Archive for the ‘Livestrong’ Category

LIVESTRONG Challenge 2011

Friday, July 8th, 2011

For the past two years I have participated in the Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Challenge in an effort to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and more importantly, to support my friend Gerald in his continued fight against cancer. After completing the 70-mile course in 2009, our team (Team Wannabe Riders Against Cancer) set our sights last year on completing the 100-mile course. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate with intermittent torrential downpours forcing ride officials to close off the 100-mile course for safety precautions. Nearly all riders, including all of our team, were forced onto the 70-mile course.

In just over six weeks, on August 20th, our team will meet again in Philadelphia to participate in the LIVESTRONG Challenge run/walk and riding events. On Sunday the 21st, I will make my 2nd attempt at conquering the grueling 100-mile course. While a bit behind where I would like to be, my personal training is well underway with two 50+ mile rides under my belt and a 75-miler scheduled for this coming weekend.

I have once again set a goal of raising $1000 for the LAF and would love your support in helping me reach this goal. To read more about LAF, my participation and to contribute to the cause, please check out my personal fundraising website:

While Gerald inspired me to accept this challenge, and I ride in support of his continued fight against cancer, he is not the only one in my life who has been affected by the disease. I will continue to ride in support of long time family friend, Carole F, and fellow Team Wannabe Riders Against Cancer teammate, Natalie O. I will also be riding in memory of my Uncle Harry, Aunt Denny, and close friend Judy O.

Thanks for taking the time to read. I do appreciate the support.

LIVESTRONG Challenge 2010 – 100 Miles

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Those who have been reading this blog for more than a year most likely remember that last Summer I participated in the Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Challenge and tackled the 70 mile course in an effort raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) and, more importantly, support my friend Gerald in his continued fight against cancer. It was an incredible physical and mental challenge that I still to this day remember quite vividly and fondly. (You can read my race recap from last year for the details.)

In just under three weeks, on August 22nd, I will once again be traveling to Philadelphia to accept the challenge for the 2nd year, however this year, I’ve somehow allowed Gerald to talk me into riding the 100 mile course. So far training has been tough given all of the recent heat in DC this summer as I’ve struggled to complete training rides of 60, 65, and 75 miles over the past couple of weeks.

The LIVESTRONG Challenge is an event wherein people from all over gather to participate in either a 5K run/walk or one of several different bike rides, a 10-, 45-, 70-, or 100-mile ride all to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer. The LAF strives to inspire and empower those who have been affected by the disease and hopes to make cancer a national priority. The money the LAF generates is used to help close the gap between what we know and what we do in the cancer fight by providing everyone with better access to early screening and care, funding research related to survivorship. My goal this year is to raise $2000 for the LAF and to somehow complete the 100 mile course.

If you have a moment, and the means, please take a moment to learn more about my participation and contribute to the cause:

While Gerald is the one who inspired me to accept this challenge, he is not the only one in my life who has been affected by cancer. In addition to supporting Gerald, I will also be riding in support of a
long time family friend, Carole F, and fellow Team Wannabe Riders Against Cancer teammate, Natalie O. I will riding be memory of my Uncle Harry, Aunt Denny, and close friend Judy O.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I do appreciate the support.


Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Team Photo #2

(Pictured Above: Natalie, Chris, Mike, Gerald, Ed, me, Wyatt & Steve)

As Gerald’s summary of the day states simply, yet quite eloquently… WE DID IT!

A quick recap of the day…

Sunday started at 4:45am after a restless sleep. I probably woke up about 15 times during the middle of the night both out of anticipation & excitement for the coming day as well as paranoia that I didn’t set my alarm correctly. Nevertheless, the alarm went off on time and I was up immediately into my standard Saturday morning training routine. I crashed at my friend Drew’s place in Schwenksville located about 20 minutes from the start line. This gave me the chance to have my standard breakfast of bacon and eggs and prep almost as if I was home on just another training ride. (Very important for me from a mental perspective.) I quickly packed up my things, loaded my bike back onto my car, and made my way to Montgomery County Community College to meet the rest of Team Wannabe Riders Against Cancer by about 6:15am.

As the MCCC campus continued to wake up with the sunrise, our team took advantage of the free refreshments, snapped a few pre-race photos and then made our way to the staging area for the 70 mile riders. Initially I was quite surprised to see the area so empty but as word came that the start time would be delayed 30 minutes until 8am, I turned around to see the throngs of people still making their way from the parking lot into the staging area. I was anxious to get on the course so the delay was frustrating but after a brief opening ceremony, we made our way into the starting chute and finally the ride was underway.

The course was a bit more challenging than we expected. Our initial read of the course information led us to believe that over the 70 miles, we would tackle about 2600 feet of elevation climb. That’s what most of the team trained for, and that’s what Mike and I tackled on our final training ride. Following that ride I was feeling pretty good about things. However the actual elevation climb for the course when all was said and done turned out to be 5200 feet! More than double the anticipated amount.

