Alberto European Extreme Style, $1,250 Conquer Cancer Sponsorship


Extreme Style Cycling Team lines up
Extreme Style Cycling Team at the start of the 2009 Ride to Conquer Cancer

Our cycling team has been just blowing the doors off in fundraising.  I can’t say enough about the hard work of everyone on the Extreme Style cycling team, and the over 600 generous sponsors who have given to battle this terrible disease.   By next Sunday we will be well on our way to beating last year’s total of $90,000 raised for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  We have over 25 riders and generous sponsorship from the wonderful people at Alberto European Extreme Style.

Because everyone is rocking the fundraising so well, we have the ability to share with someone who may not have the connections or resources that we do.  We were thinking of all the people affected by cancer here in BC, and the hundreds of people who had committed themselves to the Ride and to raising funds for the BC Cancer Agency and the groundbreaking research they do.

So here’s our idea…Alberto European Extreme Style is going to match funds to enable someone to ride that wouldn’t have been able to otherwise, despite their best efforts to meet the minimum fundraising threshold.

The Offer

If you know an inspiring person in Vancouver who is registered for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, please nominate them for this award.  Our sponsor is offering up to $1,250 matching funds for the Ride to Conquer Cancer for one deserving cancer survivor or caregiver who has been unable to raise their minimum.

To nominate, please go to our Extreme Style Cycling Team facebook page and post the nomination to the Wall, providing a link to their Ride page in the post.  We’ll decide on Tuesday June 15th next week. 

Here’s our Facebook Page:

 http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Extreme-Style-Cycling-Team/318451084264

 Hope to see you on the ride, and please spread this around to everyone you know who is registered, inspiring, struggling to meet their fundraising goal, and is ready to Ride down to Seattle!

Explaining the Team Give’r Logo


Our Team Give'r Cycling Logo

This is the story of Team Give’r and our wicked mean logo.

In 2009 our Give’r Cycling Team was sponsored by Alberto European Extreme Style for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.   Last year we raised over $90,000 and this year we are already at $65,000 and growing every day.

Our super-talented designer in residence Dean put together a beautiful blue and red kit (shown below) to represent for the brand, and we found room for the Team Give’r logo on the shoulder. 

To go back to the beginning, our group of friends had dubbed ourselves “Team Give’r “ after we had lazed our way through the first few days of the Juan de Fuca trek.  We awoke late on the final morning with the realization that we were in danger of missing our lift out of the bush.  When asked how the hell we were going to make it in time, the answer came pretty easily…Just Give’r.  The name stuck.

Since we have some new riders and countless new supporters on the team this year, I thought it made sense to explain the genesis of the logo and what it means…beyond the fact that it just looks mean and cool, of course.

The logo is an original cancer survivor symbol that I explained to Dean in the form of a story, which he then built. 

The skull and crossbones, commonly found on your household cleansers, represents the life-saving poison of chemotherapy.  It’s also been used for centuries as a symbol of resurrection, with the crossed bones being a nod to the cross of Christian origin. The eye patch is a symbol of Wisdom from legend, coming from the old tale of the Norse God Odin who is said to have plucked out an eye in return for a sip from the well of knowledge  (you’ll have to come up with your own conclusions for why it is over the left eye…that’s a tightly held secret that I will only share over several drinks).  The eyepatch is there because my own experience with survivorship is that it forces wisdom on you…pushing aside the things that just don’t matter and bringing priorities into focus.

And finally the wings.  I could say that they represent freedom, or the soaring feeling of surviving a deadly threat…but the truth is that Dean thought they looked cool.  And that’s hard to argue with.

Team Give’r was made to channel the athletic, creative and compassionate energies of our wonderful network of friends into a way to give back.  We’re in year 2 now and as of this writing the team has raised $160,000 for the BC Cancer Foundation and the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  Not bad.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us…our caregivers, family, friends and sponsors.  We ride so that some day no one need fear death from a cancer diagnosis.

For more info on the Ride and our ride from Vancouver to Seattle, check out my Ride page here:  http://bit.ly/AndrewRidePage  and the Team Page here: http://bit.ly/extremestyle 

Team Extreme Style at the finish line in Seattle

Hope to see you on the roads!

Sophie is Clean!


Congratulations to everyone on Team Alberto European Extreme Style, who rode 260km over 2 days from Vancouver to Seattle this past weekend.   All in all our team 

Our Team, Riding to Conquer Cancer
Our Team, Riding to Conquer Cancer

had 25 riders and raised over $90,000 for Cancer Research!

The Ride to Conquer Cancer in its first year in BC had 1701 riders and raised over $6.9MM for the BC Cancer Foundation.  This is a record for this kind of event in BC, and sets the stage for even more success next year.  Congratulations everyone!

I’ve shared with you the heart-rending story of my friend Marcel’s 4-year old daughter and her bout with brain cancer. I dedicated my RIDE to her battle this year, and just 5 minutes ago I received this wonderful email…after 2 surgeries and more than 5 cycles of chemotherapy Sophie is clean!

