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, March 7, 2010

Week of 03/07/10 - Proposal Submitted, Blueberry Soup, Spring is Here? - Almost 165 miles

The snow continued it's slow and steady melt and by mid week it was pretty much gone.  Cool temperatures, lots of run off and my latest proposal kept me inside until the weekend.  The big proposal was delivered Wednesday morning followed by some long needed R&R.  I stayed focused on logging winter miles and sweating to my custom mp3 CDs ... Tuesday (23 miles), Wednesday (27 miles), and Thursday (20 miles).  Friday was an off day spent with the girls and banging away on my fund raising and web site.  A few neat things on that front:
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Alumni Spotlight - I was featured as the spring 2010 spotlight.  The feature includes an interview with the RPI Alumni Association and a discussion of Mark's Trek Across America, my inspiration, work-life balance issues, and community involvement.
  • Glenelg Country School - Press Release - tag day fundraiser for Mark's Trek Across America at Leah's school. Leah is speaking on ALA awareness and education to the lower school (2nd - 5th grade students) on March 12th.
The weekend brought my first real chance to get outside since late January.  On Saturday I headed to Glenelg near Leah's school and then meandored to Old Town Ellicott City.  From there I took the Grist Mill trail along the Patapsco and over to the Elkridge Furnance Inn.  These roads/route are among my most traveled offering good scenery, quieter roads, and typical mid-atlantic rolling hills.  Temperatures were in the high 40's by the time I headed out.  A slow, but rewarding 41 miles.

The girls spent the evening  at the pirate-themed 23rd Annual Girl Scouts' Columbia Mall Sleep-In. They were among the more than 2,000 Girl Scouts and 850 parent volunteers that showed up at 10:30 p.m. and stayed until 5 a.m. - not to shop, but to feed the hungry, foster friendships, mentor and earn badges. They took canned goods to benefit Harvest for the Hungry, the largest food drive in Maryland. Leah had a great time, earned several badges, bought some fun stuff at the booths, and had some tasty treats.  Around 6 am Sunday morning the tired duo arrived back home, just as I was heading out for the annual Washington Area Bicylist Association (WABA) Vasa ride from the Sweedish Embassy in Georgetown.

The WABA Vasa ride celebrates Sweden's famed ski race and festival, Vasaloppet, by bike.  The almost 60 mile route duplicated the Vasa race with a non-competitive ride through scenic upper Northwest Washington DC and into Montgomery County, MD.  It was a little chilly at the start, but warmed up nicely by the finish line. 

I rode with Karen's brother, Dave and Jim Clausen.  The terrain was flat in DC and hilly in Maryland.  We side tracked for some java and a muffin in Bethesda and then took a short cut (took out a huge climb and about 6 miles) down Beech Drive and past the Washington Zoo.  I fought a few charley horses in my quads, but still averaged almost 15.5 mph.  The ride finished with Ekströms famed blueberry soup.  Here is the route:

I had another steady week in the fundraising department with donations from the following:
  • Richard Stott - my old drama teacher
  • Andrew Vimini - one of Mike's fraternity brothers
  • Barry & Sandra Koltz - collected donation from some local Delray Beach businesses
  • Allison Menjivar - previous Northrop Grumman employee specializing in web design and usability
A big Gold Level donation came from Nancy Swift and Clark Woods.  Nancy and Clark are among our closest friends and helped introduce Karen and I way back in the early 90's.  They live in Flordia now and we don't get to see them too often.  We shared a great trip to Disney with them a few years back (see skinny picture of me below) and hope to see them again very soon.  Nancy's mom died from lung cancer after a long and courageous battle.  Nancy's sister quit smoking (a 35 year adiction) after her mom's passing.  I ride to help families like Nancy's ... they inspire me to raise awareness and critical funds for critical lung disease research.