*This year we are working on two missions*
Please keep an eye out for additional details on our Mission 2 - Fall 2020!
Mission Complete: 1,000 Miles & Over $60,000 Raised for VIP NeuroRehabilitation Center!
Amazing Tidbits about the 2019 Ride:
Since they had never ridden together, or spent time together since Navy Training days, there were a lot of unknowns. They ended up averaging between 16 and 17 mph most days- making much better time than anticipated. They even arrived a day early!
The continual police escorts kept them not only safe, but it helped save time by not having to stop a lot for stop lights and traffic.
They didn’t kill each other while being stuffed together in RVs for 12 days.
Some of the guys didn’t even own a road bike until the end of last year. None of them had ever organized a ride or fundraising event. To pull this off so well was truly amazing!
Right before the ride started, storms hit parts of the east coast. But for most of the ride- they didn’t see rain, except when it was welcomed in the stifling heat.
Right after they hit 1000 miles on the odometer on Friday, a huge rain storm hit Ft Pierce; threatening to cancel all of the Seal Museum’s annual outdoor events and demonstrations for the next day. Low and behold, sunshine peeked through the clouds as the guys were introduced in front of the crowd. All the fun festivities went on as planned.
The 2 RVs were generously donated for the boys to use for the entire journey-plus gas! That was a huge blessing!
The men who came along for support were amazing. They drove all the vehicles, staged the rest stops with replenishment, tuned bikes after rides, did laundry, and scouted out places for dinner in the evenings. This allowed the guys to keep up with interviews, clean up, and get their things ready for the ride the next day.
The VFW, Elks Lodge, or American Legion hosted the boys at every stop in the evenings- allowing them to park the RVs in their lots at night. They met some great people!
Lastly, the fire station in Ft Pierce allowed the team to park the RVs in their lot, and basically let them take over the fire station! Such nice people!
Though not a cake walk, the journey couldn’t have gone better!! ?????
VIP & Beyond the Teams were featured on KUSI: Good Morning San Diego!
Watch the full video below or use KUSI article link:
19 days Until 10/28/19 Launch Trials and Tribulations
Well it has been a while since my last blog and, despite myself, training has been progressing. I completed my peak training week with just over 25 hours of training last week including three consecutive days of 100 milers. It is supposed to snow this week here in the greater Denver area so just in time. But I am getting way ahead of myself.
Back in May I was on a pretty good roll, staying healthy and injury free. That quickly changed. Being a team player at my current occupation, I agreed to temporarily adjust my schedule to accommodate whatever was concerning the scheduling office at that time. That threw off my carefully constructed routine which was designed to keep me healthy. That resulted in setback number one, an upper respiratory infection. I got through it after a forced rest and have not repeated since.
About a month later, old smart boy here started out on a quick 25-mile mountain bike training ride and was thinking, “I have been accident free for seven months.” For a bicyclist, especially on a mountain bike, that is practically unheard of. I was feeling pretty smug. Does not pride go before the fall? Not thirty seconds after the thought I was flying over the handlebars, barely missing the trunk of a tree as I flew through the air. Unfortunately, I hooked the handlebar with the middle of my right thigh, carrying the bike with me. So, my thigh hurt, my shin had a goose egg trying to emerge though a bloodied sock, and I had my fill of humble pie. Other than breaking my phone holder, the bike was unscathed.
What would a reasonable person do at this point? Hobble home or call for a ride so to treat and ice the wounds? Naw! I could still move, I had training to do, and, besides, the “forgotten” I am riding for have it way harder than me. So, I went on to ride 25 miles even though every time I bend my right leg my thigh reminded me of undeserved pride. I could not bend that leg more than 90 degrees for two months and still have a knot in it.
Shortly after my aerial acrobatics, I bought a gravel bike with tires that could handle the occasional dirt paths. It is light weight enough that, with thinner tires, I can achieve the speeds I need to do the Beyond the Teams 1000. It has pedals that I clip into ……… WHOA! For a guy who has never used clip-ins and did not even own a bike when he agreed to do this thing, is that such a good thing?
