Shelby Madden

Exploring my limits with a bike and big (potentially dumb) ideas!

"Tour de Tequila: Stage 1"

Several of my friends suggested I throw a wine tasting party as a fundraiser. I thought it was a great idea but wine hurts my head so that made it a relatively bad idea, until I turned it into an event that I could handle... tequila tasting! Since I'm raising money for a forever-long, charity, bike ride, I decided to call the fundraising event the "Tour de Tequila," even though the only thing being "toured" were various regions in Mexico as experienced through their distilled agave products. To do this, I hooked up with the owner of a local tequila bar, Cantina Mayahuel, and put together a tasting where participants got to experience 6 different tequilas with lunch. The idea made so much sense at the time of origin and would have continued to make sense had I not hung out late with friends afterward...ayayay.

It was storming the night before and rain was expected that day so I was a little worried about how things would turn out. I was hoping to have the tasting outside since the patio is really my favorite part of the bar/restaurant and as luck would have it, we had perfect weather! (I did something right somewhere along the line). There were about thirty souls braving the tasting and in the process, I think I may have converted a few people into tequila lovers. No one thinks they like tequila until they try good tequila...and then others, just can't get past the first matter what (Anne!).

Pictures tell the tale

This is the incredible support crew that showed up early and stayed late helping to make sure things ran smoothly. Debbie Rogers, Anne Fleming, Liana & Pearl Simonelli, Liz Pappas, and Sally Johnson. I seriously couldn't have done it without them!

While Pearl was busy helping at the registration table, her big sister, Liana, set up shop selling her earrings. So far, she has raised over $100 dollars for CAF through her earring sales! These two little friends of mine had no problem jumping on the CAF boat; I'm really proud of them both and I know their parent's, Liz and Danny, are too!

Mike and Kathy Kenney with their other friend, Mike, who stopped in on his way to a ship in Hawaii. He found out about the event on Facebook and RSVP'd unbeknownst to them. It was a cool surprise.

Vikki and her husband Kyle, goin' in! Vikki organizes the Million Dollar Challenge ride and does a phenomenal job doing it.

Were I one to not take responsibility for my actions, I would be blaming this crew for my inability to function the following day: Rosie, Ray, Elvia and Martin...before the mayhem.

Guillermo and Marina Escobedo meet "Cowboy," a Million Dollar Challenge friend from the 2009 ride, and his son, Chance. Cowboy donated his 50/50 raffle winnings right back to CAF. He's just like that and I was floored by the offer. OH! But please don't feel like you have to be a Cowboy at future events- please, take the money and run!

Of course there were Tri Club of San Diego friends present! Here are just a few...Nancy, Kim, Linda and Amy. These ladies are never short on words of encouragement. I really appreciated their presence.

Bar owner, Aaron, in the background educating my people.

Ron Johnson and his daughter, Carrie. Carrie is a two-time Olympian racing the flat water kayak and will no doubt be seen again in London. She's doing this despite an ongoing battle with Crohn's disease; she's one cool chick!

Zabel and I have been buddies for a loooooong time which was one of the best parts about hosting this fundraiser. It was the perfect reason to bring some of the great people in my life together!

One last shot of the fabulous volunteers. They looked cute so I had to add it!

And finally, my dad used to say, "If you want it bad enough, you'll figure out a way to get it." It's great advice and as it turns out, applies to every aspect of my life.

Guess it doesn't take a genius to figure out what I was after on this one.

The "Tour de Tequila" turned out to be a great event overall and we were able to raise over $600.00 toward my fundraising goal of $10,000! This thanks to the unbelievable generosity of my friends, old and new, and their willingness to rally for a great cause (and the tips I grabbed off the tables on the way out and the guy I mugged on the corner as we were leaving...). I joke!
I definitely recognize how fortunate I am to have the influence of such good people in my life. With that said, since one can't have a "tour" with only one "stage," I'll be hosting the "Tour de Tequila: Stage 2" in early summer. Be ready to sign up early and come on out!

GU'S in the Hou-(scratch that) Apartment!

I passed on the after-work happy hour today because I had a feeling I would see something like this when I got home and I couldn't wait. That's sayin' somethin' cuz this sister loves herself an opportunity to commune with friends but take a look at what Haley and Brooke (Marketing Manager for GU), delivered!

A sampling of the delivery!
I love GU Chomps. I have to resist eating them like candy and think I've finally learned my lesson not to eat them as such; I've had one too many sleepless nights as a result of eating a few Chomps before bedtime. You probably already know this but Chomps have a purpose and serve it very well; however, a candy substitute/sleep aide they are not, trust me.

