The Reason I am Doing It.

It was my brother's idea at first, he told me he had looked into doing a sponsored bike ride in England. The idea was to raise money for leukemia research because our mother had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2005. Since I enjoy cycling, raising money for leukemia research while bike riding sounded perfect. An evening of "Googling" later, I had found Team In Training, a group that fund-raise with endurance sports for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I initially registered for the 2007 Lake Tahoe event, but had to drop out when it became aparent that Mum was losing her battle with leukemia. This year I am back and intent on raising $5000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The event I am training for is a 100-mile bike ride around Lake Tahoe on June 1st 2008. Because of the altitude (6,225ft.) and the distance, training is important. So, every Saturday for 5 months I will be getting up at 6:00 a.m. to join my team for training rides. There will be a lot of hills to climb!

So when the training gets tough, I look down at the top tube of my bike where I carry 2 names that inspire me to push on. The names are, my Mum – Ruth Davies, and my Aunt Meg, both of whom lost their lives to blood diseases. My Mum, as many of you already know, passed away last year from Leukemia (AML). I thank God for the 14 months of remission she had and the last vacation we spent together in February 2006. At the end of 2006, the leukemia returned and this time there was no stopping it. After wasting away, my mother died in April of 2007. Similarly, my Aunt Meg passed away in February of 1993 after an 11-year battle against Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What these two women endured is infinitely more than any discomfort I feel during my training.

To make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, go to: TNT Donate

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Week 8 - March 29, 2008 - Distance 53.66 miles

Midweek Training: On Sunday I dusted off my mountain bike and rode the Rocky Peak Fire Road, a 2.5 mile climb on an unpaved fire road to the summit of the third highest mountain, at 2,714 ft (827 m), in the Santa Susana range. I was a little rusty! It has been over six months since I climbed this trail, and I was surprised at how many times I had to stop to catch my breath. It seems that when riding off road there are different muscles/techniques in use than when road riding. Still, it proved to be excellent cross training and it was a beautiful view from the top! Thursday was the only other day I was able to ride this week, however, I completed the ride home from work in my fastest time to date.

Group Ride: Today's ride distance is just over a half century! We rode from Duarte and practiced two techniques, pacelining and intervals, covered in our pre-ride clinic. Pacelining is where a group of four or more riders will ride in single file in close proximity then periodically (10secs to 2 mins) the lead rider will rotate off the front of the pack and join the rear. This way everyone benefits from the "pull" of the lead rider, and the time spent at the front is minimal. Pacelining can easily increase the speed of the group by 2 to 5 miles per hour. Intervals: this is sprinting till exhausted then recovering and repeating. Coach Andy tells us these are beneficial on short rides as a way to increase strength. We did 2 intervals today for demonstration purposes. The lead rider was told to break off from the group and sprint for 20 seconds then slow to 16 mph. Each following rider would then wait 10 seconds and leave the group to "chase them down". I noticed my speed hit 26mph on the flat when sprinting today.

After our practice we continued our ride out through many of the neighbourhoods we had visited before until we reached the Rosebowl parking lot we had frequented as the start point of some of our previous rides. This time it was for a SAG stop. Sharon, a volunteer, was driving the SAG car that we had put our sandwiches or other snacks into before the ride. My peanut butter and banana sandwich really hit the spot, followed by raisins and nuts. A quick refilling of the water bottle and a bathroom stop and we were off again, back to Duarte. At the end of the ride I am feeling "saddle sore". There is mention that next weeks pre-ride clinic will cover the use of "chamois butter" which I believe is a euphemism for "butt cream"! Seems to me we should have had that clinic earlier in the season!

Fund-raising: You guys are awesome! Today I was given a water bottle as acknowledgement of the fact that I was in third place in funds raised to date in our team. The first place fund raiser, Tim, is a guy who just finished his chemotherapy at the start of this season. He has raised over $5000 so far! An amazing guy, and his hair is just starting to grow back!

This week, Judy and I have made our personal donation of an amount that will cover the cost the Society pays out for my hotel and flight expenses. That way an even higher percentage of the amount you donate goes to the cause.

Judy has also been busy organising a fund-raiser to be held at The Habit Burger here in Simi on Wednesday, April 16th between 4 to 9 p.m. So for all you locals that like to eat, plan to be there. 20% of the sales accompanied by the flier will be donated by The Habit to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, all you have to do is eat, (you were going to do that anyway, right!) Judy has created an awesome flier and will be handing and emailing it out to as many locals as possible. Come hungry!

To make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or to learn more go to >TNT Donate

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