Just a blog to put some things out there as I feel I am not doing a good job keeping active on social media and such. I do have a regular full time job, 3 teenage girls at home starting school (scary right?!?), gravel events, community/foundation meetings, and occasionally talking to my husband to catch up on each others week.
With that, we will see ya at the Pony Express Gravel Dash in Marysville, Ks in a couple weeks!
An emotional moment occurred and I need to share.
Stumbled on a random, unexpected Facebook comment thread where someone mentioned me and Pink Gravel. Got me in the feels and tears emerged. That is proof to me that we, human beings, never know the kind of impact or the impression we may make on another till days, months or years later.
I, personally, have been on a two year non-riding hiatus. My bikes collecting dust - Blue, Fatboy and Kona Love have not been feeling the love lately. Sorry my literal bike tribe. . . next year (I promise). Till then, I will continue to work SAG and Checkpoints for gravel events; because, if I am not participating, I am going to encourage and support others so they can feel the win of completing the current ride/race.
I have said it before, and I will say it again, I believe I was meant to find gravel cycling and the awesome gravel family to prepare me for the mental and physical struggles the diagnosis of breast cancer brought in my life.
And if you, the public, don't know, it was my husband who introduced me to this sport of gravel and the Black Squirrel Cycling League out of Marysville. (Jon, remember that when I tell you that Pink Gravel has added another weekend of gravel to the calendar. You played a huge roll in this :)
Pink Gravel exist due to a diagnosis of breast Cancer and my (and Jon too) love of gravel cycling. 🧡👍🤪
On that note, we will see you again up at Gravel Worlds / Pirate Cycling League in August for their Expo and race. Don't be a stranger, stop by and say hello. We don't bite.
See, emotional. . .
As this post was a little all over the place . . . like your front bike tire bombing a hill with fresh chunky flint hills gravel! Just relax the hands and bounce with it 😉
This past weekend was our kick off to the 2023 gravel season by attending The Mid South expo followed by the main event, the gravel race on Saturday. I was excited for this expo as they had a smaller space for vendors which also made it feel "busier" with people be it the vendors themselves or visitors. Felt more apart of things in Stillwater this year.
It was also nice as The Mid South held their rider check in, in a large tent just to the right of us which meant those in line finding themselves looking at the Pink Gravel booth. Maybe one of you folks reading this received a piece of candy from me as I treated those waiting with candy. BTW, did you know Payday is a gravel favorite?
I was also thrilled to see several riders in Pink Gravel jerseys cross the finish line. Thank you Trisha, Tayla, Jon, Doug & Tony for looking so "drip" by representing Pink Gravel. Oh yeah, I just said that. ha!
I can tell this is going to be another great Pink Gravel season!
Sharing the write up about the Just A Chill Ride - 50k gravel event where the drawing took place:
On October 1, 2022 Pink Gravel of Dwight, Ks, gave away the custom Pink Gravel Lauf Seigla bicycle to Cynthia Kraft of Emporia, Ks, the lucky lady whose name was drawn out of a bucket with over 400 entries! The drawing took place at Pink Gravel’s 4th Annual “Just A Chill Ride – 50k” gravel event in Dwight. The event is a 50k (30ish mile) social gravel ride followed a meal consisting of chili, cinnamon rolls, and Lazy Horse Brewery beverages.
Lauf Cycling of Reykjavik, Iceland, gave Pink Gravel one of the first Seigla frame and fork sets in its new color option – Moss Campion, a light shade of magenta pink, to use as an incentive to increase donations to the Pink Gravel Fund. Mark Hoffman and Matt Hopken, from the Pony Express Gravel Dash (PXGD) in Marysville, Ks, used their connections to gather the individual components to complete the bike build. Parts were donated by SRAM, Panaracer, Cantu Wheels, Zipp, Fizik and built by Jeremy Hutsell from Lauf Cycling. Finishing touches were applied by Backroads Bicycle of Marysville.
The Lauf bike became a part of a 3 ½ month long fundraising campaign and was first unveiled by Pink Gravel at the Garmin Unbound Expo in Emporia on June 2, 2022. It traveled many miles to nine different gravel events promoting Pink Gravel’s fundraising. Those who donated between June 1 thru September 20, 2022, received at least one entry for the drawing to win the Pink Gravel Lauf Seigla bicycle.
The Pink Gravel Lauf Seigla bike incentive helped raise over $14,400 toward the Pink Gravel Fund!
The Pink Gravel Fund was started in October 2021 by Jon Naaf & Amy Oleen-Naaf. Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2019 and underwent a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation treatment through May of 2020. The name “Pink Gravel” was born from the combination of Amy’s love of gravel grinding and her own diagnosis with breast cancer. The Pink Gravel Fund is hosted in conjunction with the Emporia Community Foundation (ECF).
