Sunday, July 31, 2011

Jeff Magnuson Representing TEAM STRONG HEART at RAAM Challenge Race in MN (August 19-21, 2011)

Jeff Magnuson is not new to TEAM STRONG HEART friends and supporters. Jeff was a huge supporter to TEAM STRONG HEART's mission for Camp Odayin. He was on the support crew for TEAM STRONG HEART 4-man RAAM team in 2009 and help the team win that year's very competitive 4-man team division. Jeff was a native Minnesotan, now living in Washington D.C. and still has relatives and many friends in MN, and one of his friends' daughters attended Camp Odayin. We are very grateful to have Jeff on board to represent TEAM STRONG HEART for the Camp Odayin mission to race in the upcoming RAAM Challenge in MN.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Team Strong Heart riding at Triple By-Pass July 9-10, 2011

Team Strong Heart members and friends -- Holly, John, Melinda, Amy, and Rick & Ann (Holly & John's friends) rode Triple By-Pass between Avon and Evergreen on July 9-10, 2011. We also met with friends from RAAM and RAW among other 2500 riders. Proceeds of this rides benefit many charitable organizations. It was a wonderful experience.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NH Cyclist Returns to “World’s Toughest Bicycle Race”

Salisbury, New Hampshire cyclist Brett Walker is returning to the prestigious and arduous Race Across America (RAAM). RAAM has been called “the world’s toughest bicycle race.” Created in 1982, it is the world’s longest-running ultra-endurance cycling competition. The 30th edition will begin on June 15, 2011 in Oceanside, California and finish over 3,000 miles away in Annapoliss, MD.

Brett is the former UMCA, North American 24-hour champion and is not new to the RAAM. In 2007, he finished 9th, crossing the country in 11 days 11 hours, even though a serious illness forced him to interrupt the race and spend a day in the hospital. In 2009, Brett also competed on the winning 4-man team, Team Strong Heart.

This year, Walker will be competing in the grueling solo division. Solo competitors ride nearly continuously in all weather conditions and terrain, typically sleeping only one-and-a-half to fours hours each night. Even so, very few finish within the allotted time of 12 days. Brett hopes to complete the race in less than 10 days.

In 2011, he starts the RAAM to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics, in honor of his 14 year old son and Special Olympics athlete Noah, who was born with a brain injury and Camp Odayin, a residential camp for children with heart disease.

Brett has made the Special Olympics athletes' oath his own:"Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt."

To follow Brett and support him on this race of a lifetime, please go to his blog: and/or Facebook page: Team Walker RAAM 2011. You can also get live updates during the race at

Sunday, April 3, 2011


Please go to RAAM Ohio and vote (for me?)

Friday, March 18, 2011

It’s Getting Close

The start of the Race Across America (RAAM) is only 87 days away. Subtract time at the end for recovery and there are less than 60 training days left before the start of the race.

The next 60 days will be the most intense; all the work I have done over the past 6 months has been to prepare me for these 60 days. The remainder of my training focuses on long weekends, made up of back-to-back endurance rides. This weekend, I have ‎42 hours of training scheduled…three 14 hour days on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

As part of my RAAM effort, I am raising money for two great causes, Special Olympics New Hampshire and Camp Odayin, a residential camp for children with heart disease. Unfortunately, while the RAAM start line is very close, reaching my goal of raising $25,000 for these worthy causes and the race is still quite a long ways away.

SO...while I pedal away for 42 hours this weekend…I ask you: can you provide a tax-deductable contribution? Great or small, your efforts will radiate smiles and happiness in the hearts of these kids. This is their chance to enjoy the simple pleasures that have blessed our lives. Your help will make a difference!

You can donate by sending a tax-deductible check payable to “The Silent Sports Foundation” (EIN# 20-8971676) to my attention at 19 Franklin Rd, Salisbury, NH 03268, or by clicking on the Donate link to the right of this post.

(Please- send a link to this post, to any of your friends who might donate)

Thank you for your support.

Brett Walker

Follow me on Facebook during RAAM and my Training:!/pages/Team-Walker-RAAM-2011/143869265670225

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sebring 24 Update

Brett completes one more lap.

An eagle eyed friend of mine (Warren Talbott) was looking over the results from the Sebring 24 and asked me why I stopped at 23h 38m. I told him that I rode until about 23h 50m and stopped as I didn't have enough time to complete another lap.

I contacted the time keeper and told them that I think they missed my final lap. I had been having trouble with my timing chip all night. They looked on the backup system and found that they had missed the last lap..

New official distance 480.9, this is a personal best and new age group record (beating my distance from 2008 by 1/2 mile)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sebring 24 – Race Wrap-up

Looking for a break from training in the ice and snow, I traveled to Florida this past weekend, to compete in the Sebring 24. I raced in the non-drafting, RAAM category. For those of you not familiar with this type of race, the objective is to cover as many miles as you can in 24 hours, the racer that covers the most miles wins.

I had a really good race and won the overall with 480.9 miles. I was hoping to get closer to 500 miles, but in total, I am happy with my results.

