Why We Ride

Team IRON EAGLES is a group of friends and family dedicated to fighting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We join forces to raise money for the NATIONAL MS SOCIETY to support the great PROGRAMS they have available to help members of the community and to support the exciting RESEARCH being done in the field. We blog about why we ride, our experiences at fundraising events, our fundraisers and training tips. We also have links to information on MS and MS research. JOIN US!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Car Wash Adventure

Big thanks to Texaco and Fresh Market for helping out with our car wash fundraiser!!  Marianne worked with the Texaco people.  I never met them.  I'm sure they are really cool though :-)  I did meet Dennis Jensen at Fresh Market though and he is AWESOME!  Everyone should run to Fresh Market and buy something.  Anything.  Dennis was great to provide balloons for our signs and even offered to give us soap for the car wash.  Really nice guy.  And, as a bonus, he's a runner.  Athletic people are really cool.

And a special thanks to our surprise "sponsor" Lone Peak High School Drill team!  Special note:  I know that many of you that read this blog live and breathe Caveman.  I have to give a little shout-out to Lone Peak though.  They were really nice to work with us at the car wash.  Turns out the car wash spot got double-booked.  Even though we booked first they had pre-sold tickets and were much bigger and better organized (not to mention they started their car wash earlier than we had planned to start :-).  They could have easily just blown us off.  They didn't though.  They let us pass out our fliers, solicit their pre-sold customers for donations and wash cars with them.  So, even though they are the rival of the High School my neighbors' kids go to (and the one Bill went to!) they are still pretty dang cool!  Thanks Lone Peak High Drill Team!  YOU ROCK!!  And I'm sorry that some of you got harassed by some die-hard AF drive-by fans.

Well, Marianne wrote a great blog about the event so I won't go into it too much.  I wanted to mention though that car washes are a LOT of work and we learned a lot!!  Friday night I bought some great micro-fiber sponges and towels and soap specific for car washing.  I thought we were set.  We learned a lot from Lone Peak High though.  They had special spray for the tires and windex for the windows.  They had working spray nozzles for the hoses :-)  In the end I wished we had gotten our car washed when Lone Peak was there to help us :-)

Here are some things we learned about car wash fundraisers (in case you are considering doing one :-)

Start early.  It gets hot in the afternoon.

Bring hoses.  For some reason I thought the hoses were provided by Texaco.  Silly me.  And make sure the nozzles for the hoses work!  I brought nozzles but didn't check first to see if they worked well.  Luckily LPH had working nozzles.

Pre-sell tickets.  Most of the cars that came through were pre-sold tickets.  One of the drill team girls told me that they were required to sell 10 tickets each.  There were at least 20 or so drill team members at the wash so they must have pre-sold at least $1000 worth of tickets.  We had less than 100 cars come through during the day -- although it seemed like a million cars!  Ohhhh my back is aching! LOL  So if LPH hadn't pre-sold tickets the take would have been less than half of what they ended up getting.  A lot less than half actually.

We need bigger sturdier signs and more people to dance and hold the signs.  We just needed more people in general.

So.... the million dollar question --- was it worth it?  Yes!  In terms of bringing awareness to the general public.  Maybe we'll get one more person to read the blog.  Maybe they will help spread the word.  Maybe we'll get some virtual car wash donations (much easier on the back! :-).  Who knows.  Marianne spoke with a bunch of people that had an MS connection.  One lady was tested for MS just last week.  Marianne said we should partner with the drill teams of America and see if we can just have a solicitor at all their car washes :-)  Raising awareness one car wash at a time! :-)  We made almost $200 ($196 -- actually pretty dang good considering the numbers discussed in the final paragraph of this blog and the fact that we didn't pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Pre-sell.  Must.  Pre-sell!).  I still think there has to be a better way though.


