Monday, December 15, 2008

A resource for you

Just in case you need them, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance's website is filled with good information. Either Google "OCNA" or go right to their website

I hope you don't need them, but if you do, well, here you go.

So you'd like to be a part?

I'm meeting more and more people these days, many of whom are excited about the ride.
If you happen to be reading this and would like to be a part, there are a couple of things you can do.

1) make a donation. Write a check to "Jubilee!" and send to Jubilee!, 46 Wall Street, Asheville, NC 28801. Write "Laurey Bikes" in the memo line.

2) have a fundraiser. Many folks are doing this. Bake sales. local events. I'm happy to come talk to groups is you have a group. Just let me know.

3) plan to ride with me to Washington, DC in September 2009. We'll leave from Asheville and will ride to Washington. The timing will coincide with Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and will (we hope) conclude on Capitol Hill or (WILD DREAM) at the White House. We'll need help planning this one so give a shout if you'd like to be a part. Ride. Escort. Plan. Support.

4) spread the word about the early warning signs.
  • Bloating
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty eating or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary symptoms (urgency or frequency)
5) Know what is normal for you. If you notice a change, even after only two weeks, get yourself checked out.

Live. Love. Bike!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The article from Thanksgiving

A story was in our local paper on Thanksgiving. Here it is...

Moving, moving along

I've started spinning classes. Stumped by the cold (it is REALLY hard to get outside on a road bike in cold weather) I've started to spin. Spinning is HARD, but it is a HOT hard, not a cold hard. I sweat and spin and, no matter my mood, smile at it all. My teacher is a funny gal, blasting hip hop, gesturing wildly, urging us to increase the resistance, keep up the pace. I imagine climbing over the hills, mountains, facing the winds, the rain, I imagine all of this.

I think of a song we sing at Jubilee, an old Irish drinking song, actually, though its word are motivating:

I will not lie me down, this rain a raging.
I will not lie me down, in such a storm.
And if this night be unblessed
I shall not take my rest
Until I reach the other shore.

So spin class is fun and the ride, too, will be fun (much, or at least some of the time, I hope).
AND I also know there will be parts of it, perhaps much of it, that will be really hard but those hard times will be times for putting my head down (or lifting it up) and carrying on.

No matter what.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wabi Sabi

I heard the words Wabi Sabi the other day for the first time. Then I saw the words written just this morning, browsing through the top new childrens' books of the season. One is called Wabi Sabi. And then, today, during my glassblowing session, the words popped up again.

Wabi Sabi.

The beauty and profundity of nature, the natural transience of things. Imperfection. I like this, this wabi sabi. Wabi sabi is my theme song of the moment.

Last night and today I was with the PR director of OCNA (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance) sharing with her my story, my wishes for the ride, my highest hopes. I am spent, exhausted, AND thrilled, excited, energized, deeply moved at all that is transpiring. All that has transpired. And all that will.

Today we met with four different people no planned meetings (all the planned meetings got canceled - the universe, no doubt, watching out for us, knowing that traditional meetings would have been boring and staid. These meetings, in contrast, were filled with truth, emotion, love and honesty. These meetings contained more directness than any I might have ever been in. Faryl is young but smart and knew what she needed to know and stood up to the big boys and girls.

Faryl is my newest guardian angel.

I had set everything up. I had it all worked out. I had a plan. And then all of it fell apart. Things changed. The Executive Director, who was supposed to come, couldn't. Our big meeting, which I had been working so hard to do, shattered. Oh well, I tried to console myself, what is, is. This, this that IS, must be right. For it IS. I was not convinced.

But, in fact, what was WAS perfect. Faryl had individual meetings with four key players here and four new relationships have started and four new alliances have formed and all of them are on board with me and the ride and we WILL spread this message and it will matter. It is no longer just in my head. Others are now really a part.

And now, now, I can go sleep.

I'll be in touch.

Friday, November 7, 2008

4 months and counting

Oh my! Yesterday was the 4 month mark. Which means that four months from today I'll be riding. I'm trying REALLY hard to stay on track. Suddenly this week all of what needs to happen is creeping up on me. I have to get a grip! Judy, who has done this ride before, says I'll be fine. I've been collecting opinions on training and eating and resting and that sort of thing. Everyone has an opinion - which is good. But I need to filter them all, sort them all, decide what I am going to do, and do it.