The falls, oh the falls. They usually occur when I have to make sudden stops for rouge drivers and I do not twist my feet fast enough to unclip. Sometimes I unclip but inadvertently reclip immediately because I failed to move my shoe off the clip section resulting in yet another spill. I have executed some seriously excellent PLFs (parachute landing falls) even with a bike attached to my feet but I have also collected many scrapes and bruises. It must look pretty hilarious to people when they see this guy just stop and fall over. Again, another crushing blow to my pride. This Cool Cat may not be so cool.
And now, my latest injury, which may be one of my biggest challenges to the 1000 miler, I failed to unclip again on a sudden avoidance stop, fell, and broke three ribs. I did not know that the ribs were broken, just thought they were bruised along with my pride. I went on 60 more miles to complete the third of my three consecutive day 100-mile rides. What drove me on is the knowledge that I will heal and those that I am riding for will always be challenged. It was not until the next day that, upon feeling the excruciating pain of a sneeze while attempting to work my regular job, that I relented to my better half’s advice to go to the emergency room. Darn, she’s right again.
Well, here I am in the middle of the night unable to sleep because of the pain. This is probably compounded by my resistance to taking opiates. Again, maybe she is right. Do you think this setback will stop me? I think not! The pain will subside and the lungs will fill fully when called upon in the coming weeks. My struggles are only a mirror of or less than those of my compatriots who are doing the ride with me. We all are driven to help those whose struggles we can only imagine.
We cannot do this alone. We are not wealthy benefactors. Any assistance provided to Beyond the Teams or directly to VIP Neuro Rehab gives us more ability to help more people. Please join and support us with a contribution, buying a Beyond the Teams t-shirt, follow us on Facebook or Instagram, or just spread the word.
We have exciting ideas for future events and causes. Stay tuned for more from Beyond the Teams. See Y’all on the ride later this month.
As I hear the whine of an old pickup truck with oversized tires gaining speed behind me on the two-lane country road, I move as close to the shoulder as possible. It’s Bubba, another “good ole boy” about to see how close his side view mirror can come to my helmeted skull. It’s close, but I’m still pedaling. Not worth giving Bubba a one-finger salute or yelling an obscenity since I know he’s packing a loaded 9mm Glock under the springs of his front seat. Most of the folks here are friendly and respect cyclists, but I haven’t found too many SHARE THE ROAD signs without shotgun holes. Welcome to mountain cycling! Y’all gotta love it!!!
My wife and I left California 15 years ago and retired on six acres in the North Carolina mountains not far from the Tennessee border. Training here is beautiful, but it has its ups and downs, literally… hills!!! Training here doesn’t compare to the cycling I did in San Diego years ago where the infamous “Torrey Pines Hill” was the nemesis of any amateur cyclist. Here there are no bike paths and no ocean views but there are plenty of hills…in every direction. Makes one stronger (I think).
My last adventure on a bicycle was a century ride on a tandem with my wife 18 years ago. Since I am a cancer survivor, we joined Team in Training and raised thousands of dollars to support the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society. The culmination was a group century ride with hundreds of cyclists in Tucson, AZ. After that, I sold the tandem and rode a mountain bike to work 4 miles round-trip on a bike path in Coronado, CA.
So here I am, 65 years old, Medicare card in hand, training for something I’m determined to complete. It’s a minor struggle since my bike is old like me, no new stuff…but it’s my friend. We have a lot of things in common. Creaks, noises, problems here and there. I’ve named my back Rice Krispies since getting out of bed in the morning all I hear is snap, crackle, pop! Like me, my bike needs encouragement to get on the road…tires pumped, chain lubed, safety light batteries checked, but once we’re out there, we’re in tune with the road and nature (until Bubba comes back).
