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February 28, 2005

WorkoutGPS Turns Your GPS-Enabled Mobile Phone into a Fitness Computer

Dave Sutter of Intransix found Operation Gadget and sent the following email to me:

I came across your site Operation Gadget while I was surfing the web. I thought you might be interested in a new GPS cell phone application called WorkoutGPS. WorkoutGPS currently is available for Nextel phones. It uses GPS to track how far, how fast, and for how long the user runs, cycles, and walks. And it automatically uploads this data to a personal training log on the web, complete with maps of where you went and a speed and elevation profile.

Please check out out website www.workoutgps.com to learn about more features.

And, you might find it interesting, one of the riders in the Tour of Hope last year, Ted Yang, took a WorkoutGPS-equipped phone with him on his ride across the country. You can see this at www.workoutgps.com/events/toh2004/toh.aspx.

I featured the fitness aspects of Glofun Raygun, another Location-Based Services application, in my review of that game back at the beginning of February. However, WorkoutGPS is unique because it is the first LBS application I've seen that is exclusively written for fitness purposes.

WorkoutGPS turns a Motorola i710 or i730 into a fitness computer similar in features to the Garmin Forerunner 201. This means that the phones will provide a breadcrumb trail for a workout and record stats like location, elevation, and speed, but will not do things like record heart rate or cycling cadence.

The WorkoutGPS site provides many of the features that good fitness journaling software typically provides. The site is provided for a $5.99 monthly fee per user, which includes application updates, use of the training log, and unlimited workout data upload and storage.

Considering that they have already demonstrated integration betwen their site and Keyhole, it seems like Intransix has pushed the envelope of LBS fitness applications just about as far as currently possible. If you have one of these LBS-phones and you are an athlete, you really should give WorkoutGPS a try.

December 5, 2004

Photos of East Windsor - Millstone Cycling Training Route Posted

Back in September, I wrote about a 26.1-mile cycling training route that I developed to prepare for the 2004 Tour of Hope and to help me train for officiating competitive ice hockey. I finally posted a photo gallery that shows how beautiful and wide open the roads are along the route.

It's hard to believe that a cycling route like this is in Central New Jersey, isn't it?

November 26, 2004

Received a Tour of Hope Dri-Fit Shirt

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company sent me a Tour of Hope Sphere Dri-fit Shirt today. The letter I received from them reads as follows:

Dear Tour of Hope Cyclist and Fundraiser:

Thank you for your generous support and contributions to the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope. We appreciate the time and energy that you committed to this important cancer cause and to making this year's event a success. Enclosed, as a token of our appreciation, is the Tour of Hope Sphere dri-fit shirt in recognition of your fundraising efforts that exceeded $1,000.

As a result of your efforts and those of other cyclists in Washington, DC, approximately $800,000 was raised during the Tour of Hope. One hundred percent of these funds will directly benefit cancer research through the Lance Armstrong Foundation and the Tour of Hope cancer community partners. Now, more than ever, there is hope for a cure and you have played an important role in the search for a cure through your participation.

From the emotional kick-off ride at the City of Hope in Los Angeles to the joyful finale in Washington, DC, the weeklong Tour of Hope was marked with inspirational events. We celebrated the opening of a new oncology center in Denver, held a powerful public rally in Pittsburgh, and inspired the public in a moving event in our nation's capital. Every movement of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope was filled with hope and the passion of each member of the 20-person team to spread the word about the promise of cancer research.

Thank you for helping us go the distance for cancer research!

Warmest regards,

Rebecca Womble
Director, Tour of Hope
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Thanks again to my sponsors who made this success possible.

October 28, 2004

Tour of Hope DC Fund-Raising Ride and Finale Raise $800,000 for Clinical Trials

About 10 days ago, I got the following email from Michael Craig Cox, a fellow participant in the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride:

First off, kudos for your Tour of Hope coverage on Operation Gadget. I, too, completed the ride last week, after raising more than $1000. My question is, have you heard, or seen, any final numbers for the total amount raised? I am sending out a final thank-you to my supporters and wanted to include this information, but I can't seem to find it anywhere.

