Why We're Doing This, and How You Can Help

What would inspire two men, ages 65 and 59, to take on 11 racetracks in 21 stages and 25 days over 1,000 kilometers...on their bicycles?

The way we see it, Thoroughbred race horses have contributed to the very meaning of life, so they too deserve to retire with dignity and not be sent to the slaughterhouse just because they now do six furlongs in 1:16 instead of 1:12.

As American expatriates living in Paris, we have decided to ride our own Tour de France--riding from racetrack to racetrack across France--during the 'real' Tour de France to raise money for Thoroughbred retirement. But we need your help.

We invite you to follow our journey, and if you'd like to sponsor us, just click on www.firstgiving.com/trf or on the Sponsor Us link below.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation currently cares for over 1200 unwanted horses. When you sponsor us, we are helping them in their mission to save ALL unwanted racehorses.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


We have gone above 10% of the $50,000 fundraising goal for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. The counterpart of the TRF in France is the Ligue pour la Protection du Cheval. They seem perfectly happy with our giving them publicity by wearing their tee-shirts, hoping we will find a few homes along the way for unwanted race horses.
So, for the first stage of our Tour de France (following the two preliminary handicap stages already completed) we’ll wear the Ligue tee-shirt and the TRF caps, which, thanks to an unlikely coincidence, perfectly match in both color and design.
As we expected, we’ll need to roll up as many miles as possible in order to reach the fundraising goal. The primary obstacle at this moment seems to be the weather. The normal high temperature for this time of year in northern-central France is 75 degrees. For the last four days it’s been 15 degrees higher than that.
Water is the number one defense against such heat but if we carry gallons of water, the dead weight will beat us down. So we’ve got to tote a moderate amount, drink frequently, douse ourselves every so often, and stop here and there to fill up.
We’ve met some interesting people in the past when knocking on doors to ask for water. On two occasions asking for a fill-up led to fascinating house tours, slowing us down but spicing up the trip.
The next dangerous enemy is the sun. We use lots of sun block. If any of you readers work for a sun block company or know of managers of such companies, help us get a sponsor. We are loyal customers. My dermatologist will testify to the success of the sun block.
Protection against Skin cancer comes from both the sun block and a brand new discipline in geography (our invention), which involves calculating bicycle routes that avoid facing the sun, routes that either coincide with shady forests or have the sun at one’s back. This type of travel requires complex permutations. For example, on our upcoming trip from Chantilly to Compi├Ęgne (July 4), we will have the sun at our backs.
When the world finally realizes that the bicycle can be a worthy form of transportation and not only a vehicle of recreation, we will have established this new discipline for geography departments at universities.
Alas, when we leave Compi├Ęgne the following afternoon, we will have the sun in our faces, except that we have found a shady bicycle route along the Oise River for part of the way.
Another major logistics problem is how to get through this trip without losing the rent money. Time for handicapping will be at a premium. We have not yet developed a method for reading the past performance from the bicycle saddle.
The answer for the time being is to only play specialty methods. On the first stage at Longchamp, July 3, we’ll be betting on Gina Rarick’s horse, Turfani. (Gina’s the only American trainer in France.) Thus far we’ve made a profit by betting equally on all her horses. So please root for Turfani and root for the temperature to get back near normal.
And please spread the word about this worthy cause. In an ESPN interview, Bill Finley asked me why I had chosen this cause. In fact, for much of my life, I have been involved in fighting for lost causes. I consider the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation a “found cause”, because I see lots of victories in the TRF past performances. Not only do they save unwanted horses from the trucks of death but they save unwanted human beings, through reaffirmative vocational training for inmates in managing horse stables.

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