Course Map Comprehension FAIL

As the day wore on we found ourselves tackling hill after seemingly endless hill. Some were long & gradual, some were short & steep and we even had one or two thrown in that were long & pretty steep. I never spent so much time in those bike gears all the way on the left but I was able to summit every hill without having to get off and walk. The downhills were fun but seemingly few and far between. Weather on the day was pretty hot with highs hitting the mid-80s and fairly oppressive humidity. It certainly could have been worse, but when we stopped to take breaks, you could feel the heat.

Despite the challenging course & conditions, the team took it all in stride and really stuck together to make it through. Throughout the course were five “power stops” filled with water, Gatorade, goo, Powerbars, PB&J sandwiches, bananas, grapes, etc… just about any source of energy you could think of. While some members of the team would break away between stops, we made sure to leave each one as a team.

The best part of the day was certainly the finish. We left the final power stop with the goal of riding the final 10 miles as a team so that we could cross the finish line together. That stretch was a gradual uphill climb back to the MCCC campus but once the college was in sight, everyone seemed to forget about how hard the day had been. We made our way into the last quarter mile where the path was split into two chutes with cancer survivors on the right and “regular” riders on the left. Cheering and clapping supporters surrounded us as we hit the final 100 meters, and as each one of us crossed the finish line, our names were read aloud to all in attendance. The team came through to the end and celebrated with handshakes and hugs. Despite the near exhaustion, the photo above taken almost immediately after we finished shows the smiles and just how great we still felt. (Okay, maybe we look a little tired.)

Unfortunately along the way we did lose one team member, Mike, around mile 50 to some left knee problems that made it impossible for him to pedal. I was really impressed with how well he handled the situation. Despite the disappointment, Mike was one of our loudest supporters when we eventually made it to the finish line.

All-in-all an amazing experience. 6500 total participants, about 2500 of which were bikers. Nearly $15,000 raised by our team, almost $8000 of that by Gerald alone. $3.2 million dollars raised by all LIVESTRONG Philadelphia participants. 70 miles biked and nearly 5200 feet of elevation gain!

Gerald continues to talk up the 100 mile ride next year. While I’m hesitant and intimidated by an even longer ride on such a challenging course, I don’t see how I can say “no” to him if he asks.

If you get a chance, take the time to read Gerald’s account of the day. As a cancer survivor, this day had special meaning to him. It’s definitely worth your time.

Training Comes to a Close

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Race day is now just 5 days away. No longer can I say the race is in “a few weeks” or “later this month”. When people ask me when the race is, my response is simply “Sunday”. While training until this point has been a very real (and surprisingly enjoyable) experience, being less than a week away brings a certain level of excitement and anticipation that wasn’t there before.

At this point I find myself cautiously optimistic about how well I will do. Two weeks ago I biked 73.04 miles (at 15.6 avg mph pace) which got me over a huge mental hurdle. The race itself is 70 miles.

Then this past weekend, Mike and I went out for our final long training ride before ramping down this week for rest. We tackled the many hills nears Purcellville, VA and completed a 50 mile ride in just about 3 and 1/2 hours. The total elevation gain during the ride was 2,602 ft. The elevation gain for LIVESTRONG in Philly over the course of 70 miles? 2,652 ft.

Am I crazy to think that I am actually ready for this race? I don’t know but I do know that I won’t be scared Sunday morning. I’ll be ready to take on the challenge. And at the risk of sounding supremely cheesy or clichéd, I guess that’s part of what LIVESTRONG is all about.

Depending on how things go Sunday, I will be Tweeting updates during the race. You can follow me here: Wish me luck.


Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Last weekend I completed the longest ride of my LIVESTRONG training to date with a 55 mile trek out to Leesburg and back on the W&OD. Rides haven’t been quite as frequent as of late due to some knee problems. About two weeks ago, I tweaked my oft-injured right knee in a soccer game. Of course this was followed by the typical paranoia about serious damage, swelling, visit to the orthopedist and an eventual MRI. Thankfully no major damage was revealed and through frequent icing and Advil, I have been able to minimize the discomfort. I was quite surprised at how good I felt after the 55 mile ride and subsequent soccer game from the weekend.

Anyone who is keeping up with my training via this blog has heard me repeatedly state my need to push past 40 miles and to find more hilly terrain in an effort to properly prepare me for the Philly course. While I am happy to have made it well past the 40 mile mark, I have yet to tackle the hilly terrain and really need to increase the frequency of my rides.

I was able to get 15 in on Tuesday, have a 25 mile ride scheduled for tonight and hope to go 60+ (maybe 70?) this Saturday. With a slightly reduced travel schedule, I think I have a good plan in place to get me ready by August 23rd.