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Sweat for Good: How YOU Can Kick Cancer to the Curb!

Written on April 4, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

“Ride it forward” is 45-year-old Janeen Parave’s new motto. That’s because the two-time cancer survivor is on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds by training for her second Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) this summer. Last year, Janeen participated in the 190-mile bike-a-thon within a matter of eight months of completing breast and ovarian cancer treatments. And now she’s back—stronger than ever—ready to tackle the Massachusetts mileage this August with a $4,500 goal. Um, can we give her a big virtual high five and “You go, girl!”?

“PMC taught me the value of setting goals and that I can accomplish anything physically and mentally beyond my cancer experiences,” says Janeen. “I learned how resilient the human body can be after being sick. When I crossed that finish line, not only did I know I did something great for others, but I did something extraordinary for myself.”

Help Janeen and other cycling weekend warriors reach their goals in the upcoming months by making a donation—or what the sweat, sign up yourself! Can’t commit to 190 New England miles but still want to make a difference? Get involved with a local event like Soul for Survival or a “Virtual Ride” like Tour de Pink, which allows you to pick the location, when you ride and how much mileage you want to cover for breast cancer research. For you pavement pounders, lace up for an American Cancer Society event near you or stride for another cause you’d like to support, like assistant web editor Sam, who’s training for the New York City Marathon with Team Stop the Clot! Working your tush off never felt so good.

Photo courtesy of Janeen Parave

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McDreamy Gets Dreamier (Believe It!) for Cancer Hope and Healing

Written on October 1, 2013 at 12:23 pm , by

Run/ride like Patrick Dempsey is waiting at the finish line. Oh wait, he is! (Photo credit: Patrick McCarthy)

Known for making scrubs look sexy with ease is none other than McDreamy, and now Patrick Dempsey has fit gals like us weak in the knees by getting his sweat on in bike shorts. Why? Not that we really need a reason, but it’s for a good cause. So yes, he’s good-looking, talented, in incredible shape and philanthropic. (Insert extra swoon here.)

Clearly, biking has become more than just a joy ride for this star. It’s become a passion and family affair with his wife and three kids, plus a way to raise funds for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. “I’m not a big fan of running—I really love cycling and the sense that you can go somewhere,” he recently dished, while reminiscing about pedaling around as a kid, the only way for him to get from point A to B at a young age. “Growing up in the country, it was a form of escape and freedom.”

On October 12 and 13, runners, walkers and riders—including Dempsey—will come together for the fifth-annual Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston, Maine to support his center. Founded in 2008 after the actor’s mother battled three bouts of ovarian cancer, the safe haven provides free support, education and integrative medicine services for those impacted by cancer. “The last four years, we’ve raised over a million dollars in the event. It’s incredible,” Dempsey says. “It’s amazing the amount of support and commitment people have to the challenge. We’re going to have fun things around, like food trucks and entertainment, to celebrate. Plus, everyone gets lobster and beer at the end!”

Between his time on the big screen, a little show called Grey’s Anatomy and now the race track—he clearly has a need for speed—finding time to get his sweat on can be tough, the Clif Bar lover admits. (His fave flavors? Crunchy Peanut Butter and Blueberry Crisp.) “I try to balance it between going to the gym and getting a good core workout in. And then getting out on the bike for at least an hour, hour and half if I can, three or four times a week.” Hikes in the mountains surrounding Santa Monica and barefoot runs along the beach are also a part of his training. “I find that to be low impact on my body,” he says. “The sand helps stabilize your core!” Uh huh, drink in that image…

To learn more about this year’s challenge and their incredible partnerships—Dempsey raved about Positive Tracks, a New Hampshire-based non-profit that encourages the youth to get active and give back through charitable athletic efforts—be sure to head over to their website, ‘like’ their Facebook page and follow the event on Twitter.

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Cyclists Give Back: Braking the Cycle Bike Ride Fights AIDS

Written on August 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm , by

Get fit for a cause you care about, and bring friends! (Photo courtesy of Alan Barnett Photography)

Written by Dionne Evans, editorial intern

If you’re a cyclist and looking for ways to give back, think about gearing up for this meaningful ride. From September 28-30, the tenth annual Braking the Cycle event will take place in Boston, with all proceeds going to the Housing Works charity to fight AIDS.

