Posts Tagged cycling

I Cycled For The Survival Of People With Rare Cancers

at the end of four hours for Evan, one for me and my son

Ira and Evan during their rides

Well I did it. I spun for an hour on February 13th. First time ever that long and in a group. There were 125 bikes at my location, 450 bikes and 800 teams in all five locations. Helluva workout. The huffing and puffing and leg strain was much greater than any of the tennis or squash I do. A friend saw me sweating and was concerned that I was overdoing it and should take it easier. I’d never pedaled before “out of the saddle,” standing up, to loud music and hundreds of people egging me on by their own efforts…I wanted to keep up and move to the group rhythm. I’d planned to just pedal gently, but seated. Forget it. I was cycling for survival.

Definitely in the zone. Spaced out. Mindless. And zinging along. A couple of weeks earlier in a Boston hotel gym, I’d tried spinning on my own . Couldn’t get the seat and handlebars adjusted satisfactorily and was in agony. My butt was screaming from the pain. I was told to buy special padded shorts, but never did, so I brought a small blanket and padded seat. But I was up in the air so much I barely needed it.

How did my son-in-law, Evan, do it for four consecutive hours??!!! He is an animal, an ox, a lion. One of just 40 extreme cyclists out of 4000 participating. I was thrilled when the hour was up. I’d made it, but also sad that the experience was over. A real high. And this charity event raised almost as much this year as in the previous four years. The overall total is now greater than $8 million.

Our team goal was $15,000, way up from last year’s $3000, when only Evan cycled. This year Evan raised almost $17,000. My individual goal was $1000, and will add up to more than $2000 by April 1st, when the fund raising is officially over. All for a good cause. Rare cancer research. Yet add up all the rare cancers in America, and the total number of cases is equal to the major cancers that get almost all the corporate research dollars.

she started it all

This event was started by a woman, Jennifer Goodman Linn, who developed cancer that is a rare cancer and that minimal research is being done on. So she began spinning, because it felt good. Definitely shows you what a difference one person can make.

For more details, check out this earlier story . And go to this site if you want to donate too.

And here are some of the poignant comments from the Cycle for Survival Facebook page.

Today I rode all 4 hours at my first Cycle for Survival! Thank you for your putting together such an amazing event. Thanks to all who supported me and the generous donations to this great cause! I rode in the event in honor of those who have beat cancer, in memory of those who have not and in support of those who are fighting.

My team cycled last weekend in Chicago and we had an amazing time!! I’ve been battling leiomyosarcoma since 2006 and I can’t even begin to describe my emotions I experienced on Saturday! To see so many people pull together and fight for me and the many other patients out there that have a rare cancer leaves me in tears… and speechless! Thank you to all of those who cycled in Chicago and thank you to all of you who are cycling in New York this weekend!! You are doing such an amazing thing and it means the world to all of us fighting cancer!!! Go New York!!!! And have a blast!!

Tags: , , ,

New Danny MacAskill Stunt Bike Video In Scenic Scotland

Here is a new Danny MacAskill video of trials biking on Scottish streets and highways. His skill is far from ordinary, but it is here as an inspiration to anyone who rides a bicycle. You can see other examples of this extraordinary sport here .

Tags: , , , ,

Endurance Cycling Champion Jure Robic Dies In Car Crash

This NY Times article (September 29th) by Bruce Weber describes an amazing human being. Far from ordinary, this cyclist shows us what our species is capable of—or at least what some outstanding examples can accomplish. Jure can be an inspiration to us all, especially when we ache a tad or feel a bit tired. Damn shame that he’s wiped out by a common car accident instead of something more noble…whatever that might be. More than 40,000 people a year die in U.S. car crashes…

Jure Robic on one of his Races Across America

Jure Robic, a long-distance bicyclist who won the grueling Race Across America five times and whose seemingly endless, sleep-eschewing stamina tested the limits of human endurance, died during a training ride on Friday when he collided with a car on a mountain road in Plavski Rovt, Slovenia, near his home in Jesenice. He was 45…

Even in the circumscribed world of ultra-endurance athletes, Robic (his full name is pronounced YUR-eh ROH-bich) was known for his willingness, or his ability — or both — to push his body to extremes of fatigue. Compared by other riders to a machine and known to friends as Animal (a seeming contradiction that nonetheless made sense), he once rode 518.7 miles in 24 hours, a world record.

One occasional feature of his training regimen, which included daily rides or other workouts stretching between 6 and 10 hours, was a 48-hour period without sleep: a 24-hour ride followed by a 12-hour break followed by a 12-hour workout. Play, a magazine about sports that appeared in The New York Times, reported in 2006 that Robic rode 28,000 miles — more than the circumference of the Earth — every year.

Robic takes a break from the heat during a RAAM

His five victories in the Race Across America, an approximately 3,000-mile transcontinental ride that has been held annually since 1982, are unequaled. (The current course extends from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.)

Unlike the Tour de France, the Race Across America is not a stage race; once it begins, there is no respite for riders until they give up or cross the finish line, so determining when and how long to sleep is the event’s primary strategic element. The winner generally sleeps less than two hours out of 24 and finishes in less than nine days (although Robic’s winning time this past June was a relatively lethargic 9 days 46 minutes).

