For The Residents

The Cookie Project Video

Hi. My name is Jen Anderson. I ride my bike past your house a lot during the summer, and I wanted to say thank you for driving safely around my training partners and I. I decided to ask the local triathlete and cycling community to help me say thank you to you and your neighbors, all 357 residences on the Ironman Wisconsin bike loop. Over 60 athletes home-baked 2,200 cookies for you with sincere gratitude and appreciation.

I wish that my legs could pedal as fast as you can drive, but unfortunately I’m not that fast. I hope you know that I really appreciate it when you slow down and move over when it’s safe to pass and allow me some room in the lane. I promise to always do my best and be a responsible cyclist. I vow to be aware of my surroundings, and listen for cars approaching. I will not litter in your lawn and I will stop at the stop signs in your neighborhood.

I have a lot of friends that I love very much that also ride the course, so thank you for watching out for them, too. I am a very lucky athlete to be able to ride the roads of the Ironman Wisconsin bike course. I am so thankful to be able to bike the beautiful country and the challenging hills. Thank you for watching out for me and driving safely around me so I can ride these roads for years to come.

If you want to know more about how we can both share the roads, you can visit this website:
http://wisconsinbikefed.org/for-your-community/share-be-aware/

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Love Army

Triathletes Lisa Ruth and Laura dropping off homemade cookies!

Triathletes Lisa Ruth and Laura dropping off homemade cookies!

The weekend was here. Word had spread about the project and I started keeping tally of the people that contacted me to be added to the love army of bakers. Our roster was now over 50 strong, all committing to bringing in batches upon batches of cookies, pre-bagged in 1/2 dozen. Some local business that us triathletes and cyclists frequent even got word and provided encouragement and helped spread the word.

Focal Flame Photography, a staple at many of our races, passed along the flyer on their social media outlets.

http://www.focalflame.com/

Dr. Dave from Integrated Sport & Spine, a sports medicine clinic that has helped so many athletes train pain-free, actually even had their own cookie drive from their members and served as a drop location.

http://www.issmadison.com/

Peak Performance Massage, a team of the most amazing massage therapists, baked several dozen cookies for the cause.

http://www.peakperformancemassagemadison.com/

Endurance House Madison and Endurance House Middleton have been unbelieveable supporters. Not only offering to serve as a drop location for all the cookies to be brought, but also for the sincere positivity surrounding the project.

http://www.endurancehousemadison.com/

http://www.endurancehousemiddleton.com/

I am beyond thankful for all the support to help accomplish this. All of the businesses listed above help us athletes all year long in achieving our goals. Each of the businesses listed above once again went out of their way to help our triathlon and cycling community. So amazing.

Thanks to social media, more and more people were stepping up to bake their portion of cookies. Some of even the toughest male triathletes (guys like to bake too!) said I could count on them for a couple dozen. There were a few standout bakers, bringing in some numbers like 11, 12, 13 dozen. I cannot say thank you enough to everyone. I tried to keep up with all the names, but a lot of athletes outside of my own training circle contributed (even from Milwaukee!). I wish I could hug you all individually.

Cheryl Schelm

Vickie Hoeft

Alex Strong

Laura Hogard

Andrew Porn

Paul Eicher

Summer Olendorf

Peter Dettmer

Lindsey Heim

Jackie Arendt

Brenda Slatter

Nicole Stockburger

Rita Hookstead

Clara Graham

Lisa Ruth Krueger

Kitty Gilles

Laura Arendt

Heisley Lawson

Sonja Linn

Leah Stieber

Dianne Lahey

Kristin Korevec

Robyn (Focal Flame)

Glenda Hodge

Darien Pearlmutter

Tiffany Hoeye

Heidi Knapp

Sara Tetzloff

Greta Peterson

Peter Vold

Mike Keegan

Aaron Pratt

Julie Murphy Agnew

Alyssa Greiber

Carla Dickman

Deb Reiderer

Abby Solderholm

Chase Olson

Jeanne Hunter

Rachel Bainbridge

Meghan O’Neil (Peak Performance Massage)

Petra Gehring

Lyndsey Craven

Jeff Sweet

Brad Hesse

Mike Lisle

Nicole Chow

Janet Tegtmeier

Jessica Ozalp

Brandy Lea

Elizabeth Bart

….AND so many more. Thank you.

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Project Take Off!

Thank you to Mike Keegan for all of the design work!

Thank you to Mike Keegan for all of the design work!