Braking the Cycle was founded by Global Impact Productions 10 years ago so that those with AIDS wouldn’t be forgotten. The “civil rights march on two wheels” is a three-day biking event when over 100 bikers – some who have HIV, others who’ve lost loved ones to AIDS – will ride 285 miles from Boston to New York City to show that “the AIDS community is alive and well.”

Hopeful riders must pay a $95 registration fee and commit to raise $3,500 before the ride.  Each entrant receives a coach to help them with training and fundraising.

For more information on how you can contribute to the cause, or put the pedal to the medal, visit Braking the Cycle’s website.

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Entrepreneur Treks Across U.S. for American Heart Association

Written on August 15, 2012 at 1:42 pm , by

Justin plans to cycle across the country to help the American Heart Association. (Photo courtesy of Justin McClelland)

Written by Dionne Evans, editorial intern

Justin McClelland, a 31-year-old St. Lous entrepreneur, is taking a break from his usual life and moving to the open road. Today, he begins a cycling journey from New York City to Los Angeles. His mission: to raise awareness, and $10,000, for the American Heart Association.  We chatted with McClelland before he hopped in the saddle to find out what motivates him to keep going, and who he hopes to affect on this journey.

Have you done anything like this before?

I’ve never been a cyclist. I grew up liking BMX, but the bike I have right now is the first I’ve ever known.

How are you preparing, then?

The trip is 3,300 miles, so I’ll be traveling for 33 days – I plan on riding 100 miles per day. I’ve only done a couple of long rides so far, but I primarily do two-a-day workouts each day: I run for 30 minutes, get on the stationary bike for another 30 and jump rope for a final 30 minutes. I also do weight training for my upper body, lower body, and core. I’m conditioning myself to be active daily, but I don’t want to burn myself out on the bike before the actual ride happens.

Were you really active before taking on this challenge?

I’ve always been very active. The last three weeks hasn’t been that big of a jump for me. Before, I worked out once a day. I’ve lived a pretty active lifestyle for as long as I can remember.

Do you know what your stops will be, or can people follow along?

I’m going through the midwest, mostly on back roads and rural highways. I don’t have a strict schedule because I didn’t want one to get in the way of enjoying the ride.  But for some semblance of order, I’m aiming to cover 100 miles a day. I’ll be tweeting and blogging throughout the trip at my website, iHeartCardio, and then I’ll compose a documentary about the entire experience after it’s all done.

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The Reve Project: Six Women Get Ready to Tackle the Tour de France

Written on June 26, 2012 at 11:00 am , by

Powilson (third in line) rides with her teammates. (Photo Michael Robertson/VeloDramatic)

Before the boys hop on their bikes Saturday, June 30 to compete in the 2012 Tour de France, six women will already be completing the course a day before them. Enter the Reve Project, a group of six women ranging from mothers to business owners who are riding the 2,162 mile route to help raise funds for Bikes Belong, the largest cycling advocacy group in the U.S. to get more women involved in the sport. We got the chance to chat with teammate Kate Powlison on her training, diet and nerves leading up to race day.

What is the goal of the Reve Project?

The basic goal is to inspire women to ride bikes more often. We figure by riding the Tour de France together and covering every mile of a highly male dominated sport, we can prove that women can do it too.

What made you decide on the Tour de France? Why not another shorter event?

The Tour de France is one of the most visible events for cycling. When you ask the average person about the sport, it’s the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong that usually comes to mind first. So it’s a perfect platform to reach a large amount of women. It’s a way to show women who perhaps used to ride and stopped or have never even hopped on a bike before that it’s not too late to get started.

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How Cyclist Evelyn Stevens Went From Wall Street to Olympic Hopeful

Written on June 4, 2012 at 12:46 pm , by

Stevens is planning to train at altitude for the month or so prior to the Games. (Photo courtesy of BMW Performance Team)

Some athletes aim for sports glory from a young age. Cyclist Evelyn Stevens is not one of them. In 2007, when she was seeking a casual way to stay fit as a Wall Street associate, Stevens discovered—and fell in love with—cycling. Within three years, she was racing on one of the best female teams in the world and had finished first at the U.S. National Time Trial.

This year, as Stevens is gearing up for London, she was voted onto the BMW Performance Team, which helps Olympic and Paralympic athletes focus on making the team and reaching their goals. “It’s allowed me to continue to focus on making the Olympic Games, but also because it shows I have fan support,” Stevens says.

In her own words, here’s how Stevens made the transition from trading to training in one year flat.

  • “When I first started biking in June 2008, I absolutely fell in love with it. I found it to be the most freeing activity, plus it got you fit very quickly! A year after I bought my first bike, I decided to take a big risk and make a big change by following my heart, passion and dreams.”
  • “I am fueled by challenges and immediately I was driven to become the best cyclist I could become, I didn’t know if that would just be at the amateur level or at the professional level, I just knew I wanted to push my limits”
  • “I will always remember my first 10-day stage race in May of 2010, as my body was suffering, I couldn’t help but think that only a year ago I was spending my day in front of a computer, instead of racing up mountains in the Pyrenees!”
  • “In order to thrive in cycling and in finance, you have to be driven and competitive. You have to be able to work well with a team and in stressful environments. Also, attention to detail is hugely important in cycling as it was during my career in finance—all of the small things make a big difference.”
  • “I love my Specialized Amira SL4 road bike, and a comfortable saddle pair of shorts are an absolute must. If you are just getting into riding, definitely take the time to find a saddle that is comfortable and don’t be afraid to try out a variety of different ones in a shop. And I never get on my bike without my helmet.”

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A Sweaty—and Sweet!—Way to Kick Off Summer

Written on May 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm , by

Pick up a treat after you pedal for the pups. (Photo courtesy of Dylan's Candy Bar)

There’s little we love more in the world than a workout that benefits a good cause. Knowing that someone or some group is counting on you is just the extra dose of motivation you need to get out the door and get sweating! That’s why we were excited to hear about the sweet way Flywheel and Dylan’s Candy Bar are teaming up to officially start summer this weekend.

This Saturday, Flywheel co-founder Ruth Zukerman and Dylan’s Candy Bar CEO and founder Dylan Lauren (who also happens to be Ralph’s daughter) are hosting a charity cycling ride in the Hamptons to benefit the Monmouth County Shelter for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA). Both Lauren and Zukerman love sweets—in moderation—almost as much as they adore animals, so their event coming up in the Hamptons is a match made in heaven. And the cause has special meaning to Lauren, who adopted her own Collie-Labrador puppy from MCSPCA earlier this year.

Riders can donate $30 to participate in the 45-minute candy-themed Flywheel class (a favorite of celebs including Sofia Vergara, Katie Couric and Hilary Swank), with proceeds going to the MCSPCA. After the ride, the feel-good high continues at Dylan’s Candy Bar, where participants will be treated to some of the lighter options, like the 100-Calorie Belgium Chocolate Bars.

If you’re interested in participating in this Memorial Day weekend event, email avividor@fullpic.com to RSVP.

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Is This The Nation’s Most Personalized Group Fitness Class?

Written on May 8, 2012 at 11:27 am , by

Riders during Thursday's class were inspired by the awesome riverside view! (Photo courtesy of KiwiSweat)

What’s more motivating than having a workout date with 30 close pals? How about having the instructor know you, and call you out during the most challenging parts, by name? That’s exactly what you’ll find during a class with KiwiSweat, a pop-up fitness company that brings top-notch instructors and class concepts to life in unique locations (in the past, this has included indoor cycling at the Museum of Modern Art and yoga under the Brooklyn Bridge, among others).

The setting isn’t all that makes KiwiSweat stand out, however. When you sign up for a class, you are placed on the check-in list, and as you arrive for class, hosts will say, “welcome back for your third session!” or offer guidance if you are new, based on their computer statistics about your account. The name on your account also is linked to your locker and bike—it appears on a mini-chalkboard hanging from both—so there are no “wait, is this my spot?” moments during the pre-class scramble. Bonus: During a tough sprint or challenging yoga pose, the instructor (in our case at a waterfront cycling class last Thursday, it was the always-energetic celebrity trainer Lacey Stone) can motivate you by name. No slacking off here!

Usually, it takes several sessions to connect so strongly with your instructor and classmates. But the few simple touches KiwiSweat has added makes everyone fast friends—not to mention more likely to show up next time.

Now tell us: Would knowing your instructor on a first-name basis get you to the gym more often? And where would your ideal pop-up class take place?