In response, I wrote:

Thanks for emailing me. I read my mail continuously, but, due to a server migration I wasn't able to access some email messages until this week. I'm just going through that mail now.

I got an email the other day from the Lance Armstrong Foundation saying that they raised almost $800,000 through the DC Fund-raising Ride and the Finale. That's a good number considering the minimum donation for each of the 900 riders would only have brought in $450,000....

I realized that Operation Gadget readers would probably want to know this information as well, and wouldn't have gotten the email unless they participated.

Remember that money raised by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope will benefit cancer research and encourage adults who have cancer to participate in cancer drug clinical trials. This is truly important work, because I believe it will lead to better therapies and cures for many different types of cancer. Lots of us will benefit from these innovations in years to come.

Photos Added to the Tour of Hope Broken Pedal Story

Posing with Dr. Sharpe and the Fixed Bike:
Thanks to Dr. Steven Sharpe and his friend
Greg Millett, I was able to finish the ride.
[ photo: Greg Millett ]

A couple of weeks ago, I published an article called Good Samaritans Helped Me Finish the Tour of Hope After Mechanical Breakdown. It tells the story of how one of the pedals broke on my bicycle during the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride, how I met Dr. Steven Sharpe and Greg Millett by chance, and how they repaired my bike and helped me finish.

I knew that I wanted to write an article about getting the pedal replaced, but it would be a lot more compelling with photos. Lucky for me, Greg Millett had a camera with him at the time and I had a supply of my business cards in my jersey pocket. I had no way of knowing when or even if Greg would send me the photos, so I went ahead and published the story without them.

Happily, Greg just emailed me the photos he took at the time. I added a couple of them to the original story and put the rest of them in the 2004 Tour of Hope Photo Archive. Check them out. [ Thanks, Greg ]

October 27, 2004

Cyclingnews Publishes Interview with Lance Armstrong

Cyclingnews published an excellent interview with Lance Armstrong that took place on October 26 in Austin. Among other things discussed are the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope, the eight anniversary of the day he was declared cancer free, the LiveStrong program recent major races that he didn't participate in, Tyler Hamilton's situation, and the on-going judicial investigation in Italy.

The interview covers a lot of ground. I think they spent about the right amount of time on each issue, considering that some cycling fans weren't as exposed to the Tour of Hope as regular readers of Operation Gadget were.

The most surprising part of the interview for me is when Lance puts the legal and political situation in Italy as it relates to pro cycling into context by casting doubt about his participation in the Giro d'Italia. When you think about it, doesn't it seem unlikely that Lance will participate in the Giro as long as magistrates keep pursuing investigations tangential to the Dr. Michele Ferrari case?

October 20, 2004

Over $2,000 Donated to the Tour of Hope

It's been about two weeks since I rode the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride and donations from friends, family, and readers continue to come in to the Lance Armstrong Foundation. I'm pleased to report that the total donated at my request has now exceeded $2,000. This is a wonderful tribute to my friend Peter Frank and to many others whose lives have been touched by cancer.

A number of people who sponsored my participation in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope asked me to ride for a friend or family member whose life was changed by a cancer diagnosis. I was glad to do it. I carried a list of these people in my jersey pocket during the ride, as did many of my fellow riders. We talked about the people on our lists as we rode. It's amazing how many cancer victims each of the 900 riders represented.

I want to thank my friends, family, and the readers of Operation Gadget who supported me by making a donation. This is probably the most rewarding charitable event I've ever participated in. I hope to be able to participate in meaningful events like the Tour of Hope again in the future.

October 19, 2004

Many More Tour of Hope Finale Photos Posted

As promised, I posted more 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride and Tour of Hope Finale photos. There are a total of 45 Tour of Hope photos posted now, including a pretty good one I took of Lance Armstrong riding with the Tour of Hope National Team through the corridor of spectators and cancer survivors.

