you can donate to my friend Ted's effort. Ted's story is amazing and I urge you to read it even if you can donate here. You may end up donating twice!
Thanks again to everyone. It's been a wonderful experience and each of you helped make it possible.
All best wishes,
to my Team In Training home page.
I'm training for my fifth century (100-mile) bike ride as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. On June 6, 2010, after six months of training and with heartfelt gratitude to my wife for giving me the time needed to train, I will once again tackle the steep switchbacks and the long climbs--plus the exhilerating and terrifying downhills!--around Lake Tahoe. Read about the ride and see the course profile at http://www.bikethewest.com/AMBBR.html.
All of us in Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I am completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line--a cure!
Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help find a cure!
Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thank you for your support!
5/30/10: Why I ride
Yesterday I had to drop off Boom-Boom, a/k/a my Cannondale bike. The name, of course, comes from the brand name, but also because it brings to mind my old English teacher, "Boom-Boom" Cannon, the man who taught me how to speak in "clear, stentorian tones" in tenth grade, and made me read CAT'S CRADLE, among other things. None of this has anything to do with the ride. He was just a fun teacher.
So I set out back in January to raise at least $1,575. That was the minimum. I decided to try and double that and set my goals at $3,000, but I did so well early on, that I raised it to $4,000, but then I crushed that last week and suddenly found myself at 116% of my goal. Thus, I just decided, What the heck, let's go for $5,000. I'm not really being greedy. In fact, I'm being a little fearful.
When I started TNT in 2004 (but dropped to have back surgery), I knew no one personally affected by leukemia & lymphoma. Since then I have met many survivors, had one friend in publishing die from leukemia, and had friends and family diagnosed. And I've learned that leukemia is still a big threat to children. And, well, you see, now I'm a dad. If I could eliminate war and disease and everything else in the world that could threaten my child, I would, of course. But I can't. But I can try and raise even more money to help defeat leukemia & lymphoma and, perhaps, help elminate one threat. Progress is being made and you should absolutely go on over to lls.org and read about all it does with the funds donated. And then, please do donate. Do it for the kids in your life or do it for people like my great aunt or my sister-in-law's great friend or my teammate's dad, all of whom are currently battling to get healthy again.
At the first TNT meeting I ever went to, they asked you to stand up if you've were currently battling cancer. Then they asked those recovering to stand up. Then they asked anyone who knew anyone who was currently battling or recoving to stand up. They they asked if anyone knew anyone who knew anyone... It doesn't take long for everyone in the room to be standing and realize that these cancers touch us all.
For everyone in my life battling leukemia or lymphoma or other forms of cancer. For everyone in my life recovering. For everyone in my life who has family or friends battling or recovering. For my little boy and his little brother that is on they way and so that they never need to know the reality of these diseases. This is why I ride.
5/17/10: Okay, so this past weekend I spent a lot of the ride threatening to run over the coach with my car. You see, he planned the route and the route was something like 90 miles with over 6,000 feet of climbing. Now, Tahoe is only about 4,400 feet of climbing, which to me is a lot less than 6,000. But TNT likes you to train well above and beyond what you NEED, because then you will WANT to do the event again. After all, if you get to the event and it all seems easy, then you'll want to come back and do it again, right? I should know. This is my fifth event with this guys.
BUT C'MON! This was hard folks. It hurt. Everytime I pulled with my right foot, my back screamed "Frack!" but it was the real version and not the made-up version.
Next week, we are riding to San Clemente and back. It's just over 90 miles round-trip. Not too much climbing, but more a test of seeing now long you can sit on a bike without your butt seceding from your body. Honestly, couldn't we just heat up a bed of nails and sit on that for a bit and then go home? It's the same experience; it just takes less time.
Okay, I'll stop complaining now. But if you are thinking about donating but wondering, "Is he really earning this?" I promise you, the answer is yes.
I need to go sit on an ice pack now. Thank you very much.
5/4/10: Well, it may not be the best photo, but that is me around mile 73 of an 80-mile ride last Saturday. Along with 80 miles, we did 4,500 feet of climbing. I was a bit pooped at this SAG stop.
As rides go, this was a pretty good one. I had raised my seat and shifted my left cleat, so I had less knee pain and cramping and I no longer felt like someone had shot me in the left foot with a cleat. However, I was informed that my shoe is a 1/2 size too small, which is not a good thing to hear when you spent close to $200 on the shoes and thought they would last you five years!
My new bib shorts performed well, though, and I was happy to have them. Now I just need to pick up some extra Chamois Butt'r to reapply during rides. TMI? Well, if you rode, you'd know it's really not. Cyclists talk about Chamois Butt'r the way parents of infants discuss diaper cream. And, in reality, they are pretty much the same thing!
Okay, off to work and to email a bunch more folks. I am 78% toward my goal of $4,000! Whoo who! And thank you for donating!
