rider profile

Bridget Portier: Rider Profile

Hobbies are great ways for individuals to spend their hard-earned free time, especially if their work takes them away from home. For Bridget Portier, the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride provided more than just the means for her hobby to do more than just get her to exercise and meet with friends: it gave her a way to support women and families dealing with breast cancer. 


Tell us a little about yourself.

I am a Houston native who has worked in Hospitality/Tourism for over 20 years. I started my hospitality career in Houston, Texas in 1996, then a promotion required a relocation to Dallas in 2005. Ten years later, I moved to Newport Beach, California for another exciting career opportunity. After a year in California, I was ready to head back to Texas. In 2016, I joined the amazing team at Visit Austin, the destination marketing organization for this terrific city. I am single. No kids, but I have two beautiful nieces and two awesome nephews who I adore. My brother and his family live in Spring, Texas, just north of Houston. I am a food and beverage enthusiast, so in my free time I love to try new restaurants, breweries or wineries. I also enjoy hiking, biking and sailing. 


Why do you ride?

In 2017, I took a few classes at SoulCycle and I loved it. So, it occurred to me that if I enjoyed riding a stationary bike, I’d really enjoy riding outdoors. I decided I wanted to invest in a good street bike and start exploring Austin. I saw it as a great opportunity to meet people and build a community of friends, especially since I’m still relatively new to the city. I started training with a novice group organized by Performance Bike Shop on South Lamar. One Saturday following a training ride, one of the guys from Performance Bike Shop told me about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride. I have two cousins who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, so I knew immediately that I wanted to join the cause and give my new hobby a higher purpose.

 

How do you prepare for the ride?

I like training in the morning. I start with a hot breakfast and plenty of water.  When I train alone, I usually head over to the Veloway and get in 10–15 miles. I also enjoy riding Southern Walnut Creek trail. I usually take a 1-hour nap after I’ve enjoyed a nice long ride.


What stands out to you personally about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride?

Before completing my first Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, what really stood out to me was how organized the training rides were and how welcomed I felt right from the start. It felt like a community. There is a synergy and camaraderie among the riders that is just so authentic. I looked forward to the training rides week after week because even if I didn’t meet someone new or strike up a great conversation with another rider (which happen during most training rides), I always enjoyed the energy of this group. That energy is passion, perseverance, and persistence all rolled together.  It’s simply amazing.

What is one thing you'd say to convince a friend or family member to join you in the ride?

The Texas Mamma Jamma Ride is raising money for breast cancer, which of course is a worthy cause, but riding along survivors was the most inspiring experience because it is proof that early detection is so important. Riding with these men and women inspire hope not just for a cure, but for a better tomorrow when women can get the care they need and the cure they deserve. 

By Christian Mariano, Communications Intern

Bridget Portier

Bridget Portier

Hilda Eisele: Rider Profile

Individuals who have or have had breast cancer rely on support from family, friends, and the community to keep pushing forward towards recovery. Texas Mamma Jamma Ride is proud to have individuals who dedicate not only their time, but their entire line of work towards helping those affected by this disease. Hilda Eisele, rider and captain of Team Titti Babies, supplies our community with medical equipment and shared her reason for riding with Mamma Jamma.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Hilda Gracie Eisele.  I work for P&H Services, which is a medical equipment supplier in the Greater Austin Area.  I have 3 grown children, Missy, Abe and Andrew.  I started this business in 1994 as a medical billing service and in 2003, it became a medical equipment supplier servicing the breast cancer community. My passion is cycling.  In my free time, I love to work out by cycling both indoors and outside.


Why do you ride?
I ride in Mamma Jamma every year because I enjoy the energy of cycling and I like to channel that energy to celebrate all the successes of the breast cancer survivors in Central Texas.  My personal connection to the community is all the beautiful and heroic customers who come to our business to get Products to Heal and People to Help, hence the name of my business, P&H Services.


How do you prepare for the ride?

For the ride training, most of my riding is done indoors in cycling classes or at home in my studio. I have my own personal goals of 3 rides per week and always try to use my goals as a minimum.  I also participate in the training rides held by Mamma Jamma volunteers when I am in town.  Getting enough rest and fluids 2 days before the ride is important.  Other preparations for the ride include recruiting new team members and growing the team, Titti Babies.  Last year we fielded 9 riders, and this year we are looking to increase to 12.  Each team member is expected to do fundraising as part of their participation on the team.


What stands out to you personally about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride?
All the riders and volunteers come together to raise funds for a great common cause.  Also, rain or shine, the teams bring their best to the event which is held in the Fall in Martindale.  Last year, we traversed a few flooded roads due to the heavy rains the night before the ride.


