Tuesday, August 07, 2007

NAF Board Meeting

On June 13 I took a trip to Minneapolis to attend the National Ataxia Foundation Executive Board Meeting. NAF invited me to attend their meeting so I could meedt the board members and talk about the future.
When I got to the airport I found out that my flight out of Sacramento had been canceled so I quickly jumped on a different flight that got me to Minneapolis a bit later than I had planned. Arnie Greutsmacher picked me up from the airport after being stuck in traffic on the way. We headed straight to the meeting (which had already started) and were in slow moving traffic the whole way. The traffic ended up to be a blessing in disguise as Arnie and I had a great conversation and shared some ideas.
We showed up to the meeting about a half hour before the end and furtunately they saved some great news for the end. Harry Orr, The Foundation's Research Director, was on the phone and he announced that the Kyle Bryant Translational Research Award was being given to Australian researchers and their British collaborators who will be investigating the catalytic antioxidant CTMIO as a possible treatment for Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA). Very exciting! For more info check out curefa.org or ataxia.org.
I had a great time meeting everyone and the greatest thing about this trip is that we are all working together to make the next ride bigger and better!

Me, with NAF Executive Director Mike Parent

The rest of my time in Minneapolis was spent checking out the local sights:

Lori and me at the Walker Art Center

Mall of America. I am not a mall person but this place was crazy, so huge that it had an amusement park inside. I had to check it out.

It gets so cold in the winter that it is very unpleasant, even unsafe, to go outside so many of the buildings are connected by skyways.

I had a great time in Minneapolis and I look forward to working closely with the National Ataxia Foundation.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tour de Cure

Alright I'm going a little out of order here but this was a sweet Cycling event and we had a lot of fun.

May 6, 2007
Dad, My buddy Matt and I took a trip to California's Wine Country to participate in this year's Tour De Cure (a cycling event benefiting the American Diabetes Association) in Yountville, CA. The event has a few options, the century ride (100 miles), the fifty miler, and the twenty five miler. We decided not to push the limits since this was our first big ride since Memphis so we stuck with the fifty.
On Saturday night we stayed at our friend's house (the Grassi's) in the Napa Valley so we wouldnt have to drive so far in the morning. Thanks Mark and Jami.
We arrived in Yountville at 630am and were on our way by 730. The event has thousands of participants and it was amazing that we got registered and on our way so quickly.
The morning was a bit chilly but it warmed up in a hurry and we were reapplying sunscreen as we shedded layers. We had a slight head wind that we thought we could shake once we made it to the other side of the valley heading the other direction...no such luck. The wind seemed to be in our faces the entire time no matter which direction we were heading (we went in a big loop). By mile 20, Dad's knee started bothering him. This was a leftover pain that he started experiencing during the last week of the Memphis Ride (Dad and I are now sharing knee injury remedies). By the end of the day, Dad left Matt and me in the dust so he could at least finish before the pain got too bad. Matt and I took our time and finished strong.
Matt rides a handbike because he suffered a spinal cord injury a few years ago which took away the use of his lower body:

Matt and I love to talk crap to each other and push ourselves and each other on the bike (trike). Matt works for an organization called Disabled Sports USA Far West. DSUSA has all kinds of programs for people with all kinds of disabilities, check them out at http://dsusafw.org/. Matt is an accomplished Hand Cyclist, s@%t talker, writer and friend.

A couple more photos:

Chuggin' up hill.

After the finish...nice tan line bro.

We rode as part of a team organized through my company Brown and Caldwell. Here I am with team captain Jeff Mills and his son.

Our team humbly contributed to this event which raised over $1 million for The American Diabetes Association.