Wednesday, October 23, 2013

LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin - A Great End to 2013!

Wow - thank you, Austin and LIVESTRONG!

All smiles at the end of the LIVESTRONG Challenge Ride.

I was lucky enough to be part of the Team LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin event again this year, and even more so, part of the "Ride for the Roses" (RftR) group of fundraisers.

For those of you who haven't been to Austin, Texas - or better yet, to a Team LIVESTRONG Challenge event - this is an incredible city to visit and event to attend.

The weekend (October 18-20, 2013) was nothing short of magical - reuniting with the LIVESTRONG Community, both staff and supporters/survivors alike, attending events both on and off the bike, touring LIVESTRONG HQ - and raising my appreciation and energy for the Foundation to another level.

A beautiful, magical outdoor venue for the RftR Dinner
One highlight was to meet up with Jimmy Fowkes and his family.  Jimmy is the son of two awesome parents, Dan and Margo, and brother to Molly. In January 2006, at the age of 13, he was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a highly malignant brain tumor - and has since been battling recurrences while trying to lead a 'normal' life, growing up and attending college like most kids.  I met Jimmy briefly in 2006 in Portland, during the Portland LIVESTRONG Challenge, since he had won a fundraising award (and our hearts!), and had casually 'followed' both he and his family over the years.  Jimmy was battling a recurrence this time around, and everyone rallied alongside him, wearing our JIMMYSTRONG  t-shirts in support.

Jimmy Folkes delivering his speech during a RftR dinner in Austin, October 2013
[Edit:  Sadly, this was the last time I was to see and talk to Jimmy, who passed away in February 2014 after a long and valiant fight. He will truly be missed by his extended LIVESTRONG family.]

During our Team LIVESTRONG dinner Saturday evening, which was held under a tent in the parking of the LIVESTRONG Headquarters, our team - Cyclists Combatting Cancer - received the award for the team with most funds raised (thank you to everyone who contributed).  Scott Joy from our team spoke eloquently about the Foundation and its mission, and the support he and his family was receiving, following the recent diagnosis of his wife.  Everyone was moved by his words, which further strengthened our resolve to help survivors and their families through their fight.

[Edit:  Sadly - again a sad update - Scott's wife passed the following month.  We continue to hold the Joy family in our hearts and support Scott through this difficult time.]

Dining under a large tent. Pretty awesome.

Another highlight of the weekend was a visit to LIVESTRONG Headquarters, which I appreciate as an architect.  The mood this year was sharpened with a more "we know why we're here" attitude by the staff, who have been working tirelessly to continue the mission of the Foundation in light of last year's events and media scrutiny.  My hat's off to their dedication and perseverance.

Tribute Wall within LIVESTRONG Headquarters
After a few days of Texas heat and heaps of Texas food (how on earth can a vegetarian survive around here?), Sunday morning rolled around and it was finally time to get into the saddle and ride the Team LIVESTRONG Challenge ride.
Ride for the Roses jersey - ready to suit up!

The day started off rather chilly in downtown Austin - in the mid 40's.  Luckily, for this Seattleite, it was a 'regular' walk in the park, so to speak.  Within a few hours it was a beautiful, warm (by Northwest standards - in the 70s) and sunny day.  Perfect for a ride in the Austin countryside!

A cool morning start with friends Steve and Scott.
The photo below at the finish line says it all - a fun, victorious ride.  I rode in memory of my Dad, who passed away 20 years ago - and who I continue to hold dearly in my heart.  But I also rode in celebration of all the survivors and friends around me who truly do not take their time on this earth for granted.

And with that, and a few celebrations in between, I bade farewell to Austin - and my LIVESTRONG Family - for another year, ready to return home to my family, and energized to continue my volunteer work back in the Northwest!

Check in with you all again in 2014 - enjoy the rest of your year!


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Thank You Everyone in Portland!


I was at first trepidatious to drive down to Portland and try out a new ride.  But, knowing the area, previous awesome experience with event organizers (who put on the Seattle Century), and great communication and support from my local LIVESTRONG contact, I was quickly put at ease ... and what a great ride it turned out to be!
The day started out in downtown Portland - Portland State University, to be specific - under the shade of the plaza trees.  Riders were busily downing a breakfast (The Portland Century, put on by Good Sport Promotion, is known for their spread of food) of cereal, yogurt, eggs and berries.  Our group quickly found each other ... and we were off at 7:00am!

Part of our LIVESTRONG contingent at the start - note the smiles and energy!
Our first rest stop was one that I was much anticipating - the LIVESTRONG Rest Stop!  The ride organizers continued their support of LIVESTRONG from previous years: while they provided us with a group registration discount code and a place to meet up at the finish, we drove riders to the event and also provided the volunteers for the rest stop.

