The last few days through Missouri were a treat, and after a ferry ride across the Mississippi, and a 7-mile blink through Kentucky, I landed tonight in Union City, Tennessee. The rolling hills of the last few rides made for challenging outings, but I appreciated the variety compared to, say, Oklahoma. With my new/old bike back under me, I have been feeling pretty aggressive and going out harder with each workout. For instance, today I broke a personal record getting 100 miles done at a 20.3/mph pace and felt great afterward.
But, as many of you know, this trip isn't just about the riding itself. When I announced that I was heading out across the country, I invited you to send me jerseys from your companies and organizations and the response put a big smile on my face. I have been wearing these "kits" as they are called in cycling, across the country, and now is the time to start featuring them to all of you.
Not presenting these in any particular order, but it seems fitting to start with a non-profit related to bikes. Freiker is an organization that works with school kids to encourage them to walk or bike to school. It's just that simple. To do this, Freiker builds recording and scoring systems to track the progress of the kids and provides incentives so the kids are rewarded for their efforts. As childhood obesity exceeds epidemic proportions, I am thrilled to see a group building fitness and health awareness into the lives of these kids. It would be great if you could give them a few bucks so that can continue this important work. Donate here.
Formerly known as Columbus Children's Hospital, Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, is dedicated to improving the lives of all sick kids regardless of their ability to pay. At a time when the health care debate has been besieged by acrimonious politics, it is refreshing to be reminded of those institutions within our convoluted system who have committed to making sure everyone who needs care gets access to care. This is doubly so for those who treat children. Such a commitment comes with substantial cost though, and they could definitely use your help. Click here to learn more and donate.
While not a non-profit in the traditional sense, Levi Leipheimer, a friend of mine and one of our country's best cyclists ever, hosts an annual event called "Levi Leipheimer's Kind Ridge GranFondo". Not a bike race per se, it is more of a huge group ride through the Northern California's wine country open to participation by folks of all abilities from amateur pedalers to seasoned pros. Over three thousand people joined Levi this year and all of my pals who were there said it was a blast. The coolest part is that all the proceeds go toward charitable causes including Forget Me Not Farm, a supercool place that pairs at-risk youth with animals at the Sonoma County SPCA and Humane Society to learn and heal with one another. Be sure to sign up here to know when tickets go on sale for next year. They are guaranteed to sell out.
All right, stay tuned for lots more jerseys and even a chance soon to win a full Twitter kit! (Only four exist!)