How much money can you make at a car wash?  Is it a good source of fundraising?  I've been thinking about this.  Best case scenario -- wash a car every 5 minutes.  No, let's say you wash 3 cars every five minutes consistently for 4 hours.  That's 144 cars.  Each car pays $5 each.  That's $720.  In order to wash 3 cars every five minutes (assuming you can get that kind of traffic randomly) you would need at least a million workers.  Ok.  I'm exaggerating.  Let's take a look at today.  We had up to 20 or so drill team members and six of us (five, Marianne did the soliciting) and we worked our tails off!  We constantly had cars.  At times we had lines up to 10 cars long and we were there for almost 4 hours.  We had 100 fliers copied and we gave out less than 70 of those.  I don't have exact figures.  Each car got a flier.  So with 20-30 workers we physically did about 70 cars.  $5 each car -- that's $350.  Yep.  Lots of people.  Little money.  Pre-sell tickets!  Even pre-selling though is a lot of work.  They pre-sold at least $1000 worth of tickets but they also had 20 or so girls ($50 each = $1000) to canvas neighborhoods, and solicit 40 sets of grandparents :-).  For a fundraising bike team of seven (all in the same family :-) I don't know that car washes are the most effect use of time and money.  Too bad because I have about $40 worth of really nice car wash sponges, towels and soap :-)  Anybody need a car wash? :-)

Post Script:  I've decided that we could use the 20/50 principle above to possibly make the car wash thing work.  Pre-sell 50 cars at $20 each.  Offer both a good outside wash and a vacuum/dash conditioner etc. for the inside.  Give each person a specific time to come so we don't have lines.  It would still take work (both in washing and selling) but it could be done in a few Saturdays at home and we could, theoretically, raise $1000. Anybody up for more car washing?  Ok.... maybe I'll ask again next summer after our muscles have had some time to recuperate :-)

Raising Awareness & Money

Well, we just finished one of this year's fundraisers: a car wash in American Fork. We started the day with a jolt because we got to our spot and realized that the spot had been double booked. Yikes! We conferred with the other group (Lone Peak Drill Team) and decided to combine forces. It ended up being good for everyone. They got 7 more hard workers and we got a chance to solicit funds from all the cars that came through (both the ones who heard about it through our advertizing and the ones who heard about it through their advertizing). Many of the cars had already purchased their car wash through the Drill Team's pre-sale efforts but they were generous enough to donate to our cause too. We were able to talk to lots of people about MS, the National MS Society and Bike MS. A lot of people asked questions about MS itself and several folks were interested in riding in June. Hopefully some of the great people we talked to are reading this blog right now and will become involved with our team! Every little bit helps!

A big thank you to Texaco for the space and the water and to Fresh Market for soap and balloons!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Where does the money I donate go?

Here is a breakdown of where the money you donate goes.  To donate click the Fundraising Center links on the right side of this blog.  Choose anyone's fundraising center.  It all goes to the same place!

Administration -- 3%
Fundraising -- 10%
Research and National Programs -- 33%
Community -- 9%
Client Programs -- 20%
Education -- 25%

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pay-What-You-Can Car Wash (and virtual car wash)

What:  CAR WASH fundraiser

When: July 30th Saturday 10am - whenever

Who: YOU!!  Everybody Welcome!

Where: Texaco in American Fork 100 East and Main (across from the AF public library)

Why: National Multiple Sclerosis Society Fundraiser

Get your car washed, buy a soda, get a spontaneous haiku, and strike a blow against Multiple Sclerosis all at the same time!

If you can't make it to American Fork on Saturday but still want to help out, get a virtual car wash.  Curious?  Donate via the Fundraising Center links on the right and see what happens :-)  Be sure to leave an email address in the notes section when you donate and indicate that you would like a virtual car wash so we can send you your virtual car wash.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Born to Run

This is both a training post and a book review.  Strengthening the legs and cardio is a great way to train for the MS150.  Here's a book review of a book on running a friend recommended.  It also has an MS connection.  Scott Jurek's mother had MS.  Scott is one of the ultra-marathoners highlighted in the book.

Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.

Ok.  First of all let me say -- I like this book and would recommend it to anyone who wants to be athletic in any way.  The "secrets" the author reveals about running can easily be transferred to other sports, even to life in general.  It's a good book.  That said let me say there were a few parts where I just thought -- what in the world?  That's crazy?!  Ok.  Maybe lots of parts but the author was able to defend his positions and in most cases make me want to believe.  Other times though I just thought he was off his rocker LOL  For instance:

Page 241
"... caring for kids on the fly isn't that hard, as American ultra-runner Kami Semick demonstrates; she likes to run mountain trails around Bend Oregon, with her four-year-old daughter, Baronie, riding along in a backpack."

Ha!  There is NO way I'm going to be strapping my 45-pound 4-year-old to my back and running (even walking) anywhere!  That's why I go to Weight Watchers -- so I DON'T have to carry extra weight around!  In his next breath he writes -- "Emily Baer beat ninety other men and women to finish eighth overall while stopping at every aid station to breast-feed her infant son."  Good for you Emily.  Not happening any time soon with me!  LOL

Most things in the book though excited and inspired me.  Barefoot running.  Lighter, smaller, meatless meals.  Running quick and light as if running on hot coals.  Japanese monks running marathons daily for seven years.  It made me -- someone who still struggles to run more than two or three miles -- feel like I could run 10 or 20 miles no problem!  Fifty miles?  Piece of cake!  It made running seem fun and effortless and even natural!  When Marianne said she needed a running partner this week I eagerly volunteered.  "I'm running 14.5 miles," she said as she looked at me with that "are you crazy?  there is no way you can do this" look.  I only hesitated a little.  Then I went home and ran three miles.  Hmmmmm.... hesitation started brewing.  It does that after a run when I nurse my aching legs but then I remember the book, the inspirational stories, the "secrets" and I again start thinking of doing crazy things like running 50 miles in hills and canyons, past dead snakes and through raging rivers! :-)

The author starts the book talking about his experience with running.  While he was far more injury prone than I tend to be, his journey sounded very familiar.  He was running two or three miles every other day.  In his words he was "barely running at all."  He was tall and heavy.  Taller and heavier than me but I relate to the spirit-animal name he was given in Mexico -- Oso, Bear.   Yep.  I felt heavy and big as a runner.  In fact as a teenager I was out running once and a car actually pulled over to ask me if I was alright!  I must have looked pathetic.  That experience made me stop running for over two decades!  I didn't start running again until I was 40.  Yep.  And still I will oftentimes opt to run on the treadmill alone because I don't like to run in public.  Crazy, eh?   Anyhow.  By the end of the book this same guy is running a 50-mile ultra-marathon race in the canyons of Mexico.  Of course it took him a year or two to get there but still!  That's incredible!

The author reveals the secrets of ultra-marathon running while telling the stories of a tribe of runners in Mexico (the Tarahumara) and a handful of ultra-marathon runners.  Very interesting characters.  Very compelling story.  As he introduces new characters he introduces new running "secrets."

One character is named Barefoot Ted.  He actually ran the 50-mile Mexico ultra-marathon barefoot.  He's always wearing some shoes called Vibram Five Fingers.  I looked them up.  They look cool!  There is at least one chapter dedicated to barefoot running.  The author talks about why it's good and gives great success stories of runners that used barefoot running to build strength in their feet and legs.  It has inspired me so much that I run the first bit of my runs barefoot now.  Well, in socks that is.  The treadmill can be a bit brutal on naked feet!  I love running barefoot though.  It makes it much easier to run light and easy and it feels much more natural.  When I put my shoes back on after a mile it takes a bit to get adjusted.  It feels heavy and not so as good.  There's no way I could run outside barefoot though! 

Two other characters are Jenn and Billy.  A California surfing couple.  They decided to try running but decided that if it ever became less fun than surfing than they would stop.  They would run at midnight and quote their favorite authors.  They had fun running.  "When I'm on a long run," the books quotes Jenn as saying, "the only thing in life that matters is finishing the run.  For once, my brain isn't going blehblehbleh all the time. Everything quiets down, and the only thing going on is pure flow.  It's just me and the movement and the motion."  It's things like that, quotes from people about running -- how it makes them feel -- that gets me excited about running (that and stories about people running fast! :-).  Basically Billy and Jenn loved running.  They had fun with it.  Kind of like the Tarahumara runners.  