In 2005, Robic won the race and two weeks later won Le Tour Direct, a 2,500-mile European version with a course derived from Tour de France routes that included 140,000 feet of climbing — almost the equivalent of starting at sea level and ascending Mt. Everest five times. His time was 7 days 19 hours.

Robic became accustomed to both the physical and mental stress that pushing himself to extremes brought on. In the later stages of long-distance races, feet swell as much as two sizes and thumb nerves go dull from the pressure of hands on handlebars. Robic told Daniel Coyle, the Play magazine reporter, that for weeks after the Race Across America, he had to use two hands to turn a key. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Gary Gianni Rides Road Bikes, Mountain Bikes, and Spins in Cellars in Winter

I like to test myself…and then you feel real good about what you’ve done. Biking is my thing, and most people on a bike have a smile on their face.

My wife passed away after 27 years together. So one of my philosophies is to Do It Today, because tomorrow you may not be able to. That’s carried over to my biking—when the weather is great, I ride with my friends.

Gary Gianni during his first Century (100 miles) ride—

Gary Gianni during his first Century (100 miles) ride—


Everyone rides a bike, when they’re a kid. I also messed around with bikes in my 20’s. But I played in a band part-time for 15-20 years after that, and I had no time to ride. I got tired of that. Then a friend offered me his mountain bike in 1988, when I was 35. (I’m 56 now.) So I quit playing and started riding, just five or 10 miles. There were trails near our house that I’d go on with my neighbor, who was 10 years younger. I met more people who rode, and it just became a passion.

Next it became a bit competitive. My two boys started riding with us. It makes me smile and feels good. It’s a great means of seeing things—more than hiking in the woods and trails. It’s so much fun.

Then a lady gave me a road bike, just left it at my house one night. I started riding on the road, which is safer and better for your cardiovascular system. You can go a lot faster and keep up your heart rate. Mountain biking is more up and down, while road biking is more steady. Once you get into a zone, you can really fly. It takes over your body physically.

Hill on the RAGBRAI out of St. Olaf, Iowa—

Hill on the RAGBRAI out of St. Olaf, Iowa—


Once I did the RAGBRAI [the Register’s (a local newspaper) Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa]. It’s a seven-day ride, 450-500 miles, a different route each year. There are 10,000 riders! Such an experience. You camp out each night after a set number of miles. So when I hit the 60-mile mark one day, there are 23 miles to go. I got into the zone, going 23 miles per hour, and I decide I’ll just go this fast as far as I feel good. I was in such a mental zone. I made it the whole way. That’s a pretty good clip.

The fastest rider I know does 21-22mph for 50 miles. You just feel good about it. You just have to do it. My girl friend Susan (see her story posted on 10/25/09) flew by me one time and went for five miles in the zone. The endorphins and adrenaline are flowing, everything seems to be right. You’re shifting nice, and you just go with it.

Susan and Gary at Pennwood, CT, New Year's Day, 2006

Susan and Gary at Pennwood, CT, New Year's Day, 2006


Then there are those times when you just bonk, and you can’t get out of your own way. Nutrition, eating well, and hydrating plays such a big part of it. You’re just tired, and your legs feel like lead, but it will pass. You’ll get your energy back. Younger riders are lighter, and they fly by you. Though there are a lot who can’t keep up with me. Physical conditioning is very important. There are even a lot of guys in their 20’s and 30’s I mountain bike with who can’t keep up with me.

In the summer, I go out 3-4 times a week. Two weekdays and Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes it’s 2-3 days in a row. It’s good to recover and back off a bit. You get a pain here and there, and you have to listen to your body and take it easy a little. Road riding takes up a good part of the day.

When we ride on roads, we usually won’t go less than 35 miles. We try for a 50-75 mile ride. If I’m going with friends who are fast riders, we travel at 17-18 mph. We live near a lot of hills, so when we go with older, slower riders, we go 13, 14, maybe 15 mph.

I once did 140 miles in a day. Four of us rode to Lake George, New York from Winsted, CT. It was 10 hours in the saddle. That’s a decent pace. Some fast guys can average 20 mph, but we were doing it for the enjoyment, just to have a good time.

A 66-year-old friend rode cross country, from Virginia to Oregon. Ten to 12 riders for 12 weeks. There were cars that hauled your supplies, sponsored riders and helped with breakdowns.

He and I also did the Border Raiders ride, named after Quantrill’s Raiders, back when there were border wars with slave states before the Civil War in the 1860’s. It’s 500 miles over eight days across four states (Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri). You go 160 miles in 100 degrees, from convenience store to convenience store. Grueling. You just keep filling up.

