My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Trek Across Maine 2011

After a great week on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I made another long 11 hour car ride to Maine for the 27th annual Trek Across Maine for the American Lung Association.  This marks the 8th year that my family team (Leo's Legacy) has ridden in honor of my father in law.  Unfortunately, Karen and Leah had to stay home as Leah has been fighting some intestinal problems.  We still are unsure what she has and hope to find out more tomorrow when she goes to Johns Hopkins for a colonoscopy.  :-(  The stress seemed to melt away as I entered Maine.

Picture With Me Resulted in Photo of the Car .. :-(
I arrived in Winthrop around 8 PM on Wednesday (6/15) and said a quick hello to Grammy, then headed to Carol's for dinner and the 7th game of Stanley Cup finals.  My Bruins took it the Cannucks and brought home the cup for the first time in 40 years! Our Trek team this year was pretty small ... myself, Carol, Bob, Big Dave, and Ed & Cheryl.  Grammy was a volunteer again.  I think it is her 17th year.

On Thursday (6/16) we made the short drive to Sunday River in Bethel and arrived by 3 PM.  The hotel was already alive with Trekkers and volunteers.  This year saw over 2,400 riders and 700 volunteers.  It was great to see the ALA staff that had helped me so much last year.  I surpassed the $4,000 fund raising amount and was welcomed into the Winner's Circle and all the hoopla that goes with it.

Winner's Circle Jersey ...

Big Dave Joined the Circle Again This Year
A tasty dinner at the hotel was followed by registration for the 2012 Trek.  We opted for Colby Loop route next year.  It allows us to stay at Colby two nights.  A quiet evening was spent chatting in the hotel.  Dave's daughter volunteered this year and found shelter in the closet for the evening ...too funny.

Leo's Legacy (Minus Me) Do Some Carb Loading

A Closet Bungalow

Ed Crashes Early ... Only Crash This Trip!
We were out by 6 AM and at the top of mountain for the starting bell at 7.  Sunday River holds a special place in out heart ... it was where Leo passed away after returning from one last run with the Maine Handicapped Skiing Program.  Leo would be proud of my transformation and the team's efforts in support of ALA.  Since his passing, I have ridden almost 50,000 miles and raised almost $40,000 for ALA.  Collectively, our team has raised over $80,000.  It feels great to help carry on Leo's legacy this way.  Speaking of which, thanks to a few additional sponsors ... Helayne Sweet, Larry Ford, and Shibu Jose.

Great Weather at the Start

Leo's Legacy Rides Again





Great weather ... a bumpy descent ... a quick goodbye.  Dave and I rode ahead and made great time through Rumford and arrived at the first rest stop.  I passed Ellen (aka, #16) and rode with her for awhile.  Ellen rode every inch across the USA with me last summer and also joined the fun along the Natchez Trace.  We hung out at the rest stop until the rest of the team arrived for a quick hello and to coordinate logistics for the day.

Seems Paul Bunyan Spent Time in a Lot of Places

Carol, Ed, and Cheryl Make the First 25 Miles in Record Time
From there it was time for some rolling hills and a few climbs.  Dave and I picked up Rod (also from my cross country trip and Natchez ride) and had a great morning into Farmington.  Dave had a flat just before we made the turn on route 2.  Grammy was ringing her giant cow bell (you can't get enough cow bell) as we arrived in Farmington for the traditional stuffed potato.  The rest of the crew arrived a little later and we all enjoyed a nice rest on the campus green before heading to the dorms to clean up.  Then it was off to the pub for some beer and nachos.  More carb loading at dinner, some emailing (from the local McDonald's), the Sox on TV ... then it was time for bed.

Dave's One Handed Climbing Technique

You Can't Get Enough Cow Bell!

Ed, Cheryl, and Carol at Farmington Finish

Rod ... Great Rides Together the Last Few Weeks

Carol and Bob End an Awesome Day

The Traditional Celebratory Fist Pump

Ed Seems a Bit Tired?

Where's My Gin and Tonic?
Day 2 brought overcast skies, but the rain never fell and the roads were dry.  Almost perfect riding conditions.  We all headed out together, but came to an abrupt stop less than two miles from Farmington.  Cheryl got a flat and actually went down trying to stop her bike.  Luckily, just a small bruise was all she got.  The tire ... well  ... that was another story.  After initially replacing the tube with one that had a hole :-) ... Bob provided a new one.  The SAG van stopped by with a floor pump ... good ... no.  Turns out, the pressure gauge was off and one too many pumps resulted in a loud boom and a ripped tire.  They had to medivac Cheryl's bike to the next rest stop with a mechanic. 

The whole ordeal got us going pretty late and enabled us to see more people at the rest stops than I think I have ever witnessed.  Dave and I waited at the next rest stop to make sure Cheryl and her bike where back in business and then headed out for some quick pacing into Waterville.  Construction at Colby had us enter campus using a new route, or should I say wall.  A short but steep (18%) climb ended the day.