Shortly after tearing open the GU boxes, I remembered that today was the day I got my first CSA delivery. For those of you that may not be familiar, CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, is a way for consumers to buy seasonal food from a local farmer. I've been wanting to try this out for a couple years now and my friend Kathy finally tipped the scales for me. She picked up my first box and this is what I found waiting on her doorstep:

I displayed it all pretty-like for you :)
I love it! I love the colors and the smells of it all, but now I'm pacing. I have NO idea what to do with it. I ate a carrot. It was fun. ' Tasted like a carrot only it was red and little, which made me want to eat it, unlike the everyday carrot I buy in the store. I also had a stalk of celery-crunchiest stalk of celery I've ever had but now what? I can't actually eat it all raw, (baby steps) so the next thing is to cook with it. HA! I am SUCH a glutton for punishment and may as well put flyers on the neighbors mailboxes to warn them-might even put a call in to SDFD while I'm at it. Regardless, Kathy and Haley both emailed me with enthusiastic ideas on what to do and being a sucker for a well sold product, I have a new found confidence-based on absolutely nothing even remotely close to reality- in my cooking.

I'll let you know how this plays out. For now, I am Healthy Eater Girl, super human in my attempts to support local agriculture!

Thank God I'm Size Nothing

...or I'd have nothing to auction off! When I got home from work on Thursday, I was greeted with a large box from ZOOT. It felt like Christmas even though I knew I didn't get to keep any of the presents. My friend Haley is sponsored by them so she put me in touch with her team manager, Jake Jansen, for some possible auction items. Jake asked what I was looking for with a, "...would you like a wetsuit, a backpack, or some piece of ZOOT product?" My answer, "...all of the above or whatever you can manage without losing your job!" Based on his response, I'm answering that way from now on. Why limit oneself when there are sweet Jakes in the world with secret heart wishes to play Santa Clause?!

Holy cow, did Jake deliver. Inside the Thursday box I found one of these...

Zoot Women's Zenith 2
and I think what looks like two of these...

Women's Flash Wetsuits
(Only one in black and I think one in blue-I didn't want to mess them up yet!)

And then there are of course some cute T-shirts, an Ultra Sport Top and a super cute pair of shoes that I think were actually intended for me but unfortunately, Jake, they're too stinkin' big so on the auction block they go! I really appreciate the thought, though. I love ZOOT products and I hate that they're too big for me. It's not a problem with their sizing, there's just no money in making one of everything; I get it. It's a bit of a bummer not to be able to wear more of their fabulous stuff but it probably saves me a lot of cash in the long run!

Since "Big Box Thursday," I've been getting several other offers for auction and raffle items. Friends are offering creative gift baskets, coaching (from Rachel, swim coach extraordinaire, Brian of Triathlon Lifestyle Coaching, and Lisa Jennings of VeloBetty), embroidery work by Sew MI, hair renovations (my words!) from Pixie Salon, GU and Timex products and all kinds of other fun stuff! It's just cool to watch it all unfold. Just now I received an email from Geoff Peterson, an award winning photographer who also happens to be my best friend's dad. He is donating a beautifully framed copy of this photograph, "Taking Root," one of my favorites as he will tell you it's about life, challenges and success. I see that. It's gorgeous and I'm honored he chose to donate it.

Along with the fantastic auction items that are beginning to come in, many people have been able to donate money toward my goal. I have to admit I'm amazed at the generosity, floored really, and if I'm being honest, completely addicted to the "thermometer." Anyone who has done any fundraising knows what I'm talking about; it's genius, really. Everyone, including the contributors want to see that thing go up so we make it go up. I've been on both sides and feel eternally grateful for those individuals that have been helping my thermometer, "go up."

Lately, I've been busy planning an opening fundraiser at Cantina Mayahuel on February 20th. Interested readers, please send me an email at and I'll definitely send you details. I promise to have some great raffle items at the "Tour de Tequila," but you'll have to mark your calendars for April 17th for a chance to win some of the above mentioned items in a silent auction. You'll get to meet my parents too (that mention should COMPLETELY stress them out, ha!) I'm hopeful I'll be seeing your mug at at least one of these events! Until then, thanks everyone for your continued support; I couldn't do any of this without you. Collectively, you're like one giant squirrel!

Ground Hog's Day and Million Dollar Madness

Well, it's that time and this sister is committed! I'm super excited to have officially signed up for the Qualcomm Million Dollar Challenge to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Along with 100 other cyclists, I will be riding my little scooter from San Francisco to San Diego, a total of 620-miles in a week, in order to raise awareness and funding for CAF. This is a huge undertaking in many ways but watch one of the videos below and you will see a small glimpse of how this effort impacts people's lives:

Evan Morgan: CAF Spokesperson and War Veteran

Jake Frank's Story:

And of course, little Ms. Scout Bassett. Scout and I had some great times this past summer. With the help of CAF and Bill Holland of Holland Cycles, she has one of the coolest custom fit bikes I've ever seen-next to mine, of course! It's tough to beat the Orange Crush when it comes to coolness. HA! Unfortunately, you won't see Scout's new bike in the video but I'll get some pictures up eventually.

I had a hard time choosing which video to share, can ya tell? There is so much good and so many stories that come out of an organization like CAF. With this in mind,
I hope you’ll
Follow This Link to visit my personal web page and help me get this ball a-rollin'!

Wish me luck and spread the word!