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NAF Board Meeting

 

On June 13 I took a trip to Minneapolis to attend the National Ataxia Foundation Executive Board Meeting. NAF invited me to attend their meeting so I could meedt the board members and talk about the future.
When I got to the airport I found out that my flight out of Sacramento had been canceled so I quickly jumped on a different flight that got me to Minneapolis a bit later than I had planned. Arnie Greutsmacher picked me up from the airport after being stuck in traffic on the way. We headed straight to the meeting (which had already started) and were in slow moving traffic the whole way. The traffic ended up to be a blessing in disguise as Arnie and I had a great conversation and shared some ideas.
We showed up to the meeting about a half hour before the end and furtunately they saved some great news for the end. Harry Orr, The Foundation's Research Director, was on the phone and he announced that the Kyle Bryant Translational Research Award was being given to Australian researchers and their British collaborators who will be investigating the catalytic antioxidant CTMIO as a possible treatment for Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA). Very exciting! For more info check out curefa.org or ataxia.org.
I had a great time meeting everyone and the greatest thing about this trip is that we are all working together to make the next ride bigger and better!

Me, with NAF Executive Director Mike Parent

The rest of my time in Minneapolis was spent checking out the local sights:

Lori and me at the Walker Art Center


Mall of America. I am not a mall person but this place was crazy, so huge that it had an amusement park inside. I had to check it out.


It gets so cold in the winter that it is very unpleasant, even unsafe, to go outside so many of the buildings are connected by skyways.

I had a great time in Minneapolis and I look forward to working closely with the National Ataxia Foundation.

 

 

 

 

Tour de Cure

 

Alright I'm going a little out of order here but this was a sweet Cycling event and we had a lot of fun.

May 6, 2007
Dad, My buddy Matt and I took a trip to California's Wine Country to participate in this year's Tour De Cure (a cycling event benefiting the American Diabetes Association) in Yountville, CA. The event has a few options, the century ride (100 miles), the fifty miler, and the twenty five miler. We decided not to push the limits since this was our first big ride since Memphis so we stuck with the fifty.
On Saturday night we stayed at our friend's house (the Grassi's) in the Napa Valley so we wouldnt have to drive so far in the morning. Thanks Mark and Jami.
We arrived in Yountville at 630am and were on our way by 730. The event has thousands of participants and it was amazing that we got registered and on our way so quickly.
The morning was a bit chilly but it warmed up in a hurry and we were reapplying sunscreen as we shedded layers. We had a slight head wind that we thought we could shake once we made it to the other side of the valley heading the other direction...no such luck. The wind seemed to be in our faces the entire time no matter which direction we were heading (we went in a big loop). By mile 20, Dad's knee started bothering him. This was a leftover pain that he started experiencing during the last week of the Memphis Ride (Dad and I are now sharing knee injury remedies). By the end of the day, Dad left Matt and me in the dust so he could at least finish before the pain got too bad. Matt and I took our time and finished strong.
Matt rides a handbike because he suffered a spinal cord injury a few years ago which took away the use of his lower body:


Matt and I love to talk crap to each other and push ourselves and each other on the bike (trike). Matt works for an organization called Disabled Sports USA Far West. DSUSA has all kinds of programs for people with all kinds of disabilities, check them out at http://dsusafw.org/. Matt is an accomplished Hand Cyclist, s@%t talker, writer and friend.

A couple more photos:

Chuggin' up hill.


After the finish...nice tan line bro.

We rode as part of a team organized through my company Brown and Caldwell. Here I am with team captain Jeff Mills and his son.


Our team humbly contributed to this event which raised over $1 million for The American Diabetes Association.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparations for Vegas

 