And that IS what I'm doing.

My current training regimen is:
Ride on Monday - a long-ish ride.
Go to the gym on Tuesday for core strength work.
Have a Pilates session on Wednesday - again, core work.
Blow glass on Thursday. Not exactly aerobic, but strength building - and fun.
Nothing specific on Friday.
Saturday is a work day.
And on Sunday I go for a long ride.

I'm thinking of adding a spin class on Wednesday and maybe on Friday too. Now that the time has changed, afternoon riding is a bit tricky.

And then there is the food part. I am adjusting my thinking to include better nutrition. Got any advice? I may be about food at work, but that does not mean that I am a great nutrition expert.

In fundraising, I am about to cross the 16,000.00 mark. And this month I am going to contact some corporate sponsor prospects.

It's all good!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

The true dates

We leave on March 6th and we finish on April 30.


We're off!

Heather helped me collate and fold and stuff a bunch of the fundraising letters last week and I sent out about 100 one day and 100 the next day before running out of stamps and stickers and so I'm back on hold. BUT the first postcards have come back to me, one two days ago and four yesterday and I have actually started raising money which is a thrill.

I sometimes wonder, before a party, if anyone is going to show up. So it is with this project. I feel out on a thin limb here, making this public statement, exposing myself in this way. Already people are talking to me about their story or the story of someone they know and there is a part of me that feels really unprepared to deal with this aspect of this venture. I am not an expert on cancer and don't want to be. But I do feel that paying attention is a good thing so maybe that, simple as it is, is what I have to say. I can say that with authority. My own authority.

I got my bike tuned up. Can't wait to ride it. Can't wait for all of this. At times I feel like I could explode with excitement. This is very very exciting.


I've been listening to Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" and in one place he talks about the brick walls being there for a reason. And I agree. I also feel that it is much more possible to get over those brick walls with a team of people. This is one of the lessons from the Outward Bound exercise of climbing over the wall. No one could do that alone. But with help and planning and cleverness and skill and training it does work.

So it is with this ride. I am really not in it alone. It is already much bigger than me. And with two riding partners and two trainers and two sisters and one fabulous bike mechanic and a whole lot of people who are going to be "on my team" this will all come to be.

Life, today, is so very good.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My route: March 4 - May 4, 2009

The next step

October 11, 2008
This past week I've spent hours assembling and sending out the mailing for potential funding team members. Heather came and helped the other night and THAT was an enormous help. she is so smart and knew how to build a data base that will put all the names in order by name OR zip OR how much they might pledge or any way I choose. And then it prints them all out on labels and it's all very neat and tidy. It would have taken me days and days to do what she did in an hour or so. Amazing.

Gosh - I might not have mentioned that both NOCC (National Ovarian Cancer Coalition) and OCNA (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance) are on board. NOCC gave me 500 symptom cards, which are tucked into each note that is being sent out. OCNA is going to do a lot too. Karen Kaplan is going to come here and help me figure out what to do. They are going to help spread the word about the ride by putting it up on their web site.

I've decided to learn how to do videos and want to do one after the ride is done. There's a song that has completely grabbed me, "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. It's a love story, a tale of getting decked by someone. It's very upbeat. AND it seems that one could hear it as a call to action, "I won't hesitate no more, no more, this cannot wait, I'm yours..." It has an irresistible beat and captivating lyrics and I get into my car and play it over and over and over again.

But still, let me repeat, I don't have a video camera, nor do I know how to do movie editing, nor is any of this in my skill set at this point. But yesterday I got a note from someone at OCNA who, completely unsolicited, wrote and told me about a little video camera and offered advice on computers (which one to buy) and also wondered about designing a cycling jersey. All of these things are things I want to do. I had even stopped into the computer store an hour earlier than that to ask them that very thing. And here, with no prompting (well, no conscious prompting) came an answer.

