Friday, June 23, 2017

I know I usually ride with pink; but this weekend I ride with MS


      We all know I absolutely love the color pink, and most people wouldn't even recognize me in anything other than pink; it's kind of like my security blanket and I don't leave home without it.   But as confident as I feel in pink, this weekend I ride with MS!

   Don't get me wrong; on Saturday I'll proudly be sporting my Team Leapfrog jersey.

     But my sidekick will surely remind me it's there.
    As I stand here, I want to believe I have this ride in the bag, but I won't lie, the memories of the brutal last few miles are beginning to surface again.

   This is where I take a deep breath and remind myself why I ride in the first place...

And my answer is quite simple; because right now I can:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 16, 2017

I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be!

     The old cliche' "I'm as ready as I'll ever be" isn't actually accurate for most people.  Given a little more time most people will eventually be better prepared.

     However, for me I could ride fifteen more times between now and next week but at the end of the day my crazy body is going to do what it wants.

     Of course, my test rides will give me an idea of what to expect, but right now I can honestly say "I am as ready as I'll ever be for this ride".

        I'm aware that during the ride it's highly possible that I'll be faced with some obstacles, so these geese on the bike trail are getting me prepared.
     Now if this person wasn't feeding them right next to the path I would have missed my test.
        I managed to adjust and I was ready for the next challenge.

     We know all too well that the wind can be brutal on the ride.  By the end of my ride I could swear I was in OZ.  As the clouds came out of nowhere, the wind was soon to follow, and I felt like I was pedaling through oatmeal.  But I sucked it up because it could very well be that way next week at the bike to the bay.

     I have no idea how many more test rides I'll manage to get in before next week...
          But again, I can honestly say "I'm as ready as I'll EVER be!" As you know, this ride is all about raising money to find a cure for MS, and with only a week to go, with the help of all of my amazing friends and family... I HIT MY GOAL!! I'm now well over 2500.00!!  Thank you so much!! Now all I have to do is ride:)  Wish me luck!!

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 9, 2017

Oh yeah... I forgot about the hills.

     Knowing that 55 mile ride is just around the corner, I've been trying to get on my bike as often as possible.  I mentioned that riding around the lake at Olander park was a safe and perfect way to build up my endurance.  But I decided I needed a ride with a little more challenge.

     As I think back to last fall, I remember that Wildwood Park had quite a few challenges.  It was the ideal place to ride; it was close, as well as safer than a traditional bike trail by my self.  So I headed over to refresh my memory with just how challenging it was.

   I'll admit, this park is more interesting than Olander, but what I had forgotten about was those crazy hills.  I remember all too well that the bike to the bay had some monstrous hills.  Some of them I couldn't even make my way up. I needed to be proactive.  

     The first hill of the season was a real eye opener, as I found myself unable to remember which gear changer controlled which chain ring.  At Olander I stayed in a middle gear the entire time.

     My bike has two gear shift levers on the left handle, and two on the right, and remembering which one does what is a little confusing.  On my way up the hill was no time to refresh my memory.  It's hard enough to focus on pedaling up that hill, with out trying to watch my chain to see what ring it's on.

     Of course, on my way back down the hill was no time to figure it out either.  I was too busy trying to remember which brake to ride, and which one to stay clear of.  I do remember if I hit the front brake going barreling down a hill could send me flying over the handle bars. 

     That old cliche', it's just like riding a bike... well the mental part will get you every time. 

     Racing down hill on a cement bridge, surrounded by wood was a disaster waiting to happen.  But an accident was also possible on the ride to Port Clinton.  I may as well figure it out ahead of time.
     I wonder how much it would hurt to crash into this covered bridge... let's not find out.

     After numerous rides through the park, I was finally remembering all of the gears and brakes.  And I have to say, this ride was both mentally and physically exhausting.  But I've come to realize that my favorite part of the ride is when I'm on the last leg, and I'm looking for the friendliest face to ask to take my picture. 

      It started out being a way to journal my bike rides, but now every person I ask to take a photo becomes engaged with my life story and learns all about the bike to the bay. I meet so many neat people by simply asking them to help me out.  Everyone wants to feel helpful. In this case it was four college age girls, who were thrilled to help and totally inspired as well.
         I tell people all the time that this ride isn't about the bike ride, but the message I'm trying to send.  And at the end of the day I'm sure we all learned a lot.

Have a great day!!


Friday, June 2, 2017

If Fred will listen anyone will!

    It may have been to simply get me out of his hair, but Fred Lefevbre from 1370 WSPD did a great job of helping me educate his listeners about MS, and why I ride my bike 55 miles.  The photo shoot, however, took a little convincing to get him to attempt a smile.  But I wasn't giving up!

