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

Monday, April 28, 2008

Back from England!

My time in England went so fast. I was able to spend some good quality time with Dad, which was the whole purpose of the trip. We also were able to visit the Jaguar Daimler Heritage Museum together at Browns Lane in Coventry.

I was also able to visit Nana (my Mum's mother) at her home twice. She is 93 and living on her own. She is doing amazingly well. On the Sunday we had lunch at the Summerhouse Restuarant along with Uncle Geoff and Dad.

It was also great to spend time with my brother, Russ. I drove up to Shrewsbury to visit old friends, Jon & Karen (I can just hear Karen protesting that she is not old now), with him during the week.

It was particularly good to drop in at the garage I used to work at many years ago. We had a good long chat. It is now called Preston Gubbals Motor Services, and Roger is still selling cars next door. Many thanks to Pete, Mike, and Paul for the donation.

However, the best part of being away is coming back home. Megan (with Judy's supervision) baked a really delicious cake to welcome me back. Then to top it all off, I recieved constant hugs from Megan for the next couple of days!

Ah, good to be home!

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

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

One Year Later

On Tuesday it was the 1 year anniversary of Mum's death. It is a strange feeling; in some ways it seems so recent and yet it also seems a lot of time has passed. The world in it's own way marched on, yet for me a significant part of my life ended a year ago. On the plane travelling to the UK I felt some sadness as I reflected on the the last weeks of her life and her death. I have made progress through grief, but at the same time there are moments when I miss her so much. It is good to have that assurance that she is with our Saviour.

Today, Wednesday, was a poignant day as Dad, Russ, and I climbed Robinswood Hill, a local beauty spot that Mum enjoyed so much with Dad. It was the first opportunity for us to all get together and hike the hill since Mum's passing. Once at the top we scattered her ashes. It was an emotional time, but also such a beautiful day for the hike.

Miss you Mum!

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

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Week 11 - April 19th 2008 - Distance 62.52 miles

Midweek Training: No Sunday ride this week, Saturday's heat left me exhausted. No Tuesday ride because Judy had to stay late at work. Thursday I rode to work and back adding in extra miles on the way home, for a total of 29.41 miles. I would have done more but I was hungry and Taco Bell would not let me bring my bike inside, nor would they let me go through the drive through, so I went home.

Group Ride: We rode out of Woodland Hills this week. We last rode from here 5 weeks ago. The weather was a complete contrast to last week. It was overcast for much of the ride holding temperatures down in the 50s. It felt downright chilly especially when descending hills. This week's highlight was a 4-mile grunt of a climb to the top of Stunt Road. On a clear day it is possible to see the ocean from the top. In fact the last time I was at the top of Stunt Rd was over 5 years ago with my Mum and Dad. But, today we were in the clouds. Literally, as we stood on the top a cloud bank rolled up the hill from the Santa Monica side of the mountain. So we snapped a couple of photos and headed straight down the way we had just come up.

The bottom portion of Stunt Road can be seen to the right of the group in the photo

It was a fast descent, but not my fastest speed of the day. That came when I hit 41.14 mph eastbound on Lynn Road after our trip through the beautiful Hidden Valley. The scenery for the ride was really nice and it probably was a blessing that we had cloud cover to keep us cool on the climbs. All in all, a fantastic day. Then when we were finished with the ride we all ate at Chicks, a local restuarant, where Ellie (one of the other riders) was holding a post ride fund-raiser.

Fundraising: You can read in the previous blog entry about our fundraising event at The Habit. Many thanks to my wonderful wife for organising it.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fund-raiser at The Habit Burger - 04/16/08

Hi! Judy here! Wow! The fundraiser we had at “The Habit Burger & Grill” was a fun! Brian and Megan arrived around 5:30pm to “meet and greet” with everyone who came! When I got there around 6pm, I was happy to see a ROCKIN’ RESTAURANT! There were so many people who came including Megan’s 1st grade teacher (with her daughters), friends from Megan’s school (with their parents) and friends from Rocky Peak! A co-worker of mine stopped by on his way home to Moorpark and one of Brian’s bike buddies stopped in to get a huge meal for his family! It looked like everyone was enjoying themselves, especially the kids with their ice cream cones!

Our friends the Feezors at The Habit

I had to take Megan home around 7pm as it was a school night, but Brian stayed on and told me when he got home, people continued to come to the fundraiser. His boss and wife came out for dinner as well as Brian’s TNT mentor. I wish we could have met them, but well, it was a school night!!

So…….how much was raised? The gross receipts from flyer accompanied sales for the evening was $435.00……THAT’S pretty good…! 20% of the gross receipts will be donated by the Habit to LLS.