I dragged Heather along with me and we found one of those cameras and that's that. And then I got a catalog in the mail. Yesterday! About new little tiny computers. Amazing. Charley Caste, my psychic friend, said to be wide open and not to limit my thoughts on this. So shall it be.

One more thing. I had lunch with Leslie Boyd from our paper yesterday and they are going to start running a story on the whole project. That will include a blog too. But I will keep this one going as well. Yee-ha!

So pretty soon this blog will get to have little movies.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Here are the fundraising details

After months and months, weeks and weeks, days and days of thinking, I have finally come to the realization that it is time to stop thinking and get busy with actually writing this letter. I have a big project coming up and it is time to take it out of my head and put it onto this paper.

In May of this year I turned 54. I was born in 1954, which means that this is my Golden Year, the year when my age matches my birth year. This past May I gave myself a one week bike ride on the Outer Banks and celebrated that birthday riding, thinking, and wondering.

This year also marks my 20th anniversary of being an ovarian cancer survivor. Additionally it is my 29th anniversary as a uterine cancer survivor. I am grateful to be alive and grateful to be celebrating this Golden Year.

Finally, these times feel scary to me. My country is in flux. The economy is wobbly. The news is filled with things that frighten me. As I write, we have only weeks to go before election day. I feel the need to do something that will be positive, good, healing.

In honor and appreciation of these things I have decided to take it all outside myself and attempt a very large challenge. In March and April of 2009 I am going to ride my bicycle across the United States. And I am going to dedicate this ride to spreading the word about the importance of understanding the early detection signs for ovarian cancer. They are subtle, but they do exist and I, though I didn’t realize it at the time, am alive because I was lucky enough to have had some of those signs and, most importantly, to have paid attention to them. My cancers were caught very early, in Stage 1 in both cases. I am incredibly lucky, deeply thankful.

I will be teaming up with existing national cancer organizations whose goals are in line with mine: spreading the word about the early detection signs for ovarian cancer. I am also teaming up with Women Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR), on whose board I serve, to help spread this word even farther. I am anticipating doing events in cities with WCR members as I make my way across the country, educating our members and other women about the early warning signs. I will also be present at some WCR dinners and fundraising events before and after my ride which will give me even more opportunities to get my message out. Finally, I am working with local organizations to get the word out in this community. I anticipate a number of speaking engagements, both before and following the ride. Education about the early warning signs will be my focus.

The details of the ride are this:

I will dip my rear tire in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California on March 4th and will ride until I can dip my front tire in the Atlantic, in St. Augustine, Florida on May 4th. The route will take me through Arizona and New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

In all I will ride over 3100 miles. I will ride for 50 out of 58 days. I will ride approximately 60 miles each day with one day off each week to rest, do laundry (!) and, I hope, connect with women and men along the way, sharing my message.

I will ride with others, a group of around 30 women. This is a supported ride: our luggage will be carried for us, we will stay in motels, and our breakfasts and dinners will be provided. If we can’t make it one day, a van will give us a lift. I hope to ride all of the miles. This is my intention. This is my goal.

The fundraising aspect of this ride is optional. It is safe to say that I will probably be the only one riding for ovarian cancer awareness as this disease continues to be under publicized and under funded. Most women miss the early warning signs and their illness is not discovered until it is very late in the game – frequently stage 3 or 4. Most women die of this disease, if it is discovered at all. I hope to change this. I hope to make a difference. I hope that this ride and this overt attention will help people, women AND men to pay attention to early warning signs. I hope to help educate people about early detection. Early detection can really make a huge difference, the difference, frankly, between living and dying.

The ride will cost me around $10,000.00 which will cover the ride fees, my airfare, transporting my bicycle, and my ancillary expenses. My commitment is to pay for the ride on my own from my savings and with some assistance from my sisters and one or two other key individuals. One sister has been taking me out to dinner already, supporting me by pumping me up and telling me she’s my biggest fan. This is her pledge. She is my self-proclaimed cheer leader. The other sister has pledged her support too. I am grateful for that, and am also committed to paying for most of the ride on my own.

I am also very intent on raising a significant amount of money for my cause. That, as you have no doubt guessed, is the reason for this letter to you. In years past, when I rode for AIDS Vaccine Research, I was able to raise over $50,000.00 in the three rides I did. To me that was a huge amount of money. I’d like to raise more than that this time. And I’d like you to help me.

