Shelby Madden

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

Peaks & Valleys

My dad has always given the best advice and lately he's synthesized it all into the WD40 of advice statements. It sounds something like this, "Huh...(me talking)..hmmm...(more of me talking).....ya,well, like I've been saying,'s all about peaks and valleys..." The advice is pretty solid when you think about it. I could tell him about my most successful ride to date or my crummiest ride and he can cover his response with one succinct statement. Genius. Well, it's genius until I tell him about something random like what I ate for breakfast and he still responds with the same comment, then it leaves me to believe he can't hear a word I'm saying which is probably in his best interest since I tend to talk a lot.

I can honestly say the training, to date, has mostly been "peaks" from my perspective and I'm enjoying a lot of it. I've ventured out on some Christopher Columbus rides that take me to I don't know where and then lately I've ended by heading west to the coast once I get tired (my coach would be horrified to learn this. His philosophy is, "friends don't let friends ride the coast."). This "I'm just gonna go where my bike takes me" attitude had me finishing my first ever 100 miles last week all by myself. I threw in an extra mile for insurance to make it 101. I'm not going to lie, it was super tough and definitely puts the October ride into perspective. I say it all the time but I really do love riding my bike- I love the challenge it presents both physically and mentally, the positive affects it has had on my body, and most importantly, the people I've met as a result of the wheels and spandex. Having the goal of the Million Dollar Challenge definitely gets me out the door when I'd rather stay home and call it a day but after the first 20 miles of any ride, it's all me and I'm appreciating the crazy gift I've been given. So, here are some much belated pictures of a couple of things I've been up to:
The San Diego Century with the CAF Crew
(we did the 35 mile option and spent some quality time catching up and taking in the sights)

Travis and I before the ride. Not being much of a morning person, I'm still looking a little puffy. He was in the same boat only he was smart enough to keep his sunglasses on.

Beth Sanden is an amazing athlete and advocate for all things CAF. I met Beth at the Spring Sprint triathlon years ago and she was one of the reasons I became involved with this foundation. I'm inspired by her fundraising efforts and she's an awesome cheerleader for us all. Everybody loves Beth!

Now, everyone knows you're not supposed to try out new equipment the day of an event or race. Everyone but Travis. His new carbon foot broke before we ever got started but he decided to give it a go anyway. Somewhere deep in the Elfin Forest, the foot broke off completely so we had to call for back up. I Once Was a Blonde but Now I'm a Brunette-Torrie showed up with Travis' tried and true leg so here we are geeking the camera while he takes his sweet time. I'm starting to think he does this stuff on purpose so he can catch his breath. (I used to purposely untie my shoes when I danced in parades at Disneyland for the same reason-I'm on to you, Travis)

John Elliot, Beth Sanden, and Determin' Fermin at the finish.
Later that same week we gathered for our first training ride for the Million Dollar Challenge. It's hard to believe we're already half-way through the 20 week program! Here are the pictures from that first day but I'm determined to capture a few this weekend as I've gotten to know some of the new characters and can't wait for you to meet, LOR-EN-ZO! (that's how you have to say it, big, with a hand in the air-I do it often)

The pre-ride gathering for any last minute messages from the coaches and organizers.

Virginia Tinley, Executive Director for CAF, sharing her appreciation for the fundraisers.

Pat Jak is our Southern CA lead coach and an all around great guy. I can't help but want to say his name with my really bad New Zealand accent. "Peyt Jeyk" He's hanging out with group 4 to make sure no one kills themselves the first couple of weeks.

Post ride talk with one of our two fabulous ride leaders in Group 4, "Hooter." Slack Valley is nowhere near this group and Hooter tells it like it is- which I love and fully appreciate the wisdom behind his sarcasm. Our other ride leader, Diane, the Sonny to his Cher, was unable to make the ride that day but is back in full health and force and adding her own sprinkles of sassy along the way. She too is a big fan of,

And finally, Mr. Richard Whittington. One of the many reasons why I decided to give this challenge a go. I got to know Richard during the training rides last year and am super excited he came back for another round. He too has a wicked sense of humor (remember, to me that means he laughs at my jokes) and is a huge supporter of CAF. We're gonna have a good time if I can keep him from knowing he's too fast for
Group 4!

As always, thanks for indulging me in my narcissistic ramblings and whatever your own personal goals may be, on those tough, I'm-doubting-myself-and-feeling-like-a-man-trapped-in-cement days, just remember my dad's sage advice. ...and just keep going. Tomorrow's 80 mile day will no doubt feel like child's play compared to yesterday's crummy 20 mile day.
It's all about...