Category Archives: Site News

Why the portal? An interview.

I spent the weekend building the Unofficial Zwift Team and Club Listing. I have no idea if it will work. I do know that since it is not automated, it does take work on my part to manage it. Who knows? If the concept works, I may rewrite it and that would create more options for the users.

The process started a discussion on the Zwift Riders Facebook group. Seems not everyone could see the reason for the project. I also learned that I wasn’t the only one with similar ideas. At times, I felt I was having to defend myself. So, in the format of an interview, I want to explain.

zwiftclubteamportal

Why did you decide to build the listing?

It started because I had a great time participating in the first-ever team race on Zwift. It brought back memories of my days team racing on real roads. It got me to wondering who else was on my Zwift team and how could I find out who they were. For that matter, I was curious who all was on the other teams as well. There was no centralized place to find out. I saw a need and tried to meet it.

Do you really think it was a need?

Maybe “need” is too strong of a word. Here we are riding expensive bikes on expensive trainers connected to expensive computers over high bandwidth connections. I’ll call it a “want.” I wanted to know this information and I figured others would as well. Could Zwift survive without it? Sure. However, the teams would form and they would find ways to connect with each other. Why not build a place where a system for this was already in place.

Are you trying to control the team space on Zwift?

Nope. Zwift is a huge community. I am beyond certain that the majority of Zwift users don’t even know the listing exists. It is most likely only known within my sphere of contacts on the Zwift Riders Facebook group. Also, this system doesn’t do anything other than list for common knowledge what others are doing. I’m not building the teams. I’m not telling them where or when they can race. That is all up to the teams and clubs.

Why are you doing this when there are other people building team sites?

First. When I started building it, I didn’t realize there were other initiatives started. When I saw Tam Burns’ Zwift Team Worlds Event project, I was like, “Ahhhh, I don’t have to do this! Someone else is doing the work.” However, when I took at look at what Tam was doing, I realized we’re doing something very different.

Tam’s site and another one by John Greig allow users to register and then the software groups them into teams for specific events. Actually, it is a pretty cool concept and I imagine it will work quite well. It isn’t what I was looking for. I wanted something that was 1) driven by the users, and 2) allowed for continuity for the teams.

So, do you think you have the better plan?

No. I have A plan. Also, from the very beginning I took this concept to the Zwift Riders Facebook group. Behind the scenes I communicated with team mates and other users who gave valuable feedback. I kept putting out iterations of the concept and made adjustments based on the questions users had interacting with the interface.

I think this site is just one of several that could serve the Zwift community. It isn’t in conflict with other sites. For now, it is the only site that does what it does. Frankly, if a better site does what I’m doing (I’d love for it to be integrated in the Zwift software!), I’m more than willing to hand over the data.

How does it work?

If no one uses it, it won’t! Even if there are multiple teams and clubs listed in the portal, but none of them race and ride as teams… it still won’t work. However, it is a good tool that gives Zwift riders opportunities to enjoy team racing.

The way I envision this is that a group of Zwift riders who regularly hangout together online decide to form a team. They choose a team manager and he or she signs onto the portal to create a team. I receive that submission and list the team on the team listing.

If the team is an Invitation Only team, I give the team manager a link to be sent to each member they wish to join. As those entries come in, I add them to the team roster that appears on the team page. That team page is then viewable by anyone.

So, if you are out riding in a race and you see a bunch of people riding with say… Team CCG out beside their names, you can go to the portal and find it stands for the Childwall Chain Gang, an elite group of Road Race specialists, est. 2008 and located in Liverpool, UK.

Unattached riders also can sign up. My plan with this is to create a listing of these riders and then allow team managers to approach those riders to join their groups. At some point, it might workout to form teams based on these lists… However, that doesn’t fit with my desire to have the teams driven entirely by the users. This will be something on which I’ll seek community feedback.

Where do you find this site?

Let me say, first, that I still want feedback. I can’t incorporate every idea, but I definitely consider  them and much of what I’m doing now came from user feedback. Thank you!