The author talks about when the Tarahumara runners came to Colorado to run in the Leadville 100 ultra-marathon.  They were scrambling up hills and smiling -- even after going for several miles.  They enjoyed what they were doing.  Makes sense.  If you are going to run for that long it better be fun!  That made me think of the following quote from the book:  P. 211 "'The Tarahumara aren't great runners.... They're great athletes'.... Runners are assembly-line workers; they become good at one thing -- moving straight ahead at a steady speed -- and repeat that motion until overuse fritzes out the machinery.  Athletes are Tarzans.  Tarzan swims and wrestles and jumps and swings on vines.  He's strong and explosive.  You never know what Tarzan will do next, which is why he never gets hurt."  Interesting, eh?  I guess I need to overcome my pride and start running off of the injury causing treadmill!  

Another character is Scott Jurek.  Ultra-marathon legend.  Not a flashy kind of a guy.  The secret of running that he had mastered is running with others in mind.  He takes time to think of others even in the midst of running hard and breaking world records.  He is a nice guy.  He isn't buried within himself as he ran.  He runs for the love of running and is gracious when he loses (which isn't very often!).  Incidentally, he also eats a Vegan diet.  Very similar to the Tarahumara diet.  

According to the book, the Tarahumara diet is basically pinto beans, squash, chili peppers, wild greens, pinole and lots of chia (p. 209).  Not a lot of meat -- even though there is hefty part of the book dedicated to persistence hunting (basically running after antelope etc. until they fall over exhausted.)  It's interested me enough to look up chia and pinole.  We will be having less meat for a while.  Maybe even some chia :-)  We'll see how that goes.  Bill has already told me he's not terribly excited about this part of the runner's journey :-)

Technique?  Think light and easy, knees bent and driving forward, back straight.  This made sense to me.  I read Chi Running about a year ago.  Good book.  Posture and technique definitely make for a nicer run.  The other thing I found interesting was the idea of running at 180 beats per minute (p. 205).  Apparently Kenyan barefoot runners run like they are running on hot coals.  Short, quick, light strides --- and fast!  Speed is something that would definitely make running a lot more fun :-)  

All in all this was a good book.  I read it really quickly, could hardly put it down.  Very inspiring.  Two thumbs up.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some People Ride Cadillacs

This section of the blog is labeled "Why we ride."  This is an essay I wrote after my second MS150 ride and for me it sums up why I ride.

Some People Ride Cadillacs

Before the bike tour Bill needed a bike. He didn't have one. So he bought a road bike at Mike's Bike Barn in Lehi. A Cadillac. Very very nice bike. Smooth, sleek, light. Very very light. With it he got a cool new helmet with a visor and matching bike gloves. He also got bike shoes that fit into cool little pedal clips. Nice bike. He asked me if I was going to get a new bike. After all, we were planning on riding 75 miles. I told him I was ok. I had my trusty Murray 10-speed. I'd had it since I was a kid. It was a little bit small for me now but not bad. 

About a week before the tour my bike chain started slipping and actually slipped completely off a couple of times. No problem. I took it in to a local bike shop and they fixed it.  $7.50. A bargain I thought. Much better than spending the big bucks on a new bike. 

The day of the MS150 came. Mile 30 my trusty chain jammed. I thought that was the end of my ride. Bill however was able to wrench the chain free. After that though I wasn't able to shift to the lowest gears without hearing an ominous "clunk, clunk, clunk" as I rode. Fearing that this clunking might lead to a broken chain I avoided low gears for the rest of my ride -- including "Killer Hill." Killer Hill is a very long, albeit gradual, hill. As I rode up Killer Hill I thought I might actually make it this year without getting off my bike. I was doing pretty good. About 50 paces from the top though I just couldn't go on. I got off my bike and started to walk. Two or three steps later even this was too much and so I crossed the road to get out of the way of other riders and sat down. I was in pain. Lots and lots of pain. How could I go on? Bill noticed me and
rode back to where I was. Was I ok? He asked. I put on a brave face. "I'm ok," I replied. "OK. I'll meet you at the top," he said as he casually turned around and made his way back up the hill. 

Eventually I picked myself up and walked to the top. We then coasted down to rest stop #6. Rest stop number six was at mile marker 53. Fifty-three miles. Only about 20 more miles to go. I was in so much pain though. Laying on the grass looking up at the sky I cried and cried. Was this the end? I fell short on my fundraising goal and now I wasn't even going to make my biking goal! I had failed miserably. How could I face my friends and family? There was no way I could get back on my bike though. We talked about switching bikes but Bill is five inches taller than me. He would never fit my bike. I barely fit it myself!  Bill was very supportive. He sat and listened to me. He offered what moral support he could. I knew I had to call the SAG truck. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Finally I decided to say a prayer. I knew I didn't have to actually finish the tour. The donations were raised and they weren't dependent in any way on how far I rode. It was simply a pride issue :-) We have a very loving Heavenly Father though. Pride issue or not he heard my prayer. 

I somehow was able to get back on my bike. Bill rode ahead of me in an attempt to block the wind and make my ride a little bit easier. As I rode I vowed that next year I would have a decent bike!

Looking ahead I saw Bill on his Cadillac. The gears switched smoothly, effortlessly. The bike looked cool. Other riders would ride past me, ignoring me and ride next to Bill.  They would casually chat with Bill. Laughter would ring through the air and then the they would be off. I was alone. Alone with the squeaking of my pedals. Alone with the "chitty chitty bang bang" that accompanied every gear shift. Alone with my thoughts. And then it occurred to me that in life I
actually do have a Cadillac. A Cadillac body. Smooth, sleek, stealth. I have higher gears that can reach high speeds. I have lower gears that can climb hills seemingly effortlessly. I get up in the morning and run all day.

Then I thought of all the people that we were riding for. People with MS.  People that have been given Murray 10-speeds for bodies. People who sometime wake up in pain. Pain so horrible that they wonder if they can go on or how they can take another step. Bravely they put on a stoic face. "I'm ok," they say. "I'll meet you at the top of the hill." And we go on.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Marathon Training -- 1st Half Marathon Race

In my training for October's marathon (which is also training for next year's Bike MS!), I decided it would be fun to run a half marathon. The Hobbler Half in Springville fell about in my training schedule where I would need to run 13 miles so I signed up. It was a great experience. I was totally nervous (having never run a half marathon before and, indeed, having only run 9.5 miles previously). I'm very glad I did it. It was cool to experience a marathon race morning prior to the Big Day and it helped me stay on track in my training. I know if I had been doing a training run this morning there would have been more walking at the end but I knew I didn't want my Fan Club's first view of me when I approached the finish line to be me walking. I wanted a strong finish.

I have decided something, though. I need to run faster. I hate struggling to the finish line while the majority of the athletes are walking to their cars! It was nice to be one of the last ones on the trail (no lines at the portapotties) but it is awful to be one of the last ones at the finish line!!!!! This is definitely true for Bike MS too. I think next year we need to aim to be back by 3:30 so we can eat and enjoy the village. 75 miles will be my goal for next year, but it will hopefully be a faster 75.

We started this race up the canyon and I was so cold. It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, but it was a pretty cold start. I doubted my choice of a sleeveless shirt. A mile into it, though, I was glad for my wardrobe choices and by the end I was dying of heat! I was able to keep a good, steady pace (just a SLOW pace), which helped me endure to the end. The problem, though, was that I was so slow that I was back with the speed walkers. Actually, the speed walkers were beating me. At one point my only goal was to pass the Old Man Speed Walker...and I never did... I really liked my hydration belt (so I didn't have to stop at the water stops unless I needed a break) and I loved the Vanilla Bean Gu. Very nice taste (for that sort of thing).

Overall, a very good experience (esp my Fan Club cheering at the end!). Everyone who wants to have a better ride next June should start running regularly (or at least start doing some sort of exercise that strengthens your legs). I'm definitely doing this race again next year (recruiting Shelly to run it with me). Beautiful run with free massage, snow cones, Magelby's breakfast, etc. at the end (and face painting and a bounce house for the kids while they wait for your triumphal entry).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

15 Ways for the Under 15 Crowd to Fundraise

I know sometimes it's hard for our younglings to get out there and raise funds so here are a few ways you can collect some cash for your ride. (Old Folks are welcome to try these techniques too)

1. Wear a tshirt advertizing your goal :-) New for this year: you should have donors sign your shirt when they write the new goal on the back. Jacob said he was going to have next year's donors sign his MS shirt from this year. Cool memories!

2. Collect spare change in a jar. You will be surprised at how fast it adds up!

3. Offer to do odd jobs for your neighbors for donations. Don't specify a price--just ask for a donation. Hopefully they will give more than you would have asked for!

4. Work hard at team fundraisers such as the upcoming car wash.

5. Is there a business that you frequent? Ask the owner if they would be willing to donate something. Money is the easiest but if they are willing to donate product then we can try to sell it.

6. Make something to sell. I have an etsy shop for my handmade items and if we have enough interest I can make a Team Iron Eagles etsy shop. Anything you make would go to your ride (minus etsy fees).

7. Save your babysitting money.

8. Sell Mary Kay for MS via Aunt Shelly.

9. Set aside part of your allowance.

10. Sell a "lucky penny" for $1 (this is Aunt Shelly's idea)

11. Offer to write a haiku for a donation. (5-7-5)

12. Ask your parents what job they would be willing to pay you to do (note: do NOT ask for money for regular chores or for jobs you should do just because you are part of the family and living in the house...paid jobs should be extra hard and done extra well).

13. Sing Danny Boy (or similarly hilarious (to me) song) in the Food Court at the Mall. Get it on video. This is worth $10 to any team member who does it. You can only do it once. You must get permission from a parent. Void where prohibited.

14. [see comments below for whatever great idea you add to the mix]

15. [see comments below for whatever great idea you add to the mix...because "13 ways for the Under 15 Crowd to Fundraise" doesn't sound as cool but I'm a little tapped out....]

MS150 2010

Here are some pictures from last year's MS150 ride (2010).


NOTE: As of Dec. 29, 2016 the CureMS app is free. We are hoping that people will use the links in the app to donate directly any amount they would care to donate. 


One of our fundraisers is an iPhone/iPad app called CureMS.

A few years ago when iPhone applications first launched, Bill, like thousands of other programmers, decided to try his hand at iPhone programming. It was a lot of fun! I still remember the thrill of seeing people from all over the world downloading his ShakeItUp app. It was very cool. I immediately thought of making millions and retiring early LOL Bill's first thought however was of creating a fundraising app. What a great idea, eh? And that's how the idea for CureMS came to be.

CureMS is a simple tab-based application containing facts about Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and links to websites with information about MS and MS research. There is a tab with a Join us! button which links you to this blog where you can find links to either join team Iron Eagles or donate directly to the National MS Society. Another tab has an animation that visually represents what people can do to help others who have been touched by MS.

CureMS is available for 99 cents at the app store (CureMS in the App Store).

Here's a tally of what we've earned from CureMS so far:

July (1st paycheck!): $166.47
Aug: $26.71
Sep: $36.07
Oct: $23.08
Nov: $18.33
Dec: $15.52

Jan: $34.83
Feb: $32.01
Mar: $31.25
Apr: $29.77
May: $24.38
June: $42.27
July: $29.05
Aug: $29.54
Oct: $43.70
Dec: $22.79

April: $17.94
June: $26.08
August: $24.68
October: $13.71

Jan: $15.86
April: $25.59
June: $22.23
October: $20.13

Jan: $27.89
April: $12.29
July: $12.01


June: $33

Tell a friend!  Buy the app!  Spread the word!  Thanks!