Category Archives: Life

Courage – “Time to Saddle Up”

Saddle

Many, many of us have faced those life situations or questions  in which the outlook, or answer, looks dim and your gut is screaming for yesterday.

The situations may be as perilous as being off the trail in the woods and darkness is starting to cloak everything around you, or you are in the middle of a race (pick your sport) you are pushing as hard as you can, so hard in fact that you fear your heart will explode any second, or how about that request from your boss to meet later that day, and you know sales are not good and the company is struggling, and you think here it comes.

What do you do?

“Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway” – John Wayne

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Review: “Ultra High”

60 hours in 1 hour 10 minutes!
UltraHigh2

Compliments to directors and film teams that can take epic, many hour, or many days event and deliver a compelling and engaging story within 1-2 hours. In this case, I recently watched a feature length documentary film, “Ultra High“, about a 137-mile mountain marathon in the Himalayas of India and it delivered a 60+ hours in 1 hour 10 minutes!

As an adrenaline junkie, pain purveyor and event director/manager, I was engaged from the first scene to the next and the time flew by, for me, that is. Watching the film I pondered how these athletes, during this competition, had competed for hours, many, many, many hours (they had to finish under 60 hours!). And! They were crossing mountain passes and  peaks up to 18,300 feet! C’mon!

UltraHigh3Six runners toed the starting line for the challenge. Supported by their crews, they put one foot in front of the other and faced HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema), hypothermia, exhaustion and ‘traffic’, (yes, there were vehicles on the crazy rock-strewn, partially paved roads).

I thought this would be a film about survival, which it was, but the director, Barry Walton, also delivers a race film story. From the starting line, Ray Sanchez looking to breakUltraHigh the course record, moves out well ahead of the other competitors. As the story develops, trailing behind is Sharon Gayner, an asthmatic,who has sites on first place. I will leave the finish for your viewing pleasure.

Being someone who has managed and been a race director, each event presents many details to be prepared for, or respond to. “Ultra High” captured the logistical challenges that all managers/directors face, such as communications, safety, and traffic.; all above 10,000 feet. Barry Walton does not place the spotlight or emphasize these challenges however to those who have managed events they will recognize selective scenes.

If you like watching epic events like the Tour de France, or Hawaiian World Championship Ironman Triathlon, then you will enjoy this film.

 

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Pat the Patriot sat in the corner

PatPatriot

With the 2018 AFC Championship Game to be played tomorrow, Sunday, January 21, thought it was time I finished this post from last year. Hopefully, “Pat” can stay on my head tomorrow.

 

I was on the edge of my seat, I paced the room, I jumped, I yelled, I took deep breaths and I did all of this multiple times during Super Bowl LI. It was not a pretty picture. The New England Patriots were well behind, some would say, “…they were getting crushed”.

Another dropped pass, I shouted, “Can anyone catch the f&cking ball?!”

I grabbed my hat off my head and threw it at the wall!PatPatriotHat

According to some voodoo algorithm, the Patriots, at this point in the game, the odds were 99.8% that they would lose.

Lying on the floor, Pat the Patriot (old logo) on the front of my hat faced the corner of the room. I stood and took one step to retrieve my head gear. Something just happened. A pass completion to Amendola, followed by a 15-yard scramble by Brady and then a 5-yard TD pass to James White. But, Gostkowski boofs the extra-point and gets called for penalty on an onside attempt; take a breath, stand up, pace. But, something really did just happened.

Pat the Patriot remained in the corner the rest of the game.

Holding penalty by the Falcons, Matt Ryan sacked, and they are out of field goal range. Patriots get ball and the game goes into 4th quarter and the score is 28-9; can they come back? Gostkowski gets redemption hitting a 33-yard field goal. Two scores (16 points) to tie. But, that is two touchdowns and “two-two point conversions”. Time is running out, but something is happening.

Edge of seat, hands run across face, stand up, breath, breath.

Injury to Falcons offensive lineman, replacement comes in, Pats D take full advantage and a sack of Ryan and fumble. The “Yeah!” chorus goes up! But, Brady is sacked on the next play. A muffled, depressing “c’mon” from the Patriots nation drowns out the “yeahs”.

Fingers work feverishly on my phone as I am communicated with friends across town and across the country.

Six minutes left in the game, score is 28-12. Breath. Breath. Breath.

Brady hits Amendola for TD!!

Scream, shout, pump fist. Something real is happening. But, hold on.

Julio Jones, aside from the season’s MVP Matt Ryan, he is a Falcons weapon that must be accounted for. Despite absolute blanket coverage, Jones makes an absurd catch and the Falcons are within field goal range.

