Wednesday, January 27, 2010


It's official! Pre-Order your "I'M WITH THE BAND" T-shirts TODAY!

They are $25* until February 13! From then on, they will be $28 per t-shirt.

Over $10 per t-shirt will go to the Lance Armstrong Foundation as part of our efforts to raise over $25,000 by October 2010!

Get those orders in TODAY!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The "I'm With the Band" Project

In correlation with the "LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG" and "ROCK the RIDE and RUN" events, I'll be having auctions where various and sundry goods and services will be auctioned off.

As you have seen, I designed a t-shirt for the ROCK the RIDE and RUN event, as well as all 2010 FF/WC events, that will be made by Handlebar Mustache with the proceeds going towards our fundraising efforts for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. (More details to follow soon, but here's a glimpse at the shirt!  The first batch of shirts will be available for purchase at the LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG event.)

But, being the creative genius that I am, I wanted to come up with something kind of special to auction off at these events. Something relevant. Originally inspired by Lance's STAGES project, I started collecting art work from artists and individuals that convey the LIVESTRONG message. I have some great pieces coming in, BTW... I hope to have photos, soon!

But, sometimes it's the message behind something vs. the value that speaks to people. Those lovely LIVESTRONG wristbands speak volumes.

In my Twitter and Facebook life, I've been blessed to make direct connections with people who inspire me, that, otherwise, I'd never have the chance to speak to directly. So, I made a bold effort the other day. I contacted them directly to see if they'd be willing to participate in, what I hope, will be a very exciting fundraising project for LIVESTRONG that I'm calling "I'm With the Band".

The idea is to have various and sundry celebrities and notables sign a LIVESTRONG wristband and auction them off at these events. What boggles my mind is how quickly some folks came on board. A package of wristbands are now on their way to Liz Kreutz, as well as John Korioth. (Look them up if you don't know who they are already... I'll give you a hint... Comeback 2.0). I'm waiting to hear back from some other folks.

I'll update the group with the latest and greatest, of course. But I'm curious to see what heros, near and far, will decide to say, "I'M WITH THE BAND"! So far, thanks John and Liz!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

LIVESTRONG isn't just about Cancer

I've gotten some feedback on my blog post from last month, "Wait... you don't have cancer?". And it got me thinking...

When you peruse the site, you are challenged to "Pick a fight" or to "Take a dare". Don't be misled into thinking this doesn't apply to you if you don't have cancer. Just because you have another condition, disorder or battle doesn't excuse you from the need to LIVESTRONG. Yes, the organization's primary call to action is against cancer. But, as Jed Barlett loves to say, once cancer is taken care of, "What's next?"

There are many other mysterious and debilitating diseases on the list of modern-day plagues, that affect millions of people on this planet. LIVESTRONG applies to them, too. No, I haven't been to LIVESTRONG headquarters yet, nor have I sat in Doug Ulman's office and peered into his Filofax to see what was next on the list, but rest assured, I'd bet somewhere there is a "hit list" of battles once the global battle against cancer is won.

Will that victory be declared tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Who knows. But that also doesn't mean that we can't prepare or battle another disease just because there are other targets. That doesn't mean that we can't "fight the good fight" because we have been touched by another disease. Diabetes, MS, Parkinson's, AIDS, heart disease, depression, anxiety disorders, and so many more enemies have their sights set on us. What LIVESTRONG does today, for cancer, will have residual, positive effects on those fighting battles against these diseases and conditions.

Don't let the fact that you don't have cancer, nor has anyone in your immediate circle, prevent you from joining the call to LIVESTRONG. Pick your own battle. But, above all else, pick one. And fight.


Below is the LIVESTRONG "Manifesto". You can see inspiration lies within it for those fighting battles other than cancer, too. You can just as easily swap out the word "cancer" for other diseases and challenges that we may face. Note that the name of the organization isn't "CANCERSTRONG". Of course, the primary efforts are geared towards cancer survivorship. But, as seen on, there are many other battles to be won, and many other ways to LIVESTRONG aside from surviving cancer.

