El Paso, TX seems like a really long time ago. It was in El Paso this past April that I started my commitment to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Today, with the ride in Austin, I finished this commitment. What a journey! The statistics are all below, but unlike the way I have measured myself in the past, they do not even come close to telling the story. In April biking was a form of exercise. Today it is a mission.
In Austin I was able to be part of “The Ride for the Roses”. It was a group of about 30 people who had raised $30,000 or more. About 2 weeks ago we were asked to submit a picture and a paragraph about why we raised money for the LAF this year. The stories were awesome! I think I was the only one in the book who was not riding for themselves or a loved one who experienced cancer in the last 5 years. I wrote at the end of my paragraph, “I had no idea that there could be so much devastation and suffering outside of a war. I guess that is why they call it the Livestrong Army.”
As part the top fund raisers, I got to do a private ride with Lance Armstrong. (There were 30 of us.) During the Philadelphia event, my Mom commented, “I thought he would be bigger.” It is true, when up on stage or even right next to you, he does not look very big. I will tell you, however, that next to him on a bike he looks HUGE! Not very talkative but Huge. (I asked him, “Don’t you get sick of trying to figure out what to say to people like me?” His answer was, “No.” That was it – just No.) At that point my 30 seconds were up and I went to the back of the pack happy that I did not ruin his comeback by causing a crash. Hahaha
Probably the best part of the weekend (from a LAF standpoint) was the fact that Tony and Michelle Charameda were able to come with Jeri and I. Tony and Michelle started and continue to organize the Ultimate Challenge each February. This is a 24 hour exercise bike ride/relay to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It was at this event this past February where my hair brain idea to ride all four Challenges this year got its start. I was cool to see their enthusiasm build over the weekend. (Every time I saw the two of them together it looked like they were scheming about their event this coming February.)
The Road Rider
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Between May 1, 2008 and October 31, 2008 I am going to ride in all 4 of the Livestrong Challenges plus two other 100-mile plus rides. My estimate is that during this time I will ride over 3,000 miles, climb over 100,000 feet, and spend over 200 hours on my bike. Due to the fact that I will still have a full time job, I will need to ride to work at least 30 times during this period. Essentially I will be spending almost all my free time on my bicycle.