I pledge to you that every single cent I raise from this fundraising will go directly to ovarian cancer education. The groups I am working with and for whom I am raising funds do a number of things: print pocket-sized cards, brochures, and other informational pieces which describe the early warning signs. I will be handing these out along my way. These groups also do advocacy work, conduct educational seminars, and provide support to women in early diagnosis and treatment. They are bringing ovarian cancer out into the public eye. I am working with the key people in these groups. I cannot say, at this moment, exactly who is going to get what. But I promise you that I will only contribute to organizations who are doing exactly the work I want to support.

I have worked out an arrangement with Jubilee! which is the spiritual community I belong to here in Asheville. They have agreed to accept all funds for me. Donations in support of me will get sent to Jubilee. At the end of the year, you will get a listing of your contribution, along with the ability to claim the donation on your taxes. Once I have collected all the funds, Jubilee will write donation checks directly to my chosen recipients. Again, just to be clear, this money will not go to me.

I would love to have your support on this ride.

Thank you so much in advance. This is a huge challenge for me: not only the ride, but leaving my work, my home, my dog and my cat. I have not been away for this length of time since I started my business 21 years ago, so this is a personal sabbatical of sorts - a time to reflect on these blessings I have. And a time to give back.

Thank you so very much for sticking with me. Thank you for considering joining me. Thank you for helping me make this positive contribution to life.

Thank you very, very much.



Thursday, September 25, 2008

Getting closer

I have just sent out another letter to another person who, I hope, will be the one who will help me get connected to an organization that is working to educate women about the early warning signs of ovarian cancer. I'm not going to jinx myself here, but, if it works, I'll be able to "go public" soon!

I took my new shoes back to the bike shop and had them adjusted and am looking forward to riding with them. It took DAYS for my knees to stop hurting after their maiden voyage so I hope the adjustment works.

My back has been sore and that, too, has kept me off my bike. Sheesh!!! My pilates instructor says that it is a temporary setback. The lesson is - Don't sleep in hotel beds! GOSH - every time I do, I wake up with a terribly sore back. It hardly seems worth it. That's not true - but I DO wish that I could go away and not end up aching.

Hopefully it will be better soon.

I want to ride on Sunday and Monday. I need to stop hurting.

So there you have it.

September 25th. A sad day for me, as it is the day I will always remember as the marker of my failed relationship. Four years ago I was celebrating a union. Today I just remember how lovely that day and time was and wonder about how it turned and became a failure. I have learned a lot and will be much more careful in the future. For now, I concentrate on my bike ride.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Figuring it out

Charley Castex, the psychic fellow I consulted recently, urged me to think big when it came time to move on this bike ride project. I'm now in New Orleans at a conference of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and have been stepping out, talking about the ride, working on connecting women in food with this project of mine.

Yesterday during our Info Fair, our trade show, I tried on a chef coat from Chef Designs. It fit me PERFECTLY and the sponsor said they'd send one to me. I tiptoed out from my comfort zone and told them, quietly at first, about my ride project. I then blabbered on about how I'd like to do some events as I ride across the country, sharing the early warning signs for ovarian cancer, speaking with women in the food world and others. We'll have a day off a week and maybe I could hook up with a local woman-owned place to do an event. Well, these gals got VERY excited about it and chirped about how they'd like to help, which did catch me off guard. But as they talked, I got excited too, letting their enthusiasm wash over me.

Later, during our dinner, the time when we celebrate the women in our industry, I saw them again and they said they were REALLY excited about my ride and told me they really want to do more. So I'm not sure how that will all work, but it makes me think that staying small and keeping this to myself is not necessary, and that this ride could really be a big thing.

So shall it be.

Today is my last day here. I'll fly home tomorrow. Back to work, back to training, back to my life and to the letter and to the next phase of this thing.

Oh - it also looks like I am getting closer to making the connection to a funding recipient. Hope hope hope. And if I don't identify any specific group, I'm going to do my letter and start the fund raising anyway.

