08 January 2015

Emily's Epic Birthday Adventure 2015: It's Happening!

By their very nature, birthdays come around every year. And mine is coming up soon, January 29th, to be exact. Last year, to "celebrate", I hosted the first ever Emily's Epic Birthday Adventure fundraiser for Team Noah Foundation - a 3-day extravaganza of biking and running with friends. We raised over $2,100 for children with Congenital Heart Defects and their families. This year, we're at it again, but with a few new twists! Please join me and my Team Noah Foundation teammates Friday, February 6th and Saturday, February 7th for a whole lot more of biking and running with friends.
First of all, the easiest way you can help me celebrate my birthday is by making a donation to the Team Noah Foundation. The Foundation was created to memorialize Noah Goscinski, son of Bettina and Dwayne, after he passed away at the age of 10 weeks. Although Noah's time on Earth was brief, he was loved every second by his parents, his brother Lucas, and his team of medical professionals. Team Noah Foundation strives to provide this same experience to other children with Congenital Heard Defects and their families through several short- and long-term goals. Last year, with the money raised by my Epic Birthday Adventure, we purchased hundreds of heart pillows for children and families receiving care at the Cardinal Glennon Dallas Heart Center, where one of Noah's main surgeons now practices. This year, we are again working with the folks at the Dallas Heart Center to help fill their short-term needs. How do you donate? Visit http://www.plumfund.com/pf/teamnoah15 to donate via credit/debit card or PayPal. If you are more comfortable donating by check or cash, please email me for instructions. Please share the link with your friends, family, employers that match funds, and anyone you think might find it in their heart to contribute.

There are a few incentives for those making above-average donations. If you donate over $31.00, you will receive an embroidered winter hat from Dogfish Custom Apparel, one of the main sponsors for Team Noah Foundation. If you donate over $131.00, you will receive a coveted Team Noah hoodie. I have one of these hoodies and practically live in it during the winter, and it's especially nice to wear to chilly mountain bike races. Thank you, Dogfish!

What's that? You donated already? Now you want to participate in the fun stuff? I have plans for you! Last year, I organized three separate stages of birthday adventure on three different days. This year, I'm mashing it all up into 31 straight adventurous hours to test your endurance. The 31 hours are broken down into 5 stages, so you can join in on the whole darn thing if you want, or just select the stages that seem the most fun to you. We will by supported by Team Noah member Matt driving a Dwayne Custom House box truck with our gear and extra bikes, just in case things go wrong and the weather is bad. Here they are, the stages in all their glory:
Me, Jeff, Dwayne, Peat, and Maria on last year's road stage.
STAGE 1: ROAD BIKE, Friday 3.30pm-8pm
Meet at the Alpine Shop in Kirkwood, MO at 3:00 PM on Friday, February 6th. Load up your gear/clothes/mountain bike into the Dwayne Custom Homes box truck which will be our support vehicle. You will be able to park overnight at Alpine Shop if necessary. We will ride roads from Kirkwood to Grafton, IL which is mainly flat. Bring front and rear lights, clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, and any water/sports drink/snacks you need for 50-55 miles of road riding at a relaxed pace.
Start of Aerie's Trail Run in 2014.
STAGE 2: TRAIL RUN, Friday 9pm-Saturday 9am
This is a 12-hour trail race called Aerie's February Freeze. If you are planning to participate in this part of the Epic Birthday Adventure, you need to enter the race at trail run here. The course is a 5ish mile loop with a TON of climbing - this is a great course for hikers because they move almost as fast as the runners up the steep hills. The best thing is you can do as few or as many loops as you want! Bring trail running/hiking shoes, clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, lights, and any water/sports drink/snacks you need to move on your feet for up to 12 hours. A CamelBak, trekking poles, and spare dry clothes are all good things to consider. 
Me, Dwayne, and Adam at Race HQ at Aerie's Trail Run 2014.
STAGE 3: ROAD BIKE/FERRY, Saturday 10am-3pm
After the trail run, we'll change back into biking clothes, climb back on our road bikes, and ride from Grafton to "The Mound" in Weldon Spring, MO.  If you're geographically inclined, you'll realize that there are not one but TWO river crossings involved with the shortest route between these two points. Never fear! That's where the ferries come in! We'll use the Brussels (free) and Golden Eagle ($4) ferries to connect these two great states. Hopefully there will be some bald eagles to watch, too. If either of these ferries are shut down due to ice, we will re-route with the DCH box truck in support. Bring clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, and any water/sports drink/snacks you need for 35 miles of road riding at a relaxed pace.

me, Hunter, and Dwayne on last year's MTB stage.
When we get to The Mound, we'll swap to the mountain bikes that are so carefully stored in the DCH box truck and roll out for a bifecta of Lost Valley and Matson trails (35 miles/4 hours). We'll be back after dark so bring lights. Then a quick-ish change of shoes and we can hop onto the Lewis & Clark foot-only trails for some running (in the dark!)...if anyone can still move at this point. The only caveat is we need to leave the parking lot by 10pm when the area closes. 
Me, last year, dying going over a mere twig.
STAGE 5: ROAD BIKE, Saturday 10pm-Sunday 1am
All that's left between you and finishing Emily's Epic Birthday Adventure 2015: Don't Be A Ferry is 30 miles of pavement between The Mound and Alpine Shop-Kirkwood. It will be dark. It will be cold. But you will have at least one of the finest riding buddies you could ever imagine (ahem...ME!) that will help you push through the pain and make it back to your car. You will need front and rear lights and extra layers, and food, and maybe even some money for some gas station hot chocolate. 
Sunset on the last day of 2014 birthday adventure. #nofilter

OK. Yes. This is a massive undertaking if you intend to participate in all five stages. One of my esteemed Alpine Shop co-workers called it "the S&M version of an athlete's party". And I guess that is partially true, except look at the distances and times I've got on here. NOTHING is fast. I'm assuming a road speed of not more than 12mph. That is totally doable for hours on end. In Stage 2, the 12hr trail run, you can do however many loops you like - hiking a single loop is fine and then you can chill in the (heated) Race HQ until the rest of us are done. Or maybe you just want to ride your mountain bike, in that case just meet us at The Mound on Saturday. This is also a 100% no-drop event. If you are struggling, we will help you, maybe even put you in the DCH box truck for a bit so you can recover. We're not here to race, or sprint, or put the hammer down. Children with Congenital Heart Disease and their families are in it for the long haul, and so is Team Noah Foundation.

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  2. It is really nice to have people to go on a tour. Going on rough side of the tour, you should always take care of yourself. Little injury can be dangerous on that side. You can carry mobility aids with you to get the necessary help and support.