Monday, July 13, 2015

Poor Rudi

So you may recall from my previous post that I promised pictures of my puppies in exchange for a donation to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Not to fear, the pictures will be on their way.  That is, after Rudi, our little Spinone Italiano puppy grows his fur back.

The poor little guy had to have surgery on his eye,  He's okay.  In preparation for the surgery, they had to shave half of his face.  No big deal; not great but not ghastly.  Well after he had his surgery, he had to wear the cone of shame for about two weeks.  When we took him to have his stitches removed, the fur on the top of his head was all matted from the cone of shame rubbing on it.  So after the indignity of having half his face shaved, the top of his head is shaved - pretty much like Friar Tuck.  Now he looks like Two-Face from Batman lore.  That is, if Two-Face was a friar...and a dog.  Anyway, we'll send the thank you pictures once he has grown some of his hair back.  For a seven month old puppy, he's had to endure a lot.

Speaking of thank you pictures, I want to thank the folks that donated over the last few weeks. I really appreciate your support.  The ride is coming up and I appreciate any support you can provide to help support the fight against blood cancers.  Want to know how?  Just click the link here

Please Support the Fight Against Blood Cancers 

Speaking of enduring, we're about a month away from the big 200 mile ride and as if on schedule, something has gone wrong.  Those who have followed my blog know about back surgeries, crashes, and other problems.  Now the problem is a pinched nerve in the neck.  For something as benign sounding as a "pinched nerve" it sure is painful.  Painful as in, unable to sit on a bike and lean forward.  Of course this means that I am unable to train either.  So now, things are getting interesting.  I have no idea as to when this will get better, I only know that physical therapy, exercises and drugs have not solved it.  We'll see what the follow-up visit to the orthopedic surgeon reveals.  For me it's like waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead.   Nonetheless, the fight against blood cancers continue.  So I would surely appreciate your support.  If I'm going to gut this one out, I would like it to be for as good a cause as I can make it.  

Since I didn't want you to go without a puppy picture this week. Here's Rudi after his surgery.  Of course, it's cropped for his dignity.

Once again, I appreciate your support.  It's simple. It's fun and you get a picture of a puppy.
Please Support the Fight Against Blood Cancers

Thank you

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Let's Get Sirius

Before We Get Started

The puppies and I watched Game #6 of the NBA Finals and they were just as excited as the rest of the house to see the Golden State Warriors break a 40 year drought since their last NBA title.  I was cheering, the puppies were barking.  I'm telling you, it was pandemonium.  I can't imagine how excited they'll be if the Cal Bears ever win the Pac-12 Championship.  It will happen...someday.

Speaking of Puppies

You know what else gets them excited, well, besides food, is when they hear that someone has made a donation to help fight blood cancers.  Since the last email, I received at least seven requests for puppy pictures. That is, if you make a donation, I will send you a personalized picture with one of the puppies. For those that have donated, the pictures will be on their way soon.  Poor little Rudi, the smaller puppy, has to have eye surgery and we were hoping to get his picture after the surgery.  You don't really want a picture of a puppy with a weepy eye?  I didn't think so.

Here's poor little Rudi.  He goes in for surgery next Monday.  He was all tired out from celebrating the Warriors victory that Tracy had to carry him to bed.

Little Big Dog - Rudi
As I said in the last message, our puppies are spokesdogs for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and they're helping in the fundraising efforts.  The hope is that as they get older they can be therapy dogs and they'll be even more supportive of the cause.  If you want your own puppy picture, all you have to do is make a donation to the cause. You can do that here.

So How's the Training Going

If you may recall, I am tying my fundraising to my training goals.  We're training to do a 200 mile ride from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada.  We've really stepped up our training.  A week ago Saturday we completed a 100 mile training ride.  This is quite a painful distance as it was both hot and windy.  Now we will be doing training rides on Saturday and Sunday.  So the distances are increasing and we're going two
Rudi says "Please donate"
days in a row each weekend.  On top of that, it's starting to get quite warm during the day.  While you are relaxing in your backyard sipping Pina Coladas think of our team suffering in the heat while raising money and awareness to fight blood cancers.  Wish us luck!

If you want to get in on the puppy picture action before the puppies become famous, just go to this link and make a donation to support the cause

Thank you again for reading.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Oh Canada! Part Deux!

I can't believe it's been nearly 4 months since my first update.  Normally I'm more on top of this.  To catch you up, I am raising money to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma - again.  I am taking on a new cycling challenge - again.  And we are planning to ride ~200 miles from Seattle to Vancouver Canada as a way to raise awareness for the LLS program.
Oh Canada!

First let me apologize for making disparaging remarks about Canada. I know that referring to Canada as America Junior or America's Hat was dismissive of the friendly folks in Canada of whom I know a few.  Henceforth, I have nothing but love for Canada and Canadians.  In fact, I even bought this cycling jersey to wear and show my support for the great white north.

Alright, but what have you been up to?  Well we've been training a bunch.  We've ridden hundreds of miles and climbed thousands of feet.  The Team in Training teammates have been hard at work raising awareness and funds to fight these diseases.  And while I have been coaching right there beside them, it's high time I did my part to help the good fight.  So I decided to call in some accomplices to help me with my efforts.   Well let me introduce - Jasper and Rudi.

Jasper and Rudi are the latest additions to our household.  Shortly after my first message, we went to Paso Robles and we picked up two 8 week old Spinone Italiano puppies  Jasper and Rudi are the newest and liveliest members of our family.  As all puppies are rambunctious, ours are no exception.

As we have been training them to do all of the good dog behaviors like sit, stay, fetch, and lie down, we've had a chance to learn what really makes them happy. And of course, what really makes them happy is learning that someone has made a donation to fight cancer.

How can you not fall in love with puppy like that?

On behalf of Jasper and Rudi, I would like to appeal to your love of dogs and your disdain for cancer and ask if you would be so kind as to donate to this fine cause.   Of course Jasper and Rudi would be very thankful when you make a donation.  Here's the deal, when you make a donation, I will email you a picture of Jasper or Rudi reacting while I tell them about your donation.  How about that!  You will see the very moment as they react with glee.

Of course, you'll want to know how to donate.  It's simple.  Go to pick an amount, make a donation and you're good to go.  On behalf of myself and the Team in Training Pups, please consider supporting this cause.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Going to America's Hat

Northward Bound

A couple years ago a friend of mine said they could tell it was a new year because they started getting emails from me asking them to sponsor me in my fundraising.  Well, last year, as you may recall, I did not hit people up for fundraising.  Instead, I asked them to join me on riding a century and that I would sponsor them.  Pretty magnanimous of me, I must say.  A few hardy souls took me up on the offer and they will tell you I made good on my promise.

Of course, that was last year.  This year is another story.

You see, there are more challenges out there to be met.  And I've found a new one.  Now before you get ahead of yourself, yes, I will be raising money to fight Leukemia and Lymphoma and I challenge you to help me.  I'll come back to that, but first let me tell you what I'm planning to do.

Instead of doing a run-of-the-mill 100-mile ride, I have signed up to do a 198 mile ride from Seattle to Vancouver Canada.  Yep, we're taking our show on the road and we're going to cross into the Great White North.  On August 15th we will start our two-day trek to the land of maple syrup and cheap prescription drugs.   I say "we" because I will be doing this ride with the fine folks from Team in Training.

Now this is an ease-you-into the journey letter.  I have plenty more to say and you can bet I will get around to saying it. I'll give you the details of the ride and, oh yes, some cool incentives, but I'll be persistent in one message - please help end blood cancers.  It can only come through research, hard work and strong wills.  More of that will come in future posts

So it starts today, please do us all a favor and consider donating to my cause.    You can donate here

Thank you for your support and please follow along for the next few months.