October 16, 2004

First Set of Tour of Hope Pictures Posted

The first set of photos from the 2004 Tour of Hope Finale Event are now posted our new photo gallery server.

I spent much of the middle of the day yesterday setting up the photo gallery and uploading the first set of photos. The photo gallery server is currently running a default theme, so it doesn't look the rest of the pages on Operation Gadget. I'm going to work on that next week.

I have more Tour of Hope photos to post, including photos of the arrival of the Tour of Hope National Team. I will probably get to posting them on Monday evening or Tuesday.

Please let me know if you have any comments about the introduction of a photo gallery on Operation Gadget. Hopefully, we will have many more photos to post in the near future.

October 13, 2004

Good Samaritans Helped Me Finish the Tour of Hope After Mechanical Breakdown

Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride
2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride:
Map includes labels of places where events
in this story took place. Data came from my
Garmin Forerunner 201,
and was mapped by GPS Visualizer.
Click on the image for a larger map.

I had a mechanical incident during the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride-- one of the pedals on my Marin Bear Valley SE mountain bike broke off the crank on a steep hill about 8 miles into the ride. Support was supposed to be available on the course, but I didn't see a course marshall or a support vehicle near the place where I broke down.

I found that I could keep the broken pedal on the pedal axle bolt by pointing my toe inward while pedaling. I decided to continue riding until I found a support vehicle or until I reached the restaging area at the Irish Inn in Glen Echo, MD. The Irish Inn was about 10 miles beyond where my pedal broke. I didn't find a support vehicle before reaching the Irish Inn.

When I got to the restaging area, I saw my friend Cecil Ledesma almost immediately. I told him about my problem, and he suggested that I go to the announcers table and find a bike mechanic immediately. For the next 10 minutes, I waited for a bike mechanic to be located. Finally, the people at the announcers table told me that the Mavic Support Vehicle was parked a couple of hundred feet past the Irish Inn on the side of the road. They told me to walk my bike to the Mavic car and they would help me.

I found the Mavic car, but it was locked and there were no technicians around. I found another marshall with a race radio, and he told me that the drivers had gone to use the mens' room and would be back in a few minutes. I went back to the Mavic car to wait.

Thi s time, two men and a young boy were standing next to the Mavic car, admiring it. The kid asked me something like, "Do you work for Mavic?" I said, "No, I just need help." One of the men asked me what was wrong. I showed him the broken pedal in my hand. He said that he could fix this at the bike shop he keeps in his basement at home, a couple of miles from here. If I came with him, he would replace my pedal in 10 minutes or so, and get me back on the road in time to meet the peleton when they leave the Irish Inn. I said, "OK, let's go."

We threw my bike in the back of his pickup truck and took off down the road to his house. The man introduced himself as Dr. Steven Sharpe, an Emergency Medicine doctor at a DC-area hospital. We were riding back to his house with his friend Greg Millett and a son of one of them, whose name I didn't write down.

Continue reading "Good Samaritans Helped Me Finish the Tour of Hope After Mechanical Breakdown" »

How I Generated a Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride Map

2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride Map
2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride:
You are free to use this map on your website,
provided you include the label
"www.OperationGadget.com" as shown in the
image. Click on the image for a larger version.

I prepared map of the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride using data from my Garmin Forerunner 201, a handle-bar-mounted Global Positioning System device that captures a variety of cycling or running statistics. I fed the output of the Forerunner 201 into the GPS Visualizer website, which generates maps of the routes you take while using a GPS.

The route changes color according to the elevation recorded on my Garmin Forerunner. This is one of the options that GPS Visualizer allows you to control.

Further information on how to do this yourself is in an article called Toolkit for Turning Garmin Forerunner 201 Data into Overlay Maps, published on Operation Gadget back in August.