The weather was ideal, high temps during the day of around 80 and in the evening, lows in the 50s. Although, overnight there was a thick cloud of smoke that blanketed the course, from a wild underground peat fire that was burning nearby.

After completing the first 100.4 mile lap in 4 hours 25 min, I needed to let up a bit, as the temperature was starting to climb. I was slightly dehydrated and I could feel my core body temperature starting to rise, so I made a quick stop in the pit to have water poured on my head, and slowed my pace a little.

While I was in the pits, the rider who was in second place rode past. He was a 19 year old from Florida, Steven Perezluha, who as it turns out, is the nephew of the famed RAAM rider Danny Chew. I left the pit area, determined to chase him down, but he was moving and I knew if I matched his pace, I would be quickly overcome by the heat and my race would fall apart. So I settled into my own pace and continued to tick away the miles.

For the next seven hours I rode along in second place. Consistently churning away at the miles, while my deficit fluctuated between one min to as much as 26 min. Then after 12 hours and 12 min of racing, I retook the lead for the first time. Unfortunately, this didn’t last long, as Perezluha passed me again on the very next lap.

Over the next 5 hours, Perezluha built up his advantage to 13 min, but he quickly squandered his lead and after 17 hours of racing, I again rode past him. Unlike the last lead exchange, this one would not be short lived, as I would not give up first place for the remainder of the race.

I would like to thank my parents, Anne and Ed Walker for crewing for me at this race. A good crew is essential for doing well at these types of races and they did a fantastic job.

Monday, February 14, 2011

RAAM 2011 Training Update

The weather in New Hampshire has been a challenge for the last couple months…lots and lots of snow and plenty of cold to go along with it. I haven’t let these challenges derail me from my training schedule, although I have been riding inside more than I care to.

I have completed base training and last weekend started a new phase of training, focusing on long consecutive rides. I completed three back-to-back 12-hour training days. These triple endurance days will be the backbone of my training from now until I peak in May. As I complete each cycle, the days will get longer, when in mid April I will complete 3 consecutive 18-hour days. Then in early May, I will take a week and ride my own mini-RAAM before recovering for the main event.

This week I am off to sunny (hopefully) Florida, to race in the Sebring 24. ( This is always a good race to test the progress of my training, and to get a change to ride for 24-hours without risking frostbite. I am hoping to have some updates/pictures posted during the race on my Face Book page, assuming I can teach my parents, who will be crewing for me, how to use my Droid. Here is a link to the page:!/pages/Team-Walker-RAAM-2011/143869265670225

If you’re not on Face Book, I believe you can still see my profile page you just won’t be able to comment.

Just a reminder, as part of this effort, I am raising money for two great causes, Special Olympics New Hampshire and Camp Odayin, a residential camp for children with heart disease. My goal is to raise $25,000 for these worthy causes and the race. Whatever you can give will be appreciated and will enrich the lives of these gifted athletes and kids.

You can donate by sending a tax-deductible check payable to “The Silent Sports Foundation” (EIN# 20-8971676) to my attention at 19 Franklin Rd, Salisbury, NH 03268, or click on the “Donate” link to the right of this post.

Brett Walker

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Stronghearts at Climb For Cure event -- Climbing the IDS building, Feb. 5, 2011

Congratulations to the climbers (Bernie K., Steve C., Rick D., Rick G., and Amy X.) who represented Team Strong Heart at the 30th annual Climb for Cure fundraising event organized by Cystic Fibrosis Foundation -- climbing the IDS building with professional firefighters, police, and EMS -- the tallest building in Minnesota (50-floor stairs with 1280 steps).

Bernie (Team Strong Heart RAAM rider 2007) climbed 10 times (12,800 steps!!!), 1280 steps more than last year; and new climbers, Steve (5x1280 steps), Rick (3x1280 steps), Rick (3x1280 steps), and Amy (2x1280 steps), joined other Fitness Challenge teams ascended the IDS building multiple times, while kicking off their 2012 Great Wall marathon training program.


Also, check Team Strong Heart rider, BRETT WALKER's 2011 RAAM solo training progress on his Facebook (Fundraising for Camp Odayin and Special Olympics).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Face Book

You can following my training and get race updates in Face Book.

Check out: Team Walker RAAM 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Notorious B.I.T. (Brett in Training) Captured by State Police

On a training ride this weekend I was captured by John Monaghan of the New Hampshire State Police. Here is his account of what happened, in an email he sent to Hammer Nutrition:

Dear Hammer-
I was out on patrol working my day job as a NH State Trooper when I came upon a rider on Route 118 in Dorchester, which is a bastard to climb no matter what time of year. On this day (today January 7th 2011) it was a blustery 21 degrees out with snow flurries. I snapped a few photos of this guy wearing his hammer top as he rode. I waited for him at the junction of RT 25. He stopped and told me he is Brett Walker from Salisbury NH. He was on a four hour ride in preparation for RAAM 2011. Wishing you all the best in 2011. Brett said it was alright if you wanted to use these by the way.
Yours ,
John Monaghan

John told me he was taking the pictures to send to Hammer, but I am pretty sure he was taking them to use in a commitment hearing, to have me made a ward of the state. :)

Thanks for the pictures John and the kind words on the side of the road. You really made my day.
Brett Walker

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Ride for Lasagna

Training for RAAM is in full swing. I am following the same training plan that I used for solo RAAM in 2007. I just finished the first month of the eight month plan and it’s starting off well. My average speed was more than 1 mph faster than the same period in 2007.

On Sunday I had a 9 hour, 160 mile ride on my schedule, so I rode up to the White Mountains, climbed the Kank, then turned around and descended back to Lincoln. I then rode up Gonzo’s Pass.

With 6 hours completed, I descended Gonzo’s and was looking forward to heading south and home. The last 50 miles of this loop is usually pretty speedy, partially because of the terrain and partially because I can see the barn door. Unfortunately, as I turned south, I was met by a steady head wind. It was clear, that the last 50 miles of this ride, were not going to be easy miles.

I pushed into the wind and soon my mind turned to the leftover lasagna waiting for me at home. I could almost taste the spicy sausage my wife uses to give her lasagna that extra bite. As the wind pushed me back, I kept spinning my legs, thinking about that lasagna. Finally, I defeated the wind and made it home to my reward.

On Sunday I rode for lasagna, but in June I will ride for a bigger cause. I am racing RAAM, raising money for Camp Odayin, a residential camp for children with heart disease, and for Special Olympics, NH. Many of you know that our son Noah was born with a brain injury. We have experienced firsthand how Special Olympics helps to develop improved physical fitness and motor skills, greater self-confidence and a more positive self-image. Their athletes' oath "Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt." carries a lesson we all can learn from.

So that is my first blog entry as I prepare for RAAM 2011. I hope you will come back and follow along as I prepare for another Race Across America.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Brett Walker -- TEAM STRONG HEART 2011 RAAM soloist

2009 Team Strong Heart 4-men team member, Brett Walker (also a 2007 RAAM solo finisher) has decided to represent Team Strong Heart 2011 in the RAAM solo division to fundraise for Camp Odayin in MN as well as a local charity of his home state New Hempshire.

GO Brett!!!

The Stronghearts from MN and all over the country and world will root for you!!! Best wishes to your preparation.

Amy Xu
Team Strong Heart

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Headwaters 100 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Camp Odayin Guest Day visit (8/12/2010)

Team Strong Heart members, families and supporters are invited to visit Camp Odayin (Crosslake, MN) at their annual Guest Day on August 12, 2010.

Camp Odayin (also known as "Camp Heart") has a summer resident camp hosted at Camp Knutson on Crosslake, MN. Kids with special hearts (as camp kids called it) from countries such as U.S., Canada, and Germany have made their summer home here. Summer water sports including swimming, playing volleyball and games, sliding, boating, etc. are a huge part of the camp afternoon activities.

At Camp Odayin, kids are well taken care of by camp counselors, a group of volunteers including medical doctors, nurses, and other medical specialists, and the Camp is equipped with donated medical supplies and with a helicopter launching pad on-site.

Members of the Team Strong Heart (TSH) including Jackie Torborg (2010), Bill Beckman (2008), Amy Xu (2010) and Yiping Xu (Amy's father visiting from China) attended the Camp this year. On behalf of Silent Sports Foundation and Team Strong Heart 2010 supporters, Amy presented a donation check, a children's book on Race Across America, and a Team Strong Heart t-shirt to Camp Odayin's President and CEO, Sara Meslow. Each of the camp guests also received a souvenir from Camp Odayin.

Team Strong Heart 2010-2011 will be in its 5th year in friendship with and carrying a charitable mission for Camp Odayin (Camp Heart's 10th anniversary in summer of 2011). Though Race Across America is as epic as it has been known for ("the toughest race in the world"), every Team Strong Heart knows that nothing can compare with what each Camp Heart kid has to go through in their daily lives. The kids appreciate all the fun time and memories in a very special summer week.
Thank you for your support and generosity.

Amy Xu
Team Strong Heart 2008 (team) and 2010 (solo)

Monday, June 28, 2010

More TSH Press! from the Denver Post

Thank you

Welcome Home Amy/TSH & TSH Raffle Party. June 26, 2010

Amy Xu and Team Strong Heart would like give a very heartfelt THANK YOU to all of the people and sponsors who generously supported Team Strong Heart.  This past Saturday (6/26) was the Welcome Home/TSH Raffle party hosted by Trailhead Cycling in Champlin, MN.  Amy shared many stories of her RAAM experience.  Thank you again to all and congratulations to all of the raffle winners! 

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome Home/TSH Raffle Drawing Party this Saturday (6/26)

Amy Xu, shortly after arriving back home. RAAM 2010

Trailhead Cycling will once again host a welcome home gathering for Team Strong Heart/Amy Xu this Saturday (June 26).

This will also be the time for the TSH Raffle drawing. Tickets are still available right up to drawing time. Show your support - buy a ticket for $5

Place: Trailhead Cycling - Hwy 169 & 114th Ave in Champlin.
Date: Saturday, June 26, 2010
Time: 6:00PM

Come welcome Amy home and hear all about her Solo RAAM experience!

Hope to see you there!