My Fundraising Page

A few notes on yesterday's ride.
May 05, 2013 by Tori Porter

There's a lot to catch up on since the end of March, but since the team blog keeps eating my very long posts, we're just going to skip to this quick one from yesterday...

This is what a VERY happy girl looks like. Riding in Monterey and Pebble Beach is AMAZING. I have lived in Santa Cruz for 17 years as of this year, and had never been to Carmel. I'm an idiot. I've been going all the way to Mexico for white sand and blue water when it was in my own backyard. Anyway, I want to share a few things about the ride yesterday...

1. Out of 13 Saturday rides up to yesterday, I've missed 2-3 rides, gotten hurt on 1 ride and couldn't complete, bailed out of a ride early because I was hurt, and then SAG'd out of a ride because I was hurt. I've also missed most of the mid-week training for the last 13 weeks...but I finished 70 miles yesterday. I feel like super woman. I may actually be able to do this.

2. I've not been very vocal about my feelings about this cause, but I really am riding to fight cancer. Completing 100 miles is going to be an amazing accomplishment, this has been a great social activity for me, and I'm really learning a lot about myself. But I'm riding for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society because I believe in it. I hate asking for money, but I do it because I know I'm making a difference. My research scientist friend says "What you're doing matters" because he sees the science from the funding. The people the stand up before our rides and tell us about their family and friends that have struggled, won and lost their battles...and that this cause matters to them. We ride with ribbons on our jerseys, on our bikes. Each with a name of someone who has had their story told. It is a name and face to this cause. I ride for the brothers, sisters, friends and families of my team mates who have watched this disease take their loved ones. Cancer is evil and it's a rare morning before a team ride that we aren't tear filled rolling out.

Yesterday, we stopped around mile 40 to have some lunch when a woman came up to us to thank us for what we're doing. She saw our jerseys and she said what we're doing matters. She pointed to her son and she shared that he was in remission. He's 6 and 4 years out of his battle. I can't imagine what that woman went through, what that child went through...but I knew that it was way harder than 70 miles and pain in my knees.

3. I couldn't have done it yesterday without my team. Our mentors and coaches abandoned us slowbies yesterday and left 8 of us in the dust to fend for ourselves. No SAG support, no scheduled stops - just do it. Around 51, when we were rolling down Reservation Rd. into 25mph headwinds next to semi-trucks, I was done. After the hill and the miles, if there was a truck for me to get into, I would have. I was screaming and crying and cussing loudly. I was d-o-n-e. Or I guess I just thought, cause I kept riding. Maybe I just needed to cry it out. Maybe this riding thing is the door to me being able to access that soft spot - that it helps me feel the pain I push away every other time I'm not on the bike. Maybe it just sucks.

I have always been a crier, and my endurance challenges are no different. I've cried during 1/2 marathons, and I've cried and broken down a ton during this cycling adventure. I've wanted to quit so often, it's ridiculous. This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. But it's not as hard as cancer. That's what I kept saying over and over yesterday. A little pain is nothing, just keep spinning. Hell, at one point, in hysterical tears, I started singing "Let it Ride" by Ryan Adams under my breath to calm me down. I was in hell. But I had my team. Katya put her arm around me while we rode, and said "you can do this." She rubbed my back and cheered me on - while we were peddling. Deb pulled me forward to the bathroom while the 6 other teammates sat by the fence and stretched. "I just need to have a little breakdown for a minute" I told her, and she simply said "that's fine, go ahead!" and offered me skittles. Every mile after that I counted off for the team. 10 MORE MILES! ...5 MORE MILES! ...ONE MILE!!!!

All day, we stopped and waited for the group to catch up. We rode as a team. We were buddies. We took turns at the back and took turns pushing forward. We cheered each other, and paced each other. We rolled in together, and I can't believe how amazing it felt. We did it. We.GO TEAM!

Happiness for Sale - Order Yours Today!
Apr 10, 2013 by Tori Porter

$10 each or 3 Bags for $25 - Includes Shipping - While Supplies Last!

100% of the proceeds go to support this cause!

Make your donation directly to my Team in Training site and

please note "Send Me Happiness" in the comments field.

Happiness will also be available for purchase in person at training!