Here goes.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New shoes

Funny how something minor like new shoes can cause consternation and disruption. I went to get a bad squeak checked and ended up not only getting that taken care of (it was an inner seal inside something or other) but checked on my cleats too and lo and behold, the suggestion was for me to get new shoes. Of course all this came from the bike store folks, but the shoes I have been wearing were given to me about 6 years ago, so I HAVE gotten my money's worth. The new shoes are different but I will get used to them. The great thing about them is that they don't clack when I walk (the others' cleat guards were worn down to their nubs, exposing the metal cleats and making a bad noise and causing me to slip around when I walked.) But the other, even better part, is that the new ones clip into my pedals very easily. With the other shoes, I was having to jam my feet in , hoping they'd catch. Lately it was taking four or five attempts to get the shoes seated in the pedals' cleats, and those attempts were often made while I was out on the road. Not good.

Today I rode a fairly easy 20 miles. Last weekend I rode 40 miles on Sunday and 40 on Monday. It still is amazing to think that soon I will be riding 60 miles every day. But, to be fair, that will be my only responsibility during that time. No work, no obligations other than to ride. That will be good. These days a ride is still a big event. And it is often only a part of my whole day. I try to convince myself that I will be fine during the actual ride, but aches rear their head and fear of failing takes its place. It's a hard one to squash. I'm being fairly public about this whole ride. I want to be successful on this ride and with this venture.

One more thing: I did get my vein checked out and it seems to be fine. It swells a bit sometimes and a tiny capillary pops but it does not hurt and my doctor is not concerned. So I am not either.
Good news for me.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Ugh is right.

I rode yesterday with some people who are MUCH stronger than me. It was a bike riding bridal party for Kimberly. A bunch of women got together to do an "easy" ride and then have brunch. I had to work later in the morning so I planned to skip the brunch part but did want to join in on the ride.

It makes a big difference to me to ride with others. The entire experience is different. And the first time out on a new route is tricky too. I like knowing where the hills are going to be, what the route is, where the easy parts are, where the going is going to get tough. Yesterday, riding with new people and riding on a new route was a double whammy of sorts. A test. I felt like I failed, but it was also one of those instances where I had to keep reminding myself that I was doing something that many people I know could not have done.

There were about 14 of us. Two, however, planned to start with the rest of us and then go off on an easier route. I planned to stick with the big girls. Turns out that 4 of them are on a racing team and are very strong, very good, very fast. And all of the women had ridden this ride before and that really makes it easier. They know when to gear down, slow up, get ready for a big hill, take a breath knowing that the hard part is done. Not me. I dragged, trailed, lost everyone once or twice, felt stupid. At one point everyone came to a stop because one rider's little under the seat bag had come open and all its contents were strewn all over the road. The rest of us came to a halt to wait. I pulled up nearly last and, while just standing still with one foot still clipped into my pedal, fell over on my leg, butt, and shoulder. SO embarrassing.

After that stop the plan was to start a pace line, basically a single file line with one rider taking the lead for 1/2 mile or so. After being in front, each in turn falls back to the end of the line and then rides in formation until she is at the front again. It is much easier to trail behind someone, to ride in the draft of them with a wind break. But it is also a pressured situation to be the one in the front. When it was my turn I realized that my bike computer had gotten dislodged when I fell and was not working. I had no idea how fast I was going nor how long. Ugh. Stupid!

And then one woman pulled alongside me and commiserated, riding with me, soothing me, telling me I was doing fine. The was nice, but I felt so slow and so much like I was out of my league. We got to a big hill and I managed that okay though I was dead last in line. And then another woman rode with me, being kind but also making me feel like I was a total beginner as she kept turning around to see if I was okay and I could tell that she was really slowing down to make sure I could hold onto the pace. Sheesh! No Tour de France for me.

Then I went and worked a huge party which was a rush of guests devouring our food faster than I'd ever experienced before. It was a real scramble and was actually scary for me, a terrifying feeling that we were going to run out of food. We did run out of a few things (I don't quite know what happened to the portioning this time). I made shrimp tempura while standing on a stone floor for an entire hour and my legs were really sore by the end.