The Manifesto of the Lance Armstrong Foundation

We believe in life.
Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
We kick in the moment you’re diagnosed.
We help you accept the tears. Acknowledge the rage.
We believe in your right to live without pain.
We believe in information. Not pity.
And in straight, open talk about cancer.
With husbands, wives and partners. With kids, friends and neighbors. And the people you live with, work with, cry and laugh with.
This is no time to pull punches.
You’re in the fight of your life.
We’re about the hard stuff.
Like finding the nerve to ask for a second opinion.
And a third, or a fourth, if that’s what it takes.
We’re about getting smart about clinical trials.
And if it comes to it, being in control of how your life ends.
It’s your life. You will have it your way.
We’re about the practical stuff.
Planning for surviving. Banking your sperm. Preserving your fertility. Organizing your finances. Dealing with hospitals, specialists, insurance companies and employers.
It’s knowing your rights.
It’s your life.
Take no prisoners.
We’re about the fight.
We’re your champion on Capitol Hill. Your advocate with the healthcare system. Your sponsor in the research labs.
And we know the fight never ends.
Cancer may leave your body, but it never leaves your life.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Founded and inspired by one of the toughest cancer survivors on the planet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

"Rock the Ride & Run" Benefiting LIVESTRONG presented by Scotts Corner Market

This morning, I locked down what I hope will be the first ANNUAL "Rock the Ride and Run" Benefiting LIVESTRONG sponsored by Scotts Corner Market!

More details will be posted soon! But there will be a run as well as a ride through the area!

I'm THRILLED to announce this event!

You can register here:

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Local LIVESTRONG Army Spins at TARGETRAINING for the Lance Armstrong Foundation

The Fairfield/Westchester County Local LIVESTRONG Army will join forces with TARGETRAINING to raise funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Saturday, February 13 at TARGETRAINING located at 772 Post Road East, Westport, CT, starting at 12:45, 3 shifts of cyclists will ride on trainers in an event called "LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG". Cyclists of all experience levels are invited to participate.

TARGETRAINING has a track record of supporting cancer awareness and fundraising events thus, “LIVESTRONG was a natural fit with TARGETRAINING, as so many of the training staff currently are or were pro-cyclists and triathletes. Their involvement with the community was made apparent to me through their programs and support of the Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club When I approached Rick Spear (owner and cancer survivor) and Eneas Freyre (head of operations), about the idea for ‘LOVESTRONG for LIVESTRONG’ they embraced the idea of holding a ‘Spin-a-Thon’ at their facilities. I was ecstatic!”

Riders are asked to register for a $30 fee and encouraged to ask friends, family and colleagues to sponsor their session by the mile ridden during the event. Cyclists should bring their own bicycles.

TARGETRAINING is providing registered riders $50 tune-ups (an $85 retail value) the week prior to the event. If a registered participant does not have a bike to ride, TARGETRAINING is generously waiving rental fees for anyone that needs to reserve a bike in advance at the facility.

In addition, t-shirts, which can be pre-ordered, will be available for purchase to raise funds, and LIVESTRONG wristbands will be available to those who choose to make an on-the-spot donation at the event.

Cyclists, friends and family are then invited to take part in a dinner with a small goods and services auction with a price-fixe menu at a local eatery. (Details will be announced soon, as well as how to order tickets in advance).

Proceeds will go towards fundraising efforts of the Fairfield/Westchester County LIVESTRONG Army’s goal to raise $25,000 by October, 2010. Mendes will represent the local LIVESTRONG community by riding in the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Philadephia, PA in August and, with her 11-year old son, at the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin, TX, in October and hope to participate in the Ride for the Roses – a private ride with Lance Armstrong for top-fundraisers.

For more information, please contact Rica Mendes at or at 914-384-3648. Participants can register for the event at here or or they can call TARGETRAINING at 203-227-6177.

Please make donations for this event here:

Dinner will be held at Southport Brewing Company. You can register and purchase tickets for $50 for a 4-course meal including an appetizer hour, salad, entree and dessert at

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The heat is on...

Even when it's cold out. Last night, thanks to Sound Cyclists Bicycle Club and TARGET TRAINING, I had the chance to ride my bike indoors in their facility. This isn't one of those sexy-glam spin class outfits where the goal is to look cute in your itty-bitty cycling shorts and cutesy tankinis. This is hard core. You can tell by the bikes hanging from the ceiling when you come into TARGET TRAINING that this clientele means business.

I showed up early (had to wipe down the bike from residual road crud from my last ride) and to have the bike set up on their trainers. Please bear in mind, I've never ridden a trainer before. I've done the stationery bike thing (didn't like it - I wasn't going anywhere!), but nothing like this.

I was given a kind of cue-sheet for the routine, but, I'm warning you, if you've never been in a training class, nor have used a trainer before with all the monitors, etc. it is going to read as Greek. Thank goodness, Eneas, the night's guide, was calling out instructions.

The evening started, and I was hitting about 85 RPM (cadence, for those of you who are new, is measured in RPM - the number of Rotations Per Minute you spin your wheels), getting about 125 Watts (don't ask - I just know it's energy output - still learning what it means... ), about 18-20 mph. In fact, sometimes I was spinning high enough that the machine's computer paused itself. I thought I'd be fine. Especially once I learned I'd signed up for the session for the cyclists that are at the top of the ability and speed chart - not my usually group!

