Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Office Dog

For all you dog lovers out there - meet Jack! Jennifer added a new member to her family recently, and he comes to work, just as she does. And the best part for me is he goes home every night. He keeps us busy--finding him toys to keep him busy. Today's specialty was a nearly empty peanut butter jar - kept him occupied for hours so we could get some work done.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Eastern Shore of Maryland Tour

Harriet Tubman would be proud. She'd be proud to know that her birthplace is commemorated today with a plaque. That her former home is the destination of a ride on our Maryland tour. And that we were all honored to be in her midst.

We say we have extraordinary tours for extraordinary women. No one is more extraordinary than she.

The Maryland Tour of Blackwater kicked off our season of shorter tours this spring. And it couldn't have been nicer. Stunning weather (once the thunderstorm on the first evening passed over,) some beautifully flat roads to bicycle, and a great bunch of women.

You'd never know that most of them called themselves beginners. Tracy (second from right,) who had just lost 50 pounds from cycling, was always out front. Claudia (far right,) who called herself only a hiker, was always with her. I could barely keep up with them. We had lots of personal bests on this tour. Who knew they'd all go home admitting they easily biked 20 miles before lunch on the last day.

And then there's Debby (far left,) who doesn't even own a bike. She just registered for our 2007 Cross Country Tour. "I'm hooked!" she said. Now she's bike-shopping.

Yes, it was a wonderful tour. I'm only sorry it ended.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


It has taken me a few weeks to be able to write about Laraine Lagattolla.

I lost a dear friend on our Cross Country Southern Tier tour last month. A 52 year-old man was pulling out of a parking lot, in a hurry to get home from work, and hit her. He never saw her. She was alone at the time, about 200 yards from our hotel in Cleveland, TX, more than halfway through the two-month tour. She died instantly.

Laraine was a wonderful person – I knew her from the Finger Lakes tour she did last year with us. I helped convince her that she could do the cross country tour. Her friends tell me that she’d wanted to do it for years. Unfortunately, there was nothing anyone but the driver could have done to prevent the accident.

I rejoined the Southern Tier tour when I heard the awful news and I grieved with the women who had become very close to Laraine during the tour. They tell me she was having a wonderful tour, and had had a great day. Most of her last day, she’d been riding with another woman, and the two of them had saved a puppy trying to cross the road. They’d gone door-to-door until they found the puppy’s owner – in effect, they’d saved the puppy’s life.

I left the tour to attend Laraine’s funeral and meet her family and many long-time friends and co-workers. My heart goes out to all of them for their terrible loss.

At WomanTours, we pride ourselves in helping women be all they can be. We challenge each other and support each other to become stronger -- both physically and emotionally -- than we’ve ever been before. So it makes no sense to me why someone would be taken from us so unfairly. There are times on a bike when I feel unbeatable, free, youthful and exuberant. Certainly there were times on the cross country tour that Laraine felt invincible -- here she is proudly cresting a hill in New Mexico.

But times like these remind me how fleeting our lives are, and how we have to cherish every moment by doing the things we love to do. There is no better time than now and no better way to honor Laraine’s life than to get back on my bike. As painful as that has been in the past few weeks, I ride in memory of Laraine. I will never forget her.