Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Seattle to Portland - The Plan

The next big thing on my calendar is the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic - better known as STP.  July 12.

The Event

Riders can tackle the 320 km route in 1 or 2 days.  I plan to get it over with on day 1.  It's an ambitious plan as I will need to spend much of the next month in the saddle to harden my @$$ up in preparation for the LONG ride.

The Plan

I was mulling over who to ride it with, as company is key - not just for enjoyment but for drafting (sharing the work of cutting the wind.)  It was that moment that I came up with an idea...

I wanted to find a way to make this experience different and cool - not that riding 320km isn't cool all by itself, but I was looking for something to get really excited about.

I decided to ask my friend Brian to do the ride with me.  The problem with Brian is I know that he'll be drafting off me the whole way....

Introduction:  Brian Cowie

Brian and I met through Tony as we were both receiving coaching in Nordic Skiing this winter from him.  Brian is a visually impaired Canadian National Team Cyclist.  He has been to two (or maybe three) Paralympics and has done Ironman several times.  Most recently he and I competed together at the Triathlon World Championships (last weekend) where Brian and his partner Ian would have won the blind division by a long, long way had he not encountered an unfixable mechanical issue with his tandem.

So that is how I have found myself 'piloting' a tandem for 320km in a month's time.  I am so pumped.

Brian's rig is pretty sweet - he's got all the good stuff:  disc wheel, matching aero-helmets with visors, radios so we can talk easily...  These things are fast - two riders provide a lot of extra power so I expect us to be averaging over 40km/h on flats.  Apparently hills are a bit tough and handling takes some getting used to but we will get some training in...  

We will look a bit like this, the differences being that we will have sweet matching uniforms and Brian is not female...

The Purpose

At first this was just a fun idea.  Brian said to me, "Why don't you make this a Momentum event?"  It was pretty obvious, but I hadn't thought of it.  So, that is what we decided to do...

I have already got Innovative Fitness on board to sponsor us to help with some costs, and Atac Sportswear has sponsored us by agreeing to produce some sweet Momentum race kits for the event.  We are actively seeking more sponsors and media coverage.

This will be the first event of any sort that we have done under the auspices of the foundation and I think it is perfect - an amputee and a blind athlete teaming up to tackle a big challenge.  Hopefully our efforts will help raise some money to pave the way for others to follow in our footsteps as athletes with disabilities.

I had thought about planning a more formal 'launch' and it may still happen, but why not just get to work I say...

Want to get involved?

If any of you would like to be involved in this effort, help with some of the logistics, fundraising, media or sponsorship I'd LOVE to hear from you.  You can e-mail me or fill out the comment form on the right of this page.  If you have an idea for us or a connection, or even if you just let your friends know we'd be pumped!

Thanks for reading!

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