Saturday, February 28, 2009

I Signed Up For the Pan Mass Challenge

I did it. I signed up for the Pan Mass Challenge.

It is a big commitment. I signed up for the full Sturbridge-Provincetown 192 mile, two-day ride. This route has a minimum fund raising requirement of $4,200. I am optimistic that I will more than meet that goal. I have 200+ "friends" on FaceBook. If I manage to get as little as $20 from each of those friends, I will easily meet that goal. Realistically though, I know that won't happen. One of the many ways that people raise funds for the PMC is to form teams and work together as a group hosting fund raising events, auctions, and such. Pooling resources is a proven strategy to raise funds.

PMC Monsters

I joined the PMC Monsters team. It is an employee formed team here at work that has been very successful at fund raising. I look forward to helping out with their fund raising events. I mentioned my blog and in the first meeting they made me the "official blogmaster".

I guess that's what I get for missing the first meeting ;-)

I have plenty of ideas for the blog. One idea is to "Live Blog" the ride during the event (posts, pictures, and maybe even some video...), all from my cell phone. It is something I have done before (High Point to Cape May, 2006) and satisfies my geekiness. It should be cool. :-)

UPDATE! (April 23, 2009): I Joined with Team Phat Tuesday

Why Not the PMC Monsters?

Well, to make a long story short: The team that was the PMC Monsters was not sanctioned by Monster this year and that really put a crimp in things. Most of the members of the PMC Monsters are merging with another team. I decided not to follow them.

Phat Tuesday

I decided to leave what was left of the PMC Monsters and join a team called Phat Tuesday. They are a well established team in the town I live in, (Franklin, MA)

More on that here: Team Switch: I am now on Team Phat Tuesday

So please visit my PMC Profile, read my story (also included below), and sponsor me as I ride for a cure.

My PMC Story

Why am I riding the Pan Mass Challenge?

Click here to go to Marty Middelmann's PMC Profile PageAs a cyclist, the draw of a two-day ride with a few thousand people is something that attracts me. Cycling is such a solo sport, yet when riding with a group; it takes on a whole new experience. There is something about being part of a big mass of people with a single purpose and goal that is an experience that I wish to partake in.

But this ride has to be more than just about cycling to me. I guess I can call myself lucky because cancer hasn't touched me personally, or has it?

So I ask myself, "Really, how has cancer affected my life?"

The more I reflect on it,the more I realize that there are a lot of people only one or two degrees away from me who have struggled with, survived, or didn't survive their bout with Cancer. A number of family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, and colleagues of mine have had bouts with cancer either directly or indirectly. One, in particular comes to mind. Let's call him "X".

In High School, there was a classmate of mine, "X", who struggled with cancer during our senior year of high school. I'm not sure how to describe our relationship. He was not exactly a friend. In fact he was a bit of a bully to me during our freshman year. I distinctly remember one time while he was bullying me, he said in a somewhat respectful way, "You know kid, you're pretty tough." "Gee thanks..." is what I remember sarcastically thinking.

Junior year rolls around and the Gym teacher suggests that I try out for the Cross Country team. I do. "X" is on the team. No big deal as he has not really been a bully to me since freshman year. I practiced with the team. Then came the time for me to run my first cross country race. I sucked big time. However, even though I was sucking, the varsity members of the team, "X" being one of them, were cheering me on. Now these were people who had not given me the time of day during high school. Yet since I was at least trying to run this race (where I got stung by 5 bees and got so lost I did not make it to the finish line...), I was at least getting support from these people as part of the team. Cool. However I still quit the team later that week as Cross Country Running simply was not my thing.

Later that year I joined the track team. My events were the 100, 200, 400 and the long jump. None of that long distance stuff. "X" is also on the track team. One day, after practice, it was just the two of us waiting for our respective rides. He comes over to me and says, "Let's walk down to the convenience store". Now we do not normally hang out together, so I was surprised at the invitation. We do just that. We walk to the little store down the road and just hang out. A perfectly "normal moment". It was one of the few "normal moments" I had in high school, if that makes any sense.

Senior year rolls around. It's fall and while "X" is still on the Cross Country team, he is not competing. He has cancer. I have no idea what type of cancer. Other than the fact he is not competing, he looks perfectly healthy. Later on during senior year, we actually hang out together at times. However now he is bald from the chemotherapy treatments. The seriousness of his situation never hits me. I guess that's what being 17 is all about. I think it's odd that he has no desire to get a driver's license. Also, on the VHS tape of our graduation ceremony, when asked about his future, he casually mentions that he is taking a year off (96% of the class has college plans). After graduation everybody parts ways and moves on. Such is life.

During the later part of my freshman year at college, I get a call from my best friend Mike.

"X is dead."

Damn. He died from the cancer that had manifested itself throughout his body. It was quite a shock to be 18 and have personally known somebody, a peer, who died of cancer. Later that spring, after the colleges had let out for the summer, there was a memorial service at the high school. Just about our entire class was there along with his family members. It was hard to believe someone so young was now gone, but not forgotten.

Why did I use "X" as his name?

Well, because it was really his nickname. When I do this ride, I will be thinking of how Xavier Yepez's life was cut way too short by cancer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My Rear Derailleur...

Fixed, I think... Maybe?

Ok, so this past weekend I threw my bike up on my Topeak PrepStand Pro Bicycle Repair Stand and armed with my trusty Topeak Hexus 16-Function Bicycle Tool, and an article about repairing my rear Derailleur form the latest issue of Bicycling Magazine, I went to work.

(Wow, that's a lot of product placement in one sentence ;-)

On Wednesday evenings I run into fellow cyclist/neighbor/friend Ed at our daughters Gymnastics class. I told him of my rear derailleur issues and he mentioned that maybe my rear derailleur hanger might be bent. I read the Bicycling Magazine article and I was reluctant to disconnect anything. It didn't look bent, but I know that even the slightest misalignment cold cause my gears to skip. So I kind of just used my hand to move the whole rear derailleur into what I thought might be the correct position. I really don't think I exerted a lot of force on it. I really don't even think I did anything. I cycled it through the gears and no more skipping. Hmmmm..., I guess I did the absolute minimum and fixed it.

On the Trainer

This morning I got on the bike trainer and noticed that I didn't notice anything wrong with the way my gears were shifting back there.

I guess the true test will be when I get back on the road sometime in the spring.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Return to the Trainer

A Nice Full Week...

Even though my back was still a little sore at the beginning of the week, I forced myself to get back on the trainer. I'm glad I did. My back feels 99% better now, though I am careful when lifting things (like my daughter). with any luck I may get down to my pre-Thanksgiving weight by the end of next week.

The Bike on the Trainer

The bike on the trainer needs it rear derailleur adjusted. I think I bent something back there last fall when the bike was in the back of my car (unsecured). It is starting to really bother me now. That and the annoying noise the flywheels on the trainer makes when I'm not going fast enough (or slow enough). They might need either adjustments or some oil. Maybe this weekend I'll get to it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back on the Trainer...

2 Week Hiatus

After a 2 week hiatus, I got back on my bike trainer this morning. My back is still a little bit sore from it "going out on me" a week ago Sunday. However, I figured there was no sense in waiting anymore. I was going to spin after all, not lift anything. I still need to dig out my weight set and figure out a way to incorporate strength training into my routine.