“Hi Andrew and Jim,

Sophie had a (scheduled) MRI and CT scan and a lumbar puncture yesterday. The purpose of these procedures was to see if the tumor has returned or not.

Minutes ago we received the results of the tests. Sophie is clean! I don’t know the details yet but it seems that there are no traces of malignant cells in the brain nor spinal fluid.

This is very, VERY important and good news which I wanted to share with you all immediately. Because, the longer the malignant tumor stays away, the lower the probability that it will return.

In the mean time Sophie is doing amazingly well. She had her stem cell transplant a couple of weeks ago and she’s still in isolation. Most kids would be a wreck right now but she has never looked better and she is more happy and cheerful than she has ever been before!
She’s truly amazing. And I am so proud to be her father…

I actually want to shout from the rooftops that cancer research is SOOOO important. Sophie is doing remarkably well because she’s having experimental chemo. A treatment that didn’t exist 10 years ago.

10 years ago she would have died!

Thanks for your support in our fight against cancer my friend. Thanks so much.”

If you are dedicated to the ambitious goal of seeing an end to cancer, successes like this is why we do it…have a great weekend!

Week 3 Training Blog, Ride to Conquer Cancer


Here we are 2 months out from the longest ride in my life, and training is going great.  Team Alberto European Extreme Style is coming together well on both the riding and fundraising fronts.  We are up to 25 riders now and with another $7,000 coming in from sponsors via mail we should be in the top 10 teams in total money raised.

Right on Track: We’re almost 80% of the way to our goal of raising over $50,000 as a team!

Riding

Saturday we did the ride out to Horseshoe Bay again under some beautiful sunshine.  It’s a rolling ride that should be quite similar to the trip down to Seattle so it is an appropriate test that we will be completing a couple times a month.  Rode with Dean, Kathy and Eilleen and felt strong as an ox on the climbs.  The 50k ride took us over 2 hours but we were pretty leisurely. 

The team has a pretty wide range of ability so we’re a pretty good cross-section of the people who will be on the Ride with us…from enthusiastic non-riders all the way up to the super-fit triathlete.  This is good because everyone should have someone to ride with all the way to Seattle.

We’re using the La Bicicletta Sunday morning rides as our team get-togethers.  This is a solid group for people who want a regular opportunity to ride in a pack at a moderate speed.  They leave at 9:30 sharp from the store at Broadway and Alberta each week (be there by 9:15 ready to go).

I’ve been riding to work through the midweek rains as well to keep my fitness up during the less than ideal weather and playing hockey where I can to keep the training up.

Fundraising

For a number of people on the team last week seemed to be the time to start fundraising in earnest.  There is still plenty of time, and we have some fun events planned in addition to everyone’s personal efforts.  In addition to Mike Scholten’s successful Burger and Beer at one20 pub in Surrey on Saturday, Kathy, Sue and Sarah have a great event planned at Red Square Tapas Lounge on the 30th:

Thursday April 30th at 7pm
Red Square Tapas Lounge, downtown Vancouver 1216 Granville street (near Davie).
We have collected some great swag for prizes – yoga membership, salon products and professional services, Lacoste bags, GC’s, bike gear…
$5 at the door directly to donation, gives you $5 off food/drinks.

Contact me at awg_home@hotmail.com if you want to support the event.

We are also planning a gala event at our restaurant sponsor Hapa Izakaya in Kitsilano in June.  More on that later.

Monday-Thursday: Bike to work, 30 minutes round trip

Friday: Off

Saturday:  50km ride, 2:20:17 (frequent stops)

Kitsilano to Horseshoe Bay.  Great rolling ride.  Nice opportunity to climb in the big ring to build power and practice going downhill. 

We’re beginning to work out in our heads how long it will take to get down to Seattle.  Judging from our experience at the Tour of Courage in 2007 riding with Axel Merckx and Alex Stieda, we should be able to hold a pretty good speed without too much effort in a pack.

Just have to be fit enough to stay with the Pack!

Week 2 Training Blog


After an absolutely fantastic weekend last week, we’ve had a typical Vancouver week of rain.  Threw a wet blanket over outdoor activity.  Thankfully the sun returned today (Easter Monday) and Anita, Dean, Kathy and I jumped on our bikes for a most excellent 2 hour ride to Iona Beach and down by UBC.

Team Alberto is kicking into a higher gear with 2 months to go until the Ride to Conquer Cancer.   Lots of people putting renewed effort in, and Colleen just completed her goal of raising over $2,500. 

We’ve had a new joiner, Sid Segal, who completed a 500 mile ride in September where he and his daughter raised over $8,000.  They’ll fit right in.  I’ll be in Toronto next week and will be visiting Alberto Culver to thank the company for their sponsorship and do a presentation on the BC Cancer Foundation.  We’re going to totally blow away the goal of $50,000.

