So Kevin D. was nice enough to host a “cycling camp” for Team ThinkCash at his lake house on Lake Texoma this past weekend. It was basically a reward for everyone’s hard work at training and raising money for the TXTough charity ride. For details on the weekend, it’s probably best to read Kevin’s slighly humorous post (including awards for the weekend).
Besides riding, everyone had fun cruising on the ATV, wake boarding, cooking big steaks and just hanging out.
Sunset on Lake Texoma
The weather was perfect and we spent all of our “downtime” on the deck listening to tunes/college football.
Ironically, the weekend of a “cycling camp” I spent more time in my car than on my bike. I drove to Austin on Thursday for the TechCrunch/Austin Ventures event. Then Friday I drove 4.5 hours from Austin to the lake. On Sunday morning I left the lake to meet Jess and the kiddos at my nephews birthday party in Forney (about 2 hours) then an hour drive home to Fort Worth. Basically, I spent 11 hours driving around Texas this weekend.
However, my payoff for all my driving was well worth it. I got a big hug from Grant and Lauren (more of a sloppy, open-mouth, baby kiss from Lauren) when I met them at Jack’s birthday party. Grant and I had a great time playing Simpsons pinball and Wall-E. Then he and I did a little grocery shopping on the way back at Central Market to give Mom a break. Grant is quite the little foodie and loves going to Central Market. It was the perfect end to a great weekend.
I’m headed down to Austin tomorrow for a TechCrunch/Austin Ventures event. There is a round table on grassroots marketing and then an evening event where some of the top start-ups in Texas are going to show their goods. I’m an information/idea junkie, so events like this are right in my wheelhouse. On Friday I’m headed straight from Austin to Kevin D’s cabin on Lake Texoma for a “Team ThinkCash Cycling Camp”. However, there will be no discussion of emergency short-term loans on this trip. Basically a couple days of cycling, wake-boarding and cooking burgers/steaks by the lake. I’m really looking forward to it and thankful that I have an understanding wife
Every quarter we have a company “Town Hall” at ThinkCash. It’s a great way to update all employees on the state of the company (financially, marketing campaigns, IT improvements, etc.). Last town hall we decided to “spice-it-up” with a funny video to open the event. It was such a hit that we decided to do it again. The theme for this town hall was “Back to the 80′s” (it had significance related to some internal goals). So we shot a 80′s themed video with our exec team and then invited all of our employees to dress in their favorite 80′s duds for the event.
I had a lot of fun working on the video and couldn’t have done it without Anthony’s help. That’s right, when I’m not thinking of a better ways to provide our customers with emergency cash loans, I’m producing and directing low-budget company films. BTW, props to Kevin D for his award-winning-performance.
With just 38 days until TXTough, I decided to take another look at the course map today. The 112 mile route basically does the 56 mile route twice. This is actually pretty cool because it means we will get to ride twice through Victory Park. Since I’ll be riding a single speed, it will also give me the ability to know how hard I can push it on the last 56 miles since I will know what the wind, hills, etc. are like. I’m trying to get everyone at ThinkCash to step-up their fundraising efforts – I would love for us to be one of the top teams and really make a difference for Children’s Medical Center.
I really got into cycling about two years ago. One of the first challenges I set for myself was to do the Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG ride in Austin. The ride was 100 miles (at a time when the longest ride I had ever done was 40 miles). I put a lot of time and energy into training for the event; additionally, I also put a lot of effort into my fund-raising. As a result, I was able to finish the 100 mile ride in a respectable time, but more importantly, I raised almost $12,000 for the LAF. I’ve decided to use my passion for cycling one more time to raise money for a good cause.
This is the first year for TX TOUGH in Dallas. The TX TOUGH Tour is a pledge fund-raiser created exclusively to raise money for Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. The bike tour will be a 112 mile ride starting and finishing in Victory Park on Sept. 14. With two, young children any organization that helps kids has a special place in my heart. Additionally, some very close family members went through a difficult time recently that was helped by the environment that a Children’s Medical Center provides.
Since riding 100+ miles isn’t a big challenge for me anymore, I’m going to make it more interesting by riding the 112 miles on a single speed bike. For those of you that aren’t into cycling, this is a pretty daunting task. A single speed means just that, one gear. So if I want to go fast, I just keep spinning my legs even faster. If there is a big hill, no changing to a lower gear, I just stand up and grind-it-out. I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only person crazy enough to do the ride on a single speed, so you make sure my effort isn’t in vain by supporting my fund-raising efforts here. I’ve formed a team for us here at ThinkCash, with the promise of fancy, new ThinkCash kits for everyone that raises money and completes the 56 or 112 mile ride (I’ll give a sneak preview of the kits on this blog before the event).
Believe it or not, but this blog now gets a few thousand readers every month. I’m hoping that through “the power of the Internet” I can harness some of your goodwill to raise money for a great cause. The event is only six weeks away, so I don’t have a lot of time. As always I will keep everyone updated on my training and fund-raising efforts. Hopefully the temps come down before Sept. (we’ve have 10 straight 100+ degree days here in Fort Worth).