It was great to roll in and be greeted by the sea of yellow - t-shirts, banners and wristbands - as well as a terrific group of volunteers (who our local LIVESTRONG volunteer Stefan managed to organize, and Scott who ran the show) with an awesome level of energy and excitement!

Rest Stop #1: the LIVESTRONG stop! Busy preparing food, handing out wristbands and ... yes ... hugs.
 After some catching up, peanut-butter sandwich refueling, and a group photo, we were back on the road!

LIVESTRONG Rest Stop Volunteers and Riders! A great bunch. 

And what a road it was!  The course went west out of Portland, through the beautiful countryside (many miles of which followed the same course as the LIVESTRONG Challenge Portland routes from years past!), and on many quiet and less-traveled roads.

The weather was perfect - cool morning, blue skies, high in the low 80's - and our group had a good time on the road, regrouping at the rest stops.

Beautiful ride through the Portland countryside. We had many roads to ourselves!

Ahhhh, the rest stops!  Similar to the Seattle Century rides of years past, the stops were well situated and well placed.  Berry farms! Pasta! Sandwiches!  All appreciated and quickly consumed.

At this time, I would like to mention my one regret: I did not take a photo of the rest stop where an Elvis impersonator served me a peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich.  Life did not get much better than that moment ... if only I could have captured it on film.

Two rest stops to the end: build-your-own sandwiches. Ahhh ...
 I would also be remiss to not talk about my main Portland contact, and LIVESTRONG volunteer extraordinaire: Stefan.  He was truly the glue of the riding and rest stop groups, offering up much of his time to be sure that everything was organized locally, and that everyone was accounted for and taken care of.  Stefan is a rare breed of person who is selfless, energetic and hard-working - without a single request in return.  Thank you so much for all of your hard work!

Of note is also Stefan's son, Paul, who rode his first century ride with us!  A quiet, determined rider, Paul (pictured behind me in the first photo of this post) impressed us all with his cool cycling prowess.

Our fearless Portland-area LIVESTRONG supporter, Stefan.  What a great guy - I don't know what we would have done without him!

All good things must come to an end ... and after a long climb into Portland, and brake-heavy descent through the zoo area (yes, staying on roads), we arrived at the finish line to enjoy our dinner feast, Hopworks beer, and reflect on the day's ride adventures.

The Finish! (You think this was about cycling?) Always a good spread put on by the ride organizers.

It was truly a great day on many levels - connecting with more LIVESTRONG supporters, both on the bike and off, continuing the supportive relationship with the ride organizers (thank you Chad!), and enjoying a beautiful, well-supported, food-rich ride with new friends.
THank you everyone for your support - direct and indirect - to make this such a success!  We hope to build on this support and energy into the next year, and continue to build awareness and support for the LIVESTRONG Foundation in the process.
Next stop: Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge in October ... join us ...!?
Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Monday, August 12, 2013

Portland Century: Less than a Week to Go!

SIX Days Until the Portland Century!

Less than a week to go!  Hopefully next weekend's ride will be far less eventful (in a more positive way) than our training ride this past weekend.  Similar to last year's pre-STP ride, we managed to suffer through a few major and minor tribulations.  Call it a rite-of-passage:
  1. Bike / trail bollard (post) collision: resulting on one team member going to the hospital for stitches, jaw injury and fractured hand (think it's my bad luck rubbing off from last November?);
  2. Bee sting: it takes just a second for one of those bugs to get lodged in your jersey and reek mayhem (I'm glad I'm not allergic).  Nothing like doing the "there's a bee in my jersey" dance while on two wheels;
  3. Flat tires: well, one flat tire with two more tubes blowing their valves (we resorted to patches at the end).  Thanks to the local Performance Bicycle store for replacing the defective inner tubes, no questions asked; and
  4. Glass / Oblivious Pedestrians / Dogs off-leash: always fun to avoid during a mostly urban ride ...
That said, we're REALLY looking forward to the Portland Century next weekend, and having a POSITIVE eventful ride with a few thousand cyclists and other fellow LIVESTRONG supporters. 

A beautiful ride!
Amazing rest stops!
Fantastic company!
A gourmet salmon dinner and host beer bar at the end!

How can you NOT come along on this ride?

Please join us!  Use our promotional / discount code and save some money (see link below)!  Meet us at the start, or at the end!  It would be great to see you there, ride along or cheer us on!

Please support my fundraising efforts and the LIVESTRONG Foundation's amazing programs here:
   - much appreciated!

