Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fourth Ride in A Year of Centuries - A Benefit for Southeastern Greyhound Adoption

Roo hoo!  Yesterday’s century for Southeastern Greyhound Adoption (SEGA) was great!  I actually got to help two charities at the same time.  I was riding for SEGA as part of A Year of Centuries, but the ride itself was hosted by some of my cycling friends to benefit Central Georgia Autism.  I’ll be doing this several times this year: riding in an organized century that benefits a particular charity while promoting a different one through A Year of Centuries.  I am more than happy to support Central Georgia Autism at the same time as SEGA.  Besides, it sure makes the logistics easier to have the fueling and mechanical support of an organized ride.

I really wanted to figure out a way to bring Lily as a greyhound representative to the ride, but I didn’t have any way to take care of her while I was out on the road.  So, instead I carried in my jersey pocket pictures of all of my greyhounds through the years:

It was almost a three-dog morning at the start of the century.  Nevertheless, it was foggy and beautiful:

I started out wearing leg warmers that had seen better days.  The elastic in them was shot, and they simply wouldn’t stay up.  At first I tried to pull them up while I was riding without making any jerky motions that might imperil my fellow riders.  Eventually, however, I abandoned all hope.  I let the leg warmers ooch down, where they gathered around my calves a la Flashdance.  Finally, at one of the rest stops I chucked them in the trash.  Fortunately, the day had warmed up a good bit by then.

One thing that made yesterday extra special is that I got to ride this century with Robert, my husband.  Of course, we had to take advantage of the great covered bridge photo op at the first rest stop:

As you can see, this was before I chucked the errant leg warmers.

It was a lot of fun as well as heartening to see so many friends from throughout the Macon cycling community at the ride.  Some did one of the shorter route options, but I got to ride with a lot of them in the century.  John Fry, a special cycling friend of mine, was there.  He and I were at Georgia Tech in the civil engineering program at the same time many moons ago.  We’ve stayed in touch over the years, but usually the only time we ever see each other is at the annual BBQ Bass Bicycle Ride that Robert and I host.  (BBQ Bass will be my June century this year!)  So, yesterday was a bonus ride with John.

I do have to mention that there was a crash yesterday.  Someone toward the back of our group touched wheels with someone else.  Several people went down, but the worst injured was Steve Sawyer.  He had a concussion and was taken to the hospital.  Please keep him in your prayers.  I hate to see anyone get hurt riding, but I especially hate that it was Steve because he sustained a bad injury in a crash last year, too.

After the first rest stop, our group split into two, a faster group and a slower group.  Having felt good up to that point, I continued with the faster group.  Mistake.  They ramped it up after the rest stop, and soon my heart rate monitor indicated that I was at level 4+.  This is sub-threshold, which by definition is not sustainable for multiple hours.  I didn’t pop, but I voluntarily went off the back, knowing that I needed to reduce my speed.  Happily, however, Robert and John kept riding with me.

My biggest challenge was the pollen.  I had noticed it a little bit during my March century in Dublin, but it hit me with a vengeance yesterday.  I tried to fight my way through it, letting my eyes try to water it away, but it just wasn’t working.  At least the pain in my eyes distracted me from any stress to my cardiovascular system or legs.  Ha ha!  Finally, I took John’s suggestion simply to take out my contacts.  I still couldn’t see, but at least it was for a different reason.  On the positive side, one way I kept myself going during the ride was by pondering the irony that I was riding for sight hounds, but I couldn’t see! (Unlike most breeds, greyhounds hunt primarily by sight rather than smell.)

The rest of the ride went wonderfully.  We even got back before lunch ran out.  I’m not sure whether there was anything else before we got there, but we did get chicken and rolls.  There was also a cooler full of a recovery drink that none of us had ever seen.  I was the only one brave enough to try it, and it turned out to be quite tasty, kind of like ginger ale.  I’d be a little hesitant to drink it, however, if my name were Cliff.

