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.