Participants in the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride are welcome to use this map on their websites, provided that the image used includes the caption "www.operationgadget.com" as shown. If you choose to use the map, please download it and put it directly on your website, rather than pointing to it on our server. [ Small VersionLarge Version ]

October 11, 2004

"Victory at 12 Miles Per Hour" Captures the Attitude of the Tour of Hope Riders

Greg Taylor wrote an article for CyclingNews.com called Victory at 12 Miles Per Hour that really captures what the riders in the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride were feeling on Saturday. Taylor wrote:

... riding along Macarthur Boulevard on a sunny Saturday morning, the serious and sometimes sad business of fighting or surviving cancer was transformed into something different, something altogether joyful. As the riders slowly rolled along through the city with their police escort, the image of {Bill Cusmano, one of the top fund-raisers} and his fellow riders truly lived up to the name Tour of Hope. For the outside observer, it was a brilliantly endless parade of bicyclists, smiles, laughter, and the color yellow, in honor of Lance. For a few hours on a sunny Saturday afternoon, all of the hard work, dedication, hopes, and dreams of millions who have been touched by cancer found their expression and release in the simple joy of riding a bike.

I rode with a number of people wearing replica Tour de France yellow jerseys, including my friend Cecil Ledesma. I have always said that I won't wear a cycling jersey that represents a championship or a leadership position that I haven't earned myself, although I don't begrudge others doing so. I hadn't realized that in this context, it might be considered a way to honor Lance Armstrong.

October 10, 2004

Back from the 2004 Tour of Hope Finale

Tour of Hope 2004: Cecil Ledesma and Dave Aiello
Tour of Hope DC Fundraising riders Dave Aiello (left) and
Cecil Ledesma moments after crossing the finish line at
The Ellipse in Washington, DC. (Photo: Kathleen Aiello)
[ More photos from the 2004 Tour of Hope ]

Kathleen and I returned home from the 2004 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Finale late on Saturday night. We thought that the entire event-- from the start of the DC Fundraising Ride at Georgetown Prep School to the end of the National Team arrival ceremony at The Ellipse-- was spectacular.

I was able to connect with Cecil Ledesma a fellow rider from Pennsylvania who originally found me through Tour of Hope Coverage on Operation Gadget. I also spent time with my wife's parents and sister who came from their home in New Jersey to see me ride. My cousin Christie Cook, my friend from college Carolyn Lange and her son, and Operation Gadget reader Maria Norton all came from their homes in the suburbs to see me.

Left to right George Kuykendall, Joyce Kuykendall, Kathleen Aiello,
Dave Aiello, and Mary Kuykendall show off their LiveStrong wristbands.
(Photo: Christie Cook)

At the start of the ride, Lance Armstrong announced that about 900 riders raised the $500 required to participate in the ride. That means well over $450,000 were raised by the DC Fund-raising Riders alone. The Washington Post reported that he also said that this year's Tour of Hope coast-to-coast ride was different than last year's, "...the people along the sides of the roads . . . all times of day . . . it's been awesome." The DC Fundraising Ride was a continuation of that, with hundreds of people per mile out waving and clapping for amateur riders like me.

There are so many great stories to tell about the day. I will try to relate as many stories here as I can. My family and I took at least two dozen great pictures. When I saw them, I realized that we need to add a photo gallery system to Operation Gadget. I'll be working on that this week also.

Update: I built the Operation Gadget Photo Gallery and now you can find all of the 2004 Tour of Hope photos there.

October 8, 2004

Coast-to-Coast Ride Round Up

I can't tell you how busy I've been preparing for the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride. The amount of prep time required to thank your donors, work out logistics for your family to come watch, and do a few training rides is huge. Thanks to everyone who's contacted me about the ride this week.

I wanted to keep Operation Gadget readers up-to-date regarding the progress of the Tour of Hope National Team. Here are a few articles that have been written about what they're doing:

October 5, 2004

There's Still Time to Give to the Tour of Hope

Last night, one of my relatives wrote and said, "I tried to make a donation tonight, but I guess there was a deadline that has passed. Is there another way I can support you on your ride?"

I went to my Tour of Hope personal donation page, which now says:

The Tour of Hope Fundraising Deadline has passed. Donations made after October 1, 2004 will not count towards the minimum $500 fundraising level required for participation in the Washington, D.C. ride.

