i’ve been taken for a ride
so this past weekend i completed a two-day, 150 mile ride across the texas countryside from frisco stadium to the texas motor speedway and then to downtown ft worth.
why on earth would i do this? seriously. why?
to raise money for nat’l MS (multiple sclerosis) society. even the raising money part was a journey for me and you can read about that here:
i’m doing something else
this saturday i ride
as i continued to ride/train for the big event i kept learning of people with MS and added them to my bandana. the ride folks give you a bandana with your registration packet. it’s for you to have names of those you are riding for. i tied it to my handlebars and every time i looked down i would remember this ride isn’t about me, but for them. and i’d pray. and sometimes i’d pray and cry. i would recall stories of some of these people who cannot walk anymore. and here i am riding a bike and enjoying the beautiful day… things they cannot do anymore. it grieved me and blessed me all at the same time. i’m even teary writing this.
THIS RIDE HAS BEEN AN INCREDIBLY EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR ME
and now for the ride… in TWEETable fashion (altho perhaps not kept to 140 characters)… actual tweets in bold.
gearing up for a ride like this takes lots of training!… and starbucks.
our “team”. from left – brian, grethel, jon, melody, trace. and it was cold, so zip it about the leggins, alrighty? heeh.
about to mount the bikes and i had to do my “strong man pose”.
and the ride begins. i’m somewhere in the middle/back and will most likely be pedaling out in about 30 mins or so. i covet your prayers. 🙂
beginning the ride by passing under the start line with loads and loads of people cheering might have teared me up. i’m just sayin’.
first leg of the journey and i thought “i’m really doing this” and “this is do-able”. you’ll see i thought that a lot over the course of 2 days.
at first stop. so far… 3 oranges, 2 compliments [on my obnoxious pink and black leggings] and 1 big goofy grin on my face.
the first stop came up so quickly that i thought, again, this is do-able.
praying for all those efforts at goandbe. praying for my bandana peeps. praying for my friends that i knew were praying for me. praying for good weather. just… praying.
jon and melody ahead of me, brian and grethel behind me, and i’m in the middle just riding. and thinking. and praying. and pedaling.
at the next stop: 27.4 miles down. having some gu and then pedalling out again.
struggling during this leg, i downshift and pedal fast uphill. a group of fancy shmancy all matching jerseys people pass me. one of the guys looks over at me and says, “hey knobby! …way to man up!” upon hearing the ‘knobby’ remark i instinctively look at my knees. then i realize he’s talking about my tires. i rode this dern ride on a mountain bike, people!!
phew that last stretch was a doozy. 8 more miles to the lunch stop where we’ll rest a bit.
at nearly every stop there were volunteers cheering you in. i admit i cried a few times just seeing someone there to encourage me those last 50 yards or so. i hope they know how much they really helped.
i just pushed on to lunch. it was all i could to get there, knowing the five of us would regroup and have a little rest together.
lunch stop. oi!! none too soon.
i rolled in to lunch and found jon and melody (they were ahead of me the entire ride!!). we grabbed some lunch and sat down in the grass to eat. i was pretty wiped and decided to lie in the grass right there, where i promptly broke out in a rash on the back of my hands (the only part of my body touching the grass). thank you, allergies! i went to the med tent and signed in for some claritin skin cream. aaaah! relief.
we all compared stories, talked about how tired we were already, blah blah blah. melody was leading the charge on sunblock, so i added some to my little open areas on my gloves. a dab here and a dab there. i still got a lot of sun, though.
after lunch i pretty much stuck with grethel. after riding essentially alone, it was a nice reprieve to have a ‘buddy’. i found a bit of a groove and was able to nail the inclines with persistence and what i am sure was prayer from all of my friends!
at the stop before the last leg my muscles were like cinderblocks and grethel’s knee was swollen (an old high school soccer injury). so we took the SAG the rest of the way in – 13 miles. part of me wishes i’d ridden. the other part thinks maybe i was right to ‘listen to my body’. either way i’d accomplished a lot already.
hey. sorry for lack of updates. I’ve been busy. LOL
so i rode 72 miles today… SAG’d about 13 miles. (SAG = safety and gear vehicle).
jon, my wonderful husband, set up our tent and aired our mattresses up for us while we were riding. all we had to do was plop in it. isn’t he marvelous?