Last, this is all about you. If it falls flat and no one uses it, then that is a sign that it isn’t needed or that someone else has something better. I’m fine with both those outcomes! However, if you do sign up, don’t do it on a lark. Use it as a way to build your team — and then RIDE ON as a team. That part is all on you.

Now, go continue making Zwift the awesome online cycling community that it is!

Virtual Power Passport

Earlier this fall, I started thinking of how I could pull off an event for the I Do It For Foundation. I have conducted a Ride For Mike ride each year since 2007. Normally, I get hit with some epic type ride early in the year and carry it out around this time of year. This year, I wanted to incorporate Zwift.

Of course, each ride has a fund raising component. As I have been trying to move the foundation forward, I have been raising money for the operational expenses of the organization. Since we give the service to our Doers to raise funds for someone they love, we have no way of covering our expenses. This has held us back to a degree.

My thought was to stage a race. We would have people sign an entry fee and get a number. They would then append that number to their names on the Zwift leader board. We’d have a race and then a portion of the money raised would go as a payout to the various places.

I approached Zwift with my idea and as usual they were very quick in responding and gave me some great honest feedback. That feedback was basically that until there was a way to physically proctor a race you would be inviting cheating — 100% for certain. I did also get some insight into where Zwift would like to go in this regard.

It got me to thinking. “Okay, so maybe I can’t have a race with a payout. However, if I were to do such a thing, how would I go about doing it?” So, I created this form as a basis for discussion and possible implementation. After posting it in the Zwift Riders group on Facebook (closed group), I definitely got some feedback!

Over the next couple of days, I’d like to lay out what I was thinking. I want to point out right now that I’m not trying to set up some “virtual power passport clearinghouse” for all of Zwift. I was only wanting to conduct this experiment for this particular race series.

Also, let me point out that the feedback is good. While I will go forward to explain my original intent in each component, I’ve already determined that a couple of things will change. Some things will be taken away and some others added.

I still hope to have an I Do It For Foundation event on Zwift. Unfortunately, it won’t involve a payout.

Throw back Thursday

Didn’t ride yesterday. Don’t really have anything much to write about today. So, I went back in time to see what I’d written about in the past on this day. I learned something. I have huge gaps in my blog.

To find a post on this date I had to all the way back to June 2010. Now, I did have posts in June 2011 and June 2012, but there were only a few of them. In 2013 and 2014, the month of June had no posts at all.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. I often get caught up in something and go in bursts. There are several times in the history of this blog that I’ve gone months without a post. It is probably more of a surprise that I have kept this going since 2005!

Anyway, here is the “blast from the past.”

2010 Ride for Mike route: Day Two

In this post I continue to lay out my plans for the 2010 Ride for Mike. I also mention my plans to have my wife, Annette, follow along with me in a support vehicle. Wow, that trip seems so long ago, but what a memory!

Pulling my own weight

Back in 2009, I was writing about undesired weight gain. I guess somewhere I have recorded how much I weighed back then. It obviously was less than I weigh now! I was complaining about a 12:45 climb up Paris Mountain. I had just gained 4 pounds while vacationing at my childhood home for a week.

I notice I’m still climbing the mountain with about the same wattage as then… but I’m doing it much slower. I think I’ve gained a bit more weight over these last six years. Man… has it been six years!?!

A service of praise

June 2008 has only two entries… reports of my Assault on Mt. Mitchell. However, June 2007 brought back a memory filled with sadness, but also sweetness. This day eight years ago, I went to the funeral service of Michael T. McCaskill. He is the Mike of “I Ride For Mike.” The I Do It For Foundation was formed out of a desire to remember him and the life he lived.

Not sure when I’ll be back on the bicycle. It might be a Zwift night due to my schedule. This weekend the Beautiful Redhead and I will be celebrating our anniversary. I will not be taking the bicycle along!