This message does not mean that the Lance Armstrong Foundation has stopped accepting donations on my behalf. All it means is that I wouldn't be allowed to ride if I hadn't raised $500 by last Friday.

Regular readers already know we've raised over $1,500-- three times the minimum necessary to ride-- and more is on the way. So don't let a slightly confusing message stop you.

October 1, 2004

Saying Thanks to Tour of Hope Supporters

I'm making an effort to catch up with my thank you notes to people who are supporting me in the 2004 Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride that will take place on Saturday, October 9. (That's a week from tomorrow, folks.) It took me almost two hours to email everyone because I took the time to write something personal to most people.

I've got 34 different donors now. Imagine how many people have made a contribution, if each of the 1,500 riders has a similar number of donors. That's a lot of people to thank.

The sun is out here in New Jersey. Pilots would call the weather "severe clear". Today's the day for another long training ride. Honk if you see me out there....

Bob Roll to Meet Tour of Hope Riders on Sunday in Durango, CO

Yesterday's Durango Herald reported that Outdoor Life Network cycling commentator Bob Roll will meet the Tour of Hope peleton as it passes through Durango, Colorado. He will serve as the master of ceremonies at a breakfast in the riders' honor at Morehart Subaru beginning at about 6:15am Mountain Time on Sunday, October 3.

According to the article, members of the Durango Wheel Club are planning to ride along with the Tour of Hope National Team as they pass through the area. Hopefully Dr. Joey Steele, the only member of the team from Colorado, will be riding on that leg.

September 30, 2004

Registration Packet for the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride Arrived Today

I got the registration packet for the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride today. It includes:

  • Registation Packet Booklet,
  • Cue Sheet,
  • Rider Number and Bike Number,
  • PowerBar, and
  • Bag Check Number for transportation of bags from the ride start to the ride end.

I was excited to get this, but we were in the middle of an Internet connection outage when the doorbell rang. I haven't had much time to look at or think about the contents of the packet yet.

USPS Cycling Team Members to Participate in the Tour of Hope Fund-raising Ride

CyclingNews.com reported that four additional members of the United States Postal Service Professional Cycling Team will participate in the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride on Saturday, October 9. The pros who will be riding are Jose Luis Rubiera and Pavel Padrnos who rode the 2004 Tour de France, Antonio Cruz who rode the Vuelta a Espana and Damon Kluck who recently rode the T-Mobile International.

These elite riders will be joining Lance Armstrong, the 2004 Tour of Hope National Team, and up to 1,500 riders who have raised a minimum of $500 to support cancer drug clinical trials.

September 29, 2004

National Tour of Hope Team and Lance Armstrong to Appear on Ellen DeGeneres Show

Earlier today, I received an email announcing that the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope National Team and Lance Armstrong will appear on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Thursday, September 30. This appearance will take place the day before the beginning of the ride across the country.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is syndicated, so you have to check your local listings. In our local area, it's on WNBC Channel 4 in New York City at 10:00am and on WCAU Channel 10 in Philadelphia at 3:00pm. Hopefully those of you who are interested will see this in time to TiVo it, if you have the ability.

September 28, 2004

Over $1,500 Donated to the Tour of Hope

I spent most of the day working on a website for one of my clients, so I didn't check my Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Rider Status Page until late this evening. Much to my surprise, donations as a result of my appeal now exceed $1,500. A number of donations sent by mail have been processed by the Lance Armstrong Foundation, so they are now part of the total. (Thanks Dad!)

I'm also pleased to report that donations have come in from friends in many parts of the world, including Germany, India, and Switzerland. Thanks to all of you who have "gone the extra mile" to be a part of this.

The ride is still about two weeks away, so there's still time to make a donation. If you enjoy what you read here on Operation Gadget, please contribute a few dollars to the cancer research cause.

September 24, 2004

Received a 10-Pack of LiveStrong Yellow Wristbands Four Weeks After Order Placement

LiveStrong Wristband
Get your LiveStrong wristbands now
at www.laf-store.org.

