Thank you.

Thank you for making Blood+Sweat+Chemo worth writing.

Thank you for riding with me in my garage on that cold January morning.

Thank you for calling, emailing and sending letters.

Thank you for hitting a vein on the first poke.

Thank you for making meals and sending care packages.

Thank you for buying the T-shirt. And the sticker.

Thank you for donating your time.

Thank you for reconnecting.

Thank you for riding in the first annual One Rock Rally.

Thank you for retweeting, mentioning, sharing and re-posting.

Thank you for filling my cube with balloons.

Thank you for reading when I needed to write.

Thank you for stopping by, just to say hello.

Thank you for drinking and riding at the Beers & Gears Pub Crawl.

Thank you (Kate) for buying me the Rolls Royce of road bikes.

Thank you for sitting with me in chemo.

Thank you for donating almost $34,000 to LIVESTRONG, on my behalf.

Thank you for allowing me to ride with Lance Armstrong.

Thank you for letting me tell my story.

Now, it’s time to live. No more wishing. No more worrying. No more looking back over my shoulder. No more waiting for Austin. No more toughing it out. No more thinking about what was or what could have been.

This is my finish line. 

Austin Weekend Recap

Friday
Kate and I took the early flight out of Minneapolis, en route to Austin via Dallas. Note to self: a 16lb bike can weigh 55lbs in a Thule bike box with a bunch of other junk stacked inside. Thank you Livestrong/American Airlines for covering the bike/baggage/oversized fees.

When we arrived in Austin, there was a person waiting near the baggage claim with my name on a board. First time that’s ever happened.

Loaded the bike onto a coach bus with a bunch of other riders and made our way to downtown Austin. Which is beautiful. Decent skyline. Cool architecture. River. Not to mention, perfect weather.

Checked in and cabbed it over to Livestrong HQ for a tour, then Mellow Johnny’s. Bought a hat, a cup of coffee, a huge peanut butter cookie and ogled some vintage steel. Lance has some nice bikes.

Back to the hotel. Iron. Shower. Bus to “private residence/secret location.” Half way to said location they make an announcement: “Hello everyone. We’re almost there. Just wanted you to know the the ‘private residence’ is Lance’s house.”

Whoa.

Gates. Walls. Fancy house. Fancier cars. Walked through Lance’s living room to back yard where I run into Doug Ulman. He knew who I was without introduction. Walk past infinity pool to be greeted by passed hors d’oeuvres and some special cocktail – moonshine and grapefruit juice. I had two.

Dinner starts. Lance walks out. We grab a table under the string lights. Half way through dinner, Ethan Suplee takes the stage as emcee. A little while later, I take the stage to talk about Blood+Sweat+Chemo and share a little about my story. After that, I shake Lance’s hand and Kate and I get a photo with the man himself. Not bad.

Saturday
Wake up. No moonshine hangover. Nice. Walk down the street to the 5k start line. Run three miles with my Dad, my Stepmom, Kate, Ryan and Graeme. Brunch at the hotel. Back on the bus, kitted up for the private ride. Meet fellow yellow jersey havers at some race track outside town. Six mile loop, over and over and over. One by one we roll up to the front of the pack for a photo with Lance.

Back to hotel. Pool. Beer. Mom and Stepdad, Dad and Stepmom, friends and Kate and I all get back on the bus to dinner at Livestrong HQ. Good food. More Lance. A few folks shared their fundraising stories. Then I got recognized for having the second highest number of individual contributors. That happened because of YOU. Thank you.

Sunday
Up early. On the 5:45am bus to the start line for the big ride. Special treatment (food/OJ/java/bikes waiting) in the Yellow Jersey tent. Off to the start line, starting ON the start line. 4,500 people behind me. Lance and Levi and Radioshack and Mellow Johnny’s in front of me. Lance thanks everybody for coming, mounts up and rolls out. Things started fast. The lead group broke away. Graeme, Ryan and I chased and hung. Ryan and I stuck on for 20 miles, in the lead pack at a fast clip. Real fast. Drafting like it was our job. At mile 20, Lance peeled off – took the shortcut back for the 65-mile course. Ryan and I continued on with Levi and a smaller group for another 26 miles in a double-wide pace line. I bowed out. Ryan could have held on. We both stopped at the 50-mile rest stop to fuel up. For the rest of the ride, we maintained a respectable pace – but not nearly as fast as the first half. It got hot. The ride was over. Hugs. Roses. Michelob Ultra.

Back on the bus. Pool. Shower. Dinner at Guero’s. Lyle Lovett walked in - got seated immediately. After Guero’s, we hit Amy’s Ice Cream on South Congress. Best ice cream ever.

Monday
Bus. Airplanes. Home.


(Wow. That’s long. Did you read the whole thing? There’s no way you read the whole thing.)

This about sums it up. Stay tuned for a full weekend update.

This about sums it up. Stay tuned for a full weekend update.

HQ

HQ

A little video from last night. Me, Kate, Ryan and Graeme with the Gypsy Queens in Lance Armstrong’s backyard.