David Conrad: The Blue-Eyed Wonder of Pittsburgh

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Leukemia and Lymphoma Society - Updates and Round Two!

Posted by Ms. M on June 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Hey everyone,

For those of you who don't know, David, his brother Jamie, and their cousin Lawrence recently completed that century bike ride around Lake Tahoe (on June 3rd) that I told you guys about at the end of February. I recently got an email from Jamie and David that I assume went out to everyone who donated, and I would like to share that with you all:

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Jamie says:

On Sunday June 3, my brother David, my cousin Lawrence and I rode 100 miles around Lake Tahoe with Team in Training, the endurance sport fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 149 of you stepped up and contributed an amazing $10,705 to our cause, making "me" the biggest fundraiser in the DC area and among the top 20 nationwide. Combined with the almost $9,000 that Lawrence raised, we collectively funneled around $20,000 toward the effort to find cures for blood cancers. The Tahoe ride overall raised in excess of $5 million for the cause. I'm deeply grateful to all of you.

The ride was also a chance for me and David to do something together that we'd talked about doing with our brother Phil, and to throw some kind of rock at the cruel fate that befell him. For that opportunity I'm even more grateful.

Oh yeah -- it was also a lot of fun. The weather was spectacular: low 40s at the start, mid-70s by the end, brilliantly blue and clear sky. The scenery was magnificent: differently but equally blue and translucent lake, snow on the mountains, etc. Our group started in the very first tranche at 6:00 am, so David, Lawrence and I were able to shoot up pretty close to the beginning -- meaning fewer bikes to contend with, no lines at the porta-potties, etc. The crossing over Emerald Bay ridge was the most dramatic part of the whole ride (the road at one point is the width of the ridge), and the ride down the fastest of four amazing downhills: 43.5 mph, and you could hear yourself as you zipped by the rock walls. We hung together till mile 80, when we wisely decided to each ride at our own pace up the 8-mile, 1,000' ascent of Spooner Peak. David finished at 12:30, Lawrence at about 12:40, and I rolled in at 1:06; avg mph 15.8. Below is us the beginning and at the finish.

In fact, it was so much fun that I'm doing it again -- TNT also does a century ride in Moab, UT on Sept. 22. So those who meant to contribute but didn't still have a chance, and if you feel really enthusiastic you can do so again! Send this link to your friends:

 

http://pages.teamintraining.org/nca/moabtour12/jconradwo4

 

Thanks very much once again,

Jamie

 

David says:

Dear Everyone At All who gave us even a dime for the Cancer Ride in Tahoe:

Many many THANKS. My brother Jamie ( yes that's his name- it's Scottish) my cousin Lawrence, me, and my buddy Rob all arrived in astoundingly perfect weather and rode the century and may I say rode it pretty quickly. I was impressed by the guts and will of my "elder" relatives; my cousin summoning up massive amounts of heart to push his 200 pound-plus, Stallone type physique up and over the whole 100 and my brother, who's finally found his sport, ticking off the miles with his natural cadence and fine form. And of course Rob who came all the way across the country with a tetchy bike (let's not forget driven by George who had a 101 temperature but was Rob's only way of arriving the final leg). Rob came with NO registration but got up at the crack of dawn the next day to wait in line with no assurance he'd be allowed on the course or that his bike could be fixed. Both worked out.

"For Phil", he said when he rolled across the finish line. Lawrence roared. Jamie smiled. I looked for the nearest patch of shade. For Philip Taylor Berry Conrad. Or for all of the "Phils" out there.

And that's really the point. The ride wasn't for cancer per se but for THAT person in all our lives who we've loved and lost or come close to losing. Then,100 miles is a joke. You don't even feel it really. When you're climbing a 9 mile hill at mile 89, dry heaving, and then you see the photos that the guy pulling in front of you has pinned to the back of his jersey; his mother and his brother's youngest child. His father. The pain, the physical stuff, there and then, seems inconsequential. We transcend together. We take all the sadness, the confusion, and the fury and burn it off into a beautiful gesture: making a bike go round. Flying on two silent, carbon footprint free wheels.

I hope all of you will do something like this ride. Yes for the money- to raise funds to fight this horrific "emperor of maladies" - but more so to experience that moment of kinship - of going out there and maybe trying to find the spirit of your brother or your child or your dad somewhere on the road and in the process running into all the people just like you who've suffered the same. We must admit to our common loss, our common tragedy to beat back this disease.

What a day. What a lake. What an organization.

Much love to all the folks who I've never even met who gave us money. Your generosity is humbling.

David

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That's some powerful stuff, guys. I don't have a total count on how many from this group contributed, but I do remember seeing quite a few familiar names on the fundraising list, which was phenomenal to see from a webmistress' point of view. You really stepped up to the plate, which made me feel so good inside about what this website has become. You all should feel very good about what we helped to do! Having helped to make Jamie and David one of the top 20 fundraisers nationwide is absolutely amazing.

If you missed it in the letter, Jamie is planning on doing another ride at the end of September in Utah. Last I heard, he and Lawrence are definitely going, and David is considering. So, if you wanted to donate last time but couldn't, this would be a GREAT time for you to chip in! Or, if you're able, and feeling particularly generous, donating again even if you donated last time would also be really wonderful. It's for the same great cause, and in memory of the same great man. As always, please spread the word (and the link). :)

Much love,
Michelle

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Before the ride:

 

 

After the ride:

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4 Comments

Reply JuliaOz
11:13 PM on June 15, 2012 
Thanks for posting, Michelle. It's great that the ride went so well. I have to admit that it was lovely to get an email from Jamie reporting their success. I'm sure everyone on this site has lost someone in their life to cancer. Perhaps, Like Jamie and David (and Lawrence and all the others who rode) we can all find a way to help beat this terrible disease.
Reply Waltraud P
10:02 AM on June 17, 2012 
tank you for posting this message I again will donate for the september ride some time in July I did received the message on my email from Jaime and I forwarded it to some new members in the hope that they understand english enough to donate thank you again
Reply Deborah Schab
9:52 PM on July 24, 2012 
Thanks for posting this update. I contributed but did not see these wonderful pictures and heartfelt thank you letters. You go guys!
Reply mkdcfan4ever
8:56 PM on December 6, 2012 
This is so wonderful. David, you are the best! You are an AMAZING person. Thank you for sharing your pics and memories of your journey of healing and recouping from your beloved brother Phil's passing. This is such a wonderful thing you and your friends have done in Phil's Memory. Please know that Phil is with you everyday, Every time you share a memory of him.