"If you can do this ride, you can do Tahoe"
Mar 24, 2013 by Tori Porter

I knew the name "Eureka Canyon" after passively hearing my two friends who are coaches talk about it in previous years. Even if I didn't know it was scary, all the Coach's emails leading up to the ride yesterday conveyed that just fine.

This is a pivotal ride in your training. Conquer Eureka Canyon and you can do anything at AMBBR! The Eureka Canyon ride is pivotal. This is ride will very clearly tell you where you stand in your training. DO NOT MISS THIS RIDE! Once you conquer Eureka Canyon, you will have the confidence to handle anything Tahoe has to offer in terms of terrain.

Additional emails from other coaches and mentors flew into my inbox this week...NUTRITION...HYDRATION...BETTER KNOW TO CHANGE A TIRE...PREPARE PREPARE PREPARE...

Okay,'re saying I should take this seriously? Dammit, I better start taking this seriously. Maybe I've really not been taking this seriously enough. When I was running half marathons, I didn't follow the best regular training plan. Each time I trained less and got faster times and that reinforced my bad training habits. But this isn't running. There's no crawling my way across the finish line in an event of 100 miles. No casual breezy walk next to the lake that adds a simple extra hour to your time if you decide to not ride your bike anymore. There's no limping the last mile. This is serious, this is 100 miles...that's far in a car...and it's finally starting to sink in that I can't fake my way through this.

I've spent the last 3 weeks traveling, missing team practice and trying to avoid coming down with something. The ride last week was confidence building, but since I'm still missing mid-week training, I really wish I was just a bit further along in my fitness. This is not the momentum I'd prefer, but I knew I was going to do this ride. There has been a shift in my thinking the past few weeks. Confidence is building in many areas of my life, and I think it's spilling over here. There was no question when I started my day yesterday. I was going to get up, eat breakfast, and do this ride. I even said to my team as we left...we're totally all doing this. Every one of us is going to finish today. I don't ever remember believing in myself so strongly.

We left from the same starting point as week 2. There was a hill in the first 10 miles that almost killed me last time, that felt effortless this time. We pulled into the bathroom stop, 25% done...this was feeling great. Gorgeous morning, beautiful scenary, I felt like I was glowing. I was doing it. Ha! Scary mountain, coach emails, whatever...this was amazing. Let's keep going!

We hit another hill from week 2...and this was the one where I started overheating and freaking out about breathing so I tried to get off my bike and my legs were so jello-y that I ended up in a pile with the bike in the middle of the road. It wasn't pretty. This time, I just did it! I've been working really hard on focusing only about 10 feet in front of my bike on climbs, and trying to avoid even contemplating the total length of the climb. Breathe, use my two syllable words, find a was working for me. Awesome. I was totally going to do this. I am a rockstar. What was supposed to be so scary about this?

I'm not sure how soon after all that it was before my confidence popped like a tire and I found myself on the side of the road trying to cry and catch my breath at the same time. I do remember looking above me and thinking OH HELL NO. I do remember this being already after I had given in and walked up one short steep stretch and didn't feel guilty about it. I remember thinking "just keep trying". But this hill...OH HELL NO. I couldn't breathe. I wanted to be done. I remember being devastated that I was feeling this, that I was wrong...I couldn't do it. I was falling apart.

Just about that time, Coach David road by. He just stood there on the other side of the road while I collected myself and talked myself down. The SAG car drove by and asked if I was okay and cheered me on. I wanted to try again.

This time as I got back on my bike, David road right behind me. "You're going too fast again..." "Slow down, you're speeding up again..." I have always had a pacing problem. In running, I would sprint and walk, sprint and walk. Every time I finished a race, I would say "If I just trained right, I could be really good at this..." I like going fast. But I never learned to not burn myself out. When you're running, you can just walk...or crawl...or stop and stretch. Stopping on the bike is an ordeal. Yesterday was my first day with clip in pedals, and I already fell at the first stop light out of the park in the morning. Stopping on a hill and clipping out last minute when you're flipping out is not easy. It's almost easier to keep going. Almost. A few minutes after we started again, I lost it again. It just felt impossible. There was so much more to go. I was wrong. I was failing. But I was going to try again, and David was there with me.

The idea of "spinning" on the bike...working my legs that hard to go so doesn't compute. I'd start to concentrate on my breath or my pedal placement or lifting my legs instead of smashing them down...and without even knowing, I was going faster again. So about every 3 minutes for more than 10 miles, David sat behind me and coached me all the way to the top. "Conserve here..." "You're clearly strong enough, just stop burning yourself out..." "Concentrate on your breathing..." "Look at this view..."