Hope to see you on the road!


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Next Stop: PORTLAND CENTURY (and a recap) ...

Coming up - in just a month!

The Portland Century!

We’re switching things up this year! 

After a great couple of years with the Seattle Century, we are teaming with the same organizers for the Portland Century.  The ride is generally the same idea: a large, well-organized group ride through the beautiful countryside, where the rest stops and finish line are based on a simple premise: gourmet food!  And lots of it!

As the organizers call it, "A catered tour around Portland and its fringes"!  What a tour!  What a catered feast!

Want to ride with us at the Portland Century?  It's simple:
  1. Register: and use the discount code LIVESTRONG13 for $10 off your registration cost!  It's that simple!
  2. Support our "Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle" group and raise some money for the LIVESTRONG Foundation?  You can set up your own Foundation webpage in just a matter of minutes here: and click on "JOIN TEAM".  Your efforts will support those affected by cancer to access a myriad of free support programs. 
  3. Ride: Breakfast at the start line begins at 6am, and riders for the 100 and 70 mile routes (which will be us, at least to start!) begin at 7am.  Look for us at the start (we'll be in our yellow and black kits) around 6:30am-ish, as we get our start numbers, grab a bite to eat, slap on some suntan lotion, and get ready to ride!
  4. Join us at the Finish Line Festival?  We will have a LIVESTRONG dedicated area at the finish line, for cyclists supportive of our case, where we can raise a glass (or several) of beer from the hosted bar, enjoy a scumptious salmon dinner, and exchange stories! See Portland Century site for details on how to get non-rider access to this feast.
It's that simple!  Depending on other logistics, we may meet up for dinner the night before - email me at if interested and we'll see what we can do.

We look forward to seeing you at this great event!  Please join us!  Remember, YOU are the LIVESTRONG Foundation.  You support us, and you and your loved ones are the beneficiary of the Foundation's efforts.

Thank you for your support!


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Sunday, May 12, 2013


More Cycling.  More Spandex. More Survivorship.
Need we say more?

Don't make me ride alone! (2007) ...
... Join a great group for a midday spin! (2012)
LIVESTRONG Day has been moved to Friday, May 17th this year!

Come out and join us for our SEVENTH annual "Spin for LIVESTRONG" event in downtown Seattle.  It's a hoot! It's a holler!  It's full on heckling of passing pedestrians and drivers!

Be ready to make some noise! If you are a cyclist, bring your bike and your trainer and spin with us.  If you aren't a cyclist, come down to cheer us on and heckle as well!  Wear your LIVESTRONG jerseys, t-shirts, or something yellow to support us!

Here are the details of this year's LIVESTRONG Day event in Seattle - hope you can join us, bring a friend, and have some fun for an extended lunch hour frolic on ... "Bike to Work Day"!

“LIVESTRONG DAY - Spin for LIVESTRONG”: a celebration to support those affected by cancer, part of a series of worldwide events. A number of Seattle-area LIVESTRONG Supporters will take to the streets and spin while fundraising and raising awareness for LIVESTRONG and the Foundation's programs to help and empower people affected by cancer.

Friday, May 17, 2013

11:30am-1:30pm, including15 minutes setup/takedown on either end.
Be ready to start spinning by 11:45am!

Union Street, south side, between 4th and 5th Avenue (Rainier Plaza).

Cycling.  Spandex.  Survivorship. Need we say more? 
Cyclists and supporters will ‘spin’ on stationary trainers for two hours in support of cancer survivors, on the downtown streets of Seattle! We will ride in unison, raise awareness and fundraise, and heckle pedestrians as they pass by our line of cyclists. Grab a wristband!  Cheer us on, or cheer with us!  Every donation gets a round of applause.  

What to Bring: 
If Biking: bring your bike and stationary trainer (need one? Let me know and I may be able to scrounge one up!), and your cycling kit.  Wear LIVESTRONG colors - yellow/black - but we may have a jersey to lend if you need it, too.
If you're not biking: come cheer us on, and wear yellow! 

Some snacks provided.  Be sure to bring full water bottles!

We're riding rain or shine!  This year, we will have canopies overhead to keep us dry, just in case, compliments of our local Performance Bike store!  (As well as some raffly giveaways, too ...!)

It would be great to see you - please show up (RSVP's encouraged to and support us!


Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle
Senior LIVESTRONG Leader

Sunday, March 3, 2013



Hello, "Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle" Followers!

