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, April 25, 2010

Week of 04/25/10 - 4 Great Rides and 4 Gold Donors Push me Over $10k Raised

A BIG week ... my highest weekly riding total of the year (almost 230 miles) and four new gold level sponsors!  I pushed past 2,500 miles for the year and have now raised over $10,500 for the American Lung AssociationMark's Trek Across America on Facebook surpassed 500 members.  A BIG week indeed.

While this week will be remembered for the larger gold donations that came in, I want to thank the individuals who also helped make a difference.  My bronze donors make up the biggest group of supporters ... without their help, I would not have gotten where I am.  Shout outs to Ivan & Debbie Lubash (my sister-in-law's parents),  Craig Wehr (another health IT cohort, now at PROTEUS Technologies), Micky & Dave Winn (I grew up next door to them), Alberta Sannie-Ariyibi (previous coworker at Northrop Grumman), and Melvin & Edith Katzman (friends of my parents from Florida).  If you are reading my blog and have not donated, I hope you will consider supporting this important cause at

Onto the Gold Sponors ...

VBT Bicycling Vacations - Thanks to Gregg Marston and his great team in Bristol, Vermont. VBT has been providing awesome bicycling, walking, and travel adventures for almost 40 years.  They were ranked one of the “Best Bicycling Outfitters on Earth” in the 2009 by National Geographic Adventure magazine. VBT has a long history of supporting the American Lung Association and helped Ned Van Woert and his wife with their cross country tour in 2009.

Maryland Mutual Mortgage, LLC - I have used Corey Anderson and his staff to help close two loans the past five years.  They have top notch customer service and always seem to find the best rates and best lenders.  Corey offers a wide range of programs and will work to find the right package to meet your needs.  I appreciate their support with my ride!

Stuart Rubenstein - Stu and I go all the way back to high school and our days in New England Region USY.  We spent some great times together!  Stu has settled in the Baltimore area and now works with Constellation Energy.  Stu's mother & mother-in-law have COPD.  I ride for families like Stu's and hope the funds raised can make a difference in their lives.
AllStaff Technical Solutions - For almost 20 years, Atlanta based Allstaff Technical Solutions has been providing outstanding technical resources focused on infrastructure support, application development, and program support.  They offer technical solutions, subcontracting solutions, and staffing solutions to large and small businesses active in the Federal Government market.  Thanks to Josh Feingold and his team!

On the training front, rain on Wednesday and the big Glenelg Country School auction kept me off the bike a few days, but I still had four great rides of 50+ miles inclucing a 100k+ event for the Ulman Cancer Fund.  After a typical Monday rest day, I enjoyed an almost 60 mile ride through Sandy Spring, Olney, Rockville, and Laytonsville before heading home via two great cycling routes on Gregg Road and Haviland Mill Road.  These roads seem a thousand miles away from the hussle and bussle of the area and throw in a few steep climbs for good measure.  Thursday saw 55 varied miles including a great descent into Ellicott City on New Cut Road, the historic hills of Oella and Catonsville, the Grist Mill and BWI trails, and a short stretch on the  Baltimore and Annapolis trail to Bruster's for an ice cream.  I returned via Sevren and Ft. Meade. 

After work on Friday, I headed out for another 50 miles to the serene roads around Sugarloaf Mountain.  Some of the best cycling in Maryland.  I climbed the mountain three times before meandoring through Dickinson and Poolesville.

After a fun filled and successful night at the auction, I slept in on Sunday.  I was supposed to have gotten up early to ride in the Columbia Triathlon Association's LIFEfest 100k for the Ulman Cancer Fund.  My late wake up did not stop me from completing the ride ... it was just a little lonlier on the route ... since I did not start until just about everyone had finished.  The route took me to Mt. Airy through all the great roads of western Howard County.  66 miles with a few extra miles to/from my house.  You can see the route at Ulman 100k

The Ulman Cancer Fund is focused on supporting, educating, connecting and empowering young adult cancer survivors.  The Fund's founder, Doug Ulman, is a three-time cancer survivor, and was named the president and chief executive officer of the Lance Armstrong Foundation in 2007. Doug's brother and co-founder of the Fund, Ken Ulman, is the Howard County Executive and helped establish the Healthy Howard Access Plan, a non-profit organization to bring affordable health care to uninsured county residents.