Less than 4 minutes to go. Rub head, stare at screen, look at hat in corner. Pick it up?

The next series of plays; a Ryan sack, a holding penalty and an incomplete pass and the ball is now on Patriots 43-yard line – out of field goal range.

Two-and-half minutes left. Slap seat, rub head, sigh, gasp, edge of seat.

The “Edelman Catch”! Unbelievable! Three Falcon defensive players, pirouetting bodies, and a bobbling ball inches (probably 1-2 at most) from the ground.

A couple of plays later, a minute to go – touchdown run by White!!

Pump fist, shout, scream, high-fives, flurry of text messages. Two-point conversion. The game will go into overtime.

Patriots win the toss. The two best under-pressure quarterbacks in the NFL are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. Patriots Nation feels confident. Four plays later, the New England Patriots are World Champions!

I did not pick up my hat till the next morning.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/page/Barnwellx170206/anatomy-miracle-how-patriots-came-back-dead-super-bowl-li

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This is living

snowflake

Finished shoveling snow for the third time,

placed my bright yellow snow removal tool (the shovel) on a hook (ready for the next time),

I step back onto the moist, lightly covered blacktop,

soft lights from warm windows pierce the darkness and create inviting shadows,

silent and snow laden trees watch as I tilt my head back,

light whispers of wind and a finishing tranquil falling snow kisses my face and massages my soul – this is living!

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God is…

Faith and Passion

Stay away from politics and religion, they say, when in social settings.

While at a recent event, the chatter of topic discussions ranged impressively amongst the guests, I overheard the legality of marijuana, the weather (as is typical when more than two people gather), travel to foreign countries, and then, a vibrant and intellectual woman looked at me and asked, “What and who is God?” She knew I love conversation, and depending on who is in attendance will quickly enjoy a debate. This woman posed one of the taboo topics directly at me.

I paused and let a short silence reflect my desire to collect my thoughts prior to responding. Was I stepping into a trap? How was I going to answer this? There were many, many thoughts on how to answer this, but I wanted to be succinct.

Looking directly at her and with much confidence,
my answer to her was, “faith and passion“.

 

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“Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”

Friends,

You’ve received my first PMC email, my flyer in the mail and I’m back with 17 days to go till my 18th Pan Mass Challenge. Please consider this.

tears_of_sadnessYesterday, today and tomorrow, you thought, or will think, about the loved ones who are fighting, or have lost their fight with cancer. I know I have, I do and I will, yesterday, today and tomorrow. These memories and thoughts drive me to train hard to be ready for three days of riding the PMC during the first weekend in August. This is what drives me to raise funds so the men and women at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute can continue with their great work.

Please remember those thoughts and feelings that you have had and will have, and consider a donation in their memory.

You can go online at: www.pmc.org/egifts/LG0036.

I ride with passion for many!

Larry

 

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“Do you know these people?”

My 18th year participating in the Pan Mass Challenge is here. I have shared stories of many friends who have won and lost their battles against cancer. Friends, just like yours.
Do you know these people?

IMG_4161He’s the father, grandfather, or good friend who rides a Harley, likes his “Captain Morgan”, is strong in his political views, a real independent spirit. Family is very important to him and he takes his familial position seriously – don’t mess with his family! Craig

How about the friend who is always smiling, perpetually upbeat, and willing to assist friends in need? He enjoys family and the simple pleasures in life. You definitely want this person around when there is a gathering!

IMG_4164Then there is the friend who is a warrior.  The one who, in the midst of adversity, does not falter. Despite the external façade of sternness, he has a passion for life, family, friends and this great country.

Finally, there is the friend who is mild-manner and quick-witted with a dry sense of humor.  A person with a multitude of talents, and a huge heart, who is always willing to help out with any project. This friend may be quiet, but he is the thread of love running through a circle of friends. Hank

I know all these people. They are Norm, Craig, Kirk, and Hank. Craig and Kirk are currently fighting cancer.  While Hank is now delivering his quiet, simple jokes in God’s great ocean of love, AND, Norm, who is now taking his beloved wife Rose, for a ride on his Harley around heaven’s paradise.

I know that you also know these people for you have family and friends like these in your lives. These people are dear to you so keep them close to your hearts and be thankful for their good health.

Help me make this year a special one by remembering all our friends who are fighting, or have fought, this battle against cancer.  Please help me reach my goal of $10,000. I ride for your family and friends!

Live Life with Passion!