Right now I'm awake though it is not even light out. I'm sore from my little fall, from being on my feet for that big party, from a popped little blood vessel behind my knee. I look and feel pretty bad, bruised and sore.

Can I really do a ride across the entire country?

On the positive side, someone wrote to me and said she wants to donate to the ride. And she is not even someone I know. This week is the week to write my letters.

It all feels daunting.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Finding a group to work with

Gosh, I never thought it would be so challenging to find someone to become a significant beneficiary of the funds I hope to raise. I've been looking for a local group or a national group or, well, SOMEONE who is doing the work I want to support. The work, that is, of helping educate people about the early warning signs for ovarian cancer.

Well, I have not been able to find any existing group here who is doing this work. I've heard of a couple of national organizations but I've had a hard time getting in touch with them. However, it looks like I'm finding some light.

I can't speak about the details yet because I need to be clear with the organization I want to work with before I can say that I am connected to them. They need to check me out and I'm not done checking them out. I DO intend to raise a bunch of money, and I want to be sure that I'm raising it for a good cause.

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that things are going to work out. I might even know something in the next few days. Good thing, because it is my intention to mail out fund-raising letters by the end of August. And it's the 22nd today. Time is speeding by.

Stay tuned, all of you who are out there holding your breath, wondering, I'm SURE (not) if I've hooked up with a fundraising recipient yet.

Just like Obama's running mate, I know who it is but I'm not at liberty to divulge the information yet.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Moving along

Well, tonight I sit, tired and sore, a day after my bike ride of just 40 miles. Judy and I rode the Jack's Creek ride yesterday. Instead of following the route, we reversed it this time, hoping it might be a bit easier. It was, I guess, but we got off-route at one point and got about 1/4 mile up a very steep hill before we both swore so much that I offered to go back down to see if I had made a navigating mistake (I had). We got back on route but by that time the multiple catered events of the weekend had caught up to me and I was really dragging, even though I had had a good nap and had gone to sleep early and had eaten a good breakfast. As we reached mile 25 and as my pedals were seeming to be coated with sludge, I began to wonder about the intelligence of choosing to ride across the whole United States. I guess that's the whole point of training. And I guess that's the point of keeping track of where you are - the better to appreciate where you get to. Right now I feel not very ready to tackle this big ride. But I guess I do trust that I will manage to get in shape. It will be a gradual thing. Good thing I'm starting now.

In other news, I got my first major pledge. My goal is to have the fundraising letters written and sent by the end of August. I'm saying that I have a goal of 50,000. A huge goal. I might be nuts to have this large of a goal and maybe even more nuts to be stating it publicly. Ah well. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

And I have my first opportunity to talk publicly about the warning signs of ovarian cancer. On September 6th I am going to help launch a walk which is being done to raise money for ovarian cancer. a woman from Jubilee is doing this event in memory of her sister (I think) and it will be good to get out there, speak to a crowd, try out some of the thoughts I have. This morning I woke up in the middle of having a dream about giving a speech. Interesting.

And finally, today I saw Charley Castex, a psychic. Almost his whole reading was about doing something big next year. Something physical. Something involving teaching and nutrition. Something bigger than me. And he said not to be scared to think big. So here we go.

Today feels auspicious. I feel like I am off and running.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Don said yes!!!

On an otherwise difficult day, a day filled with problems at work, I got one shining note from Don at Jubilee! (they write it with the!) saying that yes, I can certainly direct funders to send their contributions to a special fund at Jubilee. This will give me the chance to take my time, find the right recipient organizations or start my own. All good.

This will keep me on track to send out my letters in the next few weeks. I want them all out by the end of August.

Curiously, I also got a message from my friend who I've been talking to from the big organization. I had been feeling that my small efforts would get lost in this big organization which is why I've gone to my own small organization. And I did not get a chance to speak with my friend today. Perhaps tomorrow.

So, bike life moves on.

Today feels momentous. This is a long and difficult journey. The least of it will be the bike ride.