On August 26, I performed an experiment by ordering a 10-pack of LiveStrong Yellow Wristbands directly from the Lance Armstrong Foundation On-Line Store. I received the LiveStrong wristbands today, four weeks and one day after I placed the order. This confirms the shipping estimate that the LAF has been providing to its customers.

I'm sending these wristbands to people who are supporting my participation in the 2004 Tour of Hope Fund-raising Ride in Washington, DC to thank them for their support. If you want to join me in raising a few dollars for cancer research, please visit http://www.operationgadget.com/hope.

Buying 10-packs of LiveStrong wristbands from the Lance Armstrong Foundation On-Line Store is still the recommended method for obtaining them.

September 22, 2004

Tour of Hope Riders Reaching Out to Each Other

I got an email from Cecil Ledesma yesterday that said:

I just stumbled upon your blog and like you am registered to ride on October 9th in DC. I am a huge supporter of Lance and the LiveStrong program. There aren't enough yellow t-shirts I can wear in a week. I plan on riding the Tour of Hope by myself although it sure would be nice to hook up with a fellow rider on that day. I've never done this before but am so committed to riding in honor of the many names I have in my pocket that have lost the fight to Cancer. I liked your site a lot. Keep that going and I'll chat with you soon.

Cecil is the first fellow rider of the Tour of Hope Fund-raising Ride with whom I have communicated. It's great that we are able to use the Internet to find each other. I'm definitely going to find a way to meet up with him on October 9.

Tour of Hope Website for Riders:
Click on the screenshot to see what the
backend of the Tour of Hope website looks like.

One of the best things that the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope organizers have done is to create a website that allows Tour of Hope riders to contact people who've donated to support them. I have already emailed most of my donors, thanking them for their support.

It would be great if the Tour of Hope site let riders who met the minimum fund-raising requirement access the email addresses of other qualified riders. This would allow for networking in advance of the ride. Maybe people from the same areas could carpool if they live a long distance from Washington. Some might wish to arrange training rides in the weeks leading up to the big event.

I couldn't wait for this ride to take place, even before Cecil contacted me. If his attitude and mine are indicative of the rest of the riders, we're going to have a blast.

September 21, 2004

John Fee, Only Member of the 2004 Tour of Hope National Team from New Jersey

A couple of weeks ago, Paul Leakan wrote a profile of John Fee for the of The Burlington County Times. John Fee is the only member of the 2004 Tour of Hope National Team from New Jersey. He's a former elite amateur cyclist who now works for Bristol-Myers Squibb Oncology Products Division in Princeton. His mother is a cancer survivor and his aunt and two grandparents died as a result of cancer.

According to the article, Fee's goal for the Tour of Hope this year is, "... to take the education of cancer awareness and personal empowerment across the country to Americans and families that have been touched by cancer as mine has." To prepare, he's been following a personalized training regimen from Carmichael Training Systems that includes riding 12 to 16 hours a week during the peak training period.

For those of you who are not familiar with intense cycling training, the most I have ridden in a week this summer is 6 hours and 55 minutes during the week of August 9. I rode 99.9 miles on a mountain bike in that time. If he's riding a road bike, I'd guess that John Fee could ride 250 to 300 miles in 12 hours on flat roads.

I'm trying to find a way to contact John Fee before he leaves to ride across the country. Hopefully, I'll be able to speak with him and find out how much he was riding before he was chosen for the Tour of Hope National Team, how he likes the training program that Carmichael Training Systems has put him on, and where his favorite training routes are in New Jersey.

September 20, 2004

Map of the Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Route Published

The Tour of Hope website is being updated almost daily now, in preparation for the big events. Today, a map of the DC Fund-raising Ride was added. It's an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) document, so you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to open it.

There aren't many place names on this map, so I'll have to get a better-labelled map before I'll be able to describe much of the course. Hopefully, I'll be able to get a more detailed map and be able to figure out which roads are being used at the beginning and near the end of the ride.

