Sep. 30, 2007

Germany's women's soccer team sets records

Germany women's soccer team defended their World Cup title with a 2-0 victory over Brazil today and are thus the first team to defend their title. But that's not the only record they broke.

Germany is the first team to go through a major senior tournament without yielding a goal, outscoring the opposition 21-0. in addition, they have not given up a goal in 619 minutes in World Cup play (the last goal was scored four years ago by Sweden).

Pretty impressive team effort, with a great German goalie, Nadine Angerer, who tipped away a penalty shot by Brazilian superstar Marta. Again, the women's team is even more successful than the men's national team who won bronze in last years world cup in Germany. Let's just hope that they'll receive the attention they deserve and that the media will pick up on their success and increase their coverage of the women's league. It's way past time to do so!

Earlier today, the USA beat Norway 4-1 in the bronze medal game.

Sep. 24, 2007

History marker in Green Bay

Okay, this is totally off topic, but as many of you know I spent a year in Wisconsin studying at the University of Wisconsin @ La Crosse a couple of years ago, and I met a lot of great people there. I loved everything about Wisconsin, even the winter, and of course I became a huge Packers fan. Yep, you guess it, it's time to mention a little piece of history in the making- Brett Favre tied Dan Marino's TD record on Sunday.

Even more important, a team that a lot of people underestimated during the pre-season, now is 3-0. And next week, he'll hopefully break the TD-record and add another win against Minnesota- oh, can't wait for the old Packers-Vikings rivalry. I told you I'm a sports nut!

Favre has played 17 seasons in the NFL and has started every game since his first start for the Packers in 1992, an "Iron Man", for sure! But not everything was perfect. He overcame an addiction to pain killers, had to deal with the death of his dad, and the death of his brother-in-law. And... and this is where it all comes full circle to the fight against cancer, only a week later, his wife Deanna was diagnosed with breast cancer. She started the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation, that pays medical bills for women with breast cancer who are uninsured or underinsured. After going through chemo, she fully recovered and is doing great, but she always kept her humor, even during her treatment: "I lost everything — my hair, my eyebrows, eyelashes — and yet I still had to shave my legs. The one place a woman really wants to lose hair, and I didn't."

If there's one thing you learn during this ongoing endeavor is to never loose your sense of humor and the faith that you will be okay!

Sep. 20, 2007

It's raining again....

Okay, it's passed time that this stupid rain will finally stop. I mean, it's been like this pretty much all summer. We had about 2 weeks of warmer weather in June and could actually get our t-shirts and shorts out of the closet, but since then it's been rainy and cold, so I'm back to wearing jeans and sweaters, if you can believe it.

Since I'm still recovering from the flu, although it's getting much better, I can't do any cycling outside. With the rain and the cold weather, it's just way too risky with the Austin Challenge coming up in about 3 weeks. I'm not even taking a chance on getting soaked to my undies again!

Everything else is finally falling into place. I already booked my flight (pretty expensive but it'll be worth it), I finally got the information that I will be able to borrow a bike for the actual challenge ride, and I'm beginning to get all the information I need about where to stay during the week.

The only negative aspect is my fundraising that came to a complete stop. Actually, I had 3 people lined up who promised me to either support my fundraising or even sponsor me, but I haven't heard from them ever since. I mean, why offer something like that and then not follow up on it? It got my hopes up to actually accomplish my goal of raising $5000 and now it's a pretty disappointing situation.

Oh well, I did organize some online-auctions, but most of the people who won the items are very slow in sending the money, so that money will probably arrive in time for next year's fundraising season.

But, I won't complain, it's been a new fundraising record for me, anyway. A few months ago, I wasn't even sure if I'd get passed the $500 mark with all those negative news and attitudes about cycling in general and more specifically in Germany and Europe, so I'm happy with the way it turned out!

Just in case you know someone who'd be willing to support me in any way or who has the opportunity to donate to my fundraising page, let me know. I tried to get more information about the LAF across to people from my hometown by doing an interview in a local paper, but that didn't recruit any further donations or support. People are always telling me that they admire me for volunteering my time and some of my money (that's pretty tight with me being a college student who has to pay for tuition) for a good cause, but when it comes to donating even a small sum, they always shy away. Oh well, I guess it's the fact that donations to the LAF are not tax-deductible in Germany, so if they donate some money, they'll choose a German foundation. It's a little disappointing, but I just can't help it.

That won't stop my involvement with the LAF and the fight against cancer, though, so I'll keep going, even if it's a difficult endeavor.

Sep. 14, 2007

A month to go!

Just got back from a 75 minute spinning session with one of my good friends, and it actually wasn't as bad as I expected it to be after not spending much time on a bike during the last 6 weeks due to the summer flu.

When I got back I received the good news that I'll get a bike for the Austin Challenge, I'll just need to get it fitted, but that's not a problem. I'm just happy that it all turned out so well and that people are just being so helpful and extremely nice. Now I'll just have to concentrate on spending some additional time on the bike, and get in shape, and all should be set.

I know that some people are worried about finding a place to stay that is in/near Dripping Springs.
Here's a list of places. They were found on the Dripping Springs Chamber of Commerce website…and LAF does not have blocks at them.