I “heart” chicken

The ride was staged at Sandy Beach at Lake Tobesofkee.  While we were out on the century, there were a number of fun events specially geared for children with autism (e.g., a bike rodeo and cupcake decorating).  We left before those events, and they were finished before we got back, but I hope that that part of the day was very successful.

I know of at least one donation to the greyhounds yesterday!  I tried to pay my friend Dale $20 that I owed him, but he told me to give it to the hounds.  So, when I got home, I made a $20 donation via PayPal at SEGA’s website

Thus, I gratefully completed my April century on behalf of SEGA.

But wait!  There’s more…

Originally, I had planned for my April century to be the Saturday ride of the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG) Spring Tune Up (STU), which in recent years has been held in Madison, near my home.  (Saturday at the STU always has a century option.)  However, when my Macon cycling friends planned the Journey Ride for Autism, I wanted to support them, too.  The best solution I could come up with was to do my century at the Journey Ride on Saturday and then do the Sunday ride of the STU.  This was a great plan for several reasons.  First, it gave me a super duper training block in one weekend.  Best of all, however, it allowed me to meet the BRAG Dream Team, who will be my May charity!

Of course I’ll be posting all during May about the Dream Team, but to introduce them briefly now, they are young people from several towns across Georgia who aim to complete the week-long BRAG, which is held in June.  These young people generally come from rather difficult circumstances.  With self-discipline and caring guidance from adult mentors, they work toward their goals.  So, today I got to not only meet the Dream Team, I got to ride with one of the members!

My riding companion today was a most impressive young man.  He’s been on the Dream Team for several years and has ridden the full week of BRAG twice.  He serves as an assistant coach to the less experienced Dream Team members, and so they call him Ocma Knight.  (I’ll call him that here to respect the young people’s privacy.)  Ocma Knight, Coach Ash, another Dream Team member, and I set out on the 62-mile course this morning.  By the way, 62 miles is a metric century – kind of a century lite – which also makes it seem appropriate to add to April’s century report.

It was obvious right away that Ocma Knight was a good rider.  Coach Ash didn’t want him to have to hold back, and so he encouraged me to ride on with Ocma Knight while Coach Ash stayed with the other Dream Team member.  So, Ocma Knight and I continued on.  I thoroughly enjoyed having him as a riding companion.  He was such a smooth, steady rider.  Here we are at one of the rest stops:

Our route took us to the Rock Eagle 4H Center.  I suspected that Ocma Knight had never seen the Rock Eagle effigy there, and he readily agreed to pedal to the mound.  (That added a couple of miles to our route, and so we wound up riding a tad more than a metric century.)  Here’s a photo from the observation tower; I couldn’t quite fit in all of the eagle’s wings:

There was also a rest stop at the Steffen Thomas museum near Madison.  Steffen Thomas was a talented artist who worked in all kinds of media: sculpture, painting, tile mosaics, and even some textiles.  I became aware of his work because his son lives here in Monticello.  In fact, Robert and I even have a print of one of Steffen Thomas's paintings.  I enjoyed getting to see more of his pieces at the museum, and I’m glad that Ocma Knight likes art, too.

Ocma Knight and I rolled back into BRAG headquarters in Madison and met back up with the rest of the Dream Team.  Here’s a group shot:

I look forward to sharing more about the Dream Team in May.

My main greyhound connection on my ride today was that I carried the pictures of all my greyhounds with me again.  I had even more greyhound-ness later on.  This evening I took Lily and Mr. Spock on our monthly Greyhounds and Grey Hairs (pet therapy) visit to The Retreat, the local nursing home.  (More about Greyhounds and Grey Hairs later this week.)  What a fitting finale to a weekend for the greyhounds!

In this last picture I'm celebrating all four of my charities to date in A Year of Centuries; I'm holding greyhounds Lily and Mr. Spock, I'm wearing my Bicycles for Humanity bracelet from Namibia, I'm wearing my math TOMS shoes in honor of MATHCOUNTS, and I have a well healed face and jaw like that I wish for the Face to Face patients.

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