Kristen Adelman, Endurance Athlete and Cancer Survivor, on the 2004 Tour of Hope National Team

I've mentioned to a couple of friends that I might like to try to qualify as a rider for the 2005 Tour of Hope coast-to-coast ride. I've been doing research in order to see the qualifications of the riders that have already been chosen, and it's looking like it could be extremely difficult to get chosen.

One of the riders on the 2004 National Team is Kristen Adelman from Elkridge, Maryland. She is a three-time survivor of non-Hodgkins lymphoma and a two time stem-cell transplant recipient. Through her illness she continued to train for endurance events, including running on a treadmill while she recovered from a stem-cell transplant at Johns Hopkins.

This isn't the first time she's been chosen out of thousands of applicants to participate in a coast-to-coast sports event. She participated in the Olympic Torch Relay for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Running a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay is much less demanding than riding the Tour of Hope, but being chosen as one of the 11,500 participants is a recognition of her will to overcome her illness.

I'm glad to be able to point readers of Operation Gadget to Kristen's amazing story. It's great that she has regained her health to the extent that she can ride the Tour of Hope. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to meet her in Washington on October 9.

September 18, 2004

26.1-Mile Training Route, The East Windsor - Millstone Loop

East Windsor - Millstone Loop
East Windsor - Millstone Training Loop:
also passing through West Windsor, Washington
Twp., Upper Freehold, Allentown, Roosevelt,
and Hightstown, NJ. Click on the image
for a larger map.
Photos of the route are also available.

Several Operation Gadget readers have expressed interest in the training rides that I'm doing in preparation for the 2004 Tour of Hope fund-raising ride in Washington, DC. This is a description of my 26.1-mile training loop that begins and ends at my home in East Windsor, NJ, and passes through some of the quietest countryside in Mercer and Monmouth Counties.

Readers who aren't familiar with this area are probably asking themselves, "How can you call any place that's so close to the New Jersey Turnpike 'quiet countryside'?" The biggest reason is because the towns that are southeast of the Turnpike in this part of New Jersey are still relatively undeveloped. Allentown, the town located closest to the junction of the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate 195 has some housing developments built on old farmland. But, the towns east and northeast of Allentown are still rural.

Riding this route usually takes me between 90 minutes and one hour and 45 minutes. I like to think of it as a total package for tempo riding or time trial cycling. It has some good hill sections in the southeastern part of the route (that's Millstone Township, Monmouth County, NJ, BTW), which I hit after 45 minutes to one hour of riding, depending on which direction I ride.

Continue reading "26.1-Mile Training Route, The East Windsor - Millstone Loop" »

September 16, 2004

DC Fund-raising Ride Route Officially Announced

Last night, I received an email from the Tour of Hope confirming the route highlights that I mentioned in a previous article:

What I didn't know is that the restage was specifically requested by the DC Metro Police. They will hold riders at the Irish in until approximately 10:15am, then let them ride as a single peloton to The Ellipse.

I guess we have to hope that riders don't have any equipment failures on this ride, because the route announcement says:

Any cyclists who arrive {at the restage location} after 10:15 AM or fall outside of the ride enclosure during this first leg of the ride will be required to complete the ride in a SAG wagon. The re-staging is required and will be strictly enforced by DC Metropolitan Police.

The organizers also suggest that Georgetown Prep be used primarily as a drop-off point. We had wondered if family members unfamiliar with the Washington DC area would be able to make it to The Ellipse in time to see the peloton arrive. If they have over two and a half hours from the start of the ride to reach The Ellipse, this shouldn't be an issue.

The announcement also talks about the possibility of riders using the Metro to get to Georgetown Prep for the start, but doesn't provide details. The Grosevnor-Strathmore Metro Station on the Red Line is very close to Georgetown Prep, as indicated on this neighborhood map.

More details are supposed to arrive in a Rider Registration Packet, which all registered riders will be sent during the week of September 27.

September 15, 2004

Donations to the Tour of Hope Surpass $1,000

Click on the screenshot to see what the
backend of the Tour of Hope website looks like.

