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, February 28, 2010

Week of 02/28/10 - Proposal Blues, Donations Steady, Drive 4 COPD - 130 miles

Busy big time at work with the final push to get the latest proposal out the door.  Managed to sequestor myself for four solid trainer sessions - Wednesday (30), Friday (30), Saturday (42), and Sunday (28). The custom mp3's are definitely working and help me to vary my cadence, gearing, and effort.  The snow is continuing to melt and there were definitely a few days that were nice enough to get outside.  It is still pretty wet with run off, but once this proposal is over, I am getting out there, one way or another!

My facebook group continued it's steady increase and broke 250 with more friends of friends help.   A big thanks to Jack & Rachael Daugherty for their donation and helping hand with facebook group invites.  They both have a personal connection to lung disease ... Jack's Dad died from emphysema and Rachael's grandmother has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  I am meeting and talking with so many people who have been impacted by lung disease.  Their stories and struggles inspire me and help fuel my motivation.

A complete list of donors is shown on Mark's Trek Across America website. The last two weeks have seen a steady flow. Shout outs to the following:
  • Wendy Couch
  • John Beckett - Gold
  • Susan Swift Valdes - Gold; In honor of her mom who died of lung cancer
  • Tom & Sue Richmond
  • Cheryl West - in honor of her mom who lost her battle with COPD last year
  • Mimi & Ben Tseng - Gold
  • Gary Brodsky - Gold; Read more about Gary below
  • Dawn Taylor - Gold
  • Chery Royce
  • Jeff Solar
Gary Brodsky is another committed cylist and is captain of the New England Patriots Platelet Pedalers team that rides each year at the Pan Massachusetts Challenge (PMC).  The PMC raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Gary and I went to high school together and he also provided me the Patriots Platelet Pedalers cycling jersey to wear on my trek.  He has made over 100 platelet donations at Dana-Farber.  His 150+ member team raised $790,000 last year. Gary and his team are a great example of the impact cycling and individuals can have.

While most donations are coming from my direct contacts, emails, or facebook, word of my trek has also started to expand beyond those mechansims and my immediate network.  Facebook and LinkedIn have connected me with firends of friends of friends ... 6 degrees of separation coming soon!  I also saw my first donation from external web links.  Cheryl West found me on The American Lung Association of the Atlantic Coast event pages:
Media coverage is in the planning stages and will include a complete outreach effort with support from the American Lung Association communications and PR Team.  On a closing note, ALA recently kicked off another great event, Drive4COPD, to help screen millions of people who may be at risk for COPD.  COPD is the nation's fourth leading cause of death.  The event includes NASCAR driver, Danica Patrick, Emmy-nominated actor Jim Belushi, Olympic Gold Medalist Bruce Jenner, Grammy Award-winning country music star Patty Loveless and former Pro Football great Michael Strahan  They will be calling on people to complete a five-question screener to see if they are at risk. Learn more about the screener and local events at

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Week of 02/21/10 - Winter Spinning, Connecting, and Work - 135 miles

A busy period at work has me behind on updating the blog.  I was able to make some updates to the Mark's Trek Across America website and made some local connections with a few other folks riding across the country this summer.  Dale Johnson from Towson, Maryland is riding for Multiple Sclerosis with a group of young bucks.  He will provide the experience and wisdom to the younger folk.  His ride runs east to west and begins in Yorktown, VA on June 1st and ends in San Francisco on August 1st.  Dale introduced me to Saul Zuckman, who is also from Columbia.  Saul is a type 2 diabetic like me and also used cycling to shed some weight and manage his health/condition.  He turns 70 this summer and is a rider on the Team Type 2 relay team participating in the Race Across America (RAAM).  The team will cross the country in less then 8 days!  Each rider goes all out for 15 minute periods once every 2-3 hours. I hope to get in a few training rides with Dale and Saul this spring.

Tons of snow on the ground, cold temperatures, and a big proposal at work kept me inside on the trainer all week.  I took Monday off, and had strong sessions on Tuesday (35 miles to music) and Wednesday (25 miles to music).  On Thursday, work got the better of me (need to pay for my Trek somehow!) and kept me off the bike.  I was back downstairs for another muscial 25 miles on Friday.  Leah was finally able to get back to school and had her big Renaissance Festival .  Karen was a whench (aka waitress) for the fun event.  Karen continued intense work sessions on her upcoming auction.  We have dueling fundraising spreadsheets!

Leah and her Girl Scout troop led a community service fundraiser for the Johns Hopkins Children's Oncology ward this week.  They raised over $250 and obtained needed items for the kids.  She will be leading a similar fundraiser for ALA and my trek in mid March.  The ALA in Virginia sent her a box full of goodies (pins, stickers, bracelets, etc.) and educational materials to hand out.

My facebook group and connections have started to go mini-viral thanks to amazing help from Elaine O'Donnell (a high school classmate) and her friends Mary Wall and Tricia Watkins.  All three have invited their friends to join the group.  Membership mushroomed to over 200 people.  I also posted several links and messages on other facebook and LinkedIn groups and saw positive feedback/response. 

