Tag Archives: MelinAnderson

Beating Bob’s Bicycle Beer Bet 2014

This is the tenth year that Bob Brandt has created a unique challenge for me involving the tandem bike.  Over those ten years, I won a beer from Bob nine times.  In a nutshell, here are the ten bets:

2005 — get 20 riders (I got 30)
2006 — ride 2000 tandem bike miles (I rode 2001 miles)
2007 — average 16 mph on the tandem (Bob won, but I got 54 riders – a PR)
2008 — get 20 riders to ride at least twice in 2008 (got 24)
2009 – get 15 guys to ride (got 17)
2010 – get 15 couples to ride (# 15 Stacie Rood rode Dec. 31,  just before a storm hit)
2011 – get 25 NEW riders (got 32)
2012 – get 3 different riders each month (done!  — thanks a mild winter)
2013 – get a rider from 19 of the 24 towns in McLean County (done)
2014 – get 10 riders (all non-family) to ride at least 100 miles with me (done!)

This year’s bet was actually my idea.  A numbers freak, I thought it would be appropriate that, for the 10th year of our bet, I should get 10 riders to each do 100 miles (10 times 10).  Bob said I should get 12 riders but agreed to the bet when I revised it to exclude family members.  Bob thought the challenge was easy but I was nervous about getting ten riders to find that much time to ride with (and tolerate) me.

The ten riders that should be nominated for sainthood for their perseverance, listed in order of their completion of their 100 miles are:

  1. Emily Gomalchak: endured six cold & windy rides from March 1 to April 11.
  2. Rebecca Payne: hit 100 on May 18 but kept going and completed 200 miles.
  3. Deb Aukerman: accumulated 100 miles in six rides from March 18 to May 22.
  4. Missi Adams: got 104 miles in seven rides from March 26 to May 25.
  5. Becky Roesner: 100 miles in six rides from March 31 to May 26.
  6. Bill Hahm: 102 miles in four rides, starting May 20 and finishing July 29.
  7. Laurel Schumacher: used six rides, July 3 to July 28, to plan for ABC run #100.
  8. Stacy Sheridan: rode 100 miles in five rides from July 1 to August 4.
  9. Tammy Knippenberg: 101 miles in six rides, June 26 to August 6.
  10. Carolyn Sutter: only two rides (I kidnapped her for 65 miles on August 28).



I was fortunate to have nine more riders, including Meg Anderson (634 miles), Raegan Rinchiuso (45), John Kastigar (40), Nancy Falk (40), Curtis White (30), Colin Blakeney (26), Bob Brandt (15), Michelle White (5), and Jasmine Safford (4).  Bob Brandt and Becky Roesner share the distinction of having tandem biked with me for 15 consecutive years – more than anyone other than Meg.

Thanks everyone for all the great rides.  I’m not sure what the 2015 bet will be but it will be big.  Bob has been conspiring with Kirby Cheek to conjure up something incredibly creative and challenging.

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ABC Run #101, for Heartland Head Start

It was a great morning for the 50 participants that showed up at the Sugar Grove Nature Center on October 5 and generously supported Heartland Head Start with total contributions of $700.



Thanks so much to our hosts: Angela Funk (Director Sugar Grove Nature Center), Odemaris Mancilla-Sibaja (Dual Language Specialist at Heartland Head Start), Sharon Cochran (member of Friends of Heartland Head Start), and David & Darlene Weber (members of Friends of Heartland Head Start). The usually awesome menu included french toast casserole (from Robyn Walter), coffee cake (Meg Anderson), banana bread (Sharon Cochran), bread (Darlene Weber) chocolate chip cookies (Kevin Fahling), assorted treats (Angela Funk), and so much more (my apologies to those that I missed).


This is the seventh ABC run for Heartland Head Start. The funds raised by all seven runs add up to a tidy sum of $4,129. Thanks a million to every participant for your fellowship, sharing food, and generous financial support.  Odemaris sent me a nice email including a “thank you” to pass along.  Odemaris wrote “In our program we have families from all over the world, with about 5 different languages. Thanks to your generosity we will continue to support all of our different literacy events. These events include a free book for all of our families. Your donation will help us buy books in many languages that will increase literacy”.

It may have been ABC Run #101, but one person (guess who?) was celebrating his 100th ABC run.  Some lame excuse about missing #85 due to his granddaughter’s college graduation.  Meg will likely celebrate her 100th in April.

The next ABC Run, for Adopt-A-Family, will be held Saturday morning, December 6, at the home of Lisa Sparks in Bloomington.

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ABC Run #98, for Boys & Girls Club

Adventure Benefiting Children #98 was held Sunday, June 29, at the Anderson’s.  An adventurous group of 33 participants generously contributed a total of $435 to the Boys & Girls Club of B-N.   Jenny Hall, the program director of the Boys & Girls Club (accompanied by her son, Jeremiah) was able to join us before our run to communicate her appreciation for our efforts.

Most of us ran a 4-mile “calisthenics” route.  The route included stops at three parks/playgrounds (Ewing Park, Underwood Park, Hoose School).  At each stop, we had the option to perform calisthenics at/near the playground equipment, for which we could deduct 5 seconds per rep from our elapsed time.  We call these events “Adventures” so I thought this would add adventure to our run.  It turned out to be fun and social.  The competitive aspect was light hearted.  We ran in our usual groups and waited for each other to do our push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups before moving on the next stop.

