Oct 06

“Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry.”

Nycc I thought this particular Black Sabbath lyric was especially appropriate in setting up my blog about Saturday night's Young Survival Coalition charity comedy event at The New York Comedy Club.
YSC needs all the help it can get. Its mission is simple, but stark: raise funds for, and provide support to, young women who are diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, though, YSC doesn't attract the buzz that larger, better-funded breast cancer organizations such as Susan G.  Komen Foundation enjoy. Ysc_logo

And, the charity ride is anything but charitable to the riders. We logged 230 miles in two-and-a half days, battled high winds, steep hills and precipitous descents. In fact, three riders fell and broke collar bones on the first day alone. That said, no matter how painful the experience, all one had to do for motivation was look ahead, behind or to the side and see a cancer survivor battling the very same elements. How could any of us give up when these survivors, who had already endured so much, were pushing their bodies to the max? We peddled on…
So, in addition to competing in YSC's Tour de Pink charity cycling event this past weekend, several other Peppercommers will be joining me for Saturday's fundraising comedy event.
Finally, in the spirit of social media, allow me to be totally transparent. Today's blog is nothing more than a bald-faced attempt to hype Saturday night's event, increase the gate (all proceeds go to YSC) and help the Coalition with its noble task.
Assuming you don't have prior plans, we'd love to see you.  (8pm, Saturday October 9th, The New York Comedy Club, 241 East 24th St.; reservations are advised: 212-696-5233.) And, even if you do have a conflict, click on the YSC link  (or on my personal YSL fundraising page) and send them a few bucks. It all helps. And, that's no joke.

Oct 04

Tour de Pink II: The Sequel

Peppercommers Matt Purdue, Trish Taylor and this blogger joined 200 other cyclists this past IMAG0066 weekend to battle flooded roads, steep hills and aching muscles to successfully complete the 230-mile Tour de Pink charity fundraising ride.

Click here to see a video of Matt being interviewed by FoxNews at the end of the ride in New York City.

Tour de Pink 2009 was an amazing experience for me- some of my readers may recall my "post ride" post from last year. This year was even more extraordinary

Created six years ago by Matt and a few other pioneering souls, the Tour's goal is to raise awareness of and monetary support for the Young Survival Coalition. This is an amazing group that, unlike Susan G. Komen and other high profile breast cancer charities, has had to depend on Matt and his circle of friends to make a difference. And, what a difference they've made. In just six years, Matt & Co. have elevated the tour from an initial event that raised just $30,000 to this year's Woodstock-like experience that has already put some $550,000 in the YSC coffers. The event’s lead sponsor, The Hershey Company (cultivated by Matt and his committee), also donated $300,000 and sent nearly 40 riders to the tour.

But, the event is about much more than the much-needed moola. It's an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual roller coaster that pushes riders to the max. In many ways, it reminds me of the demands of climbing Kilimanjaro, Elbrus or other 14,000-plus foot peaks. Cyclists, like climbers, bond immediately. We push each other through the pain. We urge each other to go just one more mile, or stagger in to just one more rest stop.

There's no hype, no false pretense and, above all, no mind games. When a rider says she has your back, she means it. When one rider falls (and, unfortunately, three cyclists suffered broken collar bones the first day), we all stop to provide whatever support we can.

You won't find that type of individual riding Matt Purdue's Tour de Pink. Many of Matt's riders begin the three days as complete strangers and end up BFFs. The exact same things holds true for climbing.

So, before ending, I wanted to send a few shoutouts:

– To all my friends, family and co-workers who contributed money. Thank you.
– To the Tour de Pink support staff who had PBJ sandwiches, bananas and Advil waiting at every rest stop.
– To the three riders who broke their collar bones on day one, but traveled with the group for the rest of the tour.
– To my most excellent assistant, Dandy Stevenson, who handled all of my personal logistics so that I could concentrate on the matter at hand
– To Matt Purdue, who lost his partner, Randi, to breast cancer this past February. This one was for you, Matt.

Although I've exceeded my $3,000 fundraising goal, I can accept donations on my fundraising page through December 31st. And, to further help Matt and YSC, we'll once again be hosting a charity comedy event this coming Saturday night, October 9th, at 8pm at the New York Comedy Club. I promise that, too, will be a special experience.

So, if the spirit so moves you, help Matt, Trish and me raise the awareness of the Young Survivors Coalition. And, if you think your legs, beck, back and lower extremities can take it, join us for next year's Tour de Pink. I've done it twice now and cannot wait for a threepeat.

If you do decide to join us, I guarantee it'll be one of the best experiences of your life.

Oct 07

In the pink

I just joined 175 other cyclists for the 220-mile Tour de Pink cancer charity ride. It was a great event for a critically important cause. I won't wax poetic about what it all meant to me but, to answer one person's question: 'Yes, it was worth all the pain and agony and, yes, I would do it again in a heartbeat.’ So, here are some random thoughts and shoutouts about my epic adventure:

October 7 - pink

– Helmets off to Matt Purdue (pictured here along with erstwhile Peppercommer Trish Taylor and me) for organizing the tour. This is the sixth year that riders have set out from Hershey, Pa., struggled to climb the heinous hills of Pennsylvania Dutch country and finish two-and-a-half days later in Bridgewater, NJ. Matt and his fellow organizers have raised $2 million for cancer research in the tour's six years.

– The survivors. There were about 40 survivors who rode alongside us on various stretches. Whenever my neck, back or legs hurt, I just had to glance at a survivor to suck it up and keep pedaling.

– Don Middleberg for donating $500 to support me. Don's always been a hero of mine (he created a great dotcom agency and chose the perfect timing in selling it). See you at the Kitano, Don.

– The friends, family and co-workers who pledged money. It all helps.

– The Mennonite school kids who would stop in the middle of their baseball game, step out of a 19th century-like existence and cheer us on (Trust me: it was like watching an episode of 'Little House on the Prairie').

– The Tour de Pink support crews. We had unbelievable support teams who carried our luggage, tuned our bikes and fed us along the way.

– Valley Forge National Park. I'd never seen it before. It looked cold and bleak in early October, so I can only imagine the wintery conditions of 1776-77.

– My trusty assistant, Dandy Stevenson, who made sure everything had been arranged in advance ('Not to worry,' the Tour de Pink people would say, 'Dandy took care of that for you').

– The other riders, who were incredibly supportive and only too happy to help with advice, suggestions, etc. The cry of 'car back!' is still ringing in my ears (That's a warning from the trailing rider that a car is rapidly approaching from the rear).

That's it. Check the Fox & Friends coverage and, if the spirit so moves you, donate a dollar or two to the cause.