Now is the time to get your I Ride For jersey

CLICK HERE TO ENTER STORE

The store is still open for you to place your order for the I Ride For ___ jersey and shorts. If we are able to get enough orders sooner than the deadline, we will go ahead and start the order before the May 31 deadline. We will then reopen the store with a deadline further out. So, if you want to have your kit sooner than later… now is the time to act!

We are not seeking to make any money off of these items. We are making them available for what it cost us. We simply want to make them available so that the message of the I Do It For Foundation can get out. That message? We want to empower passionate people to make a personal difference through fundraising.

It has always been our desire to make this about more than money. Yes, fundraising helps to meet the needs, but that show of support by placing on your jersey the name of someone who inspires you to act goes a long way to providing needed emotional support as well.

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That is why the I Ride For ____ jersey has a blank. You can show your support for someone you love or desire to encourage each time you ride your bicycle. Some folks write in a name while others have the name professionally sublimated. Either way, it is a great way to show you care by putting the name right by your heart.

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There is also a location on the back of the jersey for you to place the name of your Inspiration. Of course, the foundation itself was inspired by the life of Michael T. McCaskill and the organization moves forward to help perpetuate his memory. It is his inspiration that makes me wear I Ride for Mike.

irf_gear

Who do you ride for? Why not let others know about that Inspiration? Why not encourage them each time you wear this gear?

Of course, we also invite you to check out the I Do It For Foundation. If you are considering a GoFundMe or other crowdsourcing mechanism, take a look at IDoItFor.org. Yes, we ask a little more of our Doers, but we also provide our service with no expenses so that 100% of what is raised goes to the need.

Play along with the Strava playlist

I don’t know when this is going to end, but I’m having fun capturing Strava segments on video and then posting them to YouTube. As I do, I’m posting them here to LowCadence.com. Here is a playlist that gives easy access to the Strava segments. Remember, for best viewing make sure YouTube has the video set to HD.

Thanks for suggestions for other segments you would like to see. I’ll be honest, the longer ones won’t be going up anytime soon! So, Ceasars Head will have to stay on your wish list for a while longer! If there is one you would like to see, just comment on this post.

So long, Team Low Cadence

You may notice a major change to LowCadence.com if you haven’t visited in awhile. You might even be asking, “Where did Low Cadence go?” It is true that the brand has gone away and the I Do It For brand has taken its place. That is how it should be.

Team Low CadenceLowCadence.com started out as a personal blog. For years, I used the space to tell of my cycling adventures and mishaps. Some of those experiences revolved around my annual Ride For Mike. Out of living those stories arose the I Do It For Foundation. While the foundation was the main focus for me, I still had some residual nostalgia — and well, pride — in the Low Cadence brand. I didn’t want to see it go.

To work around this I attempted to bring the two brands together. IDoItFor.org would be the site for the foundation and Low Cadence would become a sanctioned cycling club under USA Cycling. The “team” would be for those people who wanted to represent the foundation and support it financially and by volunteering.

On paper it looked like a good idea. It would bring some identity to the volunteers and allow them to have some cool gear. Besides, at that time more people knew of Low Cadence than they did I Do It For.

However, in the back of my mind I had the nagging suspicion that attempting to combine the two brands would weaken both of them. What came from it was confusion and split loyalty. My suspicion became a reality.

I Do It For FoundationThere were some who joined Team Low Cadence because they liked the Low Cadence brand. They didn’t have a clear understanding of the I Do It For mission. Those who were interested in the foundation were confused by the existence of Low Cadence… “What has that got to do with I Do It For?”

I am still very thankful for the people who joined “Team Low Cadence” and recognize that most of them joined to support the foundation. It is for them we are consolidating under the common I Do It For brand. The only remaining parts of Low Cadence will be the URL to this blog and the Twitter account @LowCadence.

Low Cadence is hanging around because of my personal tie with the brand. This blog will help me tell the story of I Do It For, but it will also have some personal posts as well. I look forward to sharing both with you.

So, thanks for spinning along with me and welcome to Team I Do It For.