On Saturday I rode in The Goatneck in Cleburne – one of my favorite rallies in the area. It is a 69.5 mile, hilly route that travels from Cleburne to Glen Rose, and back. One of my collegues at ThinkCash, Mike S., just started riding. Now when Mike isn’t setting-up Google campaigns for “emergency cash loan” or “installment loan” he’s asking me questions about bike training, equipment, etc. Mike joined us on one of our ThinkCash rides last week and did pretty good; however, he started to get cocky in one of our team meetings and thought that he could go much faster. Mike was riding the 42 mile route of the Goatneck on Saturday, so I came up with an idea. I bet Mike lunch (at Bonnell’s no less) that I could finished the 69.5 mile route before he finished the 42 mile route. As a caveat, the 42 mile group was scheduled to start 15 minutes later, so I would have a 15 minute head start. Mike did the quick math in his head – then took the bet.
Like most rallies in North Texas, the front of the Goatneck quickly become a faux-race and we were maintaining a pretty good pace. I had a few Moritz teammates there and it is always fun to ride with the boys. I did a little blocking for Scott when he went on a break, then went on a break myself. After mixing it up for a while I decided to hang in the pack. Around mile 50 I ran out of liquids (I started with 3 bottles). Saturday was Jess’s B-Day, so I didn’t want to get totally dehydrated and be worthless for the rest of the day. As a result, I split off from the group at the 56 mile rest area to fill-up my bottles. I figured I could still catch Mike – and I was right. About 10 miles from the finish I saw him on the horizon. The rich, green hue of the ThinkCash kit never looked so good. As I passed Mike I only said one thing, “you’re buying me steak!”.
I finished in under 3 hours with an average speed of 23.4 mph, which I’m pretty happy with considering I was riding solo for the last 14 miles. I finished The Goatneck last year averaging 21.2 mph – so a big improvement.
Mike was a good sport this morning and truthfully it is just an accomplishment to finish 42 miles for someone as new to the sport as he is. He’s already asking about the next rally in the area. I think he’s hooked
So I’ve been working on some “financial tips” emails for ThinkCash and decided to focus on ways to improve fuel economy this month. It seems like you can’t turn on the news or pick up the paper without mention of rising gas prices and discussions of fuel economy. So here are a few gas saving tips:
- Drive the speed limit. Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. Driving at 70 mph is like spending an extra 40 cents per gallon on gas!
- Remove excess weight. Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle can reduce your MPG by up to 2%.
- Avoid excessive idling. An idling car gets 0 MPG! So the more time your vehicle is idling, the worse your gas mileage. Turn your car off when you know you will be stopped for long periods of time.
- Keep your tires properly inflated. You can improve gas mileage by about 3% by keeping your tires inflated to the correct pressure.
- Use cruise control. Using cruise control at highway speeds can improve your gas mileage significantly. Edmunds.com conducted a test test using a Land Rover LR3 and a Ford Mustang, the Land Rover got almost 14 percent better mileage using cruise control set at 70 miles per hour rather than cruising at driver-controlled speeds between 65 and 75 miles per hour. The Mustang got 4.5 percent better mileage.
Some people have taken improved fuel economy to the next level and essentially made it their hobby. Hypermilers make lots of little changes in their driving habits in order to get big improvements in fuel economy. Two great sites for hypermiling tips are Hypermiling.com and Ecomodder.com.
It’s hard to believe that as recently as 2004 gas was around $1.50/gallon and today it is over $4/gallon. Doesn’t seem like the price of gas is going down anytime soon, so these tips will only help to save you even more money as the price of gas increases.
Posted in ThinkCash
Tagged better fuel economy, better mpg, ecomodder.com, fuel economy, gas prices, how to improve fuel economy, how to save gas, hypermiler, hypermiling, improve fuel economy, improve miles per gallon, improve mpg, rising gas prices, ThinkCash
So today was Corley’s last day (our intern). We sent her off in style with a little gift from “The Hoff” (he and Corley have a history). Since Corley is moving to Dallas we decided to give her a box full of $1 bills – fitting since ThinkCash is the leader in emergency cash. Hopefully she will use the money wisely – buying new furniture for her apartment or business books to further her professional education – not spending it on men with lots of chest hair and a perm.
If you don’t know what a “Rickroll” is you can learn more at Wikipedia.
So now you get it. Rickrolling is a prank involving the music video for the 1987 Rick Astley song “Never Gonna Give You Up” . It’s a classic bait and switch: a person provides a weblink they claim is relevant to the topic at hand, but the link actually takes the user to the Astley video. A person who falls for the prank is said to have been “Rickroll’d”. People have taken Rickrolling to the next level by playing pranks in public. These pranks normally involve playing the Rick Astley song in a public place (normally causing a disruption). However, the video above takes it to a new level. An Eastern Washington women’s basketball game was the victim of this massive-orchestrated Rickroll.
It’s funny, but everytime I get Rickrolled I laugh. I don’t know if it is the obsurdity of the music video (come on – a denim shirt with jeans) or the simple surprise of it. We’ve played some good pranks at ThinkCash, but no Rickroll yet . . .
I’ve written about Zappos.com before. The company’s customer service has become legendary. Building the type of culture that can support great customer service isn’t easy. Developing the right corporate culture and hiring the right team members is one of the biggest issues we face at ThinkCash. There is a great story by Bill Taylor outlining one of the methods Zappos uses – they pay new employees to quit.
After a very demanding 1-week training period, Zappos offers new hires a $1,000 bonus to quit. Approximately 10% of new hires take the bonus, but the $1,000 is small investment to “weed out” the new hires that have the level of commitment necessary to succeed. I love companies that are willing to do smart things that seemingly fly in face of convention.