The Charity Cases Cycling Team began with the purpose of bringing cyclists together to raise funds and awareness for charitable causes that each individual on the team felt passionate about. For me, it was the American Lung Association. For Rob Holdford, it is the Alzheimers Association, and for Bill Burnette, it is the Wounded Warrior Project. Please check out our original ride, post, and VLOG.
The Tour de Nebraska marked several firsts for me and others as we rode 250 miles across Nebraska. Allow me to backtrack for a moment! A few of us decided to register for the Tour de Nebraska. Myself, Rob Holdford and Bill Burnette. While Bill and myself are no strangers to organized rides, Rob was new to cycling.
We started training and everything was on track for the ride June, 21st through June 25th. However, during training, my mother passed away from emphysema. I’ve lost many due to cigarette smoking including my father, both my father-in-law and mother-in-law as well as others. I began exploring the possibility of dedicating the ride to my mother and raising money for the American Lung Association. Certainly a first for me!
When I spoke with Rob and Bill, they were very supportive and wanted to raise money for causes that were very personal to them, the Alzheimers Association and the Wounded Warrior Project. Rob’s mother, suffering from dementia, is in a nursing facility near his home in Little Rock, AR, and Bill retired from the Air Force, a true patriot who served our country for decades.
We decided to call our team the Charity Cases and document our progress. Yet another first! We agreed to VLOG our experience and share our videos on our respective social channels. With over 20 years in marketing and video production, I was always behind the scenes managing, directing, shooting, and/or producing hundreds of videos. However, I was never in front of the camera! Another scary first! My advice –
Be bold, take a risk and make a difference!
It’s been several weeks since completing BRAN, and I’ve needed this time to process the experience. The ride was book-ended with less than ideal conditions that left me wondering if I would ever do this again.
Day one was just awful! The high temperature was 45 degrees and it rained, sleeted and hailed on us the entire 70 miles. Not a lot of cover in the Sandhills of western Nebraska. The last day we had a steady 30MPH head wind for most of the 57 miles. I just wanted to get off the bike and go home. No sense of accomplishment or enjoyment at the finish line.
It took a few weeks, but I realized that the experience was all mine!
From a training perspective, I put more than enough time in the saddle preparing for BRAN. About 1,200 miles in before the event, and my weight was right where I wanted it. In fact, my weight was exactly the same at the end of the ride. This meant that my nutrition and calorie intake were right on. Some riders will not be prepared for the miles, get overly tired and then compound their problem by not eating. Game Over!
Here’s where I went wrong… In the months leading up to BRAN, if I went outside and it was 45 degrees and raining, I simply went inside, put the bike on the trainer and put in the miles. When you’re in a ride like BRAN, you just go! There’s a schedule to keep and it’s a one-way trip. I had the wrong gear and never trained in poor conditions before.
Now with lessons learned, I’m very anxious to do this again. The people in the towns that hosted us were simply amazing. They opened their schools, homes, businesses and hearts to the riders and staff of BRAN. If you’re on the fence about taking on a ride like BRAN, my advice… GO!
Note to self: Have the right gear and train in all types of weather.