The best net time was turned in by Joe Brannan (you should have seen 6’ 8” Joe doing pull-ups).  Special mention goes to Pat Sheridan for doing the most reps (150 pushups, 30 pull-ups, 20 dips), Karen Dudek for choosing to run slowly enough for me to lead, and to Lisa Sparks for adding a rule change to allow credit for planks.


Back at the house we enjoyed a feast provided by: Meg Anderson (coffee cake, blueberry french toast, crockpot casserole, orange juice), Stacy Sheridan (egg casserole), Lisa Sparks (apple pie bread from Great Harvest), Scott Todd (zucchini muffins), Rich Beal (blueberry mini-muffins and lemon cups), Jeffrey McCarther (doughnuts), Joe Brannan (strawberries), Mike Laffey (mixed fruit), Angela Funk (Luna bars and Cliff bars).

Thanks so much to everyone for your enthusiastic participation, generous donations, and for bringing tasty food as well.

ABC Run #99/pool party to benefit St. Jude will be held on Sunday morning, July 20 at the home of Julie and Brian Sibley.  We hope to see you then.

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Adventures Benefiting Children #92, for Adopt-A-Family

The cold front did not chill the enthusiasm of the 40 participants that came to the Sparks’ home on December 7 to enjoy a fun run, a great breakfast, and to donate a fine total of $525 to the Adopt-A-Family program.  Your donations will be used to provide a great Christmas for one very grateful family.  Thanks so much to all of you! ABC #92

The family (young mother, father, newborn boy) we supported became eligible for assistance because of their involvement in the Healthy Start program which is a highly effective program in the deterrence of child abuse and neglect.

Adopt-a-Family was started in 1980 by two volunteers.  Their goal was to provide Christmas for a few needy families and several foster children.  The program was created as an effort to meet the social, emotional, and financial needs of low-income, multi-dysfunctional families.  The program grew and became a program of The Children’s Foundation.  For over 30 years, The Children’s Foundation Adopt-a-Family Program has provided NEW items for local needy children and families at Christmas.  It is a very comprehensive program as it provides for the household needs of the family as well as those of the individual.

Only families and individuals who are receiving services from The Children’s Foundation are eligible for Adopt-a-Family.   Eligibility for individuals and families is determined by their Family Support Worker.  This is not an open enrollment program.  Recipients are required to sign a contract stating that they will not pursue getting gifts from other Christmas charity programs. All voluntary donations will go to help our family in need.

After Lisa Sparks thanked everyone and we took the traditional group photo, the runners headed to the Constitution Trail for their run.  We were all treated to a great breakfast highlighted by fabulous SMURF CAKES prepared by Lisa Sparks.  Blending the blueberries in the pancake batter added an artistic touch that our usual chef, Jay Sparks, probably would never have tried.  Rounding out the fare was wonderful coffee cake from Meg Anderson, delicious breakfast casserole from Stacy Brandt, and much more.

The total amount contributed for all 92 ABC runs is now $62,040.   We have supported 26 different charities.  Here are the top ten charities in terms of total dollars contributed:
$11,129 – St. Jude (eleven runs)
$7,774 – The Baby Fold (ten runs)
$4,154 – Sugar Grove Nature Center (eight runs)
$4,129 – El Paso/Gridley Jr. High Cross Country program (seven runs)
$3,685 – Austin Carter benefit
$3,459 – Heartland Head Start (six runs)
$3,380 – Boys & Girls Club (six runs)
$3,018 – The Children’s Foundation: Scott Early Learning Center (five runs)
$2,781 – Adopt-A-Family (four runs)
$2,046 – Haley Carter benefit

Thanks so much for all your support!

ABC Run #93 will be 9:00 a.m., Saturday, January 11 at/for the Sugar Grove Nature Center.

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ABC Run #85/Multi-Sport Day

by Merlin Anderson

What happens when Meg and I can’t attend an ABC run?  You all just keep it up and hold another incredibly successful event.  ABC Run #85/Multi-Sport Day was held at the Timber Pointe Outdoor Center on May 18.  A total of 71 generous participants donated an awesome total of $1,319 for the Easter Seals Timber Pointe Outdoor Center.  Thanks so much to everyone that supported this event.  Special thanks to Lisa Sparks for organizing the runner sign-in (and making the coffee cake), to Dan Anderson for taking care of the on-course beverages, to everyone that prepared/brought food, and to Kevin McCarthy and others from the LRC, Tri-Sharks, and CI Masters Swim Team.

ABC #85

Although Meg and I couldn’t be there, I heard that our streak of attending ABC runs was sort of kept alive by face-ka-bobs (faces on sticks).  As I viewed the group photo, I noticed many faces of Merlin: smiling face, “must catch next runner” face, “wish this race was over” face, and more.  There were also several faces of Meg (all beautiful, of course).  Dan Anderson was the creative genius that produced the faces.  In fact, it was reported that I even ran around the lake with Dan Anderson and Larry Heitz but I faded at the end and finished “an arm’s length” behind Dan.

ABC #86 to benefit the El Paso/Gridley Junior High XC team and the El Paso Food Bank will be on Sunday, June 23 at 6:00 PM (doors open at 5:30 pm).  Meet at the South Pointe Park Community Center in El Paso.

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