Eight weeks until I leave for Oregon.  I am working with Woof Cycling and Jason Kamps to finalize the design of the new Leo's Legacy and Mark's Trek Across America jersey ... watch for mock-ups in a future posting.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week of 04/18/10 - 206 Miles - Lots of Wind and 8 New Donors

What is it about Mondays?  Is it the fact that I typically log lots of miles on Saturday and Sunday?  Or maybe it is because I like to hit the work week hard and attack my action items?  Or perhaps it is the web site, Facebook, and fundraising that pulls me away.  Whatever the reason, for the 10th consectutive Monday, my bikes lay quiet in the gararge.  In fact, the trend continued on Tuesday with another off day.  I was still able to reach my goal of 200+ miles for the week with  five varied rides the remainder of the week.  Let's talk about the imporatnt stuff first ...
I received my fifth gold level donation from First Finish of Columbia, Maryland. First Finish provides quality construction services to the commercial, government and hotel & lodging industry.  A big thanks to Jason Stock, Sue Gelenter, and the rest of the First Finish team. It was a great week for individual donations.  Friends from many different parts of my life joined the cause and helped make a difference in the lives of families impacted by lung disease:
  • Amy & Hong Hwang - Glenelg Country School parents; Leah is close friends with their daughter Hillary.  They did a science fair project together last year - "Do GCS 4th Graders Have Better Auditory Memory or Visual Memory?"  Turns out they have better visual meemory.
  • Scott Aronson - Scott and I grew up across the street from one another.  He is now a successful podiatrist at Aronson Foot Care in Stoughton, MA.
  • Tom Hunt - Tom was a fraternity brother of mine at Pi Kappa Phi, alias "The Castle" at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.  I will stop close by Troy on Day 47 (August 6th) of my trip.  The alumni association is planning a reception on campus!
  • Rosalie Jones - an old (her friendship, not her!) dear friend who was one of the instigators that got Karen and me together back in the mid 90's.
  • Chris Larsen - Chris works for Vecna Technologies and is teamed with my firm on several challenging projects at the National Institutes of Health
  • Melanie & Maurie Lerner - Leah and the Lerner's daughter, Joanna, are in Girl Scouts together.  It was a big year for their troop including the prestigious Bronze Award.  This is the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn.
  • Karen & Lenny Rosenfeld - Karen and I were very active in New England Region USY back in high school.  We reconnected several years ago at a great reunion. My USY friends and expereince defined my high school years.  The freindships I formed then have been tough to duplicate.
My fundraising totals broke $9,000 ... five figures here we come!

On the training front, my week saw hills, back roads, and lots of wind.  On Wednesday, I put in 40+ miles through northern Ellicott City and Woodlawn including the dreaded 18% grade on Dogwood Road!  Thursday's rided started and ended in Laytonsville with some great back roads and a visit to Just Riding Along.  Travis Evans open the shop last year and is a great mechanic and wheel builder.  I may break down and have him build me a new set for my big trip. Picture is from his grand opening back in March.  I won a few T-shirts from Continental and Bikes Belong.

Friday saw the standard Glenelg 50k in a little over two hours.  The roads near Glenelg are getting a little busier, but still among my favorite for a quick ride in the country.  The weekend brought longer rides of 50+ miles each day and a heavy dose of wind.  On Saturday, it howled at 20-25 mph most of the day.  I spent the first half of the ride with it in my face ... tough work!  The effort was rewarded with a wonderful tail wind on the return route through Unity and over the Brighton Dam and past the Brighton Dam Azalea Garden.

Sunday saw more wind and flatter roads to see Michael and Erin in College Park ... this time I had the head wind the second half of the route from the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center.  Great week of training and fundraising.  I leave for Oregon in 2 months!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week of 04/11/10 - 200+ Miles - A Metric and a Ride with 2009 AAN Alum

I sent in my final payment for the trip!

My training, fundraising, and media outreach are in full gear ... great results on all fronts.  I'll start the blog off with a big thanks to Silver level donors Peter Moore and Jane Lambert.  Peter has donated at this level for four years!  Peter and I worked together for several years on the Retiree Drug Subsidy Program for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Everyone who knows me must know Jane ... she is my mother-in-law, and wife to my ride's inspiration, Leo.  We had a great visit with "Grammy' last week!  I also wanted to thank Bobby & Sue Teperow for donating.  Bobby and I were in New England Region United Synagogue Youth together way back when ... some wonderful memories.  Bobby has coordinated a few great reunions the last few years. Bobby had sleep apnea and used a CPAP machine for several years.  He no longer uses it thanks to an amazing weight loss.  Learn more at Bariatric Coach MA.

