Jun. 26, 2007

Is it summer yet?

...probably not- at least not where I'm living. It's raining almost every day and today there are some thunderstorms in the forecast, as well. Jeez, I finally started with my training for the Challenge in October and now all I can do is ride on my stationary bike- which I have to admit is very boring- I know my basement by heart and there's no TV or any other distraction.

In other news, I have another eBay auction benefiting the Lance Armstrong Foundation. It's a signed cycling jersey from Erik Zabel (
6 time winner of the final green jersey for best sprinter during the Tour de France) - similar to the one I have in my raffle.

I received the jersey directly from the team, so it's a 100% genuine article- a great chance for all you cycling enthusiasts! With all the sponsor emblems: Milram, SMS Santini, Daigo, de nardi and the UCI Pro Tour Logo.

Size: XL (50)
Made in Italy by Santini- "Tilux Active Micro Hive"
60 % Polyester, 40 % Nylon
wash on cold/ 30°C

The auction ends: Jul-05-07 15:01:53 PDT and of course 100% of the money goes directly to the Lance Armstrong Foundation (a tax deductible donation for people living in the US). At the moment, the highest bid is for $70. Here's the link to the auction:
Click here to go to the Erik Zabel signed Jersey auction

There's one more issue. Ever since Karen's battle with breast cancer, I've been reading up on the illness and on people's experiences with it. Today, I got a very nice e-mail from a breast cancer survivor from Atlanta, Georgia and she told me about her involvement with the "Young Survival Coalition", an organization that assists women who are under 40 and have breast cancer (thank you Sarah for sharing the information with me). It's a wonderful group of very inspiring young women, and you can read more about them right here:

Jun. 11, 2007

Challenge Route descriptions released/ Lance in France

The route descriptions have been released for all 3 Challenges. The Austin Challenge will start and finish in Dripping Springs, which just happens to be Lance Armstrong's training grounds, and is called "Gateway to the Hill Country", so it should be very picturesque... can't wait to see the Longhorns. However, I'm not really sure what to think of the "steep climbs" :-)

Anyway, if you want to find out more about your Challenge, go to:
http://www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLXK1PxHmF/b.2714871/k.BA74/Event_Information.htm Just click on the Info button of the Challenge you're participating in and then you can find all the information you need- route descriptions included. In other news, Lance is back in Europe. He and some friends went to France this weekend and climbed the Mont Ventoux, one of the most challenging climbs of the 2004 Tour de France. Reports say it took him 2 hours, which is twice as much as during the Tour of 2004- so that's a former pro-cyclists' idea of having a good time with some friends?!

I took my bike out for a much less challenging ride with some friends over the weekend, too. But I have to admit, it felt really good to be healthy enough to do some decent cycling again and not feel like you'd fall down your bike in desperate need for an oxygen tent after just five minutes (a feeling I experienced during the last few weeks).

Jun. 4, 2007

Lance in Cheesehead Country

As some of you know, I consider myself partly a Cheesehead as I have been studying at the University of Wisconsin @ LaCrosse for a year. And I'm still getting (more or less regular) updates from some friends there and from Steve about what is happening in the region.

Well, on June 1st, the new Trek Madone bike was unveiled at the Milwaukee Art Museum (what a great place for an event like this!) and Lance was there as well- a big surprise for everyone attending.

You can find some pictures of Lance "admiring" the bike and a short video clip here: http://trekroad.typepad.com/trekroad/madone_world_premiere/index.html
Lance also supported an event called "The Trek 100 in support of the
Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC) Fund". As the enthusiastic cyclists of you may know, Trek is based in Waterloo, WI. Anyway, there are some video clips from that event, too.

For an exclusive one-on-one interview with Lance Armstrong, where he talks about cancer, his career and about cycling being called "the dirty sport", please visit: http://www.todaystmj4.com/sports/local/7800946.html
To see a short clip about the Trek 100, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/2gyvpn


Jun. 1, 2007

The end justifies the means, or does it?

Today, a lot of people in Europe were waiting for news about a certain "reality show" from the Netherlands. What happened?

Dutch publicly financed television network, BNN, announced it would broadcast "The Big Donor Show". The show was supposed to be about a 37-year-old woman, named Lisa, suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. She wanted to donate a kidney before she died and wanted to choose the recipient from among three contestants on Dutch national television. Viewers were said to be able to vote for a candidate via SMS text message (for 60 cents/message), but the final determination would've been Lisa's, according to BNN.

What followed was a huge outcry not only by members of the Dutch parliament, who had a session on this topic and said that they couldn't intervene the stations plans for the show, as any intervention would be "censorship". Almost everyone thought the idea was extremely objectionably, distasteful and unethical. However, the station is no stranger when it comes to scandals. They invented "Big Brother", and showed a reporter snorting cocaine and then being interviewed about the experience in a talk-show format. Plus, the production company
was censured by Ofcom (in the UK) last week for their handling of the Celebrity Big Brother racism row.

At the end of the Big Donor Show, the host informed everyone that the show was completely staged and that Lisa was an actress. However, the 3 contestant really were waiting for a kidney, but were informed about the show and played their parts. The host explained the reasons for the show as a way to inform the public about the extreme need for donor organs in the Netherlands. This discussion was meant to inform people about the whole process and encourage people to sign up as organ donors.

Okay, I totally agree with them that at the moment the issue of donating your organs after brain-death or Cardiac Death is not very popular in the media. At the moment, mucoviscidosis is the illness that is most talked about in Germany. There seems to be some kind of trend, where the media only talks about one illness and pretty much forgets any other diseases. Unfortunately, cancer isn't a major priority in the news right now and neither is AIDS.

But does a need for information about a certain issue justify a show like this- even if it's staged? I don't think so- why not make a documentary about organ donations (and no, documentaries don't have to be boring, just add some real patients who talk about their experience waiting for donors and the stories will be interesting and people will talk about it.) Also, why not talk to your politicians about the possibility to change the law. In some European countries, everyone is a donor and you have to object if you don't agree due to religious beliefs or personal matters.

There's so much you can do, but shock everyone just to get a headline in the news? I don't think so, and this whole scenario probably will have the opposite effect- it will give a bad name to the whole issue and people will remember the scandal, not the cause.