Category Archives: News

vEveresting: Reaching the summit

Mount Everest has called to adventurers for over a century. Many of those who reached for the summit failed such as George Mallory and Andrew Irvine in 1924. Many have experienced success since that time, but only two men can claim the distinction of being the first to crest the highest peak in the world: Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of India.

Climbing Everest has become more than an act by a select number of mountaineers. It has come to represent any attempt to achieve something that stretches human endurance that only a few dare and fewer still obtain. It is the call to a summit top experience.

10556487_1381306305526641_2263816333020543617_nOn June 13, 2015 in his own way, Frank Garcia followed in the footsteps of Hillary and Norgay. His summit was to be the first to “summit” using a new category of Everesting. He planned to climb the height of Mount Everest on his bicycle without actually going anywhere.

This is possible because Frank had access to Zwift’s indoor cycling software. This allows a rider to combine a virtually created world for cyclists with real world cycling components to give the user a near on-road experience. With this software and a bicycle connected to a smart trainer, Frank was ready to begin his adventure.

So after a fitful night of sleep with anticipation keeping him awake, Frank mounted his saddle a little behind schedule. We’ve probably all had that feeling when we get a late start to a race or charity ride. Sometimes the most nerve racking part is just getting on the bicycle!

The fear that he would not be able to stay awake for the entire 20 to 23 hours he had allowed for the attempt weighed on his mind as he began those first turns of his pedals. Would he be able to continue that long, or would some technical glitch or a saddle sore undermine him? But encouraged by his wife and children there with him, Frank set off for the summit. Little did he know the family he would find along the journey.

frankbeginsclimb

He made the first climb up the .2 mile stretch of virtual asphalt. He would most likely ride over the “Shut Up Legs” chalk graffiti scrawled across his path over 300 times as he repeatedly climbed 94 feet each effort up the 7% grade. This was more than a physical exercise. It would be a test of his mental strength.

I asked him if he ever felt like giving up.

“There wasn’t a time I felt like giving up, there were many.”

That is when Frank began to find a family he never realized was there for him.

“It just didn’t seem like an option to give up as a team had formed and now it was about them too, and I didn’t want to let them down. Hours 12-14 on the bike where the worst. I was going really slow, but the team pulled me through. Julynn Washington’s words of encouragement were most helpful and just the fact that she was there the whole time.”

However, it wasn’t all about fighting through adversity. Through the pain and suffering of the mental and physical effort, Frank was buoyed by the magical thing happening around him. What could have been a lonely and draining effort became an experience of community and support.

Jonathan Lemon and Ken Bitting supporting Frank. -- Photo by Julynn Washington

Jonathan Lemon and Ken Bitting supporting Frank. — Photo by Julynn Washington

“It is hard to point out a moment that meant the most to me. Really it was the whole ride because there were all these people there supporting me.  People I didn’t even know before. It was such an honor to be the focus of that support.”

That isn’t to say that it was easy, or that even having people attempting to offer support always had positive consequences. As is often the case in these types of endeavors, good intentions can sometimes get in the way. Frank experienced this during some of the many times he attempted to make a u-turn to start another repeat of the climb.

“I was getting frustrated with u-turns, because you can’t make them when someone is next to you. This usually happens with ‘sticky’ artificial intelligence guys generated by the software that won’t leave your side.  Anyway Jim Purtell was being a trooper and doing climbs with me after one of these frustrating periods (there were a ton of AI guys out during the attempt) and he was next to me and I got mad.  He went and told his wife I was losing my mind (which about that time I was).  Great thing was, next morning, you know who was out helping me again? Jim Purtell!”

Frank Garcia's setup for his Virtual Everesting attempt. -- Photo by Carolyn Sullivan

Frank Garcia’s setup for his Virtual Everesting attempt. — Photo by Carolyn Sullivan

Other riders came to cheer him along the way. Some logged in and watched from the side of the road. Many used the messaging function within Zwift to send “shouts” Frank’s way. For the man who was the focus of this support he was quick to give these angels on wheels their due.

“These folks made all the difference in the world. It gave me something to focus on other than the pain. I kept telling myself, just follow those wheels Frank, just follow those wheels. Ken Bitting did over 10,000 feet of climbing with me!”

And climb they did. According to Strava, Frank Garcia pedaled his bicycle 17 hours 18 minutes and 54 seconds. He covered 163.8 miles in distance and 29,697 feet in elevation (consider he also descended that much… where would that take him!?!) He started June 13, 2015, at 10:32 PM Watopia time. He stopped the clock on June 14, 2015, at 10:29 PM Watopia time. That means he was reaching for the summit just shy of 24 hours.

“Well I want to say there was elation when I finished, but really I wanted to puke.” Frank told me after a good night sleep. “So that dampened my enthusiasm right then. I was happy I reached ‘the summit’ for the impromptu team that formed and I was happy it was over. Today the satisfaction of having done it is starting to sink in.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 7.17.43 PM

Click the image to donate.

Why? Well, part of it is simply the spirit of Mallory and Hillary. Being the first to ever “vEverest” on Watopia — or anywhere for that matter — was appealing, but it was also an opportunity to join the large support network of cyclists and runners who “Climb For Nepal” during the month of June. Frank joined them in raising money for people affected by recent natural disasters in Nepal.

The Zwift community has rallied around Frank in this endeavor as well. As of the time this article was being written, the total amount raised by Frank’s efforts exceed $9,000 (including a matching gift). There is no doubt he will accomplish his second summit by raising over $10,000 by the end of June.

Frank has no doubt.

“I see in the news all the time where people of different backgrounds might not be getting along. I wish there were more reports of this kind of stuff where people of all different backgrounds from all over come together to help each other out. I know that humans can be bad but they can also be amazingly good.”

You can be a part of that goodness by supporting Frank’s ClimbForNepal efforts at his MoreThanSports.org fundraising page.

Miles for money

I know I keep writing about Zwift. As soon as they stop doing things that give me a reason to write, I will probably stop. Today is not that day.

As a company, one of the things that has impressed me about Zwift is their savvy use of the social aspect of cycling. An important component of the cycling community are charity rides and causes. They’re not waiting until they have the product complete. Even now in the beta testing period they have used their program to show their support for a charity ride.

irf_gear

This means a lot to me because of my own involvement in using cycling for a cause with the I Do It For Foundation. So, when I saw that Zwift was encouraging riders to download the promotional jersey for opportunity to raise $5000 for the Tour De Pier and fight cancer, I knew I would need to log in and do some laps!

zwiftTDP

 

Here’s what Zwift has to say about it…

Make Your Miles Count! Today May 9th thru May 16th, you can join in and help the Zwift community raise funds for cancer charity. All you have to do is unlock the  Tour de Pier kit in game by pressing “p” and enter promo code “TDP2015”. While you are wearing this jersey your miles will count towards our ultimate goal of 50,000 miles. If we reach that goal Bank of America will $5,000 dollars to Tour de Pier! So lets unlock those jerseys and Ride On!

So, what is Tour de Pier? It isn’t technically a bicycle ride… at least not the way you might think. It is a stationary bicycle event raising money for Cancer Support Community Redondo Beach, Hirschberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, and Uncle Kory Foundation (brain cancer). Participants line up on stationary cycles overlooking Manhattan Beach.

When you understand that, this seems to be a charity event tailor made for Zwift! So, if you are a Zwift’er, let me encourage you to grab your promotional jersey and join us in knocking out those 50,000 miles. I took are of 58 of them yesterday… we’ve got a few more to go!

Today Zwift will be posting their first update on the Zwift Facebook page with how many miles the Zwift community has ridden so far in their Tour de Pier kits. My guess the Zwift community is going to rise to the occasion and Bank of America will be handing over the cash! I plan to do my part.

Continuing to grow

Members of Team Low Cadence after a ride in Memphis, Tennessee

Members of Team Low Cadence after a ride in Memphis, Tennessee

A special thanks to all the riders, runners and triathletes who have joined with us in Team Low Cadence. We are now over 40 strong.

We now have team members in South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, and Thailand. It has been amazing to watch them all come in. It certainly isn’t because of anything I am doing! The team members are recruiting others simply by showing the passion they have for the mission of the I Do It For Foundation.

We are only a month away from our “show of force” at Memphis In May. It should be our first large gathering of the team. We’ll be getting the word out about the Run. Bike. Fun. Challenge event coming up in September. Several of us will also be competing in the triathlon that weekend.

Planning is also underway for at least two I Do It For ___ events. We hope to have promotion of them underway this summer with the events happening this fall. I appreciate the team members who are stepping forward to get the ball rolling on these even when all the piece are not in place.

