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, August 11, 2013

Eighth Ride in A Year of Centuries – A Benefit for the ASPCA

Do you know why dogs like to stick their heads out of car windows?  Because they can’t ride bicycles.  I loved the feel of the breeze on my face as I rode my century yesterday on behalf of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

This was the first century I’ve done this year that I didn’t have to get up early for.  I didn’t have an organized ride to get to, and I didn’t even have to go to Macon for a group ride.  I simply rode from my own house according to my own agenda.  Also, I had originally anticipated that I would be riding a solo century this month, but my husband Robert decided to join me – yea!  Dogs and husbands make the best companions.

Even though I didn’t have to set my alarm clock for the ride, my dogs – appropriately – helped me get started for the day.  They are used to getting fed at about 6:30 A.M., according to our weekday work schedule, but of course they don’t know the difference between weekdays and weekends.  They still want breakfast at that time even when Robert and I can sleep a little later on the weekends.

I was ready to get up around 7:00 A.M. anyway.  Robert and I had a healthy, leisurely breakfast and headed out on our bicycles around 8:30.  We went uptown to stop by our terrific local coffee shop, The Vanilla Bean.  Robert frequents the Vanilla Bean, but I don’t get to go there as often as I’d like because they’re only open on weekdays while I’m at work in Macon and on Saturday mornings when I’m frequently at cycling events.  So, it was a treat yesterday to get a cup of Earl Grey tea and a muffin, which gave me a little extra fuel for the long ride ahead.  Additionally, we saw several Monticello friends and neighbors.  Two of those were our state representative Susan Holmes and her husband Paul.  I told Rep. Holmes that Robert and I would be covering a good bit of her district on our ride: Jasper County, Jones County, Monroe County, and Butts County (plus a little bit of Lamar County, which is not in her district).

After just a few miles, Robert and I got to go through the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge, always a great place to ride.  There’s not much traffic, the road is well paved, and the woods on either side are beautiful.  Sometimes you can even spot some wildlife, like the turkey that dashed into the trees as we passed by.  The road leads to the small town of Juliette, made famous by one of my favorite movies, Fried Green Tomatoes.  We had to stop there for a train:

Actually, we had to wait for quite a few minutes:

I hear the train a comin.’  It’s rolling round the bend.

I wasn't on any timetable, though, and so I didn't mind waiting.  And I love trains!

Soon we were back on our way.  As we pedaled out of Juliette, I saw this cute dog in his yard:

My initial plan was to take a picture of all of the dogs I saw on my ride yesterday, but I quickly decided that that would be impractical and not too smart, either.  A few doors down, we saw this dog running loose:

Although dogs have chased us on our bicycles on a number of occasions, this was the first time that one actually bit.  Fortunately, it only bit Robert’s shoe.  That dog was like a little piranha.

Dogs generally fall into one of three categories: 1) They are terrified of cyclists and run away.  2) They are only curious and may or may not run alongside cyclists.  3) They chase cyclists aggressively.  Fortunately, most of the dogs I’ve seen while riding are in one of the first two categories.  Some of my cycling friends don’t differentiate, though.  They get a little carried away yelling at dogs and can even be too quick on the trigger of their Mace cans.  Still, I don’t mean to downplay the hazard that dogs can pose to cyclists.  A good friend of mine has had two serious crashes when dogs have run into him.  If people simply kept their dogs inside or in a fenced in yard, both the dogs and cyclists would be safe.

The rest of our ride was quiet…and warm.  OK, I’ll concede that it was really pretty hot.  But what do you expect when you’re in the dog days of summer?  However, I’ll take 90 degrees and 90% humidity anytime over the cold.  As we pedaled along in the languid afternoon, I contemplated why we say that one person is as lazy as a dog, but another person works like a dog.  Cycling is perfect for pondering such mysteries of life.  Finally, I decided that these sayings must come from greyhounds.  Greyhounds spend most of their hours lounging around, but when they are on the run, they are all business!

Because Robert and I didn’t have the luxury of rest stops that an organized ride would provide, we had to take care of our own provisions.  The food part was easy.  I filled my jersey pockets with Clif Bars (carrot cake flavor – yum!); a packet of fruit-filled, liquid energy substance made by PowerBar (sounds weird, but it’s good and tasty bike food); and some rice cakes.  Now these weren’t the crisp, tasteless rice cakes that you buy in a package.  These were homemade rice cakes made from Dr. Allen Lim’s recipe.  Dr. Lim is a nutrition specialist who works with pro cyclists.  His rice cakes include sushi rice (stickier than other rice, which helps hold the cakes together), bacon, eggs, soy sauce, brown sugar, and Parmesan cheese.  They are well proportioned between protein and carbohydrates, which are both important on an endurance cycling event.  And they taste good, too!

On most of my rides I just drink water, but I have found that electrolyte drinks make a big difference when I ride more than a couple of hours.  Robert usually keeps us stocked with a large container of powdered Heed or a similar product that provides protein as well as carbohydrates.  When we went to prepare our bottles yesterday morning before the ride, wouldn’t you know that we were out of powder?  At least we had a few sample packets from recent bicycle races.  One of them was a grapefruit flavored electrolyte tablet that you dissolve in your bottle.  I decided to try it.  When I started drinking it about a half hour into my ride, I couldn’t decide whether it was disgusting or intriguing.  Regardless, I drank it because I knew I needed to keep hydrated.  We also made several store stops along the way to buy Gatorade.  I tried a new flavor, lime cucumber.  It was kind of odd but refreshing.  However, it definitely was better straight from the cooler than after it got warm in the sun as I rode along.

The heat made our century a little more challenging, but we finished strong.  When I got home, I thought it would be nice to take a picture with me and all of my dogs.  It was like herding cats.

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