Then, the fun began. Eneas had us go on a small incline. I figure "No problem!" I keep up an 85-95 RPM cadence... I'm checking my heartrate - around 140, I'm doing ok. And then he had us get out of our saddles. Do bear in mind, a waif I've never been called. And I have this bizarre fear of falling over my handlebars. I also have a knack of having things break on my bike that never happens to anyone else - especially when I get out of my saddle! Labor Day weekend, days before the NYC Century, I got out of the saddle of my Peugeot to "jump start" a sprint, and my pedal snapped off. (Mind you, the bike and all the parts were 20+ years old.) A month or so ago, I got out of the saddle (as I was feeling cocky) and I felt the handlebars loosen. Next thing I know, the handlebars are in my hand, detached, and I go flying over the handlebars, riding uphill, and on High Ridge Road where it is 2-lanes of fast-moving traffic. I have a justifiable apprehension to lifting my caboose out of the saddle!

But, Eneas says that's what we do, that's what we do. Note: I really enjoyed last night, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. But this was a moment of hell. All of a sudden, I went from a steady and admirable pace to a clumsy, staggered, swaying mess of not a single-consistently smooth stroke. What's worse is that the next phase of the session included an incline, but somehow, my thighs were toast. 15 minutes in. 1 hour to go.

Oh. Do as I say, not as I do. Always have water with you. Always eat food during the day. Remember socks. I had done none of those things. I left my water bottle at the office, I forgot to eat lunch as I was on a very long phone call catching up with someone who'd been overseas, and I had to borrow this poor guy's extra socks. All told, I was a bonking mess. I was chewing gum so I could salivate and keep myself hydrated. I was sucking on GU Gel blocks (Thanks, RoadID!) for some kind of energy, and the socks were too thick for my shoes. Like I said, "Do as I say, not as I do."

There is a moral to this story, however. If this were just about me, I'd have said, "You know what? I'm outta here. I'll just tell Alan that I'm signing up for the lower-level group next week." But, I was there. Eneas did let me keep my incline lower than the others, as it was apparent I was a bit out of my league. But I thought about my friend, Lindsay. I met her through LIVESTRONG. She's fighting cancer, right now. Over the holidays, instead of being with her family, she was in and fighting to come out of a medically induced coma. I put my head down and thought about my friend, Tal, who has fought cancer over and over again. And he's not even 30. I'm complaining about having ill-fitting shoes, being a bit dehydrated, and sore? These people are going through and looking at having chemo. Tal is just recovering from surgery. Lindsay is just coming out of 11 of 12 days of chemo. Who the hell am I to be quitting?

So I didn't. I was there to train for my LIVESTRONG Challenges. I was there to be a LIVESTRONG Leader. I can't be in the back of the pack at the events I'm leading. I'll be damned if I'm going to be the last to finish the Bloomin' Metric wearing my LIVESTRONG jersey. That's no good. I closed my eyes, put my head down, stopped obsessing that the numbers on the screen were lightyears away from where they should have been. "Do it for Lindsay. Do it for Tal. Ride for Lindsay. Ride for Tal."

I'd love to report that, miraculously, I hit all the numbers, the bike grew wings, and I flew over the city of Westport like E.T. That didn't happen. But, I got a second wind. My incline was still lower than the rest of the class, but not by much. I was maintaining the target cadence. My heartrate was pretty steady at 160. And, while my tailbone was killing me (must get a new saddle), I didn't feel pain anymore. (Especially my feet. The overly thick socks + barely fitting road shoes made sure my feet went numb.)

And I finished.

I will never doubt that a trainer-session is for wimps.

Neither will you... to be continued... (you're going to want to come back for an announcement later this week... )

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nothing at all...

What do you say when there is nothing at all to say?

Even if it's off-topic, I'm usually pretty good at breaking tension, coming up with some ridiculous spin on something relevant or irrelevant to bring a smile about or help someone find a solution. I'm a problem solver. I don't just think outside of the box, I don't even bother with the box. I've got a ridiculously vast network of random people that I've been able to use to my advantage in helping people.

And, in the rare case that I don't know what to say myself, I can usually give a really constructive referral. And then make a person smile.

I'm not a cancer survivor, and my grandmother, who was the closest person to me that I watched get sick with cancer, stay in a hospital and pass away, died when I was 5, I don't remember (thankfully) what was said, or done. All I remember was being in her hospital room at Stamford Hospital, chewing Fruit Stripe gum, drawing with my cousin, whom, at the time, I hated (the feeling was mutual), and being most upset that I couldn't go for a walk with Gramma because she was too tired. And the tubes going in and out of her looked like she was tied to the bed, so clearly, she wasn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Because of this, I have no pearls of wisdom to share (other than the fact that Fruit Strip gum does seem to make EVERYTHING better) when speaking to someone battling cancer who cannot find answers themselves. I have no advice for him.