I Do It For Foundation seeks partners

One of the questions I am asked about the I Do It For Foundation is, “How do you do that?” Specifically, they are asking how are we able to provide the service for free. Well, the answer to that question remains to be answered.

There are many systems out there for individuals to launch fund raising campaigns. There are fewer options that provide those tools at no charge. What makes I Do It For unique is that we go beyond simply providing tools for free. We also provide promotional items such as our I Do It For ___ tees at no cost.

Money Flow

This means that we are able to carry out our goals of raising money for people in need, but it also allows us to fulfill our mission of bringing awareness to the people who are the Inspirations fighting a battle against faceless enemies. This makes our investment in this mission more costly. At the same time it allows us as a foundation to have more skin in the game with every project we help support.

We need your help. You are the answer to the question,”How do you do that?” Yes, we are very thankful for those Donors supporting the efforts of our Doers on the part of their Inspirations. Those donations have immediate impact.

However, what makes those donations possible is the support of the foundation itself. The money that comes in to I Do It For helps to cover the operational expenses such as web site hosting, bank/credit card transaction fees and foundation promotion. It also covers the promotional items for each I Do It For project.

We welcome your individual gifts — and let me say “Thank you” to those who have already made that commitment. We would like to invite corporations to join with us as well. I’d like to offer you a unique partnership opportunity.

The I Do It For Foundation would like to be your company’s in-reach/out-reach charity. Would you consider helping to support I Do It For with a corporate donation? I Do It For would then work hand-in-hand with you to provide your company the infrastructure it needs to reach into your company to help those fighting a medical need.

It gives an organized way to allow your company family to help one another. It also allows you to expand that into the community. For instance, find a need in your community and then create an I Do It For project to go out and meet that need. Of course, these projects would be aligned under a special I Do It For web site presence for your company.

Many companies ask employees to give to organizations for which those employees may have no passion. Why not make it more personal? Why not get your company family involved with more than just their wallets?

Interested? Contact us [link] and we will be glad to answer any questions and start the process toward a meaningful partnership. The I Do It For Foundation needs you. There are also those within your company and community that need what I Do It For provides.

Of course, we also welcome individuals to give in support [link] of the foundation.

I Do It For Foundation – the Story

Yesterday I received an email from an avid supporter of the I Do It For Foundation [link]. She asked, “Do you have a copy of ‘the story’? You know of how the foundation came to be and what the vision is .. I mean from like a personal story standpoint?” Then again this morning I received a request wanting to know more about the foundation. It got me searching for that story. I realized that I have never told the story in full on the blog… just snatches here or there.

So, here you go. This is the story from beginning to end. Parts of this story have been told before, but this brings it all together.

In 2006, I set as a goal to ride my first metric century [link]. It was also the first year I took up riding the road bike. The idea of riding past 64 miles was daunting!

I chose to ride in the Stars and Stripes Challenge which was associated with the USA Cycling Professional Championships and would be raising money for cancer research. Admittedly, at the time, I wasn’t concerned with the charitable aspect of the event. I just wanted to have an organized event to help motivate me to my goal.

This did bring the concept of riding bicycles as a way to raise funds to my attention. This became more important to me when a friend of mine, Michael T. McCaskill, learned that he had a cancerous brain tumor. During that ride, I pinned a paper to my back that read, “In honor of Mike McCaskill.”

When 2007 rolled around I had been bitten by the cycling bug and was in it full bore. So, I began planning earlier for the Stars and Stripes Challenge [link]. This time I wanted to bring greater awareness to my “riding for Mike.” I had a logo designed to go on a jersey and converted LowCadence.com over to a special “Ride for Mike” site to help raise funds for the principle charity of the SSC.

My idea was to ride the event in the jersey and then present it to Mike when I was done. Unfortunately, Mike passed away in June. We went ahead and had the jersey finished and decided to ride the September event in Mike’s memory.

It was an emotional experience. The ride stayed with me even after it was completed. The encouragement it offered to Mike’s family really impacted me. While riding the roads around Greenville, my mind would day dream of ways to repeat the experience. It was during these sessions that the commitment to do Ride for Mike each year was born.