Monday, August 4, 2008

Trying to figure things out

I rode with my friend Judy yesterday. We did the Jack's Creek ride in Burnsville. 37 miles or so. When we started we saw three men getting ready to start the ride too, but then we didn't see them on the ride which was surprising, as I figured they'd pass us at some point. We DID see a couple of other small groups riding - all in the other direction than the way we were going. Hmmm. Then, about halfway through the ride, we passed the three guys, going the other way too. Since our ride had been kind of mild, following the creek or the Toe River, and since I noticed some elevation at the end of the ride on the profile sheet, I figured, rightly, that we were in for it. The last 8 miles were pretty continuously uphill. Aha! No wonder everyone was riding the thing backwards (according to the cue sheets, that is.) It was also a HOT day. And I haven't ridden in a couple of weeks. I was pretty pooped by the end of our ride. I wonder how it is going to be, riding every single day.

Took my bike to be tuned up a bit today, since I have not been able to stay in the largest chain rings, not such a good thing, as that is the easiest gear and when I slip out, well, it is disconcerting to say the least. Got new batteries for my little warning light and some new gloves. I'm ready to go - just seven - oh my, REALLY??? - more months. Holy cow!

Judy did this ride a few years ago and I am going to follow her lead in terms of fundraising. I'm striking out on hooking up with an organization. Well, not exactly striking out, but it is taking a long time and I'm feeling that if I DO hook up with some organization I will lose any control over the funds and much of it will get lost to administrative costs and I will just have to let the funds go to what that group is doing, not necessarily what I might want done with it. So I am going to see if Jubilee will be the receiving organization, agreeing to hold the funds I raise, and keeping them until I disburse them. That way I can send money to groups who are doing good work and, as Judy suggested, can just start my own thing, spreading the word about the value of early detection. Why not?

I'll call Don and Howard tomorrow to see if I can do that.

I want this to be about spreading the word that early detection can be possible, in ovarian cancer and in many other things too. And that paying attention to signs of things being different can make a big difference in getting early treatment. But I don't want this ride to be about waiting until it's too late. I want to help catch things early. Making signs and cards to distribute. Giving presentations, that sort of thing.

That's what I think today.

Now it is time to start getting in touch with sponsors, people who will "virtually" go on this ride with me. I'm excited all over again. This, this very good thing, will help me and help others too. It will make me stronger and will help others to find their way to a stronger place too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Could be a big week

It is Monday night. Today was the day my friend was planning to speak with a potentially important fellow to see about hooking me up with a sponsor. I COULD do the ride just on my own, but it seems to continue to be important that I work with an organization and that they collect funds from my sponsors and that it all becomes more lasting, more meaningful than it would be just if I was to do a bike ride on my own.

A while ago, when I first did a leadership development course, (actually it was the second course in a series of three I would eventually take) my group did an exercise. The point of the exercise was to understand how to do exercises with groups. It was assumed that each of us would eventually go on to become a group leader so the exercise was not, in itself, supposed to mean anything. The exercise was simple. Each of us put one dollar into a pot. And then each of us was supposed to make a compelling case for being the one who got all the dollars. I REALLY wanted the dollars. I didn't care that it was just an exercise. I REALLY did want them. And what I wanted to do was to take all of the dollars, about 9, I think, and use one each time I filled up my car's tank with gas. I was about to drive across country, and I was nervous about it, about where I was going, about doing the trip alone. I felt that I could feel better if I had each person's dollar with me on every mile.

I ended up with the money and though that was not the point, it mattered a lot to me, and I DID think of each person and send that person a post card each time I put more gas in the car.

I want to have a bunch of people I am thinking about as I do this ride. I want it to mean something. I want to have a reason, something greater than just me, on this ride.

I hope their meeting went well. and I hope that means I can soon start writing letters and telling people about the ride in hopes that they will join me on this journey.

I have been confused with dates for the whole weekend. I just went to Chicago and made the plane reservations for the wrong day - an expensive mistake - and also told my hosts the wrong day for when I was going to be there. That was not such a bad thing, fortunately. Today, I think, is Monday, July 28. It is 2008. Still.

The Cicadas, the August kind, not the once every 17 years kind - are chirping. Today I got the parts to build a fountain which I will install and fill with plants for my bees tomorrow. The bees matter too. This ride, this journey, is about them too. Bees. Light. Health. Life. (and handblown glass.)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

July 25, 2008

Whee! Two posts on one week. I'm off to a grand start.

