My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Week of 01/31/10 - Winter Returns - 130 miles

Welcome to another update on my training, ride preparation, fund raising, and day-to-day happenings.  I appreciate all the support and help people have provided.  My message is starting to reach beyond my immediate friends and family.  I received emails from people who heard about my ride through others or have a family connection to lung disease.  Please keep helping to spread the word by forwarding my web site address.

The week started with continued seasonal temperatures.  This enabled me to get a nice 50k ride in on Monday to Elkridge Furnance Inn, Patapsco State Park (Grist Mill Trail), and up Bonnie Branch Road for some solid hill work.  This is one of my most ridden routes and offers nice scenery, quiet roads, and a solid climb.  Grist Mill is great family ride that Leah and I take to see the waterfall.  Tuesday has become my rest day this year.  I continued working on my fund raising and made good progress with a few of my potential media coverage contacts.  Glenelg Country School is conducting a fund raiser for the Amercian Lung Association.  As part of the event, Leah is making a presenetion to the kids about my ride and the important work done by ALA.  Glenelg is sending a press release to local papers to cover the event and my ride.  Look for links to the articles.  I also heard from the Washington/Baltimore Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Chapter.  They are going to run an alumni spotlight feature on me and my ride this spring. 

Another stromg week on the donation front included Silver level support from Angela Johnson (2nd year) and Dimensional Concepts, Inc. (Thanks to Sanjeet Harpalani).  Generous donations also received from Rob Troska at Vision Technology Services (3rd year), Sharon Petrecca, and Rupinder Singh.

Winter temperatures returned in force the remainder of week and pushed me back inside. Hour long trainer sessions on Wednesday (to classic rock), Friday (to the first part of Grease), and Sunday (to some of the Grammy Awards).  Thursday was busy at work and on the fund raising front, but I at least got in a quick 30 minutes.  Saturday was my best day with a full 90 minutes (30 miles) to Gary Allan and Bruce Springsteen CDs.  I ended up short of goal, but still had 130 miles. A solid 533 mile January.  I long for more outdoor rides, but will have to take what I can get.

On a related note, our Trek Across Maine team, Leo's Legacy, won the recruitment incentive prize on Monday for registering the most new riders.  The Virginia Lamberts will ride with us again.  Thanks Dave, Molly, and Greg. When you are on the Trek Across Maine homepage, scroll to the bottom to see a link to my web site.

Look for my first monthly newsletter next week!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week of 01/24/10 - Outside Twice - 140+ miles

The weather conitinued to cooperate as the week started and I took advantage with outdoor rides on Monday and Wednesday.  On Monday I headed east toward Anne Arundel County passing through Fort Meade, Sevren, and the Arundel Mills Mall.  The 34 mile route included a few miles of legal highway riding along Route 32.  From Arundel Mills I headed home via Clark Road and past the prisons on Brock Bridge Road.  Tuesday was a rest day with a busy day at work and fund raising in the evening.  I got in a moderately hilly 27 miles on Wednesday to the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, Fulton, Clarksville, and up the big hill on Harriet Tubman Road.  A little chillier and a little slower, but still outside.

It turned colder the rest of the week which meant I was back inside for some spinning.  I was working on my fund raising most nights after work and didn't head downstairs until at least 9 or 10.  Thursday saw 15 miles to Pawn Stars.  Friday included another 15 miles to some music and Leah playing Wii bowling.  Speaking of which, over the weeknd Leah bowled a 299 on the Wii ... one pin away from perfection.  She was on fire!  It was still very cold over the weekend, so I stayed inside.  Lots of fund raising work as well.  On Saturday I only spun for a quick 1/2 hour (10 miles) before heading to the Baltimore Bicycling Club (BBC) winter meeting and social.  Over 100 members attended, and I received a nice introduction and spotlight on my cross country trek.  Our new president, Georgia Glashauser, has gone cross country three times and wrote a book about it.  Check it out - Bicycle from Sea to Shining Sea.  Georgia followed the northern route (somewhat similar to my route) with the American Lung Association's Big Ride.  This event was huge back in the late 90's but has become a much smaller, shared cooking with camping ride.  Given the ALA connection, I looked at it, but it was canceled in 2009 and I did not want to risk that ... plus, I want to sleep in a bed each night!  Georgia rode with America by Bike (my tour company) when she went from San Francisco to Portsmouth.  BBC has a number of great events throughout the year and a wide variety of rides all over the Baltimore area.  I plan to ride more with the club in preparation for my trip.  The night ended on a bit of a downer as four members had their cars broken into.  I was only one car away from the smash and grabs. 

I had another solid week of fund rasing and launched a group page on Facebook to help spread the word.  Mark's Trek Across America (on Facebook) had over 75 members by the end of the week.  A big thanks to Karen's cousin, Louise Brauneis, who not only donated, but got more than 10 of her friends to join up!  I received almost $350 in donations bringing my total to just shy of $3,000.  Silver level donors included Gopal Vembar and Vinayak Wagle.  Bronze level donors included Lee Platz (a 5 time donor!), Lakshmi Manambedu (2nd year), Frank Washburn, and Lousie Brauneis.                                       
I wrapped up the week with a long two hour spin (42 miles) to the NFL playoffs.  Football is a reasonable distraction and helps pass the time.  I pedal hard during third and fourth down plays, sprint on big plays, and easy spin during commercials.  Finished the week with over 142 miles ... right at my goal.  Inside of  five months until the ride! 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week of 01/17/10 - I See the Pavement - 140 miles

Sunset has crept past 5 pm, but it was still mighty cold and too busy at work to allow for any outdoor rides the first part of the week.   On Monday I spun to what has become a typical Monday evening ... 20 miles to Men of a Certain Age. The show is holding my attention and was pretty entertaining tonight.  Tuesday was spent focused on work and my current fundraising campaign.  A solid week in that department ... over $300 in donations.  Thanks to following generous donors:  Kevin Biersack (2nd year), Ken Cole (2nd year), Bruce Crawford (5th year!!), Marilyn Herrington (2nd year), Ravi Kuriseti, Jason Lucas, Denis Mirskiy, Girish Shetty, and Shiva Velappan (6th year!!!) A special thanks to Shiva for fowarding my information to some of his contacts and helping obtain additional donations.