I determined at that time I would ride each year an “epic” style ride in memory of my friend. I would use it to raise money for charitable causes. It would start in 2008 when I joined a group of cyclists riding from Greenville to Austin to take part in the LiveStrong Challenge [link].

Once again I was blown away with the emotional impact these types of activities have on people who are struggling with cancer and other life challenges. It lead me to join the Palmetto Peloton Project for the 2009 ride as well. I will always have fond memories of that event [link] and will be bound as friends with my fellow riders for ever.

However, something kept coming to my mind. I felt that the story of Mike was getting lost in the larger story of the battle against the faceless enemy of cancer. I didn’t want to always ride to fight what killed him. My desire was to ride to celebrate what he lived for.

In 2010, I went out on my own. The Ride for Mike would celebrate what Mike lived for [link]. This time I would be raising money for a scholarship that bore Mike’s name. Also, it would be the first event planned specifically for the Ride for Mike and not be a part of another charitable event.

The 720 miles of the 2010 Ride for Mike gave me lots of time to think! I rode from Memphis (where Mike was born) to Greenville (where he went to college) and then to Raleigh (where was a youth pastor at the time of his death). It was THE most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.

On that ride I further dreamed what I would like to see happen with the Ride for Mike. I knew that at some point I would run out of “epic events” to ride. I also realized that Mike would want me to reach out to others just as he would.

That brings us to the 2011 Ride for Mike which was a single-day 220 mile ride from Greenville to Charleston [link]. This Ride for Mike would be for little Rebekah Grace Ellis. She has a congenital heart defect and she had traveled that route many times to visit the Medical University of South Carolina. We would raise money to help cover the incidental medical expenses the family faced.

It was from this Ride for Mike that the I Do It For Foundation was born. I knew that to keep the memory of Mike alive as I had promised to do back in 2007, I would need to make this bigger than myself. What if there were thousands of people doing a Ride for Mike… Ride for Jane… Ride for – you fill in the blank?

The purpose would be two-fold: 1) help these individuals with their financial needs, and 2) offer them emotional support by focusing on THEM instead of the ENEMY. I’ve come to realize that the second objective often means a lot more than the amount of money raised. All of this would be done at zero cost to the people seeking to raise the funds.

So, in 2012, I was joined by Michael T.’s dad, Mike McCaskill and several others supporters to raise money for the infant idea. It was Mike’s first full century ride. Once again, for a whole new reason, the opportunity filled me with a new emotion [link]. Now, Mike and I had a shared experience and a shared goal.

We were able to use the funds to get the foundation incorporated, apply for 501c3 status and start the process of getting materials together for the launch of the foundation for September 2013. Where will the foundation go from there? That will really depend on you.

We are committed to keep the foundation alive in memory of Mike. However, it is up to others to pick up the challenge to do their own I Do It For events [link]. Already, we have jumped the gun and cobbled together ways to help individuals seeking to make an individual difference through personal fund raising. Our September kick off event is still over a month away and already we have raised thousands of dollars to encourage individuals.

I don’t even know how to end this post. There are so many things that have not been said. There are so many opportunities that lie ahead. The story is really only beginning.

Updated and official Team Low Cadence flyer

UPDATE: Team Low Cadence has been closed. I Ride For ____ gear is now available without being a member of the team. Opportunity to order kit will open periodically.

The updated and official Team Low Cadence flyer is now available. You can see the images of the two-sided flyer and also download the printable PDF below. Here is a call to all team members to print this out and get out there to recruit more of us. We currently have 30 team members. Let’s keep growing!

Official Team Low Cadence Flyer

Official Team Low Cadence back

 

You download the flyer here [link]. For best results, it is suggested that you take the file to be printed at a service such as Kinkos. It is possible to print this on a color ink-jet printer, but the quality will not represent the original work.

Come along and join the team! We’re just getting started and the future is wide open. We’re excited already by the success we’ve seen. Be a part of it!