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Thursday, 7 July 2016

I Need Your Help

I cycled ten miles this morning and my left knee hurts. I am clearly much more unfit than I realised. So if I’m going to complete this century – the longest bike ride I have ever undertaken – I am going to need your help. If I know that each mile raises more money, then I’ll push myself a little bit further and I’ll be more likely to complete the ride.

Why am I doing this? I’m doing it because I truly believe in Temple Beth Shalom as a world-changing community. I know that some people criticise religion and say it isn’t relevant or necessary in today’s society, but such people obviously haven’t seen Temple Beth Shalom at work. This community helped found the Interfaith Shelter for the homeless who were being turned away from other shelters. These people were dying on the streets but once the Shelter was set up, the deaths from hypothermia at winter stopped. We continue to support the shelter and save lives – last month we worked with other communities and together raised $54,000 to keep the Shelter open over the summer.  Temple Beth Shalom is a community that ensures that anyone of any faith and from any family, even those with little finances, can get a 5-star accredited Preschool education, even if that costs us money. We fight in the local legislature for equal rights, we fight against discrimination and we fight for social justice. We are a key voice for positive social change in Santa Fe. We work with local schools and with local schoolchildren who are struggling at school. We support the bereaved, we befriend the lonely, we bring people together. That’s the most relevant work possible but if that work is to continue as it does now, we need your support.

I believe in this community. I believe in the work that we’re doing. I know that it is good work, that we help change lives…. that we literally save lives. You can help save lives by making a pledge.

This 100-mile bike ride is going to be my biggest physical challenge yet. I did a 70-mile bike ride four years ago but much has changed since then. I weigh much more – about 15lbs more. I’m cycling at altitude, which means the air is thinner and that doesn’t help my asthma. And talking of asthma and health – at the same time as training I’m having allergy injections three times a week which are exhausting me – yesterday I slept from 4pm to 10pm – and all of that fatigue affects my training. And the challenges aren’t just about me not being overweight, unable to get enough oxygen or being totally fatigued. It’s also hot. Really, really hot. The bike ride four years ago was on a typical grey English day and there was even rain to help cool me down. Not so here – we’re expecting it to be around 75°. I’m going to have to train not just for distance but also for heat exhaustion.  Moreover, it’s  further than I’ve ever cycled before.  And then look at this profile of the race – the race starts going downhill and then starts climbing for a long time before….see that around 25 miles? That’s a steep grade 4 climb. And then there’s a descent before a long, long climb for a very significant part of the race before an extended grade 3 climb, shortly followed by another grade 4 climb. And even when heading downhill afterwards, there are more climbs. That’s some serious cycling.

But don’t just take my word for it – here’s what a friend who has completed The Tour of Acoma says…

As someone who rides at altitude in Taos and had completed a 98 mile ride from Philadelphia to Brooklyn only 3 weeks earlier, I found the Tour De Acoma to be among the most challenging I've attempted.  The combination of heat, gradient of the climbs (plural) and the road surface make this a hard but beautiful and rewarding day's work.”

Appreciating the enormity of this challenge, then, and the importance of this work, please click on the link below and pledge generously. I need your help … the people whom Temple Beth Shalom supports need your help.

Thank you.



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