Outpost Motel
26200 RR 12 South
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(512) 858-0052

Cypress Fork Ranch Bed & Breakfast

1300 Creek Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(512) 894-4410

Mt. Gainor Inn
2390 Prochnow Road
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(512) 894-0982

Sports Country, Inc.
P. O. Box 414
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Sunrise Exotic Ranch
25201 RR 12
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
(512) 894-0728

Tex-Zen Dreams
699 Hillview Drive
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

Also, there were some questions about what to wear during the Challenge ride. There's not an easy answer that will be right for everyone. The most important thing is to feel comfortable in whatever you'll wear. I'd definitely recommend cycling shorts- otherwise you could have a very uncomfortable ride and it won't be much fun!

I'll probably ride in a Challenge Jersey. I got one last year and I definitely would like to get one this year, too. It was really comfortable and it had lots of room to put snack bars and water bottles. But there were some people riding in regular t-shirts, too, so again- wear what you'll feel most comfortable in!

Sep. 10, 2007

Riding with a purpose

I just received an e-mail from one of my fellow volunteer mentors and I just had to pass this along- it's an amazing story of a really dedicated and incredibly strong woman who won't let brain cancer get her down. It makes you even more proud and determined to ride with such amazing participants. I'm sure each of us, who will ride in the Austin Challenge, has his or her unique and inspiring story, this is Kim's:

Sep. 7, 2007

Thank you Aiden and Brian!

Finally, the moment to reveal who won the signed Erik Zabel Cycling jersey and the signed Dirk Nowitzki shoes!
I know I'm a little behind schedule, but first I was going through a bad case of summer flu, and then I couldn't reach the winner of the shoes, so here it is, finally.

The jersey was won by an Australian young man, named Harley (I'm so sorry for confusing you for a girl, but the same thing happens to me all the time- people confuse me for a guy because of my unusual name, so we're having something in common!) It already arrived down under and is put to good use- not by putting it in a frame, but by actually wearing it during his training rides. I'm glad you like it! And thanks again for participating!!

The basketball shoes got me introduced to a remarkable man in Canada. His name is Aiden and he was entering the raffle for his son, who is a huge basketball fan. But things changed after the raffle came to an end. His son was diagnosed with testicular cancer and his doctors gave him a 25% chance of surviving. That was why I couldn't reach him- he and his family were busy dealing with that kind of news and making plans for his future treatment.

When I did manage to get in touch, I was amazed by the response letter I received and very much touched. Aiden, his wife and his children, including the son who is a huge Nowitzki fan, had some kind of a family conference and decided to donate the shoes. They wanted me to auction them off and then to donate the money from that auction to the LAF in Brian's name. I was absolutely blown away by their generosity, but at the same time I wasn't sure if I should do it- I mean Brian won it and after his diagnosis, I wanted to give him an incentive to give him some extra motivation for his upcoming therapy.

But than he called me, and insisted on his plan. He's a brave young man, only 26 years old- and talking to him was something I'll never forget. You just can feel his absolute will to kick cancer's butt and quite honestly, I don't think that cancer will have a chance of winning. I wouldn't let him give up his prize without any kind of compensation, though, so I organized a Nowitzki signed cap and some Livestrong Challenge items for him. I'm proud to know this family and I'll put Brian on the list of names of people, I will ride for in the Challenge.

I will auction off the Basketball shoes during the next 10 days, starting today. I'll also auction off some signed sports memorabilia from German stars, including a signed swimsuit from former world class swimmer and world-record holder Franziska van Almsick.

As soon as I start the auctions, I'll put a link to the eBay site on my blog, so please check back! If you know someone interested in some of the items, I'd appreciate it if you could pass along the information.

By the way, the other smaller prizes will be shipped in mid-October. So maybe you'll get a pleasant surprise soon! A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE PARTICIPATING IN THE RAFFLE! I met some amazing people during the event- you rock!

Sep. 5, 2007

Riding group for the 40 mile Austin ride

I just got back from my doctor and I couldn't be happier about the news- the blood test came back all clear, so the antibiotics did their job and now it's just a matter of time and being patient (which I'm not, unfortunately) until I should be better. Thank you for all of the "get well soon" messages!!!

So, I can finally start with some moderate cycling and should be reaching my usual level of fitness in about a week. Keep your fingers crossed!

Just over a month to go... I can't believe we're actually this close to the Austin Challenge! The date was always very far away in the back of my calendar, but now it's right there. I put the Austin elevation profiles on my wall, so I can see it whenever I'm working on my PC, and I'll put the list of names to honor during the Challenge just next to the profiles, to keep me motivated.

If anyone of you will ride the 40 miles in Austin, this might be interesting:
I'm riding the 40 miles with a friend from San Antonio, because we both figured that it is quite important to have a "riding buddy" for motivation and support during the entire route. We're both kind of slow riders- it's more about survival and finishing the ride than racing- and we'll prove just that! The hills will be tough, but hey, it isn't called a Challenge for nothing, right?

So, we decided to start a group of participants that will ride together, stopping at each rest stop, and keeping each other motivated. If anyone else is interested in riding with our group, please let me know either by e-mail or by leaving a comment.

I already put a link to Amanda's training blog on my sidebar, but just in case you didn't see it, yet, here it is again: