Search Empire State Ride

Fundraiser Q & A: Jennifer & Michelle

Fundraising $3,500 can be intimidating, but our riders get creative and come up with all types of ways to reach and exceed the fundraising minimum. Take, for example, Jennifer, a first-time rider, and Michelle, a second year rider.
Jennifer and Michelle hosted a fundraiser that raised more than $7,000. Read below to see our Q & A with them about what goes into planning a successful event.

Tell us a little about yourself.
J: I am a new ESR rider.  I have been a member of Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club (NFBC) since 2014 and I currently serve on the board of directors.  I began participating in the Ride for Roswell in 2013 and have been a member of the Extra Mile Club from 2014-2019. I am employed full time as a litigation paralegal, and I work part-time as an usher for events at the KeyBank Center.
M: My name is Michelle Bates.  This is my second ESR.  My first ride was in 2018.  By day, I am a middle school music teacher.

Have you hosted a fundraising event before this one?
J: No
M: Yes, my family runs an annual golf tournament in memory of my cousin, Mark A. Monaco
What kind of event did you host?
J: We called it a beer blast fundraiser, which turned out to be a beer blast/basket raffle.
How did you incorporate fundraising into your event?
J: My husband donated a 55” TV, which we used  to entice people to purchase tickets for our event.   We sold tickets for $20, which included draft beer, wine and pop.  During the event, we sold tickets for one 50/50 split, basket raffle (we had over 80 baskets) and side raffle. We had a donated Yeti cooler and mugs and a mini basket of booze that we used, as well.  We also sold slices of pizza and homemade cookies, and had a cornhole tournament.

Where did you host the event?  Moose Lodge, Lancaster, NY
How many people attended? 175-180
What kind of preparation did your event require?  

  • Locating venue & picking mutually convenient date
  • Designing & printing tickets
  • Drafting and preparing flyers
  • Drafting, preparing, mailing/delivering donation request letters to numerous local merchants
  • Enlisting family/friends to donate baskets, sell tickets and volunteer for the evening
  • Picking up donated items
  • Preparing baskets
  • Purchasing miscellaneous necessities:  tickets for basket raffle and 50/50 split, poster board, paper, basket stickers, table clothes, snacks for the tables
  • Making cookies to sell
  • Organizing delivery of pizza to sell

M: We had to procure basket donations, organize and wrap, and number the baskets,  (Jen got most of them). We designed tickets, made a Facebook event and invited everyone and their brother.  Also, you want to have something for folks to do at the event: cornhole, cards, and dice games.  Music is good to have too, but not so loud that people can’t talk and mingle.

Did you get anything donated for the event? How did you handle the expenses of putting on an event?

  • Some local businesses donated goods/services/gift cards for the basket raffle and side raffle
  • A local pizzeria sold us sheet pizzas at a discounted price
  • We and some family members made cookies for us to sell
  • We worked to keep our expenses to a minimum, we paid for everything up front and then reimbursed ourselves through the amount of money we raised

M: Jen’s husband donated a huge HD TV.Baskets were donated from friends and family members, who also donated their time and efforts, too.  The bartenders donated their time and also donated their tips – they were amazing! 

What advice would you give a fellow rider interested in hosting an event to fundraise?
J: Start as soon as possible!  We started planning our event 5 months prior.  Sell as many tickets as you can prior to the event.   Ask everyone you know and always have tickets with you.   Send emails regarding the event.   Facebook is a wonderful tool to use to promote your event.  I joined the Facebook group WNY Activities, Places & Events, and posted our event on there a few times.  I also posted our event on the WIVB event page, a local news station, through their website.  I do not know if we got anyone from either of those, but the more people that know about it the better.   Also, make sure to enlist as many friends and family to help as you can.
M: Plan well in advance,  invite everyone,  keep ticket prices low,have a good sound system so you can thank everyone and  advertise everywhere you can.
Is there anything else you think other riders should know when hosting their own fundraising event?  
J: It helps to be organized.  We had lists for everything including tickets sold, businesses to solicit donations from, baskets, expenses, volunteers and timeline for the evening – I’m sure I am forgetting a list or two.  Michelle and I also met often and kept in close contact to address any concerns we had.   As you receive donations to your page, send thank you notes and letters to businesses, friends, family and anyone who donated goods, services, or baskets and to those that volunteered their time to help.
M: Don’t get discouraged by businesses that don’t donate.  There are always some that will.  Be prepared to front some money to get your event off the ground.  Be sure to work with someone that’s a detail person, like Jen.  She’s fabulous.  Ask for help, ask questions!

The Difference Between Riding and Training

There’s a fundamental difference between riding and training.

When riders go out for a ride, they generally think about completing a certain number of hours or miles at self-selected levels of intensity. The goal being to get time on the bike and accumulate miles. On the other hand, riders on a training plan go out with goals based on specific time, programmed intensities and skill drills.

So, which one is better?

Riding will do it to start. As the GOAT Eddy Merckx once said, “Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.” The most important thing is frequency and consistency. If you ride as frequently and consistently as your time permits, you will be able to enjoyably complete the ESR. Riding is good!

Training will do it better. Following a well-structured, specific training plan will maximize the results of the time and effort you put in on the bike and make you stronger and faster. And this is the key point I think that best distinguishes one method from the other. If you want to ride faster, you have to train right.

My ESR 22 Week Training Plan is designed to maximize training adaptations and make you a stronger and faster cyclist.

Getting Started on the ESR Training Plan

First of all, I want to demystify the “no pain, no gain” theory that we’ve all been programmed to believe. 

Training for cycling performance does not always have to be painful. The majority of your time on the bike will be in your Endurance Miles Zone (sometimes referred as Zone 2). There is no big pain here, but a lot of gain. You should be able to have comfortable conversation in this intensity zone. 

Don’t worry though, there will be periods of pain, too. At least 10-20% or so of your total training time will be hard and painful. Anywhere from uncomfortable conversation to single words, possibly 4 letters. 

Remember this: if you go too hard on the easy days, you’ll end up going to easy on the hard days. 

Please refer to Table 7.1 Workouts, RPE, and Breathing Rate to guide you to the right intensities.

The first 3-week block of training begins Monday, February 24. The goal of this block is to accumulate time in your Endurance Miles (EM) zone and begin to work on your pedaling efficiency with some Fast Pedaling (FP) drills. Refer to Table 7.2 Summary of the Six Key Cycling Workouts.

There will always be an easier active recovery week in between each 3-week block to give your body a rest and ready for the next block. 

The magic is in progression. Okay – that’s a bit exaggerated, but progression is really important. If you are not doing more work overtime, your body has no need to adapt. Doing the same thing at the same intensity over and over isn’t enough new stimulus to promote adaptation.

Don’t worry if the training feels too easy in this first block. The interval training that begins in the second block will satisfy your need for pain. Be patient and enjoy the journey.

One final thought. For those of you already doing more hours on the bike than this plan starts with but want to incorporate the intervals into your week, continue doing your level of volume in Endurance Miles intensity and begin following the intervals as prescribed. 

Please note that if you are interested in personal one-on-one remote coaching, contact me at
Be well!
CTS Coach Charlie Livermore

Connect with us!

Contact info

Proceeds directly benefit

Copyright 2024
Roswell Park Alliance Foundation