I tried to remember why I was doing this. I tried to remember the ribbon flapping on my bike bag in honor of the person we were riding for that day. I tried to remember the people that couldn't do this, and that I was doing this for them and their families. I tried to remind myself that I was capable. My pain was minimal. I was going to keep going. I was going to keep trying. Over and over if that is what it took.

I have never been so happy to see neon orange in my whole life. All of a sudden, around a curve, there was my teammate Margie standing in front of the SAG car in her bright jacket. There was food and water and my teammates and I was there. David had got me up the mountain. I had got me up the mountain. My face hurt I was smiling so much. (See picture at top...)

Let's just rewind for a second...OH MY GOD THAT VIEW. I have lived in Santa Cruz for almost 17 years and seen epic views from wineries, overlooks and more. I have driven the highways and mountain roads and never thought twice about the rolling hills. But being up there looking down on the forests was the most amazing feeling in the world. I just road up here ON A BICYCLE BITCHES. My friend Leanne recently encouraged me to take mental pictures of this training, so when I look back on this event when I'm 80, that I have good memories. Those treetops will be forever burned into my memory. (Those treetops that came after the "summit" by the way...more climbing after "the top" was not fair coaches, not fair at all!)

Onward we go...At this point, we picked up another teammate, and then by the descent we were in a pack of 5. Seeing that sign, SOQUEL 12 MILES and knowing we were going DOWN most of that way...HELL YES. Elation does not even begin to describe what washed over me right then. I haven't been very confident on the descents but with the freedom to take the whole lane, and a smooth terrain, I let loose a little bit. What an exhilirating feeling. I ducked down a little to practice drafting the girl in front of me and freaked myself out a little at the speed...but loved every second of it. There was some laughing and trying to not smile so big that bugs flew down my throat. This was one of my rewards for the up...and I was going to enjoy it.

The last few miles of straight away I started having some problems with my knee, but I knew I was close. I was recognizing things like Everett Farm and knew the park couldn't be far. I was going to finish.

At the park, we all gather in the upper parking lot up a steep hill...which is insult to injury after a killer ride. Week 2 I got off and walked my bike and got grief from a coach for being off my bike at the very end. As much as I wanted to get off and walk it yesterday, I was not going to hear a word about I tried. I pushed up the hill behind another girl, using all the same techniques and trying to stay calm...and I did it. I road to the table to check in and high fived all my coaches. I did it. I did that 40 mile ride. I did Eureka Canyon. I have never been so proud of anything I've done in my whole life. I sit here typing and remembering the treetops and think, how in the hell did I get up there on a bicycle?! But I did. It's not a dream...and I'm going to rock Tahoe.

Thank you to all of your who have cheered me on, supported this cause and helped me inch towards both my physical and fundraising goals during this adventure. Knowing that you all believe in me has really helped me believe in myself in a very new and exciting way lately. I will not let you down. I'm going to make all of us proud.

69 Days Until Race Day.

Whoa. This is hard.
Feb 20, 2013 by Tori Porter

When I decided to start running, I bought a pair of shoes and downloaded a training grid. Without any formal training, 6 months later, I ran my first half marathon. That year, I ran 5 half marathons and a handful of other races. That was hard. They got the picture of me above from when I didn't know they were ahead of me. I was really struggling during a race I had traveled away to. I had an awful cold, was undertrained and didn't have any support. It was a flat, foggy, road of dread ahead of me and I was broken. 13.1 miles is hard. But compared to my first week of cycling, that entire adventure in long distance racing was a cake walk.

I was feeling inspired after my first 14 miles "in the saddle" last weekend. (Did I say that right? I'm trying to learn the lingo.) I was all in, ready to do whatever it took to make this happen. Then mid-week I went to my first spin class ever and all my confidence went down the drain. Holy moly, that's insanity. I'm so glad I did it in the evening instead of before work, because I had to go home and pass out immediately. That's some intense exercise folks. About half way through, I was pretty sure i was going to walk out of class. In fact, I was close to tears and thinking that I should reconsider being a part of the team. I did not have the mental or physical strength to start with, how was I going to build it fast enough to keep up? It's rare I feel something is so impossible, but kept thinking wow, this might actually be out of my range.