I’m talking with friends about doing a double century ride—200 miles—in one day. It’s kind of nice to push yourself a little bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mountain Biker Susan Georgia Struts Her Stuff At Case Mountain In Manchester, Ct

Sue is still biking away and recently sent in another photo of herself on the trails of Connecticut. This time it is at Case Mountain in Manchester, Ct. Check out her story posted below on August 25th: https://www.irasabs.com/?m=20090825

Susan Georgia pausing on the trails at Case Mountain Ct—8/09

Susan Georgia pausing on the trails at Case Mountain Ct—8/09

Tags: , , , ,

Tour de France Very Exciting

Been watching many of the finishes and latter parts of the races, and I am addicted. It’s on live in the morning and then re-broadcast two or three times each day on Versus. Thrilling to view, and I am not even a cyclist. But when Lance (in #2 position overall) attacked back yesterday and caught up to the leader, Contador, so that he did not lose any more time, it was exhilarating. As are many of the other finishes, climbs and various chases. Have you seen any of this? Check it out…

Tags: , ,

Bill Ale’s Running and Cycling Story: There Are No Short Cuts, And One Can Achieve Almost Anything With Commitment and Hard Work

Bill Ale (L) and friend cycling in the Italian Alps—9/08

Bill Ale (L) and friend cycling in the Italian Alps—9/08

Hard work and commitment is the key to any athletic endeavor! Only a very small percentage of athletes have that genetic gift that seems to allow them to excel with minimal work. Most of us have to accept what we were given at birth and sculpt that into whatever athletic objective we may want to pursue or achieve. I am a perfect example of the latter guy.


I am a 58 year old, retired male and have been involved in competitive sport my entire life. I was not given the perfect body, but what I was given was heart. I learned that even though I did not have all the tools, I still could achieve anything if I committed myself to it and worked hard enough. 


After I got out of college, for the first time in my life, I had no sport, and much to my surprise I began to notice my pants more snug and my mid section starting to expand. So I began to jog, which I really didn’t care for, but I stayed with it. One day, while in the men’s room at Southern Connecticut State University, where I was attending graduate school, a frail looking gentleman approached me after noticing my running shoes and asked me if I was a runner. I sheepishly said, I was. He introduced himself and said he was also a runner. In fact, he said he was a marathoner. I was intrigued, as I had read some of Bill Roger’s books on marathon training.

48 Switchbacks of the Stelvio Pass in Italy—One of Bill Ale's best rides on a bike—9/08

48 Switchbacks of the Stelvio Pass in Italy—One of Bill Ale's best rides on a bike—9/08


Make a long story short, we set a date to “run” together. Our running date was a torture fest for me as I tried my best to keep up with him for the 5 miles we ran. After the run he offered me some constructive tips and wrote down a basic training schedule for me. I followed that schedule and soon began to see improvements. As the old adage goes “the better you are the better it gets”. I was hooked. I set my sights on running the Manchester Thanksgiving Day Road Race with my new running friend.

On the big day, which happened to be my first race, I had no clue where to line up for the start. So I lined up next to my friend, which happened to be in the second row right behind Amby Burfoot, Bill Rogers and Frank Shorter. The gun sounded and we were off. Mile one, I passed at a 5:10 pace. Mile 2, I was in a survival shuffle and by mile 3, I was walking. A harsh reality! I learned alot that day, mostly that positive outcomes are a product of commitment and hard work. Something I had not done. There are no short cuts.


One year after that memorable day and many miles I ran my first marathon in 3 hours and 55 minutes. Over the next two years, I joined a running club, trained hard and managed to lower my marathon time to just under 3 hours. Lots of 80 mile weeks . I did manage to get a PR of 2:53 in New York, but shortly after that I injured my knee, which ended my running career. Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

David Dougherty Is A Passionate Athlete Biking Furiously These Days

David Dougherty says that he is a very “kinetic” person who has been active in sports all his life. He needs athletics as a balance to his business and family life and thinks nothing of playing tennis in four different games on a weekend. Or playing tennis in the morning and a round of golf in the afternoon. He also sails at a nearby lake and in Newport, RI when he can. Winters are filled with snowboarding and very aggressive ping-pong contests.

Most mornings these days he heads to his local Connecticut gym, where he cycles for an hour or two on a stationary bike that has a program hooked up to an online internet account. This way he can change his virtual course and also document how many miles he “rides” and how many calories he burns over a documented number of hours.

David Dougherty Cycling the Miles

David Dougherty Cycling the Miles

At age 53, he is now on a real flurry, pedaling as much as 32.5 miles in two hours some days, which always begin around 6:30 am. Over the last four months he has ridden 864 miles, burned over 40,000 calories, and expects to pass the 1250-mile marker this month. He is proud of his slimming-down, muscling up and has the heart of a lion.

David Dougherty Pedaling Furiously Fast

David Dougherty Pedaling Furiously Fast

Now here is what he wrote to me:

“In leadership training school, I learned the principle that “you do physical training to make your body as vital as possible.” This included working out, diet, rest, etc. I have been working out 3-5 days a week, 45 -120 minutes a day for 30 years. So what may seem excessive to you has been a life style and a leadership culture I grew up in.

The only time I have really gotten away from this is in the last several years, because of my business travel…..you and I come from somewhat different planets and norms….I am amazed that you can stay in such good shape and not work out much….good genes….it takes a ton of work now …..more work to stay in worse shape…..”

Tags: , , , , , ,