What is one thing you'd say to convince a friend or family member to join you in the ride?
Why not help? Life's greatest rewards come from giving your time and energy.   Mamma Jamma is a great organization where you can make a difference for all those affected by breast cancer. It is not a race, but a ride that does not require you to ride any more than your body can do. Plus, you can join my team, Titti Babies!  You get a free cool jersey if you join my team!

by Christian Mariano, Communications Intern

Hilda Eisele with her partner Cavitt Richmond

Hilda Eisele with her partner Cavitt Richmond

Kim Flores: Rider Profile

Texas Mamma Jamma Ride takes pride in having a wonderfully diverse community of riders. Whether it’s a new rider or someone who rides a lot, all strive for the same goal: to support women and families living with breast cancer in our community. Kim Flores, team captain of Team vcfo was kind enough to allow us to ask her about her reason for riding. 

Tell us a little about yourself. 

I’m the Vice President of Human Resources at vcfo. I am married with two boys – ages 8 and 12. In my free time I like to read, cook and bake. I’m a huge fan of the Great British Baking Show.

Why do you ride?

I learned about the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride through our involvement with the Entrepreneurs Foundation. Our employees liked the idea of being able to ride Mamma Jamma as a team to support this great organization. We had a “first time to ride” team with four of our Austin employees, one spouse and one of our clients. I personally have a long-time family friend who battled breast cancer and I rode in honor of her journey.

How do you prepare for the ride?

I have to confess that I didn’t train heavily for this ride but it was perfect for a first-timer.  I ride my bike occasionally with my 12-year-old on the trails near our house but hadn’t gone for a 15-mile ride in years. I definitely will train for 2019 but I was able to complete the ride on my pseudo-cruiser bike with no issues. 

What stands out to you about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride?

One of the things that I really loved about Mamma Jamma is that it benefits many different aspects of breast cancer support such as providing medical equipment, support groups, post-cancer support and treatments, etc.

Any rituals before or after the ride?

We didn’t have rituals in 2018 other than a lot of praying that the rain and thunderstorms would subside – which they did! Our team enjoyed spending some time in Martindale post-ride relaxing, enjoying the lovely lunch and live music and watching other riders arrive.

What is one thing you'd say about Mamma Jamma to convince a friend or family member to join you in the ride?

This is a fantastic ride for a new rider. Half of our team had never ridden in a ride like this and we all made it to the end with smiles on our faces.

by Christian Mariano, Communications Intern

Team vcfo in order from left to right: Kim Flores, Carrie Goff, Ellen Suh, Kathy Wilfley, Mike Wilfley, Tom Afflerbach

Team vcfo in order from left to right: Kim Flores, Carrie Goff, Ellen Suh, Kathy Wilfley, Mike Wilfley, Tom Afflerbach


Jo McIntosh: Rider Profile

One of the things that makes the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride so incredibly special is our community of riders. Some are cancer survivors, some are loved ones and caregivers and all of them are dedicated to the mission. We sat down with rider and breast cancer kicker, Jo McIntosh, to ask her why she takes part in the Mamma Jamma Ride.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m fortunate to work at the same place before and after breast cancer diagnosis. I work at Concordia University Texas as full-time faculty in the Department of English.
My children are stellar people, and my husband is my best friend. Both my family and my university have given me unwavering support throughout my cancer journey.

Why do you ride?
Since my breast cancer diagnosis, surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, I have long-term nerve damage from surgeries, as well as constantly battling joint pain and fatigue that I never dealt with as an active person prior to cancer. Capital of Texas Team Survivor and Texas Mamma Jamma Ride help me overcome debilitating pain, depression, and anxiety that can lead to isolation and inactivity. My physical pain post-surgeries and chemo is manageable because I have both community and activity through the ride and year-round support leading to the ride.

How do you prepare for the ride?
My training routine is to not ride for long periods of time and then get back into good habits as the training rides officially kick off each year! That’s just the truth! Maintaining a family, full-time academia, and all of the doctor appointments and physical therapy post-cancer makes time for exercise limited. That’s why I count on Mamma Jamma to keep me active each year.

Any rituals before or after the ride?
Before the ride, my husband and daughter and I make sure all of our gear is ready, and joke about taking on the Tour de France next! After the ride, we eat and drink all of the wonderful food at the venue in Martindale, listen to music, and chat with people.

What stands out to you personally about Texas Mamma Jamma Ride?
The BCRC (Breast Cancer Research Center) guided us through the first year, along with Wonders and Worries, and Capital of Texas Team Survivor. They helped move us back out into the world through support and training. Without these three ride beneficiaries, I'm not sure how my journey would have turned out.

What is one thing you'd say to convince a friend or family member to join you in the ride?
The people at the rides and the beneficiaries of this event saved the integrity of my family. Please, just register and support the ride. I will personally commit to show up and begin riding with you: one mile, two miles, then three and so on until we can make that first ride together.

by Christian Mariano, Communications Intern