When some of the hills seem insurmountable, all I have to do is keep pedaling as I think of those brave souls that drag themselves out of bed every day to head to VIP. This ride is not about me or any of the other guys riding…it’s about David Charbonnet and all those who have made VIP their life ambition. We riders may hurt and have to deal with pain, but it is an honor for us to be a part of VIP support and we’re determined to keep giving the gift of hope and recovery.
Why would this busted up retired firefighter and former SEAL commit himself to a physical endeavor that most sane people would never consider at any point in their lives?
Simple answer – One of my fellow BUD/S Class 98 graduates ask me to.
Situation: I was sitting there having dinner with my wife and BUD/S classmates on the last night of our reunion thinking that after four decades that these men are still among the best people I have ever encountered. That’s when Charbo walked by and said, “Hey Doc, what are you doing next year about this time?” Knowing just a few months earlier that Charbo had completed a ride from San Francisco to San Diego for VIP Neurorehab, I responded with a rhetorical question, “Riding with you?” All he said was, “YES,” with a fist pump …………… Uh oh, what was I thinking? Oh man, it’s on!
Dilemma: I am the proud owner of an artificial hip (that took three surgeries and a struggle to beat an infection that had me hobbled for years) and a new artificial shoulder. I had also collected three additional orthopedic surgeries. I did not even own a bike.
So here I am about half way to the goal. I had to start out slow, two hours per week on a lousy stationary bike at the community gym. I added 15 minutes per week, acquired a nice spin bike needed for training during the cold days of Colorado, and purchased a fine mountain bike to train heavy and hard until I can work a road bike into the financial picture (thanks Manny for selling me your bike then becoming a generous donor).
My regimen is three days per week up at 0345, on the spin bike by 0355, one-hour ride, shower for work, half mile power walk to the bus, and then a ten-hour shift mostly on my feet and moving fast. Part way through the split shift I hit the gym to cross train the other parts of my body. My wife complements my workouts with short yoga sessions in the evening. Working four ten-hour shifts allows me three days per week for the two to four-hour bike sessions on the roads and trails. I am going to be adding in swimming 2-3 days/wk soon. Like Conrad, I am busting through 11 hours per week on the pedals. My intention is to complete three days in a row of century rides a month before go time.
Make no mistake, this is not about any of us. We are giving up our relative anonymity for a larger cause – to help those in need. We cherish privacy and relish only in serving silently but if it takes hard work from a handful of former SEALS to draw attention to a greater cause, then so be it.
Please do not hesitate in joining us by supporting Beyond The Teams’ efforts with whatever you can to help those less fortunate.
The alarm goes off – early … really early! Reminiscent of a time long past when most things required rising early. But that was then.
My mind turns on … why? Why did I set the alarm to go off at this hour?
OH … time to train. Or do I hit the snooze button? (Tempting)
My old body awakens, albeit slower than years past.
Medical devices need to be turned off; other medical hardware needs to be attached.
Now my joints are waking up. So, it begins … time to train.
Training has always been a part of my life; to a greater extent in some seasons than others. I had primarily done classic frogman workouts: swims, runs, some calisthenics, and no stretching. 🙂
Biking, my current focus, has not been a part of my routine, not in years – well over 30 years.
Last year, my old swim buddy, Charbo, told me of his plan to ride for VIP Neurorehab, a clinic which solicits donations to provide scholarships for patients unable to bear the financial burden of ongoing care.
Charbo’s ride was from San Francisco to San Diego; he went solo, with little fanfare. He kept asking me to join him, but life, work, time constraints did not allow me the time to train at the level required.
But I said that if he attempted another ride, “I’ll do it with you”.
Well, he did it. He successfully completed last year’s California ride. When our BUD/S Class reunion was held at UDT/SEAL Museum annual muster it was a topic of discussion among our classmates.
I had to do my part …
The temptation to hit snooze is suppressed. A few cups of coffee, a moment of quiet time, and the day begins. I had a ready assist from Charbo, when I arrived home from the reunion, he had shipped a brand new bike to my house. I got the message …TRAIN!