4/26/10: Well, it's been an interesting month. About three weeks ago, on a 60-mile ride, at 50 miles I started to experience knee pain, but not like an ache. More like "part of my knee I've never felt move, just moved," so I SAG'd out of the ride, feeling that discretion is the better part of valor. Then the whole family got very ill with a stomach bug and I had to take a week off because I was a mess. The next week, I got back on the bike for a 70-mile ride, but only made it about 51 miles before I started to cramp in my legs very badly and had to SAG out again. So I needed a new plan. I spent the week stretching, foam-rolling, and hydrating. And this past weekend, I added some Endurolytes to the mix. These are mineral supplements to help with cramps. I also increased my use of gels and blocks like Clif Shots and Gu, etc. I'm pleased to report that I finished a 75.37-mile ride with over 4,000 feet of climbing (btw 4,100 and 4,300 feet, depending on which Garmin you believe). The last ten miles, I was sure I'd been shot in the left foot with a nail gun, and I practically couldn't sit down on the saddle, but I finished and felt good about it. However, I think I confirmed that the shorts I was wearing are no longer the right shorts for the long rides. Time to break in some new ones!
Looking at my computer, I see that my max speed was just under 40 mph! For those of you who have known me for a while, I bet you never imagined me on a bike, wearing spandex, down in the drops, butt in the air, and racing down a long hill at nearly 40 mph. The wife doesn't like this at all, but she's not there and the life insurance is paid up, so i'm gonna have some fun! And let me tell you, it is a freaking thrill ride to go down a hill like that. I would appreciate a few more tax dollars on the pavement, though, so there would be fewer bumps along the way...
Thanks to everyone who has helped me raise nearly $3,000 for LLS. I'm 72% of the way to my goal of $4,000.
3/24/10: I've been lax in updating this page. Since I last wrote, we've gone on several hard road rides. One in particular kicked my butt. We took the train to San Juan Capistrano, about fifty miles north, and then road our bikes back, going through Camp Pendleton (the big marine base here). The theory was that we would have a tailwind the entire way. But there was a storm coming and for some reason, we had a HEADwind the entire way. That fifty miles felt more like 75. We couldn't stop pedaling for pretty much the entire route. My legs were cramping, my butt was numb, and my knee was acting up.
The knee is a new issue. About three months ago, I went on a 42-miler and my knee started to feel like someone was sqeezing it and squeezing it. The pressure just kept building. It's okay for about thirty miles and then it starts to act up. I have started phyiscal therapy to work on it and ensure that it doesn't prevent me from completing the ride.
Last week, we did another loop of about fifty miles and it was our first trip up Torrey Pines. It's a 5.5% grade and climbs over 400 feet in 1.4 miles (give or take, depending on what you consider the start and stop points). I was suffering with knee and back pain and had a mentee along who had never done it and was feeling challenged by the hill. We took the hill at a brisk 4.8 miles per hour! As they say, slow and steady wins...and we finished without any stops, which was great. it's worth mentioning that both the mentee and I are riding doubles. No granny gears for us!
Best part of the ride was probably through Rancho Sante Fe. Beautiful houses and landscape and a downhill on a curvy road with no bike lanes. I just took the lane and cruised down the middle of the road at thirtysomething miles per hour. It was awesome.
Fundraising continues and I'm over halfway to where I want to be, but there's still a long ways to go. If you found your way to this page and haven't yet donated, I hope you will today. Thanks very much!
2/24/10: Rain is threatening our training again. Last weekend, we ended up doing an indoor spin class with our bikes and trainers (a "trainer" basically turns your road bike into a stationary bike). It was a hard class and I came to the realization that I have been underestimating the pros of using a trainer. I need to ride mine more.
Meanwhile, we need to get some road rides in. Hopefully this weekend will clear up and hopefully I will squeeze in some lunchtime rides, also.
Fundraising is going well and I greatly appreciate all of the support, but I have a long way to go. I'm now trying to raise $4,000 instead of $3,000. Why? Because I think I can. With standard fundraising goals, about 75% goes to LLS and the other 25% goes to supporting the particpant through the actual event. But when a participant exceeds the goals, then even more money goes to LLS and the efforts to assist patients and fund research. I set my intial goal a little low, I've realized, and am hoping to do more.
2/1/10: Yesterday was Bike Expo, when the participants all get together wtih the coaches and mentors for a little education on things like what to eat on the bike, what to wear, what to carry on the bike, etc. Plus some bike fits. After, the coaches and mentors went on a brief ride and did a "rider down" exercise. Bascially, we discussed what to do if a rider falls and is injured. Coach DJ apparently blended a beet and used that to fake blood on the road. I'm surprised we didn't end up with an actual ambulance there!
Riding to lunch, I had the sudden realization that we were all riding much faster than I've been riding and that the problems plaguing my bike weren't actually getting better. On the way back, I got dropped by the group, which was hammering away well above 22mph on a slight downhill, and struggled not to vomit my lunch onto the road. I think the beet juice was enough of an environmental hazard.
Dropped the bike off today and got the word that I had four stiff links. The mechanic said he couldn't loosen them and I needed a new chain. Of course, this could just be one of those labor vs. replacement issues. The cost to fix the chain would be higher due to labor than tossing a new one on there. Either way, it's $50 out of my pocket and about a total of $100 with other repairs.
One thing folks don't always realize is the cost that participants incur in doing these events. I once estimated that someone starting out without a bike would spend close to $3,000 of his or her own money to get to the start line. If you already own the bike, then perhaps $1,000 to $1,200 depending on how much equipment needs replacement. For example, I also need new cycling shoes, so that will be another couple hundred dollars. I already bought new cleats for $40, which I will need mid-training season. It all adds up. So, when you are thinking about giving, keep in mind that everyone who does TNT is not just giving their time and effort, but also a lot of their own money also.