Way back in January of this year, as a way to celebrate my 50th year on this earth, I decided to do a couple of things – to participate in the Race Across America (RAAM), and to participate in Ironman Tahoe. I committed to these things for both altruistic and selfish reasons. On the one hand, I wanted to support a couple causes near and dear to my heart, and on the other hand, after 10 years of sitting on the sidelines, I needed a reason to get off my lazy butt and re-engage in the competitive side of sport, which I truly miss.
I suppose you can say this year has been my “Ice Bucket Challenge” - only sweatier . . . and longer . . . and hotter . . . with no ice. (Well – Tahoe may have ice, but I am really hoping for no ice.)
First up was RAAM. RAAM is a bike race from Oceanside, California to Baltimore, Maryland, and I was both the team manager and a team member (cyclist). Our mission was to raise awareness and funds for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), and to finish in seven days or less. IFHF is a fund that supports soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. As a Vietnam era military child, this one was important to me. To make a long story short, we finished in five days and twenty-one hours, won the eight-person team division, raised awareness about IFHF, and raised $653,000 dollars. Mission accomplished!
Next up (as in right around the corner) is Ironman Lake Tahoe. I am participating in Ironman Lake Tahoe to raise awareness and funds for Tu Nidito Children and Family Services. Tu Nidito provides comfort, hope and support to children and families whose lives have been impacted by a serious medical condition or death. My wife Traci and I have been involved with Tu Nidito for the past couple years. I’m participating in memory of Jose Rincon, Jr. who, while riding bicycles with a friend, was struck and killed by a drunk driver. Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to meet Jose, but through Tu Nidito, I have gotten to know his family a bit. Jose’s amazing family is a testament to the positive impact Tu Nidito can have on a families who have suffered a loss.
Jose’s little sister, Juli, had this to say about Tu Nidito, “I was 8-years-old when my brother died. It was one of the worst and most confusing days of my life. Being only 8 years old, I didn’t really understand what had happened. I didn’t know that I wouldn’t get to see my brother again. I didn’t know that from that day on, my family would change from being a family of 6, to a family of 5. That year, my family and I received much love and support from family and friends, but it was hard because none of them knew exactly what we had gone through. They didn’t understand how truly hard it was. But that all changed when we began going to Tu Nidito. The first day I went, it was so amazing and eye opening. I finally felt like I belonged here again. I felt like I actually fit in and I wasn’t ‘the girl who lost her brother.’ I was surrounded by kids my own age who had just recently gone through this tragic experience. I wasn’t in this alone anymore.”
I hate asking for money. But this year I am asking. I have seen, firsthand, the amazing impact that Tu Nidito has on families suffering from the most unthinkable grief, and I’m honored to help raise money so that they can continue to help children and families deal with their loss. The entire Rincon family volunteers at Tu Nidito helping other families cope with tragedy and grief, and I’m continually amazed and inspired by their generosity, courage, and strength.
My goal is to raise $20,000 in honor of Jose Jr. A HUGE thank you to those of you who have already contributed. If you have not yet contributed and you would like to – PLEASE DONATE HERE.
Now I’m going to head out for a little training so that I get to the IRONMAN Lake Tahoe finish line before the midnight cut-off!
Check out this great video recap of our recent Race Across America, produced by PepsiCo - our title sponsor.
First place 8-person team and $600,000 raised (so far) for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund!
As many of you know, I participated in the Race Across America (RAAM) last week, along with seven other teammates.
Our team was on the go via bicycle or car/van/RV, 24/7 for more than 3000 miles - for 5 days, 22 hours, 58 minutes.
Lots of you have asked me what it’s like to recover from something like this. I must say that physically, I already feel quite normal - no soreness or deep fatigue . . . none that I know of, anyway.
However, reintegrating from the 24/7 aspect of the event: the funky sleep cycles and lack of creature comforts, is taking longer than I expected.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share reintegration items that I’ve checked off my list, so far, on my way to becoming “normal” again.
