Shelby Madden

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

It's just that time of year!

The days are longer and the events are rolling out and I get to ride my bike sans the bondage of a stationary trainer! This last weekend I did a little ride called the Alpine Challenge and nearly killed myself doing it. The Alpine Challenge is an annual fundraiser organized by Ed and Dawn Paul and the Alpine Kiwanis. The proceeds form the event finance two years of college or continuing education for at least two high school students. The deal is, these students must pledge to live a drug/crime-free life, graduate from high school in their scheduled year and meet admission requirements for post-secondary education. The cool thing about the charity is that they choose high school freshman and mentor them throughout their 4 years to ensure their success. As a teacher, I think it's awesome!

Last year I did the 25 mile option, and this year I was easily talked into the 60 mile ride by my buddy Anne who then ended up with an injured hamstring so I was on my own for this one. I was actually really nervous. I know the area well enough to know that it was going to be a difficult ride and I usually only do about 45 miles out there so I was making a little jump with this 60 miles. My apologies to those of you that got the "I'm scared" texts at the crack of dawn but I'm pretty sure it will happen again.

The Alpine Challenge is always really well organized with great volunteers and an incredible SAG complete with clothing drop off. I made it to the first SAG knowing I was going to shed 3 of my four layers and announced, "I'm ready to get naked!" Turned out they remembered me from last year :) I have to say the ride was TOUGH for me but I guess that's why they refer to it as a "Challenge." I did get to chat with some great people along the way and I think my favorite conversation came when I had just finished climbing up what is referred to as "The Wall" somewhere around the 33 mile mark. The guy I was riding near shared with me that according to the ride profile it should all be pretty much downhill from there. My experience has taught me that there never seems to be a point when you're riding out in east county that it's "all down hill from here;" there always seems to be one more hill to climb and at 33 miles into it, I knew he couldn't be right but I didn't have the heart to tell him. Then again, I get to the point where speed bumps and driveways feel like insurmountable land forms so who am I to bust his bubble. He probably cruised it from there.

I tried to take some pictures like my friends do on their solo rides but the shots didn't turn out at all. Here's a self portrait. I was trying to capture that it was GU that was keeping me alive but all you get is my eye.

How do people do those?

And the scenery was incredible but this is what I captured of it

After the ride I spent some quality, silly time with Bill, J.B, Dawn and Ed (and some guys from a bike club that I'm going to meet up with in a few weeks- they promised me a slow group-I should've confirmed that it takes more than one to make a group, right?)

Let me explain this picture. JB and Bill kept smelling perfume and they were convinced it was me wearing it so they kept attacking me, trying to smell my neck-so gross! I NEVER wear perfume and trust me, after 60 miles in the east county sun, it was definitely not me smelling like roses. I'm cringing to keep them away

Dawn Paul and Bill Holland checkin' out the happenings and pretending not to notice I'm taking their picture.

Snugglin' up with my funny big buddy, "Sparkly" Joe (J.B.)

I love these local, community sponsored events. They have this collective goal with a small town spirit that makes hanging out afterward just as much fun as the ride itself. However, the most exciting part about this ride for me came from a training perspective. Even though I felt wrecked at the end of it and could barely walk that evening, I woke up feeling pretty darn good and even did an easy 25 miles of riding the following day with Travis. In the past, this would've been almost impossible; it would take me days to recover after something so difficult. I'm getting stronger, maybe not faster but definitely stronger and that was a HUGE confidence boost for me! It was the first moment where I felt like if I continue to be conservative and build my miles, I may actually have enough in this little body to pull off that 620 miles! I've got a long way to go but dang, I was thrown a bone!

So, the next stop is Wildflower. I was originally signed up to do this as my first olympic distance triathlon but decided this wasn't a good year for it if I was really going to try to accomplish the MDC ride in October. However, at the last minute Scout informed me her relay team needed a biker. How could I resist?! With Spokane people coming down, Tri Club people taking over the place and CAF friends galore, it promises to be a great weekend. Really crappy pictures coming soon!

$10,000 and Climbing!

Well, we did it! We made the minimum goal of $10,000 for the Million Dollar Challenge with the Lava Flow Inn event at the Reese's last weekend! Incredible. I say "we" not to refer to my multiple personalities but to the team of people that helped make it happen and every person that found a way to donate. I had so many moments where I just stopped to look around and I would see my friends hustling, by one definition or another, to help make this goal possible. The auction/raffle was a big hit! Below are just some of the great pictures of the festivities taken by Heidi Lee. She did an awesome job! Scenes from a party...

One of the auction tables

Gary The Auctioneer describing the items up for bid-I think he just made stuff up

Friends from my days working at Encanto Elementary.

Scout sharing her story.

My sister-in-law, Andrea, hangin' in there like a champ!

Raquel and Liz. Liz was one of the key people to help me pull this event off!

Yoli and Vanessa with their loot! Cracked me up. I know they told themselves they weren't going to buy anything.

Matt Reese, owner of the Lava Flow Inn

Danny, Leonel, and Rich adding to the whole vibe of the afternoon

Theresa and Dave making sure we get our money from the bidders!

Travis sharing his story.

My brother and my dad, appear to be solving the world's problems. Wonder what they came up with.

Melissa, all the way down from Redondo Beach, working hard to let the winners know who they are. But never one to be seen empty handed, maintains a close watch on her drink.

Patty Reese worked the bar and never once looked stressed!

Liam, Simon, and Finn listening intently to Scout and Travis...or was it for their raffle numbers?

Judy, Kathy and Stacy. Friends from different worlds meeting. So fun!

Some of the delicious desserts made by my friends.

Trent and Maggie, new TCSD members rallied after the club race to support my event.

Coach Brian wins GU! and a lot of it.