we straggled through the dinner line, ate, laughed, and tried to find someone to blame for getting us into this ride in the first place. i think the majority of the fingers ended up pointing at melody. LOL.
a shower. bless the Lord God Almighty for warm, running water. and for toilets that flush. those port-a-potties are necessary, but… !
we are fed, clean and already laying down in the tent. i am pooped.
please keep up the prayers. they fuel us. and we need God to heal our bodies tonight while we get good rest.
with grethel ALREADY asleep, the rest of us began to drift off. the chatter outside our tent was beginning to lessen, the music was lowering, evening was settling upon us. peace. and then…
zip zip zip! the sound of the tent opening to let trace out for a potty break. i drank a lot of fluids that day. finally asleep no later than 8pm.
zzzzzzzzzz. 10pm: zip zip zip! i mean, i had a LOT to drink that day.
good morning starshine! up and at ’em! we got breakfast, got grethel’s knee wrapped, donned our day-old-stinky riding clothes and cleaned up the tent a bit. (jon, bless his heart, was coming back again to take away the tent for us).
claiming our bikes and heading out!! we thought the morning ride would begin at 7am, but most people had left around 6:15-6:30. so we were one of the last to leave. hunh.
at one point i stopped to get off my bike and adjust my seat height. a lady pulled her bike over to check on me (everyone was SO helpful). i told her i was fine, finished my adjustment, and as i pulled out again, she said, “thank you for riding. i have MS.” i asked her name and told her i would pray for her, so she handed me a card. and, no surprise here, people: i cried.
i am so blessed to get to pray for people who cannot do the things i can do. i can get out of bed in the morning. i can ride my bike. i can breathe and eat and run and see and swallow.
during the first leg of day 2 i wondered, at what point will i SAG? for in my mind, there was no question that i would not make the entire day 2 of riding, it was merely a question of when. i didn’t know it then, but i wouldn’t end up SAGing at all that day.
completed first 14 miles. a quick rest and on to the next 8.
at the 2nd stop… loading up on carbs and liquids and praising God for all of u praying!!
i would ride with my phone on airplane mode to maintain battery life. but at each stop i would turn it back on so i could update. jon was keeping tabs on me, but apparently so were a lot of my friends and fam. it was so encouraging to see that folks were praying for us and cheering us via facebook and twitter. i wonder… do they know the impact it had on me? probably not near as much as they should.
seriously friends – your prayers are an IMMENSE blessing to me!! thank you from bottom of my heart.
beautiful countryside. it was fragrant with honeysuckle and jasmine. the air was clean. and sometimes i’d pass horses and that sweet, warm smell of hay and alfalfa. gorgeous.
on this leg i felt like i was the only rider out there. i looked ahead – no one. i looked behind – nada. “am i on the right track?” i thought. the markers along the way told me i was.
LUNCH!!!! that was a weird leg of the ride… i saw NO other riders.
i pulled in alone. jon and melody so far ahead of me that i wasn’t seeing them at any stops – so proud of them. brian and grethel shortly behind me. looked at the lunch options and my countenance fell when i realized i was eating PB&J. again. two days of PB&J b/c it was their only vegetarian option. one of the ladies saw my face and asked if i eat cheese. i said i did and she said, “stay right here.” she disappeared into the lunchroom and came out with a sandwich made Just For Me. a real sandwich. with cheese. and lettuce. and pickles. i almost hugged her, but opted instead for excessively thanking her.
sat at a table where i met some friends that i would end up seeing at every stop from then on and sharing contact info with so we can keep in touch. i’m so proud of you: rebecca, wendy, steve, and even though you weren’t there at lunch, jackie and kelly.
got food in me. gonna biofreeze up and pedal out again. biofreeze. my new best friend.
riding alone. brian and grethel not too far ahead or behind. it was great to regroup at each stop. it was great to see my new friends at each stop or pass each other along the way.
this was a tough one. i think just because my muscles were so done. but i just pressed on. i prayed a lot, too. all along the way. of course for those with MS, but also for my new friends and brian and G, and jon and melody who, while ahead of us were still finding the ride a challenge, and praying for those praying for me. that they would not give up because i needed it so.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?… i made it to the next stop!!!! phew!