Here's the donation site - for links that don't work

Friday, May 02, 2014

Everybody Loves Dogs

Welcome back; I know it's been a few months.  Last time I wrote, I told you about my plans to recruit people to train with me to do a century ride and to raise money to fight blood cancers. I was happy to say, four people took me up on the offer.  For their efforts, I ponied up and supported their fundraising for a minimum of $50 each.

Of course, I'm not writing to be self-congratulatory.  Nope, I'm writing about this dog.  This is Koda.  He is a fine looking animal.  He belongs to my friend Jennifer, who happens to be one of the four people that agreed to join me with Team in Training.  Well, Jennifer has been working very hard at training and fundraising in addition to being a devoted mom to Koda.

I have it on good authority that what really makes Koda happy, besides posing for photos, is when his mom gets another donation to support her fundraising efforts.  Look how cute he is with those sunglasses on.  I'm sure you would like to help make Koda happy.  I wager that if you made a donation to Jennifer's cause, that she would even send a picture of Koda to you. Of course, Jennifer has no knowledge that I'm doing this, she might just send Koda after me.

In years past, I've made requests for you to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through my fundraising.  As I said at the outset of the year, I'm focusing my attention on supporting others' efforts.  So I'm not asking... but if you were looking for a way to make an old dog happy and, by the way, help fight blood cancers then would you please consider donating to my friend's fundraising efforts.  When you make your donation, feel free to put in the comments that you're doing it to make Koda happy.  And if you can't donate, I understand.  I promise not to suggest that you don't like dogs.  Because we all know, everybody loves dogs and who wouldn't want to make one happy.

Thank you and please visit Jennifer's donation page at

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Now Let's Have Some Fun in 2014

Happy New Year everyone and Merry Christmas too.

Let me start by saying, I'm not asking for money.  That's a switch.  I know my friend Dave said that he could always tell when spring was near because he would get an email from me asking for support for fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Last year, as you may recall, I did the Death Ride, and in the process, you fine folks donated over $4000 to support the cause.  Once again, thank you very much.

I actually did two Team in Training events in 2014.  The Solvang Century in March and the aforementioned Death Ride.  And I must say, I had a lot of fun.  So when my dear friend K.Sue Duncan called me a month ago to coach for her cycling team, I simply couldn't say no.

So here's the thing, I will be coaching as part of the Team in Training America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride team (AMBBR).  This is a century ride that circumnavigates Lake Tahoe.  That's right, on Sunday June 1st, a whole bunch of riders will be circling the lake.  Five years ago, Team Shake n' Bake did this ride and it changed their lives ... for the better.  Now, I can't guarantee a life altering experience such as Team Shake 'n Bake's, but I can guarantee you'll have fun.

So instead of asking for money, I'm inviting you to join me on this classic, beautiful ride.  You'll be in great shape, you'll be virtuous and you'll be in great company.  So here's my invitation - sign up for TnT AMBBR and we'll have the ride of a lifetime.  You can join by going to this link here

But wait, "don't we have to raise money", you ask.  Yes, there is a fundraising commitment.  But here's the deal.  If you sign up, I will personally donate the first $50 for your fundraising.  THAT'S RIGHT.  I'm not asking for money, I'm giving money away!!  Holy guacamole.  Call it the Christmas Spirit, call it the weakness from dieting, call it ether induced hallucinations, but the offer is legit.  If you sign up and tell them I referred you, I will plunk 50 "semolians" towards your cause.  I will also help promote you too.  Because, that's just the kind of guy I am.  

So go to the link I've provided or contact me with questions.  Sign up in the next couple weeks.  Training begins in February.  You'll have fun and you get to help fight some crappy diseases.

Please join.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Bigger News Than the Return of Breaking Bad

First let me say thank you to all the donors that contributed $4,000 towards the fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma.  Your support was phenomenal and I greatly appreciate it.  Now to work my way through the thank you notes...