Melissa and baby Sam. Really, no one is too young to tiki!

Dave and Tracy- My swim buddy and soon to be riding buddy

Scout and Anne check out the goods

One last note:
As soon as the moment had passed, I realized I had missed a HUGE opportunity that afternoon. I had a microphone in my hand and a captive audience but in my haste to wrap things up, I completely bawked and went right past thanking the most important people in my life for their constant support and encouragement: MY FAMILY!

Honestly, I would never have the guts to do half the things I take on if I didn't know, without a doubt, they were going to be there for me regardless of the outcome. Trust me, I've had some crazy ideas in life and dragged them into many of them, willing or not. Ultimately, they always just push up their sleeves and help me get to work. My life is truly amazing, and I credit my parents with setting the foundation for this. From my perspective, there's no need to play the lottery because I won it at birth. As an adult I can appreciate how difficult it must be to not only be a parent, but I can imagine how scary it would be to find out things were going to be a bit out of the ordinary for your child. I remember my parents being trusting but protective with doctors, consoling me when things got a bit too scary for my then modest self, and finally pulling the plug on the researchers to save my self esteem. I remember bits and pieces but I'm older now so I know what was really going on. They were freaked out! What they did right was to help me move beyond a diagnosis to become the person I was meant to be. They never hesitated when I said I wanted to do something-well, they did hesitate at times but I'm a hard sell and I usually pulled things off. I had passion and they helped manifest it. They taught me that if I wanted something bad enough, I could figure out a way to get it and if they could support the effort in any way, they would. My parents encouraged my passion for life and doing. They still do. I hear the random murmurs from strangers and catch the inquisitive looks but the fact of the matter is, I know in my core, it just doesn't get much better than the gig I've got going in this life. I've been gifted a form and a family that has taught me what takes a life time for many people to learn; mine is a fortunate birth for countless reasons.

I could go on, which is another reason why I think I subconsciously avoid even broaching this subject, but it's impossible for me to say, in a few words, the impact my parents, and siblings for that matter, have had on my life and to merely touch on it falls ridiculously short of how I feel.

So while there is no microphone in my hand and whatever audience there is, is probably distracted at this point, I know my parents read this so, thanks Mom and Dad for coming out to support my event and helping me create this super cool life I get to live!

And thanks again to everyone else for your incredible support and contributions toward my fundraising efforts! You're all amazing and I'm extremely proud we get to share the same space!

Quick Ketchup on the Blob

I put this picture in here because it makes me laugh and I had no other place to put it. This is me volunteering at the first ever California Golden Beer Mile. I volunteered because I know my limits but I'm all about helping others find theirs. My participation in such an event would be the equivalent of me signing up for an Ironman and really, as in most races, when you're actually competing you miss a lot of the happenings and there was no way I was going to miss this

On their mark...

First of four beers, down...

1st female, Erin Merz, checking her time and fully prepared with Garmin and RoadID

Sprint finish between Liverstrong guy and Brian Wrona as "Your Beer of Choice."

Liverstrong got him but he did just finish the SuperSeal only hours earlier so it was still an impressive showing by Mr. Beer of Choice.

Spring break has been a whirlwind of visiting friends and family, birthday parties, a baby shower (a new niece only weeks away!), bike riding and fundraising.

At some point in the midst of all of this, I met up with my friend Scout so I could pick up her bike. Holland Cycles needed it for the custom bike show the following week which meant I would have a few days to play around on another really cool bike that was just my size- that never happens! Our bikes are very similar only Scout's bike has faster wheels, aero-bars and the real kicker, Shimano Di2 components with the cables all hidden neatly inside the frame. Here's Scout's little Holland; he's a talented man, that Bill. I had a blast riding her speedy little bike; there's never a time when I get to ride someone else's bike and to have it be a unique experience was a major bonus. I'm totally sold on the electric shifting and I don't even care if that makes the purist want to puke. They're fun. And when I'm rich, I'll buy them for myself and all my friends. Except the purist.

I still wouldn't trade the Orange Crush for the world but the few (ahem) miles I rode Scout's ornament were also super fun. Don't they look sweet hanging out together?! I can hardly wait for us all to ride this weekend- Me, Scout, and a coupla wee whips.

The Cooper-Scotts came down from Spokane and did a repeat performance of last year's spring break only this time, instead of celebrating Lily's birthday, we got to celebrate Aaron's. Inspired by the book, "Cake Wrecks" we decided to make a cupcake-cake wreck of our own.

Haley and Lily did all the work and what really impressed me was that it was made entirely from scratch. I've never done that, I'm more of an add-oil-and-eggs-to-box, girl. Well, truth be told, I did attempt it once with Phaedra, years ago, because it sounded like a good idea at 3am, but the results were disastrous. I have a vague recollection of the fire alarm going off and us being too short to reach it but I could be making that up-it's happened more than once in my life.
I have to say, as far as wrecks go, Haley and Lily did an awesome job with this...wait for it ............bear! It's design was mostly dictated by the number and shape of the cupcakes but we also told Aaron it was inspired by his favorite animal. (I'm pretty sure he has never said a bear is his favorite animal but there was a six year old involved so you do what you have to do).

Notice the old cookie sheet. I think it really seals the deal on the wreck. You also really need to read the book to fully appreciate the beautiful disaster commonly known as the cupcake-cake.

I love this springtime business; it's the perfect time of year. It feels like I'm walking into a party early and and then it blows up into summer fun! Along with spending time with a few friends and family, I've been able to get some great riding in and have been spending tons of time pulling together the fundraiser for CAF this weekend. We're still doing last minute planning but it's looking like a great time ahead. The support and donations have been phenomenal. This show has definitely hit the road! Wish me luck!