On Saturday, we got a surprise visit from out friends Marcia and Gary Holman (and their kids). They were on their way back to New England from Florida, but the dreaded Saturn transmission went out on them again.  A nice visit and a lot of roller coaster building (for Leah's science project) prevented any spinning, but that gave me more motivation for a long 50 mile session on Sunday. My first 4 day riding week of the year, but I still managed to get in 135 miles.  Expect more spinning for next few weeks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Week of 02/14/10 - More Snow and Auditions - 130+ miles

The big blizzard of 2010 packed a second punch with 16 additional inches on Tuesday/Wednesday.  Schools were closed all week and indoor spinning was all the rage.  Lots of extra exercise via the shoveling route.  The ends of the driveway are as tall as I am.  Plows came on Tuesday just in time to restock the pantry before the next snow.  Leah had a blast sledding and building an igloo with her friends.  Karen worked feverishly on her GCS auction and I worked from home, fund raised, and spun.

I managed to ride about 50 minutes on Tuesday (music), Wednesday (Coach Troy - Lake Placid), and Thursday (music).  My sister, Amy, and niece, Rebecca werea able to fly in from Boston on Thursday night.  Somehow, their flight was right on time.  Go Southwest!  Best fares, bags fly free, and they take bikes for only $50 each way.  Compared to the other rip off airlines, they are indeed a bargain.  For my flight to Oregon, I saved over $300.  That has been booked for Friday June 18th!

I was finally able to spin for a solid 90 minutes on Friday while the girls made a run to the Chineese buffet.  On Saturday, Amy, Rebecca, and I headed into to Washington to visit Amercian University.  Rebecca is a talented actress and singer and plans to study musical theater in school.  She really wants to go to NYU, but also applied at American, Emerson, Wagner, and Marymount Manhanttan.  We toured campus and grabbed a nice lunch in Bethesda before Rebecca's audition.  On the way home, we headed to College Park to pick up my son Michael and his girlfriend Erin for dinner.  It was great chance to catch up and have some family fun.

Lacking miles toward my weekly goals I pushed on the trainer for a long 50+ miles on Sunday.  Long sessions like this are a challenge ... more for the mind, then body!  I have put together some great mp3 CDs to help set the pace, keep me motivated, and pass the time.  130+ miles for the week and lots of sore muscles from shoveling.

Fundraising continued with a new wave focused on all the great people who have joined my facebook page. Friends of friends are starting to hear and spread the message.  Thank you to generous gold level sponsors Alex Stall and Amy Griffing (2nd year).  Great donations also received loyal supporters Yuri Radams (3rd year) and Marty & Marilyn Franklin (3rd year). I am up to over $4,000 in hand with several additional pledges on the way.

It was also a great week for connecting to other Across America North riders.  Helen Steussy found me on the web.  She is from Indiana and is riding with her daughter Al.  Helen also rides a Serotta and is supporting land conservation. Her website Flight ... for the Land is a good read.  While searching for other blogs, I found Katie Spear's Blog by Bike. Katie is from New York, and has an interesting web site and concept for paying for her trip. Once full payment is sent to America by Bicyle, I hope to get the full list of register riders.

I long for the pavement, but am having fun connecting and spreading the American Lung Association message.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Week of 02/07/10 - The Perfect Storm - 140 miles

This week will long be remembered for the huge snow totals that hit the mid-atlantic.  Mid week we had a small strorm that left around 6 inches.  Good enought to cancel school on Wednesday.  The big wallop came on Friday and Saturday with 34 inches.  So far, we have avoided the cabin fever, but the neigborhood streets are still not plowed, school has been canceled for Monday, and another 6-12 inches is forecast for next Tuesday night.  This obviously meant no opportunities for riding outside.

Work was busy getting reading for a big briefing next week and brainstorming sessions on the capture effort I am heading up.  I managed to spin for 45 minutes on Monday to Men of a Certain Age and on Wednesday to a Grass Roots CD.  Tuesday night was my off day and was spent working on ALA fund raising.  A great $500+ week in that department.  Big thanks go out to the following Silver level donors:  Barry & Sandy Koltz (6th time!), Chuck & Carolyn Rose, and Bob Binns. Generous donations were also received from Mike Ruslander, Jack Zdunski, Jessica Deer, and Greta Blau.  My sympathies go out to Jessica, who just lost her grandfather to lung cancer.  It is for families like hers that I ride for.

I sat out Thursday with some tightness/soreness in my right calf. Maybe the combination of spinning and shoveling (a good work out in itself) did me in.  With the storm in full force, I spun a strong 90 minutes on Friday to some music and another solid hour on Saturday to music as well.  The big work out on Saturday was two hours of shoveling.  Different muscles for sure.  We got pretty much all dug out except for the car, which was completed on Sunday.  I really wanted to get close to my weekly mileage goal, so I decided to spin to the entire Super Bowl game.  Leah watched the whole game and I logged a long 55 miles with sprints on all 3rd and 4th downs and power sprints on big plays/scores.  I rested at half time.  Very happy to see the Saints win.

A great week of donations, an epic storm, a long 55 mile spin ... a good week.  I will be making my pre-ride hotel reservations this week and scheduling a time to get my passport (or at least a passport card) ... I need that to get in/out of Canada.  We will spend two days in the great white north.  Speaking of which, a few pcitures from the perfect storm: