Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shiner Down, Tahoe to Go….and video included!

For those keeping up with our posts, I apologize for the delay in getting the Shiner update. Things have been busy since the event – training, kids, work, more training, more kids, more work but that’s not excuse so here we go….

The Austin to Shiner Century Ride was fantastic. The entire event benefits the American Cancer Society and our Team rides for The Leukemia Society so over 1000 riders pedaled to Shiner raising a ton of money to help wipe out all sorts of cancer. Some were riding in honor of another, some were riding to train, and others were riding just for fun but everyone had 2 common goals – get to Shiner and raise some money in the effort to wipe out cancer…absolutely awesome!!

Prior to the ride, Courtney and Trevor Moore (Georgia’ parents) met us at the starting line. It was so great to have them there and I don’t think I could really express how much it meant to me personally to see them right before we left. It was like a little boost of energy and a little bit of calming for pre-race jitters at the same time. They watched as we rolled out which I think was exciting for them too as they saw hundreds of cyclists rolling down the street….pretty cool if you have never seen something like that before! We had another opportunity to spend time with Georgia and her whole family the next day when we went to a blood drive that was being held in Georgia’s honor. Once it was all said and done, the whole weekend was seemingly “dedicated” to fundraising and volunteering from thousands of people all for the same cause. Selfless (and of course inspiring) are what comes to mind when thinking about all the folks that gave their time on a beautiful weekend in Austin.

Now to the ride – wake up call at 5am – we were meeting downstairs at 6 to head to the start. The day started out a little overcast and cool but NO WIND….at least not yet – this after all is Texas and you never know what to expect weather-wise. As I mentioned in a previous post, my plan was to ride with my Team a little more since we have become close over the past few months and I think it is cool when you see a bunch of folks grouped together wearing the TNT jerseys….the jersey’s really stand out, everyone knows what they are and what they mean, and it really signifies the spirit of the Team. We all started out strong knowing that the faster we rode the less chance there was that we would get caught in the wind. Dianna, her mom, grandma, nephew, and our kids were at a rest stop at mile 35 – this was the first time the kids have seen “daddy” on event day so it was really special to me when I pulled up and saw them holding the signs they made to cheer me (and the Team) on. I saw them at 2 more stops and was looking forward to it knowing that I was only going to see them a few times on the course. I remember thinking as we all drove to Austin on Friday – all 7 of us – that this was going to be crazy and I was going to be worried about the kids and they weren’t going to sleep in the hotel etc, etc, etc…all that went away when I saw Dianna, Abi, and Beau at the first rest stop. Later, I confessed to Dianna that I did not think it was (initially) a good idea that we bring the kids with us, but ended up thanking her later for insisting. It was really special and Dianna and the family did a great job of making sure that I had plenty of time to rest and recover pre- and post- ride. Thank you Fran for all your help!

As ride day went on, there was a pack of us that rode together, sometimes spread over a mile or so and sometimes in a paceline. While I always find inspiration and strength from thinking about Georgia, Allie, and our other honored heroes, I found myself thinking a lot about the Team and why each of them were there. Nick for example, a young, early 20’s, recent Texas A&M grad that lost his brother to Leukemia a few years ago; and Matt (whose wife Jess is also on the Team) who lost a grandparent; and Tex, whose kids are grown and doesn’t have a real significant connection to LLS but is by far one of the most positive men I have ever met; and Kim who has 2 adult brothers that were both diagnosed with Leukemia and she pledges not to get off her bike until they are both in remission; and Coach Becky who gave bone marrow to someone she did not know so that he could live for another 9 months; and the list goes on but my thoughts kept coming back to the fact that some of our Team has a connection to Leukemia and some don’t but what brings everyone together is the CHOICE to do something. Each person on the Team, our Coaches Becky and Tracy, Amber our TNT coordinator, our captains Tommy and Becky, and every participant has made the decision to not sit back and do nothing – they get up and train, fundraise, work, raise families, and ultimately decide that they are going to use their good health in the best way they know how - to honor a loved one, to lead by example, and to make a difference in the lives of our honored heroes. The past few months have been amazing – I have talked about being inspired by Georgia and her family, I continue to talk about my gratitude to Dianna and Allie for introducing me to such a wonderful and meaningful cause, I talked about training and the benefits (physical and mental) that come from pushing yourself but I guess I always felt like I was leaving something out. During the Shiner event I realized that the Team was the “shout out” I was forgetting. In our lives we all come across a person/people that are inherently good, selfless, and inspiring. As luck has it for me, I have spent the last 6 months with a Team of people that live the qualities I admire. For that I am humbled and grateful.

Now it is on to Tahoe – just a few short weeks away! A special thanks to my Dad, Bill and stepmom Debbie for coming to Shiner for the afternoon to see me cross the finish line - we are looking forward to having them in Tahoe to cheer us on too.

More posts to come as we wind down the training season and prepare for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride!! And instead of just a few pictures...Dianna put together a video of the weekend. GO TEAM!

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  1. such a great entry and video. I love the last picture with everyone asleep in the car.

  2. That is a great video! I loved it, looks like yall had an amazing timee(:
    You guys wore everyone out!
    The entry was awesome, very touching!
    Love you Didi and Uncle Will

  3. Great video Di! Great job Will! Awesome work y'all are doing!
    Jeff Riss

  4. Dianna & Will
    This my first time writing on your site but i needed to tell you both how very proud i am of you. Your both are on a journey to raise funds to find a cure someday and for myself being a survivor it really means alot. I can't forget your niece, my granddaughter, Allie. She is a blessing to us all. Will be 16 years in remmission on Dec. 15th.
    I love you all more than you ever know.