The standard winter Wednesday was spent spinning (20 miles) to a new episode (Uncanny Valley) of Criminal Minds with Leah ... collecting dolls taken to a new level..  Thursday saw the temperatures climb into the 40's.  Work kept me off the road and back on the trainer for another 20+ miles to some classic rock and hits of the 70's/80's. I also spent about an hour on the phone with Doug Torosian, the director of America by Bicycle.  Doug and I talked about the different route and tour options for going cross country with his company ... the decision has been made!  I will be riding the Across America North tour from Astoria, Oregon to Portsmouth, New Hampshire (June 20, 2010 to August 9, 2010).   Almost 3,700 miles in 50 days. This BLOG will chronicle my tour and enable everyone to expereince the ups, downs, pain, fun, people, places, and hopefully some sounds (i.e., video) of the trip.  My main web page ( has a link to the BLOG as well as lots of other information on my route, my sponsors, and the American Lung Association.

Mother Nature kept the temperatures above average on Friday (low 50's) and Saturday (high 40's).  That got me outside for the first time since Thanksgiving!  On Friday I headed for Elkridge Furnance Inn and returned home via the climb on Ridge Road, past the BWI car rental area, and then past the prisons on Brock Bridge Road.  I felt great ... ride was almost 32 miles.  Saturday saw another two hours of pavement (almost 30 miles) to Glenelg and Ellicott City.  I stopped at CycleSport to chat with the owner, Paul.  CycleSport is a great local bike store with excellent service and a full line of Giant bikes.  They are building a new Mavic/Ultegra wheelset for my winter bike (Trek 1500).  With Leah at a friend's house, Karen and I had a "date night" and went to see the George Clooney movie, Up in the Air, then dinner at Applebees.  The movie was as good as the reviews I had read ... very worthwhile.

Sunday brought rain, so it was back to the trainer for an aerobic ride of just under 20 miles.  The Golden Globes did not motivate me too much, but provided a distraction at least. A busy and productive week with strong base miles (140), excellent fund raising (over $300), and some alone time with Karen.  Looks like I might get to stay outside next week with temperatures in the 40's.  Five months away.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Week of 01/10/10 - Back Home - More Cold Weather Spinning - 100 miles

The artic blast kept a firm grip on the east coast all week.  Due to the snow in Maine, we drove back to Maryland on Monday.  On Tuesday, I played a little catch up at work.  Finally back on the trainer on Wednesday for a solid hour (20 miles) to some Paul Simon.  Thursday saw 15 miles while watching the BCS championship won by Alabama (yawn).  It was even cold inside on Friday ... 15 more miles to Steely Dan.  I ramped up my fund raising efforts and started work on a major email campaign.  Great initial response - Thanks to the following donors:

Gary Chudnovksy
Linda Ciralsky
Sarah Worthing

And a huge thank you to Gerry Appelstein for a fantasic Gold Level donation, my largest indivudal sponsor to date!  Several other pledge committments were made ... I will post when received.  Thanks to all.  Keep the donations coming.  CLICK HERE to make your donation securely online.

The weekend saw a little extra time for spinning and fund raising.  On Saturday I rode virtually (20 miles) with Coach Troy around the Prettyboy Reservoir in northern Baltimore County, Maryland.  Check it out on Coach Troy's site.  Wrapped up the week with a longer (30 miles) spin to the Ravens thrashing of the Patriots.  Living in Baltimore, it was a tough day.  With the Patriots out, the Ravens will get all my support.

My first 100 miles of 2010 have been logged.  The weatherman says it may hit the majic 45 degree mark late next week ... maybe I will see some pavement.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Week of 01/03/10 - Winter and Maine Spinning - Almost 100 miles

The week started off with some back and forth proposal activity that took up most of Monday and Tuesday.  In my quest for 6,500 miles in 2009, I spun hard for a solid hour (20 miles) to Cyclo-Club #7 Accelerations.  The class is only available to members, but you can check out Cottage of Wattage, another great spin session for a limited time.  You can also pick up Graeme Street's best selling cycling training e-book, "The Everyday Cyclist ULTIMATE 7-Day Fitness Solution" for free if you join and try out the club.  It has helped me significantly.

A little less intensity on Tuesady with another hour (18 miles) to some country and classic rock tunes off the internet.  On Wednesday, I was back to major intensity with 22 miles of Cyclo-Club #9 Metabolism Booster.  Recived a nice donation from Billy and Vicki Scott!  I pushed past the 6,500 mile mark with a recovery spin (45 minutes, 14 miles) to some classic rock on New Year's Eve.  Spent the rest of the night at a get together at Steve and Lynn Firlotte's ... lots of Wii playing and good times with family and friends.

Started 2010 with a rest from the bike, but still got in some exercise climbing the sled hill near Winthrop Lower School.  Great sledding with the kids and family!

We celebrated Leah's 11th birthday with the her traditional hand-made and decorated cake.  Another fun night and more Wii bowling and some Discovery Channel DVDs.

Back on the bike on Saturady with 20 miles to classic rock.  Big snow storm in Maine ... almost 2 feet.  We drove to Boston to stay with my sister on Sunday and made our usual Chineese food run.  Almost 100 miles of sweat and spinning.  I made my 6,500 goal.  Looking forward to another great year on the bike and my big ride in 2010.