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, September 15, 2013

Ninth Ride in A Year of Centuries – A Benefit for the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy

What a fun century yesterday!  I rode in the Albany Nut Roll, sponsored by the Pecan City Pedalers in Albany, Georgia.  The ride benefitted Chehaw Park, and personally I also rode on behalf of the Ferst Foundation for Childhood Literacy.

On Friday evening I went to Chehaw from my office in Macon.  Robert considered going with me, but I cautioned him that it would take almost all day Saturday, and we had another big cycling outing planned for today.  (I’ll post on that tomorrow.)  Therefore, he prudently decided to stay home, which also made animal care easier.  However, he did come down to Macon after work so that we could go to our favorite pizza place, Ingleside Village Pizza, before I headed to Albany.  It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

After dinner with Robert, I drove to Chehaw Park.  I rented a cabin for the night for just $35.  It was fairly rustic, containing only bunk beds, a table, and a few chairs, but it had lights and air conditioning, and there was a community bathroom.  What more could you ask for?

As a bonus, there was free wi-fi, which allowed me to do a little on-line reading before bed.  I was a little nervous about oversleeping, and so I set both the alarm and the timer on my phone.  I selected the barking dog as the timer notification, which made it seem a little more like home.

The alarm and timer went off like they were supposed to.  I dressed for the ride, packed my belongings, and enjoyed the breakfast that I had packed: Grape Nuts, yogurt, and an apple (cut up - apples are about the only thing I can't bite after my crash reconstruction).  A mass start was scheduled for 7:00 A.M.  When the ride director set that time, he didn’t realize that the sun wouldn’t be up yet.  Therefore, we didn’t actually head out until 7:15.  In the meantime, he gave us a few instructions for the day.  I had planned a nice, moderate ride.  Then the ride director said that there would be a prize for the first male century finisher and the first female century finisher.  Dang it.  Now I would have to ride hard.  I just couldn’t pass up a challenge like that!

Because I’m promoting the Ferst Foundation this month, I thought about children and reading as I rode yesterday.  Maybe that’s why this driveway marker seemed like an off-kilter tribute to the Cat in the Hat:

This century had more riders than most of the others I’ve done in A Year of Centuries, and so I rode with other people most of the time.  My two main companions were both named Michael.  Therefore, in my mind I referred to them as Michael 1 and Michael 2, which was another nod to Dr. Seuss.  Michael 1 was quite a strong rider, and impressively, he completed his first century yesterday!  It was an honor to ride a good portion of the route with him.  Michael 2 was an excellent rider, too, and he was radioactive:

At the ride half-life (50 miles), we had a rest stop in Plains, Georgia, home of Jimmy Carter, our 39th president:

The ride volunteers had a very nice rest stop at the welcome center in Plains.  I enjoyed this mural painted by local middle school students, which includes aspects of President Carter’s life ranging from his boyhood to his service in the navy on a nuclear submarine to his post-presidential work with Habitat for Humanity:

I even got to have my picture taken with the President:

Also, I learned that I was the first female at that rest stop; I was on track to reach my goal!

Michael 1, Michael 2, and I continued on.  By the way, it was ironic that the hilliest part of the ride was near Plains.

We had another rest stop at about mile 70.  I was anxious to keep riding for the prize.  So, I stopped only briefly while Michael 1 and Michael 2 stayed a little longer.  I kept in mind the children’s classic book The Little Engine that Could.  I think I can. I think I can.  I think I can.  This reminded me of a Big Bang Theory rerun that I saw on TV last week.  The gang heads to a scientific symposium in San Francisco via train.  Sheldon becomes quite upset when he realizes that he forgot to bring his flash drive, which contains a paper that he wants to present to astrophysicist George Smoot.  Leonard tries to calm Sheldon, encouraging him to enjoy the soothing clickety clack of the train wheels.  Sheldon can’t do that because he imagines that the rhythm is mocking him: You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive.  You forgot your flash drive.  This in turn reminded me of the one thing I forgot to bring on this overnight, out-of-town century: You forgot your chamois cream.   You forgot your chamois cream.  You forgot your chamois cream.

It's always so different - but a nice change of pace - to ride in the flat terrain of the coastal plain, which is such a contrast to the constant rolling hills where I live in the piedmont.  Farming, particularly of row crops, is a primary industry in Southwest Georgia.  Cotton will be ready for harvest soon:

The farms are generally large and require significant capital investment for such equipment as irrigators:

I felt good throughout the ride, largely because I fueled and hydrated well.  In addition to the typical fruit, cookies, pb&j sandwiches, etc., the rest stops had a rather unusual offering: pickle juice.

It tasted pretty good, and some people swear by it to help prevent cramps while riding.

Even though I was doing well, I was glad to catch a draft off of a strong rider for my last few miles.  And, yes, I was the first female century finisher!  Woo hoo!  The prize was terrific: a blanket with the Pecan City Pedalers logo:

It’s a little hard to see in the picture, but the logo is a pecan riding a bicycle - very cute!  It will be perfect for my reading nook at home.

Chehaw has a wild animal park, the only other accredited zoo in Georgia besides Zoo Atlanta.  I had seen the Chehaw wild animal park several years ago when the Georgia Tandem Rally stayed in Albany, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see it again.  By the way, Jim Fowler of TV’s Wild Kingdom is an Albany native and originally laid out the wild animal park at Chehaw.

Here are a few of the wonderful creatures I got to see:

Black rhinoceros munching on some hay

An alarming fact that underscores the importance of the conservation work at zoos like Chehaw



African spiny tortoise



Whoa!  And I thought the first two were big!

The more I think about the day, the more I realize how much I enjoyed it.  Ride on, and read on!

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