On the media and PR front, I had a great meeting with the team at the American Lung Associstion of New England this week. Next week I will sit down with the PR team on the plan for outreach along my trip.  We are working on media interviews and visits to some lung related groups/facilities.  I spoke with the Alpha-1 Foundation about my ride.  Look for an article soon.

On the training front, I another another 200+ miles including rides of 45 (Tues), 37 (Wed), 29 (Thur), 35 (Sat), and 61 (Sun).  Saturday's ride was with 2009 America by Bicycle alumn Chuck Davis.  He rode the same Across America North ride last summer with Mike Monk (same tour guide I will have). We rode for a few hours through hilly Caroll County from Westminster and touched the Pennsylvania border before returning to his house.  Chuck provided me great insight on the trip and even made copies of most of the daily cue sheets.  He was one of the quicker riders last year and often got finsihed so early each day that hew would head to the local watering hole or restaraunt to wait for the ABB trucks to arrive at the host hotel.  Chuck is on the far right in the "Team DQ" picture below.  I have also chatted with several other 2009 alum via Facebook.  The comradery among them is cool ... I am excited to meet the folks on my tour soon.  On that front, I continue to talk regularly with Katie and Helen.  It has been fun getting to know them.

Sunday's ride was full metric century meandoring the rolling hills of Howard and Caroll counties.  Closing in on $9,000 raised and 2,200 miles for the year (almost at the 50/50 level for outdoor/indoor miles).  Thanks for all the help!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week of 04/04/10 - Stepping it Up - 225 Miles

Glorious weather, more donations, Grandparents Day at Glenelg Country School, some catch up at work, and four great rides ... that was my week.  On the riding front, I could not get out on Monday or Tuesday (hmm ... did that last week too).  Wednesday's ride was a little less than 40 miles on the rolling country roads of Glenelg and West Friendship.  With April upon me, I need to get out for longer rides.  I got off to a good start on Thursday (no April fools) with a 55 mile ride to Anne Arundel County including Odenton, Millersville, and Crownsville. Crownsville is home to the annual Maryland Renaissance Festival each Fall.  Some busy stretches, but also some nice quiet back roads.  Leah had a great day with her Grammy and Aunt Kathy at the Glenelg Country School Grandparents Day event.  Leah perfromed in the chorus and played the bells.  The timing of Jane's trip was perfect.

Friday saw a 57 mile adventure to downtown Baltimore, past the stadiums, returning home via the Gwynns Falls Trail, Woodlawn, and Ellicott City.  I had tried to take the trail out of the city earlier this year, but missed a turn.  This time I was more focused and managed to follow it all the way from downtown, past Montgomery Park, to the trailhead by the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn. The trail has some wonderful bridges and sections, but also some run down sections.  Staying on the trail meant a few non-paved portions and some hilly switch backs ... an adventure for sure.  I even "turtled" (fell down while not moving for you non-cyclists) at the end of trail (rather than jump an eight inch curb).  From Woodlawn, I headed past my Medicare office and client for a nice descent down Dogwood Road to the Patapsco River before the big climb on Old Frederick Road. Saturday was spent off the bike (if I had written this when I was supposed to, I would know why, but right now my memory fails me).

I had planned about 50 miles on Sunday to bring me to 200 for the week, but just kept going during another ride east to Anne Arundel County.  I ended up taking the Baltimore & Annapolis Trail the entire length from Glen Burnie to Annapolis.  From the trail, I headed past the Naval Academy (over the bridge closest to the school in the photo) and home via Route 424 through Crownsville and Crofton, and then Odenton.  75 miles when all was said and done.  Gave me 225 miles for the week.

Photo taken from

I finallized the design of my new business cards (see below) and spent a lot of late night time on a new brochure.  Thanks for a great silver level donation from Will Gianelli of Kforce Professional Staffing.  Kforce was my lead corporate sponsor for the 2005 and 2006 Trek Across Maine.  I really appreciate Will making a personal donation this year!  I also received a nice donation from Elaine Stricklett.  Elaine and her team at Acton Burnell helped me for several years on a large data administration project at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  She is now a representative for Melaleuca: The Wellness Company.  Great natural, organic, and green products that Karen and I have started using.

Just shy of $8,500 raised to date with almost 2,000 miles logged in 2010 (1,100 spin/900 road ... should see the magic 50/50 split by tax day).  Less than 80 days until I leave for Astoria, Oregon.  Oh yea, there is a Scandanavian festival, ScanFest, the weekend I am there.