Let me catch you up on the recent happenings of Ride Ataxia:
In the past couple of months we have been busy trying to figure out how this next ride is going to work. First of all we need a route so about a month ago my friend Cole and I drove to Las Vegas to check out possible routes for the 2008 ride:
Memorial Day Weekend:
We left Sacramento at 330pm on Friday afternoon. Our plans were to drive down I-5 and over to Lake Havasu where we would meet our San Diego friends Meghan and Dana for a couple days of fun in the sun. Then we would continue on to Vegas and up through the western part of Nevada and then west near Tahoe back home. So we got in the car at 330. We soon realized that it was going to take more than 8 hours to get to Havasu so we decidedd that it was not a good idea to try to make it all the way that night. So I called my friend Ben who lives in Bakersfield. Ben told me that he was not going to be there that weekend but he could make a call and see if we could stay with his Mom (Kathy) for a night. A couple minnutes later Ben called back and gave us directions to Kathy's place, "there's a key under the mat, just make yourselves at home, call me if you need anything." Wow, we got hooked up! We arrived to a note on the door from Kathy that said "Welcome Kyle, make yourself at home. Eat and drink anything, I'll be home at around 11pm." Sweet, thanks Kathy.
Cole and I had never been to Bakersfield so we figured we had better check it out. So we went into town to get something to eat. When we returned, Kathy was home watching a movie so we came in and she offered us a beer and we chatted for a while before we hit the hay.
In the morning, Cole and I took showers and stumbled into the kitchen where Kathy was making pancakes and sausage. Like a true loving Mother she wanted to feed us before sending us on our way. So we ate many pancakes and jabbered a while.

When it was time for us to go, Kathy had us bring in our ice chest. She loaded it to the brim with snacks and drinks. Thanks Kathy, it was nice to meet you, maybe we will be back when we make the trip on bikes.

So we were on our way to Lake Havasu...another 4 hours in the car, hooray, but we had some good tunes and the time passed quickly. When we arrived at Havasu we called Meghan and Dana, no answer. So we decided to check out the scene while we were waiting for a call back...Havasu is crazy! So many people, boats and booze, quite entertaining.


We wandered around a little while longer and still hadn't heard from anyone so we decided to just head for VEGAS!

We left Havasu at about 830pm and arrived in Vegas at about 1030. We did not have any reservations and it was Memorial Day weekend so the place was packed. We drove around for at least an hour trying to find a hotel room and finally found a room at a dumpy place on the strip that cost us an arm and a leg but we had a place to sleep.So we enjoyed a couple of days in Vegas...Everybody knows what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas but I will give you a peak:

Late night at the casinos.


Recovering: watching golf on our single fuzzy channel 12 inch screen. Our room had green shag carpet held down by duct tape in spots. The door did not shut without applying some serious shoulder weight, the shower drained very slowly and it smelled like nobody had been in the room for about 2 years. I guess thats what you get when you don't plan ahead...next time.


Chilling poolside at the Flamingo (site of the 2008 NAF annual membership meeting)


Cole getting crazy on the dance floor...I guess that's why they call him Crazy Cole.



After a couple crazy days and nights in Vegas it was time to hit the road again.

Power Breakfast

We left Vegas on Highway 95 going north through Western Nevada. We soon realized that there is absolutely nothing out there and the shoulders are nonexistant at times..this was not a good bike route. So we crossed into California and headed north up highway 395. 395 is really sweet, great scenery and it is relatively level, decent shoulders and did I mention the scenery. However, the elevation on 395 is about 3,000 to 5,000 ft and in March at that elevation we could run into some nasty temperatures and weather.

Recap: I-5 is a major freeway carrying much of the North-South traffic in California and though it is legal to ride this route, it would be no fun and pretty dangerous. Nevada is empty desert with no shoulder. The elevation on Highway 395 will likely present some nasty weather...So we came home empty handed.
That was about two months ago and since then we have been working on a different game plan: a route through the valley. This plan will produce a route that will give us decent weather and traffic conditions. A draft of the route should be ready in a couple weeks.

Next Post: More updates, a lot has happened in the past couple of months.

 

 

Ride Ataxia II

 

 

Hey Folks,

Ride Ataxia is back!! After a good 3 month break, we can't wait to get back in the saddle for another epic journey. Words cannot express how successful Ride Ataxia I was. We raised $40,000 and with the help of the National Ataxia Foundation and the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance we funded the $100,000 Kyle Bryant Translational Research Award. This money was awarded in June 2007 to the lab of Dr. Nuri Gueven at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia. Find out more here.

The sky is the limit for Ride Ataxia II. This ride will start in Sacramento, CA on March 15 and will end March 28, 2008 in Las Vegas, NV at the National Ataxia Foundation annual membership meeting. We are very excited about this year's ride because we learned a lot last time and we would like to invite anyone who would like to ride for as long as they would like. The ride will be fully supported (sag, food, lodging) so mark your calendar and come along for the ride...more info to come.