Coming from a cold start on the bike in November, I used the rule of thumb that running 4 miles is like biking 10.
Having maintained some run/walk activities I used that as a baseline. Going from 30-minute rides to 35, then 40, then 45, now much longer … And from 3 days a week on the bike to 4, then 5, now 6.
I’m slowly conditioning my body to awaken muscle groups that had been slumbering for decades. Still swimming to help maintain the upper body with added stress of riding mechanics – things have been going well.
Light stretching, even a yoga session (thanks Connie)
Slowly, methodically, with intent to avoid injury – weekly time on the bike has steadily increased. The most recent milestones met is training more than 10 hours a week in the saddle. That’s a benchmark I plan to more than double by the ride in late October.
Looking at future milestones, sharing our hits and misses with teammates, working on various facets of the ride, praying for an outpouring of support.
But the WHY is answered: why get up? … why not hit snooze?
I want to give back – to help those in need. I’m grateful to possess the mental and physical tools needed for this 1,000-mile ride.
Hopeful for success in an endeavor that’s really about something bigger than me; my teammates and me partnering with non-profit organizations serving those in need.
I do not hit snooze … I TRAIN!
Mike Charbonnet (left) and Conrad Kress during Hell Week of their BUD/S 98 SEAL training. The men would become friends and, 40 years later, form the fundraising nonprofit Beyond the Teams with six other classmates. (Courtesy Mike Charbonnet)
Forty years after surviving the notorious “Hell Week” of their Navy SEAL training, Mike Charbonnet was at a reunion of his “brothers.”
Read more at https://www.wnd.com/2019/03/retired-navy-seals-deploy-for-another-mission-impossible/
There’s a truth only those of us who have lived through the rigors of 26 weeks of BUD/S training know: You do not make friends from the first running or swimming evolution. You don’t even necessarily bond during Hell Week when all the usual difficulties of training for air, land and sea warfare are dialed up a notch. Or five.
The reality is, friendships don’t form unless, and until, you’re one of the 20 percent or so left standing when the physical, emotional and psychological training is finally done. It’s only after you’ve not quit like dozens of others do; or washed out, as dozens of others also do, that you begin to forge bonds with your classmates.
So we walked in among our classmates in 1978, we had no idea that some of us would become lifelong friends. At the outset, we all were nothing more to each other than the other guys who had to get up with us at 4:30 a.m. and push our bodies and minds past what we thought were going to be their breaking points. Week by week, those of us who stuck around got more familiar and comfortable with each other.
After graduation, some of us shared assignments, and over time a few of us became close friends. Some of us joined the SEALs, other applied their skills to careers like law enforcement or firefighting. But we all began to truly appreciate what BUD/S training had allowed all of us to do with our lives.
In our initial days with the SEALs, it seemed like a fun job, but as we got into it, we realized it was much more. We were doing things not everybody got to do. We’re not talking about the details of the work or the missions so much – the tactical and dangerous nature of what we did. We’re talking about the opportunity to help others – to live a life dedicated to the service of their well-being.
That’s the bond that continues to tie BUD/S Class 98 together. Sure, we swapped Hell Week stories at our 40th reunion last year, caught up on the marriages and children and grandchildren. Discussed retirement, or post-retirement careers for those not ready to head out to pasture just yet. But we also talked a lot about the meaning our work gave to our lives. Even though we rarely knew whom we had helped, and they sure didn’t know us given the sanctity of the secrecy of our service, we agreed to a man that there was nothing like the sense of purpose and accomplishment that comes with knowing what we had done benefited others in profound ways.
We talked about it so much, in fact, we decided to do more than talk about it.
That’s why eight of us have formed Beyond the Teams, pooling the mental and physical resources honed over 200 combined years of service in scores of countries to assist the unsung heroes facing physical disabilities, cultural disadvantages and practical needs going unmet because they are the “little guys.” Our battlefield is no longer the theater of war. It’s the world of fundraising.
And we can’t wait to get started.