After bike riding 150 miles to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society, crossing the finish line was a "thrill" that he couldn't describe, says Neil Ducoff, founder and CEO of Strategies, the business education/coaching company. On June 25-26, Ducoff and Team Strategies took to the road for the MS Cape Cod Getaway, biking to raise money for those with Multiple Sclerosis.
"Since I began riding in 2007, at the age of 57, I have personally raised a total of $15,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and Multiple Sclerosis Society," said Ducoff. "This is a concrete way to make a difference in numerous lives. I am grateful to the many people who have supported me. Forming Team Strategies has helped me share my passion!"
The team included Strategies president Robbi Grayson, as well as long-time Strategies client Sonny Rapozo of Hot Locks Salon and Spa, with locations in North Falmouth and Plymouth, Mass. Business associates from Connecticut and Massachusetts Rob David, Jim David, Don Judson and Mark O'Brien. This year Team Strategies raised $11,668.02 for the MS Society. Next year, the team hopes to have 30 members for the 2012 ride, with the goal of raising $50,000. SALON TODAY also got an exclusive interview with Ducoff and Grayson after completing their big race to ask a few more questions:
What was the hardest part about the ride?
DUCOFF: Two things come to mind. First, it started to rain just before the start of Day One at the UMass campus. Riding in the rain not only slows you down and soaks you to the bone, it's dangerous if you're not paying close attention to the road. Riding wet and cold may not be fun - but it's just part of the experience and was all but forgotten by late morning when the skies cleared. The second hardest part was waking up at 4:00 a.m. Sunday knowing there's another 75 miles to go.
Overall, the hardest part of a two-day, 150-mile ride is the conversation you have with yourself when your legs are tired and your hands, feet and butt start begging you to stop. Pushing through and finishing is what it's all about. And once you pass that 50-mile mark, it's amazing how that energizes you. It's like you get stronger the closer to the finish line you get.
What was the most fulfilling part about the bike ride for team members?
DUCOFF: That seven people could raise $12,000 for such an important cause. Each one of the riders had someone with MS that they were riding for. I was riding for my niece Carrie Ducoff who was diagnosed with MS in 2007. Beyond the great cause was the personal feeling of accomplishment - that you could ride 150 miles. Four of the seven riders were in their mid 50s. I'm 61. Printed across the back of the Team Strategies jersey was, "Our bikes are still faster than we are." But we did it. That's personal pride and what makes you feel strong.
Lastly, seeing Robbi Grayson's face at the end of the ride. She did it.
GRAYSON: Obviously the most fulfilling part was crossing the finish line, the sense of accomplishment to complete the ride is hard to put into words. I learned there is a much stronger link between my will to succeed and how much that plays a part in manifesting the ability to do so. Of course, you are riding for a great cause, and to honor the people who believed in you through donations, but the actual wheels keep turning because you truly believe you can go the distance.
The other great piece is the role each rider plays in a bigger picture, raising over 2 million dollars for MS. It was pretty powerful! I am on board for next year!
How long did the team train for?
GRAYSON: I personally bought my bike on April 15, a little over two months prior to the ride, and rode approximately 450 miles, with my longest ride being 52 miles.
DUCOFF: I got Robbi excited about the ride when she joined Strategies as president in February. When she showed me her big metal clunker with a basket on the back, I said, "Time to get real road bike." Robbi got a beauty of a bike, and we started training together in earnest the end of April. Robbi had never done a ride like this before on a road bike. We worked to get her comfortable clipping in, riding a pace line - and climbing hills. I was doing a lot of travel and finding time to train, and good weather, was a challenge.
If you'd like to join the team, visit http://bit.ly/TeamStrategies.
For further information on Strategies' seminars, Webinars, on-site training or coaching, visit www.strategies.com, or call 800-417-4848.
Team Strategies takes a moment to rest from their 150-mile ride to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society. From left to right are Neil Ducoff, Rob David,
Robbi Grayson, Sonny Rapozo, Jim David and Don Judson. Mark O'Brien missed the photo op but was a proud member of Team Strategies.