one of the stops was all decked out like a luau. tiki hut serving punch (or maybe red sport drink), guys in fun hats, beach music playing. refreshing and fun.
more pedaling. more praying. it was so great to see all of those SAG vehicles constantly driving up and down, and the volunteers on motorcycles. i knew i was being watched and cared for. i knew if i pulled over it would be a matter of seconds before someone was at my side asking if i was ok. i knew they would take me to the next stop if i needed it. i wasn’t alone and that was a great comfort.
sitting to use the latrine is getting harder and harder. my sitting area hurts! I’m just sayin’
the next leg was a challenge. mental as well as physical. we knew the hill was a tough one. i almost SAG’d it. i feared it. and then my friends came through for me. rebecca asked if i had ridden up the last hill before the stop and i said i had. verrryyyy slowly. like in the easiest gear with some kind of mantra like “do it, i can do this, this is do-able.” she said she walked it. and i don’t know why, but that gave me courage. and that courage fed my stamina. and they all said they were doing it. so i had to try it with them. we posed for a photo opp first. priorities. from left: wendy, grethel, jackie, trace, rebecca.
ok. ok. ok. 5 miles to the next stop but this one is a doozy!! so if you see buzzards…
one of the hardest legs. my chain fell off and some of my new friends stopped to help even though i had it covered. we were all in this together and the camaraderie was amazing!
one of my friends would pass me and i’d yell, “go jackie go” or “you’re doing great rebecca”. i’d pass one of them and they’d yell, “way to go trace”. such support.
at a lot of difficult inclines or points where i felt my knee or thighs couldn’t take anymore, i’d remember how blessed i am to have a body free of disease. i’d remember kristi and think, “she has to live by the strength of God to endure MS. if i can just have a fraction of the endurance and energy and power she needs then i know i will make it.” and i’d look up the road and think “this is do-able.”
at the final stop before the last leg, we were crying. we were hugging. and telling each other, “you.. have made it this far. you can do it. you really can.”
friends! this is it. pray me in bc i only have TEN. MORE. MILES!!! pls God get me there.
i swung out and started pedaling. again. and just about every turn i looked for that bridge that i knew would take me into sundance square. i knew i was ten miles out, but i was lookin’ for that bridge. i just wanted to see that bridge.
wind. ack! please, God, still the wind or push me through it.
going through the city, now. a kid ran out into the street to ‘give me five’ as i rode past.
cops were at every intersection flagging us through. i thanked every one of them.
i rounded a bend and there it was. the bridge. tears fell and i didn’t care, i just wanted to make it up that bridge. “this is do-able” i thought and i pushed my poor past-exhausted muscles further. further. i called on God to get me up that hill with just a fraction of what kristi needs to get through her life with MS. push push. up, trace, up.
i was spent. but i kept pedaling. up, trace up.
and the bridge was behind me. i followed the track in and around a few more bends and then… there it was. the finish line. tears. pedaling. thanks to God.
i heard them announcing me coming over the loud speaker. people were cheering and yelling and applauding. and as i passed through i heard a familiar voice yelling my name. i looked over and there was jon. yay for my husband!!! what a sight for sore eyes.
and… i… made it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i pulled through and parked and could hardly get off my bike. jon came running over and handed me a cold water and hugged me tight.
i remained there to see my bro and G coming in. and jackie. and wendy. and rebecca. we laughed and cheered and cried and i tell you it was one of most unique feelings of my life.
the finish line. i’ve never crossed one before. i’m not even sure how all it felt – so many different things. relief. determination. accomplishment. did i mention relief? and then i thought… what will it be like? when we finally get to cross The Finish Line and see our Father, our Savior right there yelling our name. and saying, “well done, good and faithful servant. you made it. i’ve watched you all along the way, you were never alone, and you made it. well done.”
unsung heroes of this ride are the volunteers who loved on us, fed us, encouraged us, rode the SAG vans, woke up at 2am to make breakfast on the second day, set up and tore down all the rest stops, broke out the bullhorns so their voices could reach us from far away telling us, “you can do it. come on we’re waiting for you. this is what you trained for.”
this is what i’ve trained for. that and so much more. we are all in a ride. we are all expending energy on something. we all have a goal.
what are you training for?
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