Thank you everybody....For the gift of your time and your stomach, thank you, thank you, thank you so much for your support!!! It was awesome to see each and every ONE of you there EATING (which did my Filipina heart good to see everyone enjoying FOOD) and having a great time. If you came early to the event, I’m really sorry we missed you, but we want to thank you all the same! Everyone has been (and IS) wonderful for supporting Brian on this 100-mile bike ride for LLS and we appreciate all the well-wishes, support, and donations.

We definitely feel the LOVE!


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

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Week 10 - April 12th, 2008 - Distance 63.52 miles

Midweek Training: No Sunday ride this week, my leg muscles were still aching from Saturday's ride. Because of Judy's work situation this week, I could rely on her to pick up our daughter from school. So Tuesday and Thursday I rode to work and back. On the way home on Thursday I had time to add extra miles and an extra couple of hills to round out the day's mileage to 32.33 miles. The fork conversion that I performed on the bike last weekend felt good and didn't change the handling of the bike that much.

Group Ride: Wow! Week 10! I am now half way through training. So far 644 miles have rolled under my wheels since starting training in February!

This week's ride was a really tough one. After last week's ride with 3 significant hills, and coach Andy telling us that this week would have no big hills, I felt sure the ride would be easier than last week, even with the extra miles. What I didn't factor on was the heat! Our ride out from Pasadena started with nice warm sunshine, no need for arm warmers or jackets, but very quickly, by the time we reached Puddingstone Lake in San Dimas, the temps hit 90F (that's 32.7C). We passed the Fairplex in Pomona before heading back.

It was a long slog back to Pasadena. Becca, one of the 2 girls riding with the fast group of 6 riders, suffered from heat exhaustion and had to be shuttled back to Pasadena. I was feeling the heat also and was hanging back on the way home. I emptied my water bottles several times on this ride. It was a good job we had 3 SAG stops. The last 10 miles or so seemed to go on forever, every part of me that touched the bike was sore and/or uncomfortable. Fortunately the Tahoe ride won't be hot, we will just have the altitude to contend with.

After I finished the ride it was off to Colin's birthday party (the son of our good friends Russ and Eileen). Where, sadly, I fell asleep!

Fund-raising: After considering it, I have moved the goalposts, since we have raised over $5000 to date. I have now set the target at $7500. How could I not up the goal? It is such a good cause and I have had so many people donate, and what really touches me is when I thank them, they often thank me for doing the ride.

This week I have a fund raiser at The Habit Burger in Simi Valley. My wife has done such a wonderful job of organising the event and promoting it to our friends. So please come on down on Wednesday, April 16th (between 4 and 9 p.m.) to eat with us. You were going to eat anyway, right? Click here for the Flyer

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

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Week 9 - April 5th, 2008 - Distance 59.02 miles

Midweek Training: On Sunday I rode to Big Sky Park to meet up with my wife and daughter. The intention was to teach her how to ride without training wheels (stabilizers). Unfortunately her bike had a flat front tire. So we played on the swings instead. When I got home, after the 14 miles round trip, I had some practice patching her inner tube! Thursday was the only other day I was able to ride this week, and then it was only the ride home from work for a 12 mile ride.

Group Ride: Today's ride (Saturday) was 59 miles with 3 significant hills. Up first was La Tuna Canyon, the same hill we visited on Week 4. This time it felt a little easier, but it was still a long climb. Our first SAG stop was at the top. My peanut butter and banana sandwich tasted great. We were just shy of 20 miles at this point and still had well over 30 to go. The next hill was Chevy Chase Dr. We climbed this hill on Week 3 but this time continued up Linda Vista Dr. Linda Vista was brutal, lots of twists and turns and it just kept on going. I was glad when we got to the top and our second SAG stop. I filled up my water bottle again and munched on a Powerbar. We now had 34 miles behind us and knew there was one more hill to come. Off we set for our next downhill section for a fast descent into Pasadena. After completing a loop we came to our third hill, Lida. We started the climb, but I was in dire need of a toilet break. It seemed like every bump or rut in the road was going to cause my bladder to explode. Jose and I saw a porta-john (porta-loo) in the front yard of a house that was being renovated. Jose, Tim, and I swung round and made use of this convenient find. Ah, sweet relief! Much better! We continued the climb up to the third SAG stop of the day. More water, and snacks. Then it was off for our last 10 miles; a twisty downhill section, and an easy ride back to Griffith Park. We got back exhausted but happy that we had completed our most gruelling Team ride to date. I skipped eating a post ride lunch with the team since it was late and headed to the workshop to upgrade my bike. More details about that later. I have also ridden just over 500 miles since begining training On Feb 9th! My legs feel so sore tonight, I can really feel those hills.

Fund-raising: I am within spitting distance of $5,000. I want to continue to raise money for such a worthy cause and don't want anyone to hold off on contributing because I have reached $5,000, so I am thinking of increasing my goal. I was thinking of shooting for $7,500. What do you guys think? Let me know. I have enabled comments on the blog entries now, so use it to tell me what you think or give me some encouragement for the next hill!

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