The Pink Gravel Crew, made up of Jon, Amy, their friends and family, attend, ride and provide support (SAG) at gravel cycling events in Kansas and Nebraska, promoting awareness among the participants and spectators about Pink Gravel’s mission. The Pink Gravel Fund provides grants to qualified applicants who are breast cancer patients or survivors working to get back in the saddle, literally and figuratively. If you would like to learn more about Pink Gravel & the Pink Gravel Fund, visit www.pinkgravel.com or follow Pink Gravel on Facebook or Instagram. A link to donate to the Pink Gravel Fund with the ECF can be found on the website.
Back Row: Matt Hopken (PXGD Partnerships), Dan Jennings (SRAM, Zipp and Fizik), Jeremy Hutsell (Lauf), Mark Hoffman (PXGD Co-Event Director/Backroads Bicycle co-owner). Front Row: Jeff Zell (Panaracer), Amy Oleen-Naaf (Pink Gravel), John Wilmeth (Cantu Wheels), Renee Hoffman (PXGD Co-Event Director/Backroads Bicycle co-owner) and Jon Naaf (Pink Gravel).
Jeremy from Lauf Cycling with winner of the Pink Gravel Lauf Seigla bike, Cynthia K.
You may have seen the BIG announcement on the Pink Gravel social media outlets as well as many of the partners involved in this project. We couldn't be anymore grateful for the love and support to receive such a gift and hope it inspires others to give to the PINK GRAVEL FUND held with the Emporia Community Foundation (ECF).
The Pink Gravel fundraising drive to qualify for entry into the drawing for the Lauf Seigla OFFICIALLY begins on JUNE 1, 2022 and lasts till SEPTEMBER 20, 2022.
The goal of this drive is to push the balance of the Pink Gravel Fund over $10,000.00. This is the amount needed in order to start giving grants. If you recall, in past posts/blogs I was wanting to start the grant process sooner, but I was informed that the Pink Gravel Fund would be more effective to assist those diagnosed with - or a survivor of - breast cancer who submit a qualified application with a higher starting balance. Right now, the Fund sits at a bit over $4000.
Which makes the timing of finding out some members of my gravel family cooked up so much sweeter. Imagine getting ready for work, putting on make up, getting a call about this gift from Lauf and the plan to bring in others to complete the bike, to cry and start the make up process all over. That was me a month ago. As this announcement came near, I learned of the many moving pieces and the effort into putting this together.
Who knew that a random idea suggested a year ago by the Pony Express Gravel Dash Race Director to paint a kids bike up with a Pink Gravel theme to give away in 2022, would turn into a Lauf Seigla frameset - a shade of pink no less! Then add another member of the PXGD team to bring in more partners to complete the bike out. Mind Blowing, for sure.
HERE IS THE PLAN:
For EVERY person that makes a "donation or contribution" - of any dollar amount - between June 1, 2022 through September 20, 2022 toward the Pink Gravel Fund will have their name tossed into a hat/jar/tub/beer cooler (something) for a name to be drawn for this one of kind bike.
The drawing will be held on October 1, 2022 during the Just a Chill Ride - 50k gravel ride in Dwight, Kansas. Do not need to be present to win.
For every $30 given by an individual from June 1st to September 20th will be given additional entries. An easy way to say it is: Your donation earns a person one entry & then for each multiple of $30 a person earns another entry.
For example a person's total given from June 1 to September 20 is:
< $59.99 = 1 extra entry earned
$60.00 to $89.99 = 2 extra entries earned
$90.00 to $119.99 = 3 extra entries earned
and so on.
Simply put: the totaled dollar given from June 1, 2022 to Sept. 20, 2022 divided by 30 and rounded down to last achieved breakpoint equals # of extra entries plus the 1 (one) entry for the act of donating.
PREFERRED METHOD OF GIVING: A donation made directly to the ECF by scanning a provided QR code on one of the Pink Gravel postcards, clicking the link to the ECF on this website or going to the ECF website and choosing to give to the Pink Gravel Fund is preferred. This method qualifies a person for a tax deductible donation for the benefit of the Pink Gravel Fund. It is suggested (but not required) a person makes a minimum donation of $30.00 via this method. Any amount of $30 or more will que the ECF to follow up with a letter to the donor acknowledging the donation (in addition to the email confirmation). This preferred method of giving - is a true tax deductible "donation" - so if that is important to a person, please take the time to use this method. I made the button extra long so you could not miss using this option on June 1st. *smile*
Alternate ways that are considered "contributions" and are not tax deductible: Pink Gravel will also take up a collection during this time period via our website store page. We will also provide opportunities to give toward the Pink Gravel Fund at events we attend. These methods of giving during the fundraising drive will also qualify you entry for to the drawing. Pink Gravel can take contributions via PayPal or Venmo accounts or through the Pink Gravel website shop page. (@PinkGravel is the name to use for Venmo and PayPal)
Names provided from donations to the Pink Gravel Fund held at the Emporia Community Foundation and Pink Gravel's website and event collections, will be logged in a spreadsheet during the drive. At anytime, a person can reach out to confirm their entry to the drawing. This can be done by sending your question by email using email@example.com.