 

 

 

Success!

 

For the past couple of days I have been cleaning up the house, mowing the lawn, doing laundry, eating tuna sandwiches and reflecting on the past couple of months while sitting on the porch. Its been nice to relax because next week its back to work and back to the daily grind...

The conference was totally amazing. We arrived on tuesday and went out to celebrate that night. The next day I had a meeting with Mike Parent and Arnie Gruetzmacher in which we discussed what would be going on during the conference. We visited Graceland that afternoon and learned that Elvis was very rich, tacky and awesome.

Went out to dinner that night for Jina's (my sister in law to be) birthday, happy B-day Jina!

Thursday I slept in and went to the NAF leadership meeting at 1. At this meeting I met many people who were working very hard to bring support groups to their areas and to raise awareness and funds for Ataxia research. The NAF now has 61 support groups and chapters in a few different countries, very encouraging, we are not alone! You can search for your nearest support group or chapter here.

That afternoon I reluctantly went in for a hair cut. I asked around and the shoe shine guy at the hotel recommended that I go to a place called Down to Earth just down the street, so I got on the main street trolly and headed to 10 Main Street. On the way there, a lady sitting next to me had who was attending the NAF conference asked me what my green bracelet means (she knew that the blue one is for Ataxia Awareness). So I told her that it represents a cycling organization in Sacramento who raises money for organ donation (Check them out, Team Donate Life, some dedicated cyclists and GREAT people). So she knew I was a cyclist and asked "So, have you met Kyle or are you going to meet him at the conference?" That was crazy.
I finally made it to the Barber Shop, got a hair cut and had a great time BSing with the guys there. If you are ever in Memphis and are in need of a hair cut, see the guys at Down to Earth at 10 Main Street.

The Grizzlies (basketball) had a home game that night and we got a few tickets so Dad, Collin (brother), U. Steve, Roger (family friend and funny guy), and I went to check it out. Kobe Bryant and The Lakers were in town so we (mainly Roger) hecckled them all night. It must have helped a lot because the Grizzlies managed to hold Kobe to only about 60 points.


Friday was a busy day. Paul Marcott from FARA had set up a TV interview for that morning at 9 so I got to be on TV in Memphis! Some guy named Rupert from Survivor was on before me, he was promoting his new book. There was also a live band that morning. The hosts of the show were really great and I had a blast!

At 11am, I was on a panel for a seminar at the conference. That was pretty fun, I told some stories and had some good conversation with the group.


1230, go time...We had a reception and I gave a little presentation about my ride. I could have gone on for hours but I kept it to about 10 minutes. We had a fairly small room which quickly filled up so they opened up the wall and that too filled up. The room was packed with about 200 people. I am getting chills just writing about it. After I gave my little presentation, Mike Parent came up to present me with a plaque on behalf of the NAF and its members.

Here is what the Plaque says:

In recognition of outstanding achievement, this honor is bestowed upon Kyle Bryant

For his courageous 2,800 mile bike ride starting in San Diego and ending at the 50th NAF annual membership meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, to increase Ataxia awareness and to raise funds for promising Ataxia research.
The Foundation applauds your important efforts and your inspiring journey.

Thanks NAF I am truly honored.


The rest of the weekend I met many rad people who all had a common goal: Stop Ataxia. There was a feeling at the conference that was different than the previous three conferences that I have been to. There is an optimism in our community of Ataxians. Many people think that we can actually beat this thing. There is a lot of promising research going on and the main thing that the researchers and scientists need to push their treatments through is MORE MONEY. They have told us this many times and we, as a community of Ataxia families, are responding. Countless Ataxia families are organizing fundraisers which raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for research every year and it seems like new fundraisers are popping up all over the country. We are taking it into our own hands and doing what we can. What can you do to help Stop Ataxia? RAISE MONEY!

Saturday night, we had dinner, entertainment, dancing, and a raffle. The winner of the raffle donated their winnings back to the NAF.

I had a blast meeting all of you and I cant wait to see you next year.

I am not sure what the future holds for Ride Ataxia but this is just the beginning. See ya soon!

I leave you with a few pictures of friends new and old:













 

 

 

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