Ed Pumps It Up ... But Alas, The Replacement Had a Whole

SAG Van to the Rescue?

Time for Another Team Shot at The Rest Stop
Pizza and Ice Cream awaited us at Colby.  Quick showers and it was off to join the other 2,400 trekkers at the beer tent to listen to some great music of the 60's and 70's. Dinner was interrupted by a nasty but quick thunderstorm (luckily, we were under tents).  Ryan (fresh from his tour in Iraq) joined us after collecting all the directional signs along the route.  We chatted some before lights out ... safe and sound.

Day 3 saw more great weather and the usual ups and downs to the coast.  The day is shorter by 10 miles than the others, but includes the most climbing.  The traditional team photo opp got us started.

Two Down ... One to Go
Dave skipped the first SAG stop as expected ... he was rocking ... After a short stop at the 1st SAG, I caught him just before the 2nd SAG and marked the pass with a solid butt slap.  I was able to spend some time riding with Ellen and picked up Rod for the ride into Belfast.  The wind picked up some, but it was never really an issue.  A great finishing celebration and lunch ended another fantastic weekend of riding.  Father's Day calls from Mike, Leah, and Karen topped off a great day.

Great Three Days With Big Dave

Rod Rocks ... Thanks for Two Wonderful Weeks

Another Inspiration ... Ellen ... You Go Girl

Another One Bites the Dust

Ice Cream on the way home and a great BBQ courtesy of Papa Mark provided an even better ending to a great day.  I headed to Massachusetts on Monday (6/20) after a leisurely stop in Freeport to spend some time with my brother.  It was good to spend some one on one time with him.  He is fighting stomach cancer and has recently started a new round of chemo.  Hang in there little bro.  I was out early for the car ride home to Maryland on Tuesday and back to work in the evening.  A great couple of weeks.  Thanks again to all my donors, supporters, and friends.  Thanks to my family for letting me take the time to do what I love.  I hope to squeeze in a few local rides before the end of the month, so watch the blog for more fun.

Good Night Moon ... Good Night Trekkers ... Good Night Maine ... Good Night Leo (thanks for the inspiration)... Good Night Dad (recover quick) ... Good Night Mom (be strong) ... Good Night Joel (hang in there) ... Good Night Amy (rest your head) ... Good Night Leah (you can do it) ... Good Night Mike (Seattle awaits) ... Good Night Wife (ILY TC) ... Thanks ALL.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Natchez Trace - Epilogue and Thanks

An 11 hour drive home from Nashville gave me time to ponder the wonderful week on the Natchez Trace.  The road was great ... very little traffic, a wonderful surface, and lots to see.  The food was great ... no buffets, a delicious steak, and two glorious meals at Elandale's in Nashville.  The miles were invigorating ... 425 miles with just enough hills to make it interesting.  But ... the best part was the people!  Spending time with my friends and fellow ABB North 2010 riders will fill my memory book.

Thanks to Jeff and Joe for putting it all together.  A special thanks to their wives, Aila and Karen for the awesome SAG support. A glass held high to my fellow riders ... Alex, Helen, Steve, Ellen, Rod, Leo, Howard and Shirley.  I hope we can make it a yearly tradition.  A huge thanks to my wife and daughter for letting me disappear again to do what I love.

My American Lung Association donors came out in force again this year.  Their generosity will help make a big difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease.  A heart felt thanks to them all:

Lancesoft, Inc. Vadlamani, Srinivas
Demsional Concepts, LLC Zdunski, Jack
Northrop Grumman Shaw, Howie
Letke, Loretta Calabrese, Gary
Ausnit-Hood, Christine Campbell, Steve
Kohlmeyer, Kathleen Chudnovsky, Gary
Moore, Peter Ciralsky, Linda
Rossi, Anne Crawford, Bruce
Vembar, Gopal David, Susan
West, Cheryl Ferguson, Keith
Sullaway, Bob & Gail Franklin, Alison
Almamun, Shamim Gotthardt, Ernest & Chao
Biersack, Kevin Herrington, Marilyn
Clark, Chris & Joan Hersey, Ann & Thomas
Douglas, Jeffrey Kitchelt, Maureen
Eberhard, Barabara Locke, Karen
Eckman, Mike Lucas, Jason
Engelman, Ray Manambedu, Lakshmi
Fishman, Carol Menjivar, Allison
Hewitt, Mike & Michelle Radams, Yuri
Hwang, Amy & Hong Sannie-Ariyibi, Alberta
Johnson, Judy Waters, Andrew
Jones, Rosalie Wehr, Craig
Kuriseti, Ravichandra  Holman, Gary & Marcia
Shetty, Girish Corey, Russ

Some of the images from last week ... thanks to my fellow riders for taking these ...

Good night moon ... good night memories ... good night friends ... good night donors ... onto Maine for the Trek Across Maine.