Names of those that gave to the fund in all methods mentioned above, will be printed, cut and ready for the live drawing on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022.
WE INVITE YOU TO STOP BY OUR BOOTH AT THE
THE "ALL THINGS GRAVEL" EXPO HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE GARMIN UNBOUND GRAVEL EVENT IN EMPORIA, KANSAS
ON JUNE 2, 2022 FOR THE BIKES UNVEILING.
It took a solid three years, but my husband and I finally got back to Stillwater, Oklahoma for The Mid South. I attended and rode in 2019 & fell in love with the atmosphere. We signed up to go back in 2020 but cancer(sucks) with a dash of COVID hysteria it did not happen and a race deferral elected.
Then 2021, with the world still questioning COVID, the Mid South made the decision to host a socially distant Mid South event. Therefore, receiving another deferral.
Just this month, I got to cash that sucker in. Not only that, with a little help from Pink Gravel friends - thanks to the race directors of the Pony Express Gravel Dash in Marysville, KS and the Flint Hills Gravel Ride in Americus, KS - Pink Gravel set up shop in a 10 x 10 space at the Mid South Gravel Expo.
While the weather was a bit sketchy due to the morning snow (yes snow), the Expo was great exposure for Pink Gravel, met new people and old friends. It just felt good to be back. Definitely #positivevibing. I did scale back my ride from 50 miles to the Inspiration Ride of 12 miles. I just have not been riding much and still trying to figure out my "post cancer - chemo induced early menopause" body. Not to mention I work full time and have kids . . . so life is busy. :) It was a wonderful 12 miles with a nifty climb a the halfway mark. Crossing the finish line was indeed very emotional as well. As I have mentioned in the past, the Mid South marks a memorable milestone and highly emotional time in my cancer journey just like the KC Chiefs.
Anyway, Mid South, you did not disappoint and it was a blast and the kids enjoyed the freedom of walking around and spending time at the nearby coffee shop. As I recall, I made several trips to that coffee shop myself.
AND YES. . . I received my long overdue hug; twice even, with some very kind and encouraging words. Thank you Bobby W.
On January 29th, six airmen out of Ft. Riley assembled by A1C Requidan (kneeling) helped clear trees and brush on property being prepared for campsites for future Pink Gravel events and public use. The Air Force requires volunteer hours and highly encourages local work for organizations they are passionate about.
It worked out that we even had a gorgeous day to be working outdoors.
I am so thankful for their service to our country and their interest in hel Pink Gravel.
The following is my personal journal entry from 12/9/2020:
"Today, I met with my oncologist to review labs and follow up to see how I am doing. It has been 7 months of Tamoxifen and port flushes. Sitting in the room after the nurse took my blood pressure and temp, I couldn't help but be mesmerized by the wall with knit hats in plastic bags in magazine holders. It was surreal. It was sad.
There used to be reading material in this room as you wait for the doctor/nurse. These knit hats used to be on display in the lobby. There was a basket and a couple foam heads to display these knit hats as they were free to chemo patients losing hair. Those of us awaiting labs, chemo treatments and etc would interact trying to lift each other up. Offer support to each other or share stories. But when COVID came, the lobby and these "holding tanks" were stripped of anything not nailed down. No magazines, no pamphlets, and no knit hats. Only 2 or 3 chairs now sit in the lobby and these bagged knit hats on the walls where I wait.
Before surgery, I had met with those that would perform my radiation treatments after chemo. Their lobby at that time had a table with a large puzzle, coffee, donuts or cookies set out for those waiting on a loved one or waiting to be called in. How nice of them and I looked forward to that. . . but. . . then . . . COVID. By the time I got there for radiation all of that was gone. I was to come in alone, masked, asked the standard COVID questions, temp taken and told to sit in the far chair. It was bad enough having breast cancer and now to be treated with very little contact as possible for my own good as much as theirs. It felt so sterile and cold. My last day of radiation I rang the bell but received no hugs or celebrations with the staff. Just me, waiting for the nurse to sanitize the rope for me to ring the bell and go.
This is what COVID has done to those of us that have been fighting cancer the past year. What is hard under normal conditions; with COVID, it forced many of us cancer patients to fly solo like a kamikaze pilot. This is a disease with a treatment that tears a person down emotionally and physically over a period of weeks, months or years. The treatment sucks so bad that people pre-COVID planned actual celebrations the end of it. COVID took that away from several of us. I got my certificate and the nurse said sorry no hugs as she looked at me as I cried and rang the bell.
Those knit hats in plastic bags represent how I felt as a cancer patient during COVID. Fighting to be prevalent and present while being isolated for our safety."
I am just a 40 something married lady with kids who likes to ride gravel when life lets me. Just so happens I was called into the Cancer Club on October 31, 2019. Fought my fight with surgery, chemo, radiation, friends, family and lots of dark humor. I find sharing my experience helps me. Maybe it can help you.