  If I was a betting girl, I would bet my life on the odds that everyone knows someone who has MS. If not themselves, a family member, friend or co worker.  I would also be willing to bet there is not one person who totally understands this crazy disease 100%.  

      I Spend countless hours on research of my own, in the hopes of being able to completely understand what my body is going through.  But I live in it, and I'm at a loss most of the time.  Though, I had to try to shed some light as I knew it.

     Fred asked plenty if questions, to which I tried to somewhat enlighten him.  And he, of all people, knows what it's like to ride countless miles in the Bike To The Bay.  He rode his bike 100 miles last year.  I can't even imagine what that felt like.

     He jokingly asked me why I insisted on correcting him when he asked about me riding 50 miles. I made sure to let him know it was, in fact, 55.  

     At this point I felt it was necessary to explain just how brutal those last five miles are to someone with one leg that doesn't work.

     finally empathetic with what I was going through, he now understood why I had to claim credit for every single mile I rode. 
     As he promised, Fred gave me my moment in the spot light, in the hopes of wrangling up a few more donations.  The out pouring of compassion was overwhelming.  My 2500.00 personal fundraising goal is actually looking achievable!

     Now getting Fred to crack a smile was still a work in progress.  But I wasn't leaving until I got even a half a smile... 

          If that bike ride is half as hard as this was, I really have my work cut out for me.  but wait... look!! Call it what you want.  It sure looks like a smile to me!
          All kidding aside, Fred is an awesome friend, and I can't thank him enough for everything he does just to help me on my mission to end MS.  And I know one day it will happen!!  

Please help us!!

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 26, 2017

This trail isn't big enough for the six of us!

     With the bike to the bay quickly sneaking up on me, I've started to realize, I just need to hit the trail when ever I can find the time.  Schedules with riding buddies don't always match mine, so Olander park, my safe trail, has become my go to.
     As you can see, the trail is perfect!  And an added bonus is, I get to enjoy all of the beautiful wild life while I ride.

     Remember a couple months ago I was so excited to see all of the baby geese... 

What a pleasant treat to help me pass the time.

     However, I had to realize those babies wouldn't stay little forever.  They were now almost half the size of their mother.  though every bit as cute as before.  I could just watch them frolic in the grass by the lake as I rode around it.

    Of course, these cute little creatures were also getting very comfortable with all of us intruders who invade there home from day to day.  They weren't about to let us alter their lifestyle.
     As you know all to well, you never brake for birds because they always fly away at the last second, as you approach them.  But not these guys.  They never even skipped a beat.  I found myself coming to a complete stop time and time again.  As I hollered "shoe!" They gave me a look as to say "you shoe; we live here!"
     They had a point.  I was encroaching in their space and I had to adjust accordingly.  I guess it's no different than my life in general.  When I get thrown a curve ball I just have to adjust and move on.

      If I really want to live life to the fullest, I have to accept the changes; hurdles and all.

 But I do have to admit, it is so much cuter watching it from the sidelines.

Have great day!!


Friday, May 19, 2017

If it wasn't for that voice in my head I may have never gotten back out there!!

     Well I spent most of the winter trying to solve the problem of my foot and pedal, and mid May is well beyond the time I should be back riding out doors.  I really needed a push to get me outside again.

     Truth be told, I was getting so comfortable with riding my bike on my nice safe indoor trainer, that I was dreading the day I had to get my butt back out on the road, and balance on my own.  It was a challenge in itself already, but add those new pedals and the anxiety took over.

     At this point I needed to either conquer my fear, or come up with a million more excuses why my indoor trainer was just fine.  Essentially, my trainer was glorified "training wheels".  There was absolutely no way I could get my foot stuck and wipe out. But I needed to just get it over with, even if it meant getting my first case of "road rash". I know the best riders kiss the pavement eventually.  But I wasn't in  the mood...

     Last Sunday was the pick day of the season, and weather was no longer an excuse.  So I took my bike off of my trainer, packed it in my car, and headed over to Olander park; my "safe place".
     I couldn't argue; this day was perfect!  and that park bench by the lake would be a great place to spend it, but my bike wasn't gonna ride it's self...
     I had everything I needed for a serious bike ride and now there was no reason not to get out there and do it.

     My first sign I wasn't alone was this frog on the garbage can.  And as you know, a frog is my guardian angel.

     As I pushed that new pedal for the first time, I began to realize I actually had this!  Now if I could just take a lap or two around this lake, I could get the feel, and then I could chalk it up to my first ride.  There's always next time for that serious ride:)

     But then that voice in my head just kept encouraging me to push on and before I knew it I had gone sixteen laps around that lake!  That's sixteen miles for my first ride of the season!  

     I guess I don't need that indoor trainer as a safety net after all.  I realize no matter where I am, whether I'm safe inside, or out on the the trail, my trainer is always with me!