As a 2013 Senior LIVESTRONG Leader, I just returned from almost a week of training at the annual LIVESTRONG Assembly, in Chicago, Illinois and wanted to write a quick note:

A few weeks ago, I must admit that I was uneasy heading into the Seattle Bike Expo (next weekend, March 9-10, 2013), which is our group's first LIVESTRONG event for the year, and which sets the tone for our group during the season: I mean, how settled would we feel about LIVESTRONG, and what would we say to Expo-goers as they asked about LIVESTRONG this year?

Well, the good news is that the LIVESTRONG Assembly has reaffirmed my initial beliefs in the Foundation.  LIVESTRONG is not going anywhere.  Will it thrive?  Hell, yes.  Will it continue to grow, strengthen its survivor-focused programs and chart new territory to fill the voids in the cancer community?  Absolutely.

I was blown away by the energy, commitment and hearfelt dedication of LIVESTRONG staff, Leaders, Mentors, community partners and grantees - over 500 of them, who flew in from all corners of the globe - all working together to coordinate, grow and enhance existing and new programs.  The unanimous feeling was to double-down and move forward and continue to serve the 28 million people currently affected by cancer.

I invite you to check out the link above, which gives a heartfelt behind-the-scenes look at the work of the LIVESTRONG Foundation's staff, as well as this year's "State of the Foundation" address here: which should give great insight into the Foundation that we support.

I'm looking forward to next weekend's Seattle Bike Expo with great anticipation and excitement.  There remains a lot to accomplish - please drop by and say hello!  We look forward to talking to you - our excitement is contagious.


Senior LIVESTRONG Leader
Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Hello, 2013!

Well, it’s been a rocky few months since the last posting in October of 2012, both personally and cause-driven, for our little Seattle team:

Ahhh, the accident.  Note the LIVESTRONG jersey (!).

-        Personally, I was unfortunately hit by a car while bike commuting to work in Seattle, just two weeks after the Team LIVESTRONG Challenge/Ride for the Roses Weekend in Austin, Texas in mid-October.  A car drove out in front of me, causing me to hit and ‘superman’ over the vehicle and land on my head, injuring me and totaling my bike.  Not great at all.

-        Cause-driven, and now with several weeks’ perspective, we are all affected and disappointed with the recent revelations of Lance, but the sentiment remains that LIVESTRONG is not about one person, nor about the professional cycling word: it is about the mission to serve people affected by cancer and to empower them to take action against the world’s leading cause of death.   LIVESTRONG's mission has not changed, nor should that powerful personal meaning of the yellow LIVESTRONG bracelets. Lance is no longer associated with the Foundation, but we thank him for his dedication to the cause in transforming cancer victims into cancer survivors.

But now, we’re improving and recuperating, focusing and forging forward into 2013!  Let’s get back in the saddle, physically and metaphorically!

Pre-accident, at the LIVESTRONG Challenge in Austin 10/12

Bring it on!  Please join us!

(You can register to fundraise with us here: - search under “Seattle” for our team!)

There’s much to be done, and a lot of fun to be had along the way.

There’s a lot to look forward to as we plan our events for this year.  Our team has been discussing what rides and events to participate in, and ask that you plan to join or support us however you can – and help us continue to build a LIVESTRONG community in the northwest!

Riding Events on tap this year (so far – keep watching as we update this post and blog):

1.      2013 Seattle Bicycle Expo: March 9-10: Please join us at this annual landmark event, where we kick off our season – talk about the upcoming season, connect with survivors and caregivers – and meet YOU!

2.      Flying Wheels Summer Century: June 8: We have ridden this ride for the past handful of years, and enjoyed it as a humbling century (depending on your course length) for the start of the riding season. Please register and join us!

3.      Chelan Century: June 22: A couple of us are planning to attend, after hearing a colleague’s account of the harrowing three hills. Meh!   

4.      Portland Century: August 18: We’re switching things up this year!  After a great couple of years with the Seattle Century, we are teaming with the same organizers for the Portland Century.  Stay tuned for more details – working to still have the same discount, semi-group ride, gourmet food and finish line dedicated area for LIVESTRONG riders.  A great late summer ride!

5.      Austin Team LIVESTRONG Challenge: October 20: A highlight by any measure – riding a fantastic ride through the Texas hill country, in LIVESTRONG’s back yard.  You are part of the LIVESTRONG community the moment you arrive.

In addition, we will have representation at the 2013 LIVESTRONG Assembly in Chicago at the end of February, and will connect and join forces again with the likes of Camp Kesem ( and other organizations, as well as YACFest ( and other community outreach events.  More to come!

Rest up! Please join us! 

It’ll be another fantastic year.


Senior LIVESTRONG Leader
Team Captain, Ride for LIVESTRONG Seattle