Speaking of those pieces. I am meeting with the Web For Good (Go to: www.webforgood.org) team this Friday. They will be providing a preliminary presentation of the brand and messaging for the foundation. Then it will be on to the discovery phase where the entire Internet structure will be scoped out. Then it will be time to build!

The goal is to have the IDoItFor.org website application finished and operational before September. I can’t wait for it to be done. Once it is, I’ll feel a lot better about being able to tell the story of the foundation. Once we have that tangible tool available… WATCH OUT!

I must also admit that I need that tool. If we tried to cobble together what is needed to carry out an I Do It For ___ event each time without automation and shared applications, I would be overwhelmed. As it is, we wouldn’t be where we are today without some of the people you see in the picture above.

Much has been done. There is still more to do. Thank you, THANK YOU! to all the Team Low Cadence members for the hard work they are putting into making the I Do It For Foundation a reality.

Thank you, friends

Michael T. McCaskill's dad, Mike, and his sister, Beth.

Michael T. McCaskill’s dad, Mike, and his sister, Beth.

Seeing all these I Do It For Foundation kits going out the door is a major shot in the arm. I’ve enjoyed seeing pictures of a number of them popping up in Facebook and Twitter feeds. So far, I’ve seen at least one other one in person while riding the road. More should be delivered to Team Low Cadence members over the next couple of days.

I need to give a thank you to Chris Hartzler for the great design. I wasn’t sure exactly what to think as I viewed the original design. One think I did know, is that I trust his design sense and knew it wouldn’t go wrong. I was right. Seeing the kit in person had me saying, “Oh yeah!”

Thanks also to Hincapie Sportswear. These guys and gals helped us get the apparel on time. Everyone has been happy with the quality. I know I am enjoying it.

The “team” continues to grow. We’ll be receiving triathlon and running apparel from Nimblewear before the Memphis In May event. We’re going to have your active sports covered!

You can join Team Low Cadence as well. It is pretty simple… just go to the menu above and click on join the team. You will then be given options to join one of the active sport teams — Running, Triathlon or Cycling.

Yes, there are some growing pains as well get the foundation off the ground. Our goal is by the September Ride. Run. Fun. Challenge event to have the final systems in place to make more simple the process of joining and getting your apparel. It makes us appreciate even more those who have pioneered this process with us!

Thank you, friends… those who have helped make this possible and those who are joining with us to make the foundation a reality. YOU are Team Low Cadence. The I Do It For Foundation would not happen without you.

 

No complaints here

Since Sunday I have heard numerous complaints from people concerning the recent time change. Most of it centered around “losing an hour of sleep.” There were a couple of articles about how the time change is bad for health and business. Well, after yesterday, I remember why it is most that I welcome the time change and there will be no complaints from me!

Tuesday I was actually able to come home from work and ride my bike for over an hour!

It wasn’t the most pleasant ride. My legs felt stiff and it seemed that I wasn’t producing much power at all. Still, the sun was shining and the beauty of the day around me far outweighed any discomfort on the bicycle.

Later that evening, I sat down and uploaded my computer data to Strava. Turns out my ride wasn’t as bad as I thought. Sure, I felt like trash, but I was actually doing a bit of work.

I’ll take that as a good sign. You know you are progressing when you ride above the way you feel. Your brain tells you one thing, but your body slots into the track you have trained it to follow.

Whatever the case, all I know is that I made it home in time to get ready for an evening event and I had a smile on my face. Looks like I’m nearing the time to say good bye to the trainer. Bring on the sun!

Michael KramerBy the way, did you see this story about Chef Michael Kramer [link] making a move to Greenville? Did you see one of the reasons why?

Kramer said the food scene is growing in Greenville: Esquire restaurant critic Joihn Mariani recently wrote an article, “Is Greenville the Next Big Food City of the South?” The city also was appealing to Kramer, an avid cyclist, because it’s a “cycling mecca,” he said.

Welcome to Greenville. Wishing you good success both in the kitchen and on the road.

Moving forward to reality

We are up to 30 members of Team Low Cadence. It has been exciting to see people come on board who believe in the mission of I Do It For. It is also humbling because I realize that they are joining up in faith… I Do It For at this point is only an idea. That gives me encouragement, but also accountability for the future.

