The Lance Armstrong Foundation hosts this excellent cycling event in Austin every spring called the Ride for the Roses, and this year, starting in January, I burned most of my free time training and dialing-in to the intricacies of road cycling, with an eye towards completing the 70-mile option on ride day, Sunday, April 14, 2002.
And, due to the completely unselfish contributions of so many family and friends, the ride turned out to be an unqualified success. The whole ride weekend was a blast. There was even a Lance sighting. For my ever-so-slightly enhanced version of events on ride day, click here.
Of course behind the fun of the ride lies the cause of the LAF: To enhance the quality of life for those living with, through, and beyond cancer. I volunteered to raise at least $1000 as a member of the Peloton Project: Lance's squadron of we-mean-business fundraisers.
The bulk of the canvassing effort went into this web site backed by e-mail solicitation to get the word around. The slant of the campaign originally focused on a high volume of small sponsorships. I figured if it snowed $10 checks over at the LAF, we'd hit the $1K mark in a jiffy.
|Awesome Sponsor Roster|
|Sarah and Bill Allred|
|Dana K. Barbieri|
|Monty and Jack Caldwell|
|Eric and Maryanne Deaton|
|Larry and Anna Kim Fletcher|
|Walt and Jeanel Haber|
|Anna and Tim Hamel|
|Gregg and Leslie Lunsford|
|Emily and Russ Middleton|
|Ray and Lisa Mijares|
|Adam and Jen Missner|
|Bryant and Carl Moore|
|Flay and Al Muellenbach|
|David and Marji Nozick|
|Jane Rooks Perrie|
|Georgia and Mark Rambo|
|Ryan and Laura Robinson|
|David Schurer and Donna Bearden|
|Ann T. Strader|
|Elizabeth and Craig Smith|
|Hans and Margaret Van Naerssen|
|Martha and Jack Waskey|
|Melissa and John Zimmerlee|
As it turns out, that approach fell flat. (It didn't help either that I lost a bunch of email addresses to a hard drive crash.) But, and this is the cool part, all of you responded, and did so in a very big way. We smashed through original $1000 goal, to carry us to a total of $2065! More than double! Most excellent. In fact, the combined efforts of the 2002 Peloton Project members raised over $2.2 million.
The money raised is used by the Foundation in four primary areas: public education and awareness, survivor services and support, groundbreaking survivorship programs, and medical and scientific research grants.
A note of thanks to my dear friend Ryan Robinson, an Austin native, enthusiastic cyclist, and host for the ride weekend not only sponsored me and shielded me on during the 70-mile pull, he also set up his super-light aluminum Cannondale road bike with a new rear gear cluster, new handmade wheels, and new tire rubber just for me to use when I arrived. Whoa! If I ever felt at home on the on a bicycle, it was with Ryan tooling around beautiful Austin Texas.
A big shout-out also goes to my other bicycle benefactor, Andre Larmet. Andre and I have been running partners for years. Andre's the kind of guy who starts a workout by stating "the pain train's leaving the station Middleton, climb aboard." Of course, if he makes you suffer it's only because he's right there with you suffering too.
In late February, it was becoming all too obvious that I really needed to be on a real road bike. Andre stepped up and presented me with his Trek training bike, coated with a one-of-a-kind flourescent orange and green paint job. Wow did this rig ever do the job. Stood up to every training experiment I could throw at it.
Finally I'd like to thank Elli Overton and the entire LAF crew over in Austin for doing a first-rate job with the RfR weekend.
The warm response from you all is most gratifying. Not only for the sponsorships, but for the interest and encouragement. It easily made the effort worthwhile. What can I say but thank you, thank you thank you. You guys rule!
And what about next year? Hmmm...
If I were to go next year, it would be to race it, rather than ride it, using the training I've done so far as a springboard. Great in theory, but I'm at a point in my life where I wouldn't feel right about committing the hours it would require. Plus this experience was so outstanding, I think it would be downhill from here to try it again.
I've received so many blessings in my life, and this up close view of the cycling lifestyle is undoubtedly one of them. Acquiring a new skill opens new roads for the future. And this is a good thing.
Hey thanks for checking in. Later my friends...
Email: BillMiddleton -at- BellSouth -dot- net