This morning I checked my Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope Rider Status Page, and I found that donations received as a result of my appeal have exceeded $1,000, and I know that more is on the way. I am trying to email each person that donates to thank them, but I have fallen a bit behind the pace.

I want to thank everyone who has already donated. I didn't think that we would be able to raise twice the minimum amount to participate in the ride in one week. The commitments that people who have survived cancer have made, as well as those made by people who have lost close relatives, are particularly special. I have difficulty thanking those people, because I think they've given of their substance already, but they are willing to do more.

There are still at least two weeks remaining for people to make a donation. So, if you enjoy what you read here on Operation Gadget, please contribute a few dollars to the cancer research cause.

I have been spending too much time in front of my laptop and not enough time in the saddle. So, if you'll excuse me for an hour or two, I'm going out to put in some training miles.

Tour of Hope DC Fund-raising Ride Route Details Begin to Appear

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope website still does not have details about the route of the Washington DC fund-raising ride that will take place on October 9. But, a couple of websites have reported the start location and a major waypoint.

Both CyclingNews and The Daily Peloton report that the 2004 Fund-raising Ride course will begin at Georgetown Prep School on Rockville Pike in North Bethesda, MD. It will then proceed for about 18 miles to the Irish Inn in Glen Echo, MD, where the group will be restaged for the remaining 8 miles to The Ellipse in Washington DC near The White House. I assume that the restage is meant to allow riders of different abilities to ride into Washington in a large group for the benefit of spectators.

Kathleen and I have been trying to plan the logistics of this ride-- how I will get to the start with my bike, and where I will meet my friends and family after I am done with the ride. This is pretty difficult until more details are provided to us by the ride organizers. Hopefully, they will publish details of the route within the next week, so that we can more definitively answer questions that people are asking me.

September 11, 2004

Riders and Volunteers Still Needed for the Tour of Hope

CyclingNews reports that the Tour of Hope still has room for cyclists in the Washington DC fund-raising ride taking place on Saturday, October 9. If you can be in Washington on October 9, can pledge $50 personally and raise $450 more by October 1, you should try to join us.

The article also said that the organizers are seeking volunteers to be course marshalls and other staff members. More details about volunteering are available in a request for volunteers posted on the Washington DC Craigslist.

September 9, 2004

Help Me Ride the Final Stage of the 2004 Tour of Hope

On October 9, I'm going to join the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope by participating in the Washington DC fundraising bike ride and I would appreciate your support. One hundred percent of the funds raised during the Tour of Hope ride will benefit cancer research through the Lance Armstrong Foundation. To learn more, visit www.tourofhope.org.

Riding in Memory of Peter Frank

Peter Frank, Dave Aiello, and Dieter Frank in May 2003.

I'm participating in the Tour of Hope this year to remember one of my closest friends, Peter Andreas Frank. Peter died of brain cancer in August 2003 after a 10-year struggle with a series of brain tumors. He and his family fought this illness in a courageous and amazing manner, and I've been looking for a way to pay tribute to all of them on the first anniversary of Peter's death.

Peter participated in a clinical trial of the drug Gleevec, a drug that is normally prescribed for gastrointestinal tumors and leukemia, under the care of Dr. Roger Stupp of the University Hospital Multidisciplinary Oncology Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. He did this to prolong his life, improve his quality of life, and to help future brain cancer patients.

The Tour of Hope raises money for cancer clinical trials. So, I'm sure that Peter would support this program wholeheartedly.


Each rider must commit to raising a minimum of $500 for cancer research in order to participate in the Tour of Hope Washington, DC ride. I can't give that much myself this year. If you'd like to help me support cancer research, please click on the Help Dave ride the Tour of Hope button to make a tax deductible contribution with your credit card. The pledge you make is a fixed amount, and isn't based on how far I ride.

If you need instructions on how to donate by check or you need an address for Peter Frank's family so that a memorial card can be sent to them, please email me at daiello@operationgadget.com.

Thanks for your help. I plan to talk about the Tour of Hope Washington, DC fund-raising ride here on Operation Gadget. So, I hope you'll come back and check out our progress.

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