The chin worry has turned into a minor, yet very visible case of poison ivy. Alas. Yesterday's almost full-day photo shoot for WNC magazine was fun but I kept wondering if my poison ivy bumps were showing. Not to worry.

Shopped at the market for fresh things from about 6 farmers, all the while followed by a sweet photographer and his sweet assistant who carried a very large reflective disc. Sheesh! Not that the thing was supposed to be hidden, but wow - the big camera was one thing and that huge disc was something else all together. I kept waiting for someone to say, "THIS way, Laurey!" Of course no one did - just my silly imagination.

I got a call today, which I didn't even have time to answer, about the fund raising for my bike ride. Tomorrow I'll call and see what my friend thinks. I have let things go as I prepared for the big photo shoot day, but now it feels like time to get back to it. I'm gong to Chicago for a very fancy dinner on Saturday, back home on Sunday and then back on the bike on Monday.

Things I need to do:
Make a training schedule
Write the fundraising letter
Come up with a list of possible sponsors
Find a house sitter
Get a plane ticket
Get new bike tires
Get rid of my poison ivy

By the end of August I want to have a sponsoring organization
By September I want to have the letters sent out.
And a training plan laid out.

That's good for now.

What a thrill!!!

Hmm, maybe I should state a few goals right here:

The top 5 off the top of my head are:
1. I want to raise at least 50,000.00 for Ovarian Cancer early detection
2. I would like to raise 5,000.00 in sponsored funds to help me with my trip expenses.
3. I want to raise awareness of the importance of paying attention to one's body, knowing that this sort of attention can make a huge difference in living a healthy life. Early detection means early treatment, which means survival.
4. I want to figure out how to spread this word, and how to focus on health, not on illness.
5. I want to have a big team of people who support me on this ride, financially and psychically.

Tra la! Today life is good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here we GO!!!

July 22, 2008

Though I did not ride today, nor do I PLAN to ride today, it seems like a good day to start writing about my bike trip.

On March 1 (give or take a few days) 2009, I will start riding my bike across the United States. Roughly speaking, that is 8 1/2 months from now. I decided to take on this project in May after completing a nice, fairly easy one week ride on the Outer Banks of my current home state. It would have been REALLY easy except that the weather was not so good and we found ourselves riding with big wind and, one day, high water. Still, the week was healing for me, a first trip out on my own after the unexpected end to my life partnership. So it goes. I did the trip and now am going to do another one.

But today is today and this is my new blog and tra la for that, I say.

And, more about today. Today could be like any other day, but it could also be a significant departure. I mean, here it is, my first blog post.

Tomorrow, not just any other Wednesday, is the day that WNC Magazine comes here to shoot a story about me cooking with all local foods. Instead of vacuuming or straightening, here I sit, typing, dreaming of a date 8 1/2 months from now (or is that 7 1/2?) I should be cooking, organizing, planning the meal, making lists of things I must not forget. Instead I continue to write and worry about the outbreak of - poison ivy? - on my chin and the chigger bite on my belly. The chigger bite will not be seen but the chin thing is cause for concern. No makeup! Yipes!!

Okay - the bike ride. 3100 miles. 50 days of riding on a 58 day trip. Yee ha! Me and 30 strangers. I wonder about them, wonder who I might meet.

I want to make this a fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer. This is my 20th year of cancer-free life. Seems worth celebrating, don't you think? And it is my Golden Year this year, the year my age and birth year match. 54. Seems worth celebrating, yes?

But now, yes, I should and will go tend to my chin and to my lists and will accept this as my first entry. First of many. An auspicious day.

One aside, I've been wishing for someone to "make it all better' for a long time. i keep wishing for that. Things keep happening to me, as they do to others, no doubt. And I search for something outside of myself for solace. It doesn't come. So I've been practicing "Let's jsut see what happens..." as a mantra. Today I altered it somewhat to, "Let's imagine that that solace is IN you right now and you can reach it and use it." It made me calm down some. A good first day for that too.

Ciao for now.
Asheville, North Carolina
35°34'48”N, 82°33'21”W .