A week into my training blog and while I wasn’t able to shed any weight, I did lose 1% body fat.  Hoping that building muscle should pay dividends in the summer racing season. 

Was chatting on the bike with Dean about my goal of setting a personal best in both the Olympic Tri and the 10k this year.  I think the 10k goal is going to be the tougher of the 2, but am up for the challenge.

Monday: Walk to work; 45 minutes each way. 

Tuesday: Bike to work; 15 minutes each way. 

Wednesday: Off

Thursday: Hockey, 90 minutes. Scored a goal and we pulled out an 11-9 win in a pick up game

Friday: 3 hour walk around Vancouver, The Seawall to Chinatown and around. Doing the tour-guide thing with Myrna’s friend Pam.

Saturday: Cycling 60 Minutes on the trainer in-doors

Sunday: Church, and Easter Pot-Luck Dinner.

Monday: 49.20 km Ride,  Time 1:57:44, top speed 63km/hr, ave speed 25.1 km/hr

Beautiful day to ride. Out to Iona Beach and back along UBC.  With a bit of a tailwind we were able to hold 40km/hr on the flat. I was a little bit wiped out afterwards, but it was Easter Monday so a day of rest was in order.

Week 1 Training Blog, Ride to Conquer Cancer


April 4, 2009

I’ve just celebrated my 2 year anniversary of completing chemotherapy with a clean set of x-rays and bloodwork. Sweet.

After finishing chemotherapy at the end of March 2007 I asked my oncologist how I would be changed…whether I would still be able to run and scubadive and cycle the way I used to.  Except for Scuba, which is a maybe as one of the drugs in my chemo regimen has the potential to create scarring in the lungs, I was told that not only could I expect to return to normal health but that I should set my sites on being in better shape than before chemo.  Thank God for doctors who understand how to motivate people.

You can imagine how inspiring a thing this is to hear for a guy who had been competitive all his life.  Now 2 years later I am ready to test this out.  My objectives this year are to:

1.Beat my PR in the 10k : 41m37s

2. Beat my PR in the Olympic Triathlon, set after my first diagnosis but before chemo: 2h38mins

3. Ride from Vancouver to Seattle

4. Raise over $50,000 for Cancer Research as part of Team Alberto

5. Drop 20 lbs in the 10 weeks between now and the Ride June 20th

I’ll need to lose some of the weight I put on after chemo if I am to hope to meet those objectives.

A quick word on technology.  I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to tracking and performance measurement.  I use a Garmin 205 GPS wristwatch to track distance, time speed and elevation both running and on the bike.  I also have the Nike+ adapter for my iPod Nano and upload my running distances and times to www.nikeplus.com.  The on-line site for Nike+ is very cool and easy to use, and the Garmin fills in on the bike. 

My friend’s Shelley and Colleen have been using their iPhone in exactly the same way…so phone plus GPS plus internet plus cool apps?  Yes I’m getting an iPhone.

The reason I track time and distance is simply that it is the only way you will be able to identify improvement as you continue to train…an important motivator.  For mid to long distance running it also helps me to develop an intuitive feel for pace so that you don’t end up running too fast or too slow in the early stages.

By the way…am going to set an appointment with a respirologist at VGH now that it’s been 2 years to see whether in fact I can go back to Scuba safely.  Will let you know how that goes.  Here are my training entries for the weekend…but after the long rain of Vancouver winter it certainly didn’t feel like training. 

Sunday: 9.2k Run, time 52:09,  5:39/km

Ran along the Seawall to Jericho.   First real run of the year outdoors and it felt fantastic to be outside…long and slow.  Had to run through a bit of lower back stiffness as I got used to being back on the road but it felt fine after a while.

Saturday: 57k Ride, time 2:27:28, ave. 23 km/hr t

Kitsilano to Steveston.  Excellent day of riding out in the  spring sunshine with Team Alberto. Dean, Kathy, Craig and Liz.

Current Weight: 210 lbs. Target weight at week end – 208

Launching my LiveSTRONG year


Had a wonderful ride today: 4ok out along jericho and locarno beaches, up the hill past spanish banks, through UBC to SW Marine Drive and back.  A solitary ride that had me smiling almost the whole time despite the chill.

I’m now almost 2 years post chemo and have resolved to make this my “LiveSTRONG” year.  For me, this means that whatever I am doing, to do it with enthusiasm.  To dedicate myself to being better than ever.  To supporting Team Give’r to raise over $50,000 for Cancer Research.  We had a great day, preparing our meals and enjoying eachother’s company.  I made a savoury Miso Noodle Soup.  Myrna made a great Potato fry-up for breakfast and a fun chicken thigh thing from what we had in the fridge.

I’m enthusiastic about this year.  I’ll track my progress towards the big goal of dropping 25 pounds in 6 months and delivering a personal best for the 10k at the Turkey trot.