Team PH gives thanks for an incredible November
It is hard to believe that it is already December. The holiday season is upon us, and as we shift gears, we cannot help but feel excited about the past month, and definitely energized for the months ahead. Before we get full into the holidays, we wanted to take time to recap the past month, and even more importantly, give thanks to all who helped in making so much happen.
November was Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month, and so Team PH dedicated this month to raising awareness in the community, from writing to the Mayor’s office, to putting on two first-time events, and even talking to people on our training rides about the team and the people for whom we ride.
Thank you Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, for declaring November 2012 “Pulmonary Hypertension Awareness Month” here in our most livable City of Pittsburgh. (For pdf version, click here.) We greatly appreciate the Mayor’s support in raising awareness about pulmonary hypertension in our city and beyond the three rivers.
We also unveiled our team uniforms, which have already brought attention to our team as people have seen us out there and have asked, “What is Team PHenomenal Hope?” opening the door for us to spread the word about PH – even on a break during a training ride. Thank you to our sponsor Primal Wear, for designing and providing the first edition of our team kits.
Our first event on November 10, A Team PHenomenal Hope Workout for Everyone: Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Pulmonary Hypertension, was a ton of fun. Deb Piontek and Shawn McCurdy from UPMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation led a first-ever live webcast, teaching the audience in the studio and at home about pulmonary rehabilitation, how it can improve one’s quality of life, how to pace oneself while doing daily activities, and pre-planning for travel (whether to the store or to another state). Shawn also worked with the audience and demonstrated exercises routinely done at pulmonary rehabilitation. We truly enjoyed working out – and riding spin bikes – alongside our friends with PH at Cycling Fusion. Again we were reminded that our Team PHenomenal Hope is much bigger than our team of cyclists training for RAAM. Many thanks to our sponsors UPMC, PHA, and Cycling Fusion, as well as Deb and Shawn from UPMC Pulmonary Rehabilitation, and to Philips and Apria Healthcare, Jennifer Keeley, Sherry Jo Matt for donating to and supporting this event, and most of all – to all who came to Cycling Fusion and participated in this webcast from home.
On November 20, we partnered with Cycling Fusion and Pittsburgh’s own Pro Bikes to put on a community outreach fundraising event called Spin PHor a Cure. We offered this event to help people burn off some calories before Thanksgiving, while having fun with friends on bikes. Cyclists partnered with us at broadcast central at Cycling Fusion, the spin studio at Pro Bikes, or in their own home. After a PHA video about pulmonary hypertension at the opening, Gene Nacey led us all as we sweated and virtually rode Pittsburgh’s Dirty Dozen, climbing the 13 steepest hills in Pittsburgh. Many thanks to our Cycling Fusion and Pro Bikes for co-hosting this event, and to our sponsors UPMC and PHA for supporting the event and helping spread the word. And thank you to all who supported us and sweated it out to help find a cure.
The next morning, we met up with Jennifer Abney and Scott Dobson from WPXI for an interview about pulmonary hypertension and the team. It was a fun morning, and thankfully the sun was shining when we rode our bikes. We had fun meeting the WPXI team, and were excited when the story aired on November 27; however we were most impressed with Patty Gordon, who told her personal story about living with PH. You can view the story here.
A few days later, Team PH’s “dynamic duo” Ryanne and Stacie actually rode the Dirty Dozen. While PG tracked them all over Pittsburgh, yelling on the sidelines, Tweeting (yes – you can follow us on Twitter!) and taking pictures, these two powered their way up the climbs in one of the coldest Dirty Dozen races in history. It was incredible to take part in a true Pittsburgh cycling tradition (every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, for the past 30 years), and Ryanne finished 5th in the women’s group – riding all those steeps for the first time on her mountain touring bike, a Salsa Fargo. You can read more about it on her blog post here. Powerful? Yes. Honestly, almost scary powerful.
So it was an exciting November for Team PHenomenal Hope. And we could not have had such a month without all the support from our sponsors and supporters. We are truly grateful to all who have said “How can we help you do this?” and strive to ride and race proudly with all who have joined our team.
What’s next? Well, now we plan for training, which means RIDING OUR BIKES…. A LOT. We also want to thank UPMC Sports Medicine for performing baseline ImPACT testing for all our riders (a test that can help us identify effects of a future concussion; results we hope we never have to use, but good to have just in case). December will bring more baseline testing as we prepare to be “quantified athletes” in the words of Sally Edwards, and prepare to begin our Winter Training at Cycling Fusion in January. There is a long road ahead as we prepare to ride 3000 miles, but more on that later.