Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Friend Rob


I just got home from a celebration for my friend Rob Mosca. Rob's lovely wife and talented son hosted the party in his honor today, just two weeks after his passing of glioblastoma - brain cancer. I am not the writer that any of the Moscas are, so this prosiest of prose is meant to express my gratitude to Rob and his wife Chris for "adopting" me into their family when I moved back to GA nearly three years ago. I cherished our talks of politics, history, and Glee, while talk of Steampunk and Dragon*Con went right over my head. They truly were a second family while I lived at Post.

Now, with Chris' enthusiastic blessing, I have the bittersweet honor of dedicating this season of Team in Training to Rob. A typical example of Rob's grace: he donated his cells so that they may be used to advance research of glioblastomas, that other people and families don't have to suffer they way he and his did. Rob was a kind, thoughtful man, and I am so grateful that our lives intersected, sorry only that it was for so short a time.

Thank you, Rob. Thank you, Chris, for letting me do this for him. I love you both.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fundraising - Update

Ash Wednesday is upon us, and I am happy to report that, as of 11:59p last night, I had reached my fundraising goal of $2,750, which should be reflected on the website in the next couple of weeks or so. This was in no small way accomplished with the help of good and generous friends, my Aunt's loving devotion of time and money toward the quilt making (AND to offset the cost of cookie supplies AND the gifting of a cookie scoop), and an abject concern for my hairy scalp. It remains, to this day, hairy as ever -- my mother is thrilled.

I must say, I am surprised at the direction of the voting; I really thought that seeing me with a shaved head FOR CANCER would have been a real draw. Not so.

In any event, I am so grateful to everyone who has donated, via the Superbowl Pool, the cookie sales, for the quilt raffle, or just because they are generous and caring people who like to help out when and how they can.

So... thank you!  I have reached my stated goal, but will continue fundraising this season. Final funds are due Friday, 11 May; for those of you not in the know, that is my birthday AND a week after I'll officially have my third MS, and I'll have you know that I plan to milk it for all it's worth. There is still so much work to be done in the fight against cancer: my setting a low goal doesn't change that. There are cookies to be sold and a quilt to win! Let the giving continue!

Training Ride - Saturday, 18 February

My cyclocomputer hasn't kept accurate statistics the last few weeks, costing me a few miles (and mph) in the process. I was so disgruntled about this, I refused to post an update.

But, reflecting on how truly awesome the ride was, I realized that omitting a good ride and its stats was poor retaliation against a lousy, feelingless piece of technology.

Maximum speed: are you kidding? I think it said ~25, which is about right
Average speed: 10.5 mph (per my calculations)
Distance: ~20 mi
Time: 1.53.00

This week I rode with K and B. Both have ridden in the past, but were either new to the specific bike (B) or hadn't ridden much recently (K). That said, they both had good handling skills and just need time on the road. It was a really good ride, we talked and I learned a lot about them. That's one of my favorite things about being on the team: the cordiality, the friendliness. It was not a fast ride, but it was a good one. We did the Brookhaven loop, but in the reverse direction; it was easier this way, but it was a neat change in perspective. I am looking forward to Thursday night rides; it's nice having a good expectation of friendship in the middle of the week. The trainer classes are good, but rides are better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Cookies. Everywhere.

Yesterday I made a batch of 25 cookies plus a pan of blondies (they were delicious) as part of my fundraising. They netted me a nice chunk of change for LLS. I also made a pie, but that was for G because he's so Wonderful.

Tonight I made ~40 oatmeal raisin cookies, ~55 oatmeal-chocolate-pecan cookies, and 30 compost cookies. I am a tired little girl.

It's so worth it, though. This bake sale is working better than I could have hoped. If only an un-named grocery store would respond to my letter requesting the supplies be donated -- I had to dip into what I've raised from the sale and spend $40 on the basics. Granted, that meant something like 10 # flour, which will last a nice long time.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 11 February 2012

Today was cold. As a Yankee with all my bona fides, I can say this with some authority. The temperature upon arriving at the GTR was a balmy 38 degrees (no problem!), but with 20mph wind, gusting up to 39 mph. It warmed up to 40, and the temperature has since dropped to 31, though the sun is shining. There was some sleet (it was not, as some less experienced will tell you, snow). And we were in an exposed parking lot for the first hour or so of the GTR. During that hour, I rode about 3 miles, with a riding time (according to my computer) of about 30 minutes. These are approximations, as I did not record and reset before going on the ride after.

What did we do today? We had three clinic stations: a clipping/water bottle skills clinic, a obstacle and awareness clinic, and a descending/ascending skills clinic. There were some struggles in each of them, but I think people were glad to have had the chance to learn the fundamentals (in an academic sense - only experience will be the best teacher) and know what to do in different situations.

Then, mercifully, we got out of the roads and rode. We did about 10 lumpy miles, which correspond a little with the Tuesday Buckhead rides I've been on with J and G. They were tough, and the wind did NOT help. It was good, though, because we could use the newly taught skills on the many climbs and (seemingly fewer) descents.