RAAM REINTEGRATION PROCESS
• Eat a vegetable
• Sleep in the prone position
• Get a normal night’s sleep
• Read a newspaper
• Establish a dry crotch and feet
• Go #2 for longer than it takes to run from a vehicle to a convenience store bathroom in less time than it takes to fill said vehicle’s tank with gas
• Wear clean (truly) laundry
• Eat food that doesn’t come in a packet
• Talk about something other than power output, avg. speed, wind direction, or what kind of (packet) food to eat
• Listen to music that was made by people playing actual musical instruments, and that contains lyrics that are longer than one sentence
• Stand up for longer than it takes to pee
• Stop incessantly looking at the RAAM tracker app
If you’re in need of some new stylish and functional cycling and/or triathlon apparel, I’ve got you covered.
I’ve been using Squadra Cycling apparel for as long as I can remember. It’s durable, functional, fashionable and comfortable - all of the things I demand from my workout clothing, and it’s why I chose Squadra.
The tabs at the top of the store provide plenty of information about the fit and technology of the clothing, but I’ve included a few general comments of my own below:
The short sleeve jersey is very comfortable whether its 45F or 105F outside. For temperatures between 45F and 60F, I typically pair the short sleeve jersey with a base layer, arm warmers, and a wind vest. If you live in an area prone to cold weather (below 45F), in September I will offer a long sleeved wind jacket and a thermal vest and jacket which will provide significant added warm versus the wind vest, as well as protection from the wind and rain.
The triathlon apparel is comfortable, form fitting, quick drying, yet provides coverage from the elements. The fabric has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50+ and shields both UVA and UVB rays.
Click on this link to take you to the store: Riccitello Coaching Cycling and Triathlon Apparel. Apparel will be shipped to the address you provide. Do not select the “Will Call” option unless you want to personally pick up the clothing at Squadra in Carlsbad, CA. If you’re a France Camper, remember that I am providing you with a cycling jersey and shorts (but grab a functional and fashionable wind vest and arm warmers for the chilly descents!).
Should you choose to wear my clothing - I’m honored beyond words and look forward to seeing it on the roads and trails.
I know you’ll enjoy it and thanks!
We start each day Riccitello’s France Cycling Camp with coffee from a French press and a wholesome breakfast (except for the Nutella - which is not that wholesome but tastes very good) of fruits, mueslix, cereals, yogurts, breads, eggs. This is usually washed down with more coffee (when in France ... ).
Then we chamois up (French for shammy) and ride the famous climbs and descents of the Oisans valley in the French alps. To try and describe the quality of riding would be insulting.
Lunch is eaten on the bike (thank you Clif for your tasty Clif Bars and the sweet and savory Mojo Bars and your Shot Bloks and gels).
Most rides are followed with a snack and a nap.
Upon waking up to a view that never ceases to amaze, most campers will soak up some sun while lounging on the porch with a good book (or electronic version of a book). There may be a midday glass of wine or three.
Then come hors d’oeuvres - usually local sausages, cheeses, olives, cakes, tea, and such.
Appetizers are often followed by a hike along rugged sheep, goat, and cattle trails with views of Pic Blanc and the ever enticing 21 turns of l’alpe d’huez.
Then dinner - salad from your host’s garden, some kind of animal that was probably hiking on the same trail you hiked early in the day or pulled from the pure and crystal clear waters that rage down from the mountain tops (fear not, vegetarians - there are meatless options), pasta or rice, wine - and then desert - and more wine.
After finishing desert many campers gather at the village bar for a digestif (night-cap) and to watch the day’s Tour de France stage on the big screen (thankfully, there are big screens in the alps). Some play boules (bocce ball) with the locals. Others gather on the chalet porch for wine and to talk story.
Then we sleep, and dream of the next day in cycling paradise.
(I have a couple double occupancy rooms open this year - look here if you’re interested).