I made it through class because I thought about having to tell my coaches that I couldn't do it. Then I remembered that I already had donors. There are already people that believe in me and this cause enough that they have clicked the button and donated. What in the world would I tell those people?! I just tried to stay on the bike and "ride my ride" and was eternally grateful when the class was over.

The same thing happened again on Saturday. Omg people - this cycling thing is HARD. 25 miles of hills. I'll admit, GORGEOUS hills, but HILLS. In WEEK TWO. I felt broken, I had to get off my bike twice and walk it. I fell once and got all tangled in my bike. It was incredibly embarassing! I started to say to my coaches that I wasn't sure if I could do this and they amazingly just kept cheering me on. It felt impossible, but in the end as I was standing there, I realized it wasn't impossible. In fact, I had freaking done it. 25 miles. Me. On a bike. Whoa. It was hard, but again was able to pull my mental strength together because I knew that I had people to support me and who believed in me. It's an exhilirating feeling.

So the short story - I need you. If you know me well, you know I'm not one to usually ask for a lot of help or admit weakness, but crap folks, I can't pretend this time. I need you in whatever way you can help. I need your cheers and encouragement desperately over the next 14 weeks as I go through these weekly training rides, spin classes and hill repeats. I need you in Tahoe on June 2nd to cheer me around that lake. I also really need your help to make this fundraising goal. I've got $1720 to go and every $5 or $10 donation adds up. I appreciate everything everyone is doing to keep me on this path and with my eyes on the prize of making that amazing final descent to the finish line. I truly can't do this without you. It's too hard.

First 14 Miles - and 15% of my fundraising DONE!
Feb 12, 2013 by Tori Porter

Whew! First 14 miles in the bag...along with the first 15% of my fundraising. I can't tell you what the combination of both of these accomplishments has done to my motivation. Thank you so much to my first contributors. Your support means more than I can ever say in words. This is a daunting personal challenge, but I feel like I'm doing it for all the right reasons and an incredible cause. I need your support to make this happen. I've really only just begun...and I have a long way to go over the next 3 months.

Saturday was my very first official training, and my first time ever sitting on a road bike. Not only did I make it out of the parking lot, but I made it the entire 14 miles without incident. (Okay, maybe the following two days brought unexpected and unique pain to parts unfamiliar with that type of pain...but I now own really expensive padded shorts to avoid the trauma brought on by potholes in the future.) In the last 3 days, I've ordered shoes, gloves, arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers, a jacket that folds into my pocket and some special cream to help with the chaffing...and that doesn't even cover half the list of things that I need to prepare for my next ride. Yeah, this hobby requires some serious gear - it's freaking cold at 7:30am on Saturday mornings, and a couple hours in the saddle creates a lot of friction! The thing is, the physical challenges I may experience in the optional adventure aren't anything like those that people with Leukemia and Lymphoma have to endure every day of their treatment. Thankfully, I can add a few layers to take away my pain, but those suffering from blood cancers don't get it that easy. By donating to this cause, you're not only supporting me, but supporting the individuals that can't decide that "it's just too hard today" and give up. It's wins all around. So I'll keep training and buying new layers, and you keep throwing your pennies on this pile, and together we're going to accomplish this mission.

Thank you again for your support...I'm so excited for my next ride on Saturday!

Older posts

Supporter Comments

    "Go Tori! Kick some butt!"

    Sophia Catanese

    Sun Feb 10 09:06:54 EST 2013

    "My grandmother passed away from leukemia. Thank you for raising funds for this cause."

    Lisa Saunders

    Sun Feb 10 10:14:52 EST 2013

    "Good luck! "


    Mon Feb 11 12:23:13 EST 2013

    "So proud of you! Keep pedaling! "

    Maria Hague

    Mon Feb 11 07:57:26 EST 2013

    "Rock on Tori! xo"

    Megan Breen

    Tue Feb 12 01:55:53 EST 2013

    "Go Tori Go!"

    Jennifer Leggio

    Tue Feb 12 06:51:16 EST 2013

    "Keep up the great work! Good luck!"

    The Carew Family

    Thu Feb 21 05:53:53 EST 2013

    "GO TEAM!"


    Thu Feb 21 09:42:31 EST 2013



    Thu Feb 21 09:45:07 EST 2013

    "Kick some ass, Tori! Love you. :)"

    Dana Cutler

    Fri Feb 22 08:43:52 EST 2013

    "You can do it Tori. I believe in you!"