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 12, 2017

I invite you to walk (or ride) a mile in my shoes:)

     Well friends, I may have actually done it!  I think I have finally found the perfect shoes!  Or at least ones that allow me to safely ride my bike.  Now, walking in them is a whole other story... 

     I look pretty confident standing here next to my cute little bike, don't I?!  Well, I get out on the bike trail and not so much.  But the one thing we know all too well is, this bike isn't going to ride it's self.  I needed to figure this out.  Fingers crossed that I did.
        As you remember, my first challenge was to get a pedal that would keep my foot on the pedal. Done.  Then I needed shoes that would slide in and out of the pedal in a seconds notice. I think I found them!

     They are in fact, slim lined, and as an added bonus, they're pink, which is my favorite color, orange,which is the color that represents MS, and the laces match my leapfrog jerseys!  I have it covered!

     I wanted to take a picture to show you how well these shoes work with the new pedals, but I have to admit, that ten second timer on my phone is clearly not as long as I would think... Seriously!?!?!
     But after several more attempts, and a little grumbling, I finally beat that crazy timer!
     it sure looks like it works now, doesn't it:)  Guess it's finally time to hit that trail!  See you there:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 5, 2017

You can run; but you can't hide

   You can run, but you can't hide... of course, in my case I can't do either:)  

     When I was first diagnosed about 30 years ago, MS was some mysterious, archaic, incurable, disease, not many had heard of, let alone understood.  When my doctor told me good luck and sent me on my way, I knew it was my job to bury it and  never look back.  After all, if I couldn't fix it, I didn't want any part of it.

     I knew there were groups that helped people "cope" with this illness, but if I attended a meeting it would only mean two things; one: I would surely be faced with my inevitably bleak future, and two: it would mean I've excepted that I actually have it. I wasn't ready to own it at this point, or ever.

     After many, many, years of hiding, I decided to give one of these MS groups a try.   As I expected, there were people ranging from no visible disability all the way up to those in power scooters.

     What I didn't expect was the positive attitude the ones with the most challenges seemed to posses.  Why were they so happy??  They were robbed of their "perfect" life.  You would think that would make one very bitter.

     But as I continued to go to these meetings, I learned that these meetings were all about joining forces and helping each other over our hurdles; whether they were big or small, and find the good in the changing lives we had.

      For quite some time my sweet mother has been in the dark as to what I was going through, due to no fault of her own.  I was unwilling to admit to her that her daughter was "broken".  I decided to start taking her to these meetings so  she could finally have a better understanding of what I'm going through.  

          Five years ago I met my good friend Kelly, who was attending her first meeting shortly after diagnosis.  Ironically, she also brought her wonderful mom with her.  We like to refer to ours as the "mother/daughter table".  If I had kept running, I would have never met these awesome ladies!
     I don't like to think of myself as a slow learn, but after decades of going through life with blinders on I finally learned that "You can run, but you certainly can not hide!"

Have a great day!!


Friday, April 28, 2017

Even the baby geese are at the trail; what's my excuse now??

     You'd think by now my "Franken-bike" would be ready for the bike trails. After all, I've had all winter to tweek it so it fits all the requirements needed for my extremely complicated body.  

     I have my new make-shift pedals so my crazy foot doesn't slip off when I ride. 

 I should be all set right?! The thing is, believe it or not, I'm terrified to take my bike out on the trails for fear of not being able to slip my shoes out in a seconds notice.  As it is now, my shoes fit just a little too well in the strap, and when I'm off the trainer, and trying to balance, I may find myself on the ground in one big heap.

     Most women have a million pairs of shoes to match every outfit they own.  I, on the other hand, have only a couple practical pairs; ones that are conducive for walking, and ones that work with my bike.

     I had the right shoes for my old pedals, but now that I have new pedals, my shoes are all wrong.  As much as I try to piecemeal my challenging life together, so I can function as close to normal as possible, it seems like one more road block pops up.  Then I'm back to the old drawing board, trying to figure out my next move.

     I'm in the process of trying to get shoes that work right now, but the day was absolutely beautiful, and I wasn't about to let the lack of a bike preventing me from visiting my favorite riding spot; Olander park.  So I headed over, and was sure glad I did!

       When I was last there, these little mommas were just hanging out, and now I see I million cute little babies!

     I didn't need my bike to see this amazing sight.

Now my next goal is to get out on my bike before these babies turn into mommas them selves.  
          Seeing how nice the weather has gotten has surely lit a fire under me, and I promise you my next thing on my "to-do" list is figure out my shoe and pedal!   

     I've jumped out of a plane from thirteen thousand feet in the air.  If there's one thing I won't let stop me, it's fear!  My bike and I will see you very soon!

Have a great day!!