So the Death Ride happened on July 13th, just about a month ago.  But before I tell you about the Death Ride, let me tell you about another ride.  On September 17th 2011, I was leading my team of riders over hills on the Peninsula.  We had just finished climbing Old La Honda Road and had worked our way over to the descent down Kings Mountain Road.   We started down Kings Mountain, in one moment I could see our path down the tree lined road and in the next moment, I was in an ambulance and a paramedic was asking me if I knew where I was.  From the accounts of the riders I was with, I would guess that 20 minutes of my life were spent as someone else.  I was told that I crashed and that I was talking after I regained consciousness, but for the life of me, I cannot remember any of that.  While crashing is traumatic in and of itself, the part that really unnerved me was as I was riding in the back of the ambulance - all I could think was that I needed to call Sherri.  As I said it to myself, I couldn't understand why that thought made me uneasy.  As I lay in the rolling ambulance, I searched my mind trying to recall her phone number. After several minutes of brain racking, like being dropped in a cold lake where the water takes your breath away and you can't think of anything but air, it all came back.  The paramedic gave me a startled look as I gasped with the realization that I couldn't call my wife because she had passed away 17 months earlier.  The paramedic asked what was happening and I feebly waved him off and said I would be okay.  

But I wasn't okay.

Every hill I have ridden since that day has been an exercise of will.  It's not the going up, rather the going down.  As I would start a descent, I would ride my brakes too much, I would grip the handle bars too tightly; essentially the counter-intuitive things you should not do if you're trying to avoid a crash.  Nonetheless, every hill was approached with weighty apprehension.  After a year of this, I decided to do something about it.  I was so afraid of descending hills that it was taking the fun out of riding my bike.  I was so afraid of ending up on the road and losing myself, and either repeating or outright losing memories.  So I did the irrational thing, I faced down my fears.  I reasoned, if you're afraid of descents, then do more descents.  So I signed up to do that Death Ride, not only to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma, a worthy cause if there ever was one, but to regain my confidence and joy for riding.

I knew that training for the Death Ride would also be traumatic.  In the previous three Death Rides I've done, Sherri was heavily involved in SAG support.  She would come on practically every ride and would be there along the route to provide water and food to support the team.  She was so good at it, that she created a cook book that SAG people still use.  During this year's training I would roll up to a rest stop to see snacks that our supporters provided that were made from Sherri's recipes.  On every ride, I would relive her memory because the rest stops would be at the same locations from rides that we did years earlier. Every training ride was a melancholy reminder.

So the Death Ride comes and, as always, it's painful and torturous.  Every climb is tough and every descent is nerve-wracking.  As I was climbing the west side of Ebbett's Pass, the fourth of five mountain passes, a section where the sun sucks the energy from me and usually portends the onset of leg cramps, something different happened.  As I was grinding it out, a cool tailwind comes from the valley and I felt relieved and energized.  Like being pulled from the lake, I felt buoyed.  In that moment, I could hear Sherri's voice in my mind saying it was going to be okay; you can do this.  

And you know what...I did.  

I rode better on the last 40 miles of the ride than I did on the previous 80.  I was able to relax and, like a skier slaloming through fresh powder, I flowed easily down the east side of Ebbett's and kept a blistering pace through Markleeville, past the cheering crowds of spectators who sat on the courthouse lawn eating ice cream as we suffered by.  I climbed the last mountain pass and I kept a steady and strong rhythm all the way to the top.  As I descended, I could feel myself relaxing and enjoying the wind rushing past while savoring the fresh mountain air.   

I finished the Death Ride an hour faster than previous times.  As I rode to the finish I could see the TnT folks and I could see my girlfriend Tracy.  While I have to say I couldn't have done the Death Ride without their support during the season and on the ride day, I know that on this day, there was something more.

Thanks to all my supporters for another great season.  If you would still like to donate, please visit my fundraising site.  You're doing a good thing.