I Do It For FoundationWhere are we right now? It seems like it is taking forever to get some real traction, but then again I have to stop and consider that we haven’t really been going full tilt until December. If I put my positive glasses on, I have to be amazed at what we have accomplished during that time.

I Do It For Foundation is now incorporated. The papers have been submitted to the IRS for 501c3 approval. A back account has been established. The foundation is now a stand alone entity.

Team Low Cadence is starting to pick up steam as folks learn more about the foundation and want to support it. Already we have jumped in to support the Ben Renkema fund and team members are also beginning to participate in charitable events under the I Do It For banner.

We have designed numerous promotional pieces. It is kind of overwhelming to see everything coming together. Of course, I will feel much better when I actually see the pieces in front of me!

One of the most amazing things is how quickly the I Do It For Funathlon has come together for September. Sure, there is plenty of detail work to do. However, we have a definite date, location and program. Already people are requesting to be notified when the registration opens. Check it out here.

Having said all of that, the one thing that is still the great mystery is the web tools. I have met for an initial planning session. It seems like a huge project! I keep reminding myself that this is the integral part of the foundation. Yes, we could continue to do our mission, but I wouldn’t be able to keep my job! The automation and duplication abilities of the web tool is what will allow the foundation to grow and be sustained.

For now, you can keep up with us at these temporary holdings: idoitfor.org and lowcadence.com. I Do It For Foundation also has an account at Twitter and Facebook. Thank you for believing in this idea. We look forward to you supporting the reality.

Weekend work

Here is something I was working on this weekend. “Well, didn’t you race?” You ask. No, I did not. I’ll save expressing the reason why for a time when I have more of it — time that is.

This weekend I had some time to finally focus on the I Do It For Foundation and Team Low Cadence. We now have 26 members of the team and I’m amazed by that. Still, I am hoping that we as a team can mobilize to bring on even more members to help us carry out our mission.

Part of that is coming up with information that helps explain what we are doing. Social media and other web tools are great, but sometimes you need some dead tree options. So, I created this flyer. I’m open to suggestions on what could make it better. However, by Wednesday I want to have this ready to go to the printer.

Team Low Cadence FlyerTeam Low Cadence Flyer (back)As usual, I’m open to suggestions. What could I do to make it better? Are there questions unanswered? Is there something more that you would like to know before you would make a decision to join us? Even if you have no plans to join, I would appreciate your feedback. If you prefer not to comment here, you can email me at info@idoitfor.org.

Have a wonderful Sunday. For those of you racing at the Greenville Spring Training Series, be SAFE out there!

 

Another step toward reality

Sometimes all of the plans for the I Do It For Foundation seem like a dream. There is a lot of planning and conversations going on. However, we’re not to the stage where there are many tangible manifestations of all of the talk and strategy. Then you have something that comes along to encourage you that those things are just around the corner.

I Ride For jersey without nameI just got the mockup of the I Ride For ___ jersey. I like the classic lines and most of all I like the message. These jersey’s will be a key component of the promotion of the individual/group events used to raise funds for and show support for people in need of it.

While the colors may not be exact on this mock up (the grey will be a bit darker on the top) the design is what we will be going with. The bold orange bars fit with our I Do It For Foundation logo which appears on the right sleeve and back center pocket panel. The background of the lower part of the jersey contains the statement, “I am not a ribbon, a color, or a disease. I am a person. I have a name.”

That statement encapsulates what we are trying to do with the foundation. We want to draw attention to and show support for the individuals who are the faces of many of the diseases and trials that we so want to eradicate in our world. Someday we may knock out a few of those evils, but until then we want to lift up those affected by them.

Of course, all of this is personal. If you are reading this, you know of someone near to you who is currently going through a trial. Perhaps it is cancer. Maybe it is some other physical limitation. It could be a family that has had a financial setback due to a natural disaster. We want you to take these tools and “Do It For Someone You love”.

I Ride For jersey with nameSo, how do you take this jersey — and other promotional items — and make it personal? Well, you fill in the blank… literally. You fill in the blank. This apparel is designed for you to put in the name of the person you wish to lift up with your actions.

We will be making available (for the purpose of raising funds) these jerseys and other personalized materials. There will be several options for the personalization. Depending on the event we will 1) be able to have the jerseys run with a name as part of the original design, 2) use an overlay printing and/or 3) allow users to write in the name using a painting marker.