    Alex Gonzalez

    Fri Feb 22 09:21:10 EST 2013

    "No worries Tori, you got this!"

    Maria Garcia

    Mon Feb 25 03:18:07 EST 2013


    Debby Robello

    Tue Feb 26 06:05:04 EST 2013

    "Let's get you something warm ;)"

    Robert McNamara

    Tue Feb 26 06:39:56 EST 2013

    "In memory of my little cousin Terri Utry who died of leukemia in 1970 when she was only 4 or 5 yrs. old."

    Jeanne Reese

    Sat Mar 02 10:59:10 EST 2013

    "Every great achievement seems to come with its share of sacrifice and pain. On the other side of this, you're gonna feel SOOOOOOO good!!"

    Jim Ward

    Fri Mar 08 05:21:26 EST 2013

    "Way to go Tori! "

    Heather Paul

    Sat Mar 09 05:14:49 EST 2013

    "Go Tori !!!"


    Fri Mar 15 12:41:31 EDT 2013

    "Thank you for doing this ride, Tori!"


    Fri Mar 15 12:24:01 EDT 2013

    "Hi Tori, Loved reading your stories, you totally rock!! Keep it up, you can do it!! Very proud of you, thanks for helping to fight icky cancer. Best of luck with all your training and on the big day! Love you tons, Helyn"

    Helyn Hensley

    Mon Apr 08 10:08:22 EDT 2013

    "It hurts to think of all the Saturdays you won't be sleeping in. I'm super impressed with you lady! "

    Rebecca Watson

    Wed Apr 10 03:13:26 EDT 2013

    "Send me Happiness"


    Wed Apr 10 03:57:25 EDT 2013

    "You are fabulous Tori, what a great ride and a great cause. "

    Elizabeth Olson

    Fri May 03 06:28:53 EDT 2013

    "Keep on truckin', Midori!! xo"


    Mon May 06 11:05:26 EDT 2013

    "It's not much, but it's something :)"

    Lizzie Wann

    Mon May 06 02:32:48 EDT 2013

    "I haven't eaten pizza with you. I couldn't go to your garage sale. The least I could do is finish off your goal. Rock it girlie! **hugs**"

    Jetless Wonder Woman ;-)

    Fri May 10 11:41:29 EDT 2013

    "You can do it TORI!!!"

    Travis Amrine

    Fri May 10 12:06:48 EDT 2013

    "Ride like the wind bullseye! Sorry it took me so long to get here, but I finally made it! -Tony"

    tony villador

    Fri May 10 02:58:31 EDT 2013

    "You're doing an awesome thing! Best if luck to you!! Xoxo Karen"

    Karen Rothery

    Wed May 15 08:04:43 EDT 2013

My Fundraising Total

Raised: $3,430.00 | Goal: $3,430.00
100 %

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We are sorry donations are no longer being accepted for this participant for this event.

My Thanks To

Sourcefire, Inc. $500.00
Jennifer Leggio $500.00
Awesome Garage Sale Buyer... $150.00
Anonymous $100.00
Kathryn McCulloch $100.00
Jetless Wonder Woman ;-) $89.40
Tussy $70.60
tony villador $50.00
Travis Amrine $50.00
Louis DeMarco $50.00
Raymond Fambrini $50.00
Arthur Nicholson $50.00
Larry Gonzales $50.00
Elizabeth Olson $50.00
joan kornblith $50.00
Helyn Hensley $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Jim Ward $50.00
Alex Gonzalez $50.00
Dana Cutler $50.00
The Carew Family $50.00
Maria Hague $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Michael Doss $50.00
Anonymous $50.00
Anonymous $45.00
Anonymous $40.00
Dawn Browning $30.00
Anonymous $30.00
Jools $25.00
Uli Klumpp $25.00
Robert McNamara $25.00
Maria Garcia $25.00
Rebecca Watson $15.00
Heather Paul $15.00
Anonymous $15.00
Michelle Bergeron $10.00
kylie $10.00
Anonymous $5.00
Karen Rothery  
Milo & Selkie VanderYacht  
steve rathmann  
Lizzie Wann  
Jeanne Reese  
Debby Robello  
Megan Breen  
Lisa Saunders  
Sophia Catanese