Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why I'm participating in the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) Golden State Challenge, and an update on my training and fundraising

I learned about the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) at the Bay Area Brain Injury Task force (BABIT) Resource Fair last May.  John Wordin, Executive Director, Fitness Challenge Foundation, was the guest speaker; he invited the brain injury community to participate in the R2R because he saw the positive effects of cycling on America's injured military.

I started riding shortly thereafter and more regularly in July after visiting family and friends in the Midwest.

I can personally attest to the therapeutic effects of cycling.  I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 1992 and it changed my life forever. I'm a noncombat veteran (1975 - 1978) and I had many years, approximately 13 or so, towards retirement in the Army Reserves.

I resigned my commission after I realized I could not do what I could do pre-injury and before I wouldn't be selected for promotion.  After my brain injury, I could not focus and concentrate to finish the education requirements (1 class) and I voluntarily transferred myself from my reserve unit to the individual ready reserve with the hopes that I would get better.  I usually barely met the military weight requirements and a few times I didn't.   After I went on the seizure and antidepressant medications, the pounds accumulated.  The abnormal fatigue after the brain injury didn’t help either.

The R2R is the perfect fundraiser for me.  The funds and ride directly benefit our military personnel and it will be an honor for me to participate in this ride with those who have served our country in time of war.  Furthermore, I'm personally going to take advantage of the endorphin high that I have experienced with cycling.  It's better than any antidepressant I have tried.

I will be riding for the men and women who paid the ultimate price of war and those who are living with combat injuries, including post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury (TBI), the "signature wound" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To learn more about TBI in the military go here:

In my previous blog where I introduce you to the Ride 2 Recovery, I told you I'd update you on my training and fundraising.

Update on my training: 

I was off my bike often during the winter due to inclement weather; for about 8 weeks after the meniscus surgery on January 15th; and 2-3 weeks in April due to a horrible cold.  The last week of April I road for about an hour to 1 1/2 hours daily, if it didn't rain.  Starting May 1st, I rode 20 miles every day I could.  Last week my goal was 25 miles a day.  It rained one day and I only got 8 miles in and the next day I only got in 15 miles because I went out riding too late and had an appointment that day.

On Saturday, May 15th, I went riding with my Trainer to Montclair.  The route is a continuous, gradual, low grade climb.  For an inexperienced cyclist like me, the ride to Montclair is good training.

Bad news - I couldn't make it all the way. I would have needed at least one 20 - 30 minute stop and I didn't want to keep my Trainer waiting so I urged him to go on and I waited for him.

Good news - I had no problem with the knee I had the arthroscopic surgery.  Unfortunately, I did feel a few twinges of pain in my left knee and that's probably arthritis.

I'll start climbing to Montclair daily when there's no chance of rain.  I was going to wait until June, but the fact I had problems with the last climb and I'm experiencing no pain in my right knee that is a good sign to me that the time for me to start climbing again is NOW.

The first time I went to Montclair I went with my other biking buddy.  I made it to the top with one stop to take off my sweatshirt and another when my chain partially fell off my gears.  Believe me, I was grateful for those stops.  I did make it to the top. I had been riding at least 3 months regularly before I ventured to Montclair for the first time.

I have lost a lot of strength and stamina since the surgery.  After we returned to very flat Alameda, we rode some of the Island and went our separate ways at a certain point because I wanted to get in 8 more miles and my Trainer needed to get home.

Within 5 - 10 minutes I had my first flat tire while I was out by myself.  I saw the broken glass too late and I couldn't go around it due to traffic. It was the rear tire and I knew that was going to be a challenge. I called both of my biking buddies to ask them to talk me through changing my tire.   Neither were available when I first called. Then, I had an aha moment and remembered I was going to take a flat changing class at Alameda Bicycle the next day.  I managed to reach both of my friends when I called back to leave a message telling them I decided to change it in the class I was taking the next day. Being the gentlemen and wonderful friends they are, they both would have could come help me.  I declined their generous offers and I took my bike to a friend's house because it was closer to the bike store than my house.

I wondered what the instructor would think when I brought in an actual flat tire.  The instructor had no problem with it and it was great hands on training.

However, I still need to learn how to patch a tire.  My two cycling buddies have shown me, but I really need to do some things a lot myself to retain the procedure.  Taking off a rear bike tire, adding a new tube and putting it back on is going to be one of those things I'll need to do more.


I have acknowledged the very special people and businesses that have sponsored me to date here.  The first 9 donors have collectively contributed $480.00 to this wonderful cause.