Maximum speed: 31.1 mph
Average speed: 9.6 mph
Distance: 13.46 mi
Time: 1.23.12

This was a proper February day, and so it was a lousy day to be standing around in bike clothes in a parking lot.

I've cancelled the KSR for tomorrow, because it is going to be around 24F for wheels down, warming up to a nice 33F by the end of the ride. And it will be windy.  No thank you. I'm going to honor my friend by NOT making myself sick.


In other news, ARA has finished the quilt top, though refuses to show any pictures and denies having done so. Also, I have raised nearly $200 over the last week selling cookies and other baked goods. I am well on my way.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 5 February

Today was the first day of the regroup-not-no-drop version of the KSR, and I think it worked pretty well. The "A" group (G, S, and me... sort of) kept up a pretty lively (for me) pace out to and, to an extent, around the mountain. As G said, while I passed him on the way out "you're really going after it today". And you know what? He was right. I had to ride hard because of the light GTR on Saturday, to prove that I COULD do the KSR faster than I had been, and to assuage the guilt I felt for leaving the girls in the "B" group back in Kwood because one of them was going to be late (they left 15-20 minutes after we did). And it felt GREAT. I was sore and tired, and I could tell I was going to feel it the rest of the day, but it was a really, really good ride.

We did a short loop around the mountain, which I totally botched coming up the Plantation hill, killing my quads too early and making me limp in to the finish. And, the ride back wasn't quite as spirited, but I took the roads and enjoyed it.  It was a great ride.

Maximum speed: 32.8 mph
Average speed: 14.3 mph
Distance: 33.15 mi
Time: 2.18.01

My computer is starting to irk me: it somehow missed 2 miles yesterday, so those stats are only approximate. Boo. If I miss 3000 miles this year by 2, I'm going to be cheesed.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 4 February 2012

What a day this has been. We had our first GTR this morning, an approximately 16-miler on the relatively flat roads in Roswell, by the river. Almost the whole team showed up, and leaving the parking lot at the end of a ~50-person line I got an incredible, inspiring look at the team as it was just beginning. I am so excited to see how everyone progresses over the next several months.

Maximum speed: (computer said 70.0, I'd believe 35.0)
Average speed: 12.3 mph
Distance: 15.83 mi
Time: 1.16.33

Today and most Saturdays through June aren't about riding fast; they are about riding with the TEAM and being there for the participants. After the great-albeit short-ride today, I think it's going to be an amazing season.

Whew! As if an inspiring start to the morning weren't enough, at the end of the ride I offered up the 6+ dozen cookies I made last night. I had made them because they were promised to any and all people who read the entirety of a lengthy e-mail I sent about mid-week training. Only four people responded via e-mail, but who knew how many people might have read it and were waiting until ride day?

Turns out, no one. The four people got their cookie and, armed with about 70 others, I put them up for sale as a fundraiser. I made 50 bucks out of the deal! I think this is going to be a regular thing, and post-ride nutrition/calories is very important. Next week: cream-cheese brownies, by request.

But WAIT. There's MORE. I did a box pool for tomorrow's Superbowl, where half of the money raised would go towards my fundraising (for a total of $500). I only decided to do the pool this past Sunday, and was incredibly nervous about selling out the boxes. As of this morning, after the GTR, I had 42 or so boxes remaining. So, what did I do? I started cold calling. This lasted for, oh.... many hours. But, it worked. I did it! The pool is ON for tomorrow, rather than having to be rolled over until March Madness. I raised $550 this week! This was very tiring (moreso than the training), as I have been anxious about fundraising this year (as I wrote about in my previous post). I'm feeling better about it, though, because now I'm more than a third of the way there.

I can do this. YOU can do this. Let's all do this together!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Getting ready for the season to officially start

We start riding on Saturday, and I must say I'm excited. We have a great TEAM, and my mentees are awesome. As you are aware, I've been riding on Sundays already for the last month or so, and have gotten a Saturday and a commute in since then, too. I'm ready for this thing to start for real, and to get to know my teammates better and to see the newer participants grow as cyclists in their ability and confidence.

But, I'm nervous. Not about the ride or training, but about fundraising. For the first time since the Wilson season in 2010, I am anxious about fundraising. I've had some ideas, but in part to to my lack of persistence, they aren't panning out. I also really hate asking the same people for money each year. And, I haven't figured out how people who raise SO much more than their minimum do it. Are they getting corporate sponsorship? Do they have rich individual sponsors? What am I doing wrong?

I'm in a bit of a low spot right now in general, and it's manifesting itself in this way. I have to remember that I've already raised nearly $500 and that the season HASN'T EVEN STARTED. And that I shouldn't take things personally.

All that said, there are still spots available in the Superbowl pool, and no knowledge of football is necessary. You don't even need to watch the game!

AND, I'm still counting votes for the Mardi Gras Challenge, so if you do donate (or have donated and forgot to), send me a message or leave a comment saying how you want it to go. As it stands, i'm going to be shaving my head come Lent because only TWO people have voted, and they want me NOT to cut my hair! Cruel irony!