This is one of the challenges we are facing with this personalization concept. It is hard to operate at a high volume (which keeps cost down) and still maintain the personalized nature. As the foundation grows and we are able to bring on more support, I hope to be able to innovate in this regard.

Regardless, we are not going to allow these challenges to hold us back. We will go forward with what we are able to accomplish and trust God to direct us to the people and knowledge to wisely use the funds we have while still giving a personalized level of attention to those we are trying to serve.

So, make your plans to be one of the first to get your I Ride For ___ jersey or t-shirt, or tri top, or running jersey, or… Well, you get the idea. That is when all of this starts becoming a reality. It is just around the corner.

I Do It For ___ Run Bike Fun has a face

Thanks for coming along with me as we start the I Do It For Foundation together. I was never so excited to hear from the IRS as I was this morning when I opened my mailbox to find a letter containing the Tax Identification number for I Do It For Foundation Incorporated.

I was also excited to receive a logo for the September 14, 2013 I Do It For Run Bike Fun event. This will certainly get us started, but there is still time for feedback from you all regarding the logo. Once again I want to give a special thanks to Chris Hartzler for his gift of time and creativity.

In case you are wondering, there are still ways to participate in the foundation besides money and active sports! Getting those IRS and State Department of Revenue documents reminded me of how important a good accountant can be to keep things on the up-and-up. Plus, I need to focus on building the foundation… not dealing with tax reporting!

So, if you are a tax accountant and would like to help out in this regard, I am seriously asking for your help! Doing things correctly and with transparency is part of our values as a foundation. To me, proper accounting services are a very important part of that. I do not believe a small organization such as IDIF that is starting out should manage their own reporting… especially when the doors begin to open for us to enact our 501c3 status.

Just in case I have not made it plain enough… I really do need someone to step forward to help the foundation deal with the accounting. If you are in a position to help in that regard and would be willing to do so pro bono or for a minimal fee, please contact me. If you are part of a firm, we will certainly be willing to list you as a partner in our foundation for the services you provide. Contact the foundation.

By the way, I have not ridden my bike since Sunday. On that day I went out for a pretty good 90 minute ride on the road at SteadyState pace for the entire ride. It was nice to see 28 miles listed on my computer to show results for my effort rather than the 0 miles I get on the trainer.

Right now, my plan has me taking 3 rest days in a row. With the weatherman telling me that the temps are supposed to get near 70 degrees, it might be hard to stick by that plan. I just may have to do a celebration ride!

Triathletes, rejoice!

Just a quick update here. The weekend was packed with work for the new Team Low Cadence website. Just to warn you… it will replace this site within the week. The blog will go on, but it will now be a part of the team instead of the primary presence at this domain.

Now, about those triathletes. I admit that I have no desire to participate in triathlons. The primary reason is the SWIM part of SWIM / BIKE / RUN. I’ve done my share of running in my day. Of course, you know I ride a bike. However, swimming has never been my thing. Frankly, I am a bit afraid of water… Well, not afraid of water, but afraid of sinking into large bodies of water and drowning!

Oh… about that rejoice part of the title of this post. While I may only venture into the duathlon world, there are many people who enjoy the discipline of triathlons. There are quite a few of those folks who are interested in Team Low Cadence. I have been humbled by the excitement that has been shared with me from those interested in pulling on the TLC colors for their events.

So, here you go, my friends. We will be making triathlon singlets available for Team Low Cadence members. Unfortunately, you will have to wait until tomorrow to designate your triathlete status, but we should have that active the evening of January 28, 2013.

TLC triathlon singlets will soon be available

TLC triathlon singlets will soon be available

A special thanks to NimblewearUSA for taking the lead on this project. We are looking forward to a continued relationship with them. Once again I have been humbled by the giving nature of so many people to make the I Do It For Foundation a success. In this case, I owe much to Chad Terry.

Finally, if you are wanting to join the Team Low Cadence cycling team and assure you get the proper fitting kit, you have until 5 PM today to join up and list your size. I will be placing the order this evening. Click the Join Team Low Cadence! link above to join.

The team continues to grow and so do our plans for 2013. However, I can’t wait until we are able to serve our first I Do It For participant who puts our team into action. While we are so busy trying to get the foundation started, it is so important that we never forget WHY we are.