Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Rising to the Challenge

photo credit: Daniel Elavsky

What an OUTSTANDING feeling!!

I am still overwhelmed with the phenomenal community response to the inaugural Rollin' for Charity Indoor 100 Bike Race.

As I reflect on the weekend, support can be seen in so many ways.

The estimated 300 people who came into the Alpine Shop as Chris Ploch and I knocked out 100 miles on the rollers in just over four hours created a growing smile that fueled my efforts.

The $1008 that I collected through in-store donations -- mostly in small dollar amounts -- and the $860 I fundraised through online efforts was the result of the generosity of family, friends and strangers. This generosity allowed me to donate $1968, nearly TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS, on behalf of Team Vera Bradley Foundation to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. Applause all around to Chris, my competitor, for raising $2005 for the ALS Foundation St. Louis Regional Chapter within the same time frame.

The unconditional support by the sponsors of Team Vera Bradley Foundation, who quickly rallied to back my efforts, helped me harness my enthusiasm to accomplish this goal. Specialized shipped me my 100-mile dream ride -- the Specialized Amira S-Works -- and clothing to match to ensure that I was armed for success. Kinetics supplied us with trainers for those who wanted to ride alongside me on this adventure. Vibram gave me a pair of FiveFingers to wear and donated an additional pair to be included in a raffle to donors of either charity.

The local eateries didn't bat an eye when asked to donate food for the event. Einstein Bagels gave us enough bagels for everyone and Subway provided a party platter of small subs for the cyclists to eat. 2 hours in, those sandwiches rocked!

Other powerful ways I measure the support of this event...

My employer, the Alpine Shop, was a driving force behind the day. They provided staff, space, supplies, music, great energy AND a cash prize. This event would not have been possible without them.

The members of Team Revolution -- the club I co-founded to provide support to other female cyclists -- demonstrated once again that you get what you give as they showed up to cheer and roll along besides me. I am so grateful for the varied ways in which Team Revolution continues to provide me with support.

Illustrator/Designer Chris Roettger has an uncanny ability to translate a concept into a design while under tight deadline. The thermometers she drew, bright and early Saturday morning, assured that spectators had a visual to measure the funds raised and miles covered.

Most importantly, my team and my director displayed faith in my abilities to successfully launch Team Vera Bradley Foundation's fundraising efforts and win the race.

And while I did "win" the 100 mile bike race, I am not the real winner here. This day's race begins with hope and courage -- and the true battle we wage is against breast cancer each and every day.

On Saturday, I rode to raise funds for breast cancer research. I rode for the survivors and for those that courageously fought but are no longer with us. I rode because I am inspired by their courage and commitment. I rode to be their voice. I rode to be their cheer of victory. I rode for those who are still struggling now. And while I was the rider, it was the collective community that showed up to demonstrate that this struggle does not go unnoticed.

I challenged you to invest with me in a future without breast cancer. I never expected so many of you to rise to the challenge.

Thank you.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

100 miles. On Rollers. For The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.

Ask someone why they ride

The answers are varied. They ride for fitness and fun. They ride to meet people. They ride to feel the wind in their hair (underneath those helmets, of course). They ride to go fast. To enjoy the view. They ride because they can. And for those that can't.

Ask me why I ride.

My answer is varied on any given day and at any given point in the season. This Saturday, I am proud to say that I will ride for breast cancer research.

The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer is the new title sponsor of my (first!) professional team. I am thrilled to be part of Team Vera Bradley Foundation. My team has big goals. Not only are we looking to win races (lots of 'em!) but we are also going to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. As a team, we have committed to raising $22,500 for the Foundation. I am hoping to kick things off with $1,500 in donations this Saturday.

You can find me at the Alpine Shop on Saturday going head-to-head against my friend and co-worker, Chris Ploch, in a 100-mile roller race. The Inaugural Rollin' for Charity Race will begin at 11 am at the Alpine Shop Kirkwood (440 N. Kirkwood Road, 63122). I expect the adventure to last about five hours.

Chris is riding to raise awareness and funds for his own charity. To learn more about his efforts, you can go here.

Specialized, Team Vera Bradley Foundation's bike sponsor, has shipped me my new team bike for use during the race. What a way to break in my new Amira! Alpine Shop is offering a $500 cash prize and has small competitions planned throughout the race. Einstein Bagels and Subway have been generous enough to donate bagels and sandwiches.

My daughter Aubrey, pictured above, is seven. I want her to grow up and know about breast cancer only in the past tense. I want that for all our daughters. Please invest in a future without breast cancer with me.

Click this link to go to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer donation page. Online donations should be made "In Honor of Carrie Cash" (you will need to enter my name in the provided field). Select "Hope Grows" from "Donation Type" in the drop-down menu. I promise it sounds why more complicated than it looks once you click the link.

In addition to online donations, cash and check donations will be accepted at the Alpine Shop during the event.