My birthday is May 28th!  I sent another E-mail out to my online address book and asked people to consider donating $5.30 in honor of my birthday to benefit our wounded military.  Since I decided to ask people for a birthday present, the chorus of the song, "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon keeps popping in my head.  That song is representative of my age.  It was a #1 hit two and 1/2 years before I graduated high school in 1975. No, I didn't remember the year the song was #1.  I Googled it.

So, IF YOU CAN and you haven't donated already, WILL YOU SPONSOR ME? (Deborah Palmer) in the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) Golden State Challenge by making a $5.30 donation online or mail a check or money order here?

Of course, if you can and want to, you can make a larger donation, say $53.00, $530, or $5,300.  Your wallet, and your contacts and their wallets are your limit.  I hope you will collect donations among your family, friends, coworkers and colleagues, and don’t forget to ask your employer if they have a donation matching program.

Have you figured out how old I will be, yet? ;-)


Maybe, E-mail my blog to at least 53 people or more.  Not only will you help me raise funds for MY birthday ;-) for a very worthy cause, but you will raise awareness about this program and the benefits of cycling for everyone.

1.      Keep the R2R participants in your prayers;
2.      Pray that Debi and Matthew meet their goal;
3.      Share a positive thought via the guest book; and
4.      Spread the word about this awe-inspiring program? 

There will be others out there who can and will want to donate.  It’s just a matter of connecting them to this awesome programDo you know someone who has served in the military, do you know someone who knows someone who is serving now, do you know someone who enjoys cycling, etc.? 

Imagine if 300 organizations or individuals raised $53.00 by “passing the hat” and asking 10 family members, friends, colleagues, or coworkers to donate $5.30 or 53 people to donate a $1.00. 
Matthew and I could raise $15,900.

Matthew and I are raising funds together.  I'll introduce everyone to Matthew who will be participating in the R2R and my cycling buddies who have been major support for me in my training in a future blog.  Matthew commented in the last blog as to why he wants to participate here.  Scroll down to the bottom of the blog to read his comments.

Matthew's and my goal is $15,000, but we could actually exceed that if every individual and/or organization I send this E-mail raises $53.00 and connects their contacts to this awesome program.  It’s all about connecting with a lot of people to find a few with a big heart and who want to support America's injured military by:
  1. Donating a few dollars, and 
  2. Spreading the word to others by sharing this blog. 
Please remember no donation is too small and every donation is equally appreciated.  I found an interesting article on the Internet on How to Save Five Dollars a Day.”  You know I'm playing on my birthday by requesting a $5.30 donation.

It would mean a lot to me to know through our (Matthew’s, yours and mine) fundraising, we are contributing to our military personnel’s healing and they’re being introduced to a wonderful “feel good”

Many of the bikes are adapted by the R2R to accommodate veterans with physical injuries.  If you haven’t already, please read the blog titled, No Arms, No Legs…No Problem and watch the video on Facebook of the reception at Ft. Hood for the Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) "Don't Mess with Texas" Challenge wounded warriors here. 

Delvin McMillian, the subject of the blog, is riding in the "Don't Mess with Texas" Challenge.  Check out his smile!  The picture of Delvin in the blog is worth a thousand words.

The video of the reception captures the results of the hard work and commitment of the Fitness Challenge Foundation Board of Directors, staff, and R2R sponsors and volunteers to get the military men and women involved in cycling.  The return on the investment (ROI) in our injured military is priceless and the heartwarming smiles are the result of an experience contributing positively to their recovery. Yes, that's Delvin with the million dollar smile riding with his new modified bike. Did you see all the beautiful smiles in the video? 

I recently added a guest book on this blog and I would be honored if you sign it.  Please consider including a positive message you'd like me to share with the participants, especially our wounded warriors.  I'll print it out for John Wordin and the participants on the ride.

Just incase the wrong kind of attitude comes across my blog and wants to comment or sign my guest book with mean statements, I will not publish it.  If you have something you feel is important to say, write a letter to the editor of your local or a national newspaper.  This is my personal blog.  Please remember what your Mom should have taught you and that is if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

In closing, I can't believe I'm telling the world via the Internet what my age is -- well sort of.  I’m sure you’ve guessed my age by now.  Obviously, this cause means a lot to me.  Can't ya' tell?  That's a rhetorical question.

Happy Birthday to me!  Happy Birthday to me! How old am I? ;-) 

Until next time, I'll keep on TREKkin' and training.


AKA Deborah Palmer

1 comment:

Litchick said...

Wonderful cause, Debi and Matthew! RIde on......
Love, Sari