I had enough motivation in my heart to want to accomplish this for the residents, but I also have enough rational to know that I couldn’t do this alone. One of the greatest joys us athletes receive from training for something like Ironman are the incredible friendships that are formed with each other through the journey. I have been so fortunate to get to know some really amazing and genuine people, and I knew that I could probably round up others to help with this project. I simply posted on Facebook the idea of baking cookies for all the Ironman Wisconsin bike loop residents asking if anyone else would want in. The response was so positive that I knew I had to make this happen.

First things first – I needed to find out how many houses lived on the Ironman bike loop. I started at Verona Fireman’s park, just as I usually do with my bike, but this time I was in my Jeep. I went road by road, street by street, and counted all the houses that have a driveway and/or green fire department address post. I counted 357 houses. Three hundred and fifty seven. That’s a whole lot of cookies…

I worked with a friend to create the logo and a flyer to help spread the word. I came up with a Project Brief to outline the game plan and to pass along to our supporting businesses so they knew this mighty task was in good hands. I’m so thankful to Endurance House Madison and Endurance House Middleton. After speaking with Justin, Brandon, Kyle, and Jamie about my idea – I knew I could accomplish this with their support.

All the organizing was coming together nicely. Now, we just needed some cookies.

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“I wish I could just bake them cookies or something…”

There is a certain special happiness that comes from riding a bike. The open air, sunshine, and speed all coming together for an instant mood boost.

There is a certain special happiness that comes from riding a bike. The open air, sunshine, and speed all coming together for an instant mood boost.

One of my training partners, Candice, and I out meeting at Verona Fireman's park before we go out to ride the Ironman Wisconsin bike loop.

One of my training partners, Candice, and I out meeting at Verona Fireman’s park before we go out to ride the Ironman Wisconsin bike loop.

Those were the words that started the whole project. A thank you project. From a cyclist to a driver.

There I was, a balmy 55* balmy Wisconsin May Sunday morning, consciously grateful for the car that had just patiently waited for my legs to slowly pedal up the hill. All this car wanted to do was pull into their driveway. All this car wanted to do was simply cruise on in to their home. But, I was in the way.

I was in the way with my pedaling legs, my rapid heartrate and my beloved bike trying to climb up Timber Lane as fast as I could. I was far right, gladly allowing any motor vehicle (with a lot more horsepower than I had in my two legs) to pass by swiftly as I took my sweet time reaching the top. Timber Lane isn’t a long climb, but sure does slap you in the face quickly and makes you drop gears. It also makes you wish you were in a car instead.

As someone who is on a nickname basis with the word ‘crash’, I try to be diligently aware of my surroundings while out on two wheels, especially vehicles, listening for ‘car back!’. I even have a little game I play while out on tough climbs. I ride the white paint line – not going over off on either side – in attempt to work on climbing straight without weaving, and making sure I’m not taking up more lane than I need from my fellow travelers.

As I was climbing Timber, I heard the quiet approach (must’ve been a Buick or Lincoln or something smooth-like) of a car behind me. I instantly pedaled faster, hoping they’d wait for me to reach the top and pass me when the visibility reaches far beyond the hill. Sometimes when cars pass me on a hill, and they cross into the on-coming traffic lane to give me room, I have two thoughts; 1. “Thank you for moving over and giving me and my bike space”, and 2. ‘Oh gosh, I hope a car isn’t coming, hurry hurry – come back over into our lane!! (but don’t hit me!)” However, I didn’t have either of those thoughts cross my mind because the car approaching behind me was patient, and slowly rolled behind me until it was perfectly safe to pass. I like to think they saw me trying to climb faster for them, up out of my saddle, and they patiently watched the showdown between the pavement and my pedals.

Once to the top, the driver and I could both see the open road ahead. The car slowly passed me, giving me a whole lane of luxury to continue on my ride as they drove ahead. I hope the driver glanced back to see my wave of appreciation. I also hope they thought I was really fast up that hill. I mostly hope they saw me wave. Okay, maybe both.

After the car drove off, I thought about all the other cars that have done the same for me out on that Ironman Wisconsin bike course, a route that is relentlessly ridden from snow melt to falling leaves. I wished I knew they ALL looked back to see me give a wave of thanks, and I wish I could wave to ALL of them. I want all the drivers who have passed me, correction – all the drivers that have *nicely* passed me, to know that I noticed the way that they noticed me, and that I was thankful for thier conscious effort to keep me safe and out riding my bike.

I simply said my thought outloud to my riding partners that day, Abby and Paige, “I wish I could do something nice for all the nice drivers. I wish I could just bake them cookies or something”. Both ladies offered me encouragement with a “you’re crazy” clause attached, but as I continued to ride…the gears were turnin’ in more ways than one.

The Cookie Project, 2013.

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