Don't runaway, though. But don't put your inability to help on their shoulders, either. It's not their fault. And it's not yours.

This is about them, not you.
Lesson learned: Just be there. Keep them talking. Offer your shoulder, a joke, a smile, a tissue, whatever you can.

And always have a pack of Fruit Stripe gum on hand.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside

A detour from the usual reflections on being a LIVESTRONG leader, cancer-related topics, etc. A little tidbit about training.

Or lack thereof.

OMG, it's cold outside. Now, mind you, it doesn't take a genius to understand that.

Now, I've ridden in some bad weather. Over the summer, I biked back from work in a lightningstorm. I've biked through rain, wind, etc (in summer/early fall, that is). With winter pending, I consulted with my resident bike guru. I consulted with Taylor Phinney (whose advice was simply, "Just do it") and a plethora of other experts. Neoprene, layers, booties, energy vs. fluid, studded tires, reduced air pressure - you name the wisdom, it was shared with me.

However, OMG, it's cold outside. Not chilly, not brisk, COLD.

I have been trying to teach my son that neither rain, nor sleet, nor anything other than REALLY bad conditions should keep us off the road. This, however, has been relatively theoretical.

Christmas Day, we went for a 20 mile bike ride. It was sunny most of the day, somewhat warm, and the roads were clear.

Today, we went out. It was even sunnier. Roads took a while to clear, as we got a layer of fluffy white stuff last night. But it promised to be a good riding day. Or so I thought.

First few miles weren't so bad (although I noticed that my fingertips were freezing BEFORE we started the ride - and I was wearing two pairs of gloves). I had my booties on, 2-pairs of woolies, etc. He had 3 layers of tights on, a couple of shirts, two pairs of gloves, etc. We were moving at a decent pace. We were getting to a point where the elevation changes for the remainder of the ride - upon the return, it would be at a steady incline until we made it back. At the peak of the hill, I noticed my son stopped chatting. I called to him. Nothing. I looked over my shoulder. I didn't see him. So I pulled off to the side.

There he was, cresting the hill, moving about 2 miles an hour. Something was awry. He made it up to where I stopped, His cheeks were bright pink. I could see tears trickling down his face. I asked him what happened.

He just looked at me and asked me, "Aren't you cold?"

I shrugged, and said, "Well, duh... it's January! Sure, I'm cold, but let's keep moving!" in true cheerleader optimism.

"But, Mommy, I can't feel my legs."

"You can do it! Tough it out!"

"I can't feel my toes, either."

Then, I thought, "Hmm. Come to think of it... I think I might have left my toes 2 miles back."

"Mommy, you ok?"

"Why do you ask?"

"Your lips... they're blue. And shivery."

And that's when I thought to myself, "I'm all for toughing it out, but I'd rather not lose my extremities."

So we turned around.

We were out for an hour. We only covered 8 miles. But I'm thankful we did.

Upon the return, there was a horrible headwind. The old invisible hill. What's more, the headwind had friends. Crosswinds. Hurrying back to the car, I didn't hear my son chit-chatting again. I turn, and he's nowhere in sight. I almost fall over when clipping out thanks to the stupid crosswinds. There is he, moving slow as molasses in, well, January. But we were on a flat. Something was wrong. He comes up to me, and explains that his bike is moving slow. Then I realize that wet road crud is freezing on his chain. Then, I realize I'm moving slower than I should be. Because the wet road crud is freezing on my chain, as well.

We push ahead and get to Vista Market. I tell him to pull in, wait inside, and I'd continue ahead to the car to pick him up. I go ahead, on a climb that I'd usually dance over, but today, felt like Mont Ventoux!

Finally, I get to the car. Do bear in mind that my toes and hands were actually doing ok until the point we stopped. And, even though they were numb, my toes didn't hurt. I kept wiggling my toes and moving my fingers on the ride to make sure sensation was still there and blood kept flowing. I drive to pick up my son, we pack up, I take off my booties and road shoes and slip on fuzzy slippers.

And that's when my toes REALLY went numb, and then hurt. I was crying while driving, my toes hurt so badly. And that was with the heat in the car aimed at the feet!

Sadly, this has made me reconsider winter riding with my son.

If I hadn't ridden with him today, I would have continued on and done the full 20-30 mile ride I'd planned. But, had he not gotten so cold and asked to turnaround, I might have lost appendages.

Sorry, Taylor. We just did it. Almost. We tried.

It's the thought that counts, though, right?

This doesn't mean that I'm going to stop training or riding this winter.

It just means I have to reassess the approach. Any advice is welcome.