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, November 17, 2013

Eleventh Ride in A Year of Centuries - A Benefit for the Middle Georgia Down Syndrome Society

Yesterday I had a terrific if challenging century on behalf of the Middle Georgia Down Syndrome Society (MGDSS).  I planned it around the first day of a mini training camp with my cycling team, The Georgia Neurosurgical Institute.  The team rode from Macon to Irwinton, where we spent the night at the Blue Goose on Main.  (Robert and I visited the Blue Goose a couple of months ago; see my post from September 22.)  Then, today we rode back to Macon.  It was a wonderful weekend of riding and enjoying the company of my teammates.

I was thrilled to be invited to join the Georgia Neuro team a few months ago.  Robert has been on it since its inception, and so I have already been a groupie.  I have had fun helping them with the Macon Cycling Classic each spring, especially serving as a podium girl.  I get to kiss all the guys on the podium!  European style – once on each cheek – but kiss them nonetheless.  It’s a high point of my year :)  Now I get to represent the team in an official capacity as a volunteer as well as a racer.  Just to be clear: I’m still racing only time trials – no mass-start races (road races or crits).

The team started from Hudson & Marshall, our friend Monty’s office in Bolingbroke.  To get my century yesterday, I rode from my house to Bolingbroke beforehand.  I had plenty of time to get to Bolingbroke for our 12:30 P.M. team start.  It was nice not to have to set my alarm clock!  After a leisurely breakfast and a little laundry folding, I set out on my century.  It was a foggy morning, and so I used my headlight and blinking taillights.

My route to Bolingbroke took me through the Piedmont Wildlife Refuge (PWR), one of my favorite nearby places to ride.  As I rode on Round Oak-Juliette Road, the main road through the refuge, I noticed a number of trucks parked alongside the road.  I figured that it must be one of the few days when PWR is open for hunting.  I checked on-line, and sure enough, November 14-16 is one of three three-day windows when deer hunting with firearms is permitted for this season.

I felt really good on my ride to Bolingbroke.  Most of the team was there when I arrived, as was Chad’s wife Kathy, who graciously agreed to drive Robert’s and my Nissan to Irwinton with everyone’s overnight bags.  I had plenty of time to eat the lunch that I had packed for Robert to bring me in the car.

I love sardines, especially in Louisiana hot sauce, and they are a great protein source for long rides.  However, I’m sure that Kathy was glad that I disposed of the empty sardine can in the Hudson & Marshall dumpster rather than stowing it in the Nissan.

Kathy also took a nice team photo before we headed for the Blue Goose:

(L-R): Jeff (a.k.a. Stony), Tina, Tyler, Tony, Robert, Bill, me, Chad, and Ron

The fog lifted late morning, and in the afternoon the sun even shined.  It was a beautiful November day in Georgia.  I was having a great time riding along with the team.  After a while, however, it started getting harder for me to keep up.  That’s not surprising because I had already ridden at a decent pace for the 44 miles from Monticello to Bolingbroke.  Not to mention, the guys on my team generally ride pretty hard, even without attack zones.  At about mile 70, I was riding next to Stony and having a nice conversation with him.  He told me about his son, who is a high school senior, looking at various colleges.  One of those is Carnegie Mellon, Jeff’s father’s alma mater.  As Jeff talked about Carnegie Mellon, I started imagining that my head was a watermelon and that it was exploding.  That’s when I decided that I needed to back off.

At first the team waited up for me, but I asked them to please continue without me.  I was familiar with the route, and I knew that they and I would both be happier going at the pace that suited each of us best.  I struggled more than usual for the remaining solo portion of my century, but I did just fine by taking a banana stop and a Clif Bar stop.

As I pedaled along, I thought about the children and adults served by MGDSS.  Perhaps my century yesterday is a little like the journey of people with Down syndrome.  They might have farther to go than other people, and it might take them a little longer to get there, but we are all one team.

At last I arrived at the Blue Goose!

Although I can’t bring myself to put out any Christmas decorations until at least December 1, I have to admit that this sight warmed my heart:

Everyone cleaned up and enjoyed the mild evening outside, as indicated by Bill and Ron.  This picture is kind of blurry, but that’s because they’re drinking beer:

Bill and Ron are legendary in the Macon cycling community.  They are two of my heroes.  They are both 60 but ride better than most people half their age.  I hope I can do half of what they do when I’m their age.

Robert had taken everyone’s order ahead of time for what kind of meat they wanted, purchasing some very good quality steak, chicken, and salmon at Fresh Market in Macon before the ride.  Tyler was an excellent grill-meister, somehow managing to have everything get done at the same time.  With some delicious sides provided by Chad, Tina, Tony, and Tyler, we had a fine supper together.

We Georgia Neuro riders are par-tay animals!  Everyone was in bed by 9:00 P.M.

After a good night’s sleep, we all got up around 7:00 A.M.   Robert served as a short-order cook for breakfast:

He was zipping around so fast in the kitchen that this photo turned out blurry.  I wanted to take a second one of him stylin’ in his apron, but he said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Robert cooked scrambled egg concoctions to order.  We could add ham, turkey, chicken, bell peppers, onions, and/or tomatoes.  Between that, the banana ginger bread that I had made (see recipe from my post on October 31), and orange juice, we were well fueled for our 60-mile ride back to Macon.

Although I certainly wasn’t fresh as a daisy, I really felt better than I expected on this morning’s ride.  And fortunately, the guys went a little easier today than they did yesterday.  As we approached Macon, we had a special treat; Andy Tice joined us for a few miles.  Andy and his wife Shelley are one of our team sponsors.

At around mile 50, I had to slow down a little.  I ate the rest of my bike food, and thanks to Robert letting me draft off of him, I was able to catch up with the rest of the team just as we got to Bolingbroke.   I definitely pushed myself by riding as far and hard as I did this weekend, but I’m so happy I did it.  Thanks, everyone, for helping me get there!

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