Larry

 

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PMC Piccola Night 2016

PMC poster 2016Would you like a night full of great food, smiles, friends milling and chatting about, some laughs here and there, raffles and more? Then, you really want to consider joining me for my 2nd PMC Piccola Night. For those in the greater Manchester area, you already know, or should know about Piccola Italia as being the best Italian restaurant. Giovanni Paolini, owner for Piccola, has a goal to have each customer feel like family and I can guarantee this is the experience you will have.

Many years ago, upon entering Piccola Italia, at the hostess station I saw a photo of this runner at the Boston Marathon. Next to the photo was a fish bowl with money in it. Below the photo was a short description of “Johnny” who was raising money in support of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “A brother!” I exclaimed to my wife and our friends. “I have to meet this guy!” I asked the hostess about the photo and asked if I could meet him. She replied that he was the owner and he is busy cooking. I told her I HAD TO meet him and I would only take a moment of his time. (She was probably thinking, that she had a customer in front of her and she better at least try.) Johnny came out from the kitchen and I introduced myself and my ride with the PMC. His passion and energy beamed forward as we talked about our mutual efforts. I knew we were “brothers” in the fight against cancer.

One night two years ago, my wife and I were at Piccola for dinner when Johnny stopped by to say hello. We chatted and then his passion came forth when he asked if there was something more he could do beyond making a donation to my ride. Last year was a great night, and so here we are again.

Again, great food and fun all in one night. So, come “home” and help me fight the fight against cancer.

See you there!

Larry

 

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“Marcel’s Hill”

“Here it is”, Bud said as we took a left-hand turn and faced a steep hill.

This was the hill that Bud had ridden hard in 1998 in honor of my father, Marcel. I remember him telling me the details of this moment in the Pan Mass Challenge and my eyes watered in response. Dad had died in March of 1998 and the pain of losing him was still very fresh in my heart and mind.

It was now 1999 and I was facing this steep hill, I was tired from one-and-half days of riding but I responded with a lightning surge of emotional energy. I jumped out of my saddle and tore up this incline separating myself from the riders around me. This was for dad! Halfway up the hill, my legs flooded with blood and lactic acid and screamed for mercy. My breathing blew in-and-out like a motorized bellows while my lungs expanded to their maximum capacity. Legs and lungs pushing as hard as I could go. A brief thought of stopping this surge entered my thoughts only to hear myself scream inside, “Go harder!” I love my dad and this effort was for him. I made it to the top of the hill breathing hard and slumping slightly over my handlebars. We were more than halfway done our second day of riding and this expenditure brought me to the edge. “Thanks Bud!” I said.

marcelEach year after my introduction to “Marcel’s Hill” I charge this incline with a ravenous hunger to celebrate my father’s life with an outpouring of physical exertion. One year I forgot where the hill was and we came upon this memorable part of the course just after I had been pulling a group of riders for quite some time. I had just dropped back to rest and here was the hill. My fatigue got out of my way as I once again jumped on my pedals and screamed up the incline. Again, my legs protested  as I pounded each rotation into the road. “This is for you dad!” my heart yelled.

Another August weekend will soon be here. The miles across Massachusetts will present their challenges, but in a small residential neighbor hood on “Marcel’s Hill” I will celebrate my love for my dad.

 

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Trust

PMC Thumbs Up17 years ago, I began with the PMC and I was on a mission….

Trust involves a person being clearly aware of another person’s position on something and recognizing that they will stand by their convictions.

Do you trust me?

Every year, I am very clear on what my mission is with the PMC – to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime by supporting the great people and work of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
I have put all my trust in their work and I believe they will find the answer.

Do you trust me?

Harsh weather conditions, training challenges of long miles and mountains, equipment malfunctions, like flats and gear problems, you name it; nothing will stop me from this ride!

Do you trust me, or do you need the facts?

  • Founded in 1980, the PMC is in its 36th year! 
  • The PMC has raised over $455,000,000!
  • Cyclists come from 38 states and 5 countries.
  • Over 300 are cancer survivors or current patients.
  • 100% Every dollar raised goes directly to the PMC!

Do you trust me, or do you need more? PMC’s Impact with Dana-Farber

  • 360,000 patient visits
  • 4,000 women seen in Mammography van
  • 6,000 tumors genetically sequenced
  • 54 cancer specialists named “Top Doctors”

Do you trust me?

All of your donations fuel my commitment and let you take the ride with me. Hear I am 17 years later and still on “our” mission. 

Trust me and support the PMC!

You can either:

Make a check payable to: ‘PMC’ and mail to: Larry Gagnon, 2 Line Road, Bedford, NH 03110

Or

Go to: www.pmc.org/egifts/LG0036 

Thank you friends!!

174_PMC14_Highlights_2014Live Life with Passion!

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