Friday, May 29, 2015

Let me ride for you!!

     As we all know, Team Leapfrog was started with a leap of faith; faith "I" could ride, faith "I" could get others to join me, faith "we" could raise a lot of money for MS research and faith "we" could make a difference.  Notice how my leap of faith morphed from "I" to "we"...:)

     Well, I did ride, and many many others rode with me!  We did raise a lot of money last year and I know "WE" made a difference!  Whenever I mention riding in the Bike To The Bay more times than not, I hear "my mom has MS" or "my best friend has MS..."

     That got me thinking... I said I was riding for all those who have MS, especially those who can't ride; and until the day I no longer can, I intend to keep my promise.

      So here's what I plan to do... Whenever I run into someone who says they have a friend or loved one with MS, I'll let them know I want to ride for THEM.  If someone makes a donation I will put their loved one's name on my jersey in permanent marker and ride for them, and I plan to take them with me across the finish line.  I will also encourage the rest of Team Leapfrog to do this as well; after all, this is why we're riding!

     Please let me know if you have someone you want me to ride for and give me one more reason to ride:)

You can donate to Team Leapfrog by Clicking here.

                           These are our jerseys this year:)

My goal is 30,000.00 and I know WE can do it!

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Maybe we should try riding backwards!

          All spring long I've been working diligently to try to ride under every condition imaginable to prepare for the Bike To The Bay.  I've gone on hilly trails, ones with many intersections, wide open trails with the wind whipping in my face... I've even gone in temperatures where my fingers were ready to fall off from the blustery cold.

     But last weekend, being Memorial Day weekend, I just wanted to play it by ear, and see where my bike would take me.  I had no plans to ride with any of my fast riding buddies, and I knew without a plan there was no way I was going by myself on a congested trail with a million intersections.  

     If I was riding by myself it had to be somewhere safe like a park.  I don't train for speed or endurance at a park, but it's a real obstacle course just dodging pedestrians; so Wildwood Park on a holiday weekend was exactly what I needed.

     My son Matt doesn't have a bike, but he does have roller-blades, and he went riding with me last summer when I was just learning how to maneuver my new road bike.  The tiny wheels on roller-blades take a lot more effort to go the same speed as a bike; especially a road bike, but I remember last year his pace was perfect while I tried to get used to my complicated bike.

     I figured if Matt went with me I would have a riding buddy as well as a camera man, because you know I like my pictures:)

     But I guess some people take things literally;  I handed Matt the camera and asked him to take a picture, it no sooner left my hand and this was what I ended up with... 

          I guess I needed to specify that I wanted to be looking when he took it... 

          We rode around the park a while and I quickly realized I had come a long way from last summer; now I found that I needed to be in the lowest gear to keep my speed down so my poor son didn't die of a heart attack just trying to keep up.  

     The good news with riding in the lowest gear was, besides the ride being less exhausting, when I came to a hill or a stop I never had to down shift because I was already there.

     I've come to realize this is my favorite time of spring because there are pink flowers everywhere, and the scenery made me forget that a bike ride is a workout.

          I've spent so much time riding with fast riders trying to keep up with them and I found it refreshing taking a ride where I have to slow down for once.  

     Back in the day I scrambled so fast that even I couldn't keep up with me...  Now, because my legs and brain tend to argue about how fast to go, I find myself  giving in to a pace that actually forces me to appreciate the simple things like flowers and birds; anything that doesn't get done probably wasn't supposed to...

     Remember how Matt thought he was funny  taking a random picture because I didn't specify... well he also told me not to take his picture...  However, I just love how these smart phones have two way cameras, and in the day of "selfies" I discovered all I had to do was hold the camera up and smile into it and he never had a clue I took this... Lucky for me that he doesn't read my blog:)
       Though I don't really think he minded spending the day with dear old mom:)


     It sure seems like people these days are in such a hurry to get to where they want to be that they don't take the time to appreciate where they already are.  

     By going slower I tend to notice things I didn't before, and this bike ride was a perfect example.  But if slowing the pace helps us see things we missed... maybe we should try riding backwards:)

Have a great day!!


Monday, May 25, 2015

I survived my interview with Fred!!!

     So you may or may not have heard me on Fred Lefevbre's radio show Friday, and I'm happy to say I made it out of there in one piece!  Fred had me on his show several times last year to promote the Bike To The Bay, as well Team Leapfrog; which is the team I formed after a lot of encouragement last year, and because I happen to be living with the disease 30 years myself.

    By this time I was totally familiar with the routine.  I knew I would be waiting in the "green room" until it was my time to go on.

          So this was the "green room".  I have no idea why they call it that; there's not a stitch of green to be found.  Sure this place was nice and neat; but where were all the snacks?!?!  Maybe I should have been on Rachael Ray's show; I know she has them... I guess they figure if you can't survive fifteen minutes with out them feeding you, then you have a serious problem, and you might need an intervention rather than his show...

          This was Fred's side-kick; Don.  He's the guy who runs the controls and puts his two cents in every chance he gets; but I think he was really there to cut the mic if gabby guests like me run off at the mouth:)

          I think Fred thought by wearing camo he could sneak up on me and I would be caught off guard by his sarcasm, but I saw it coming a mile away...

     Samantha, from the National MS society, was also there to mention the society as well; and I was pleasantly surprised by her and Fred giving a big shout out to Team Leapfrog.  Here we were, a brand new team that raised 22 thousand dollars last year, with over 40 riders and now we're on a mission to top that this year.  

     Fred rides on his own, but knows my team is one that is out to make a difference, and we absolutely agree at the end of the day, that's what we're all there for.

     As you can imagine, none of us ran out of things to say; and believe it or not, Don never had to cut my mic!  

     But as quick witted as this man is; I can't thank Fred enough for helping me on my mission to put this MS monster in it's place; and I know one day... we will!!

Click here to listen to the interview if you missed it:)

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Check out my thirty seconds of fame:)

     I told you I would be on Fred lefevbre's radio show at 8:05 this morning and I wasn't kidding:)  As I write this, I have no idea if I'll make it through unscathed, but if you're reading this before it airs be sure to listen to 1370 wspd at 8 o'clock and you can hear for yourself.  Of course, if you didn't climb out of bed til the crack of noon, or you have a job where you actually have to work, that or you can't get Fred's show where you live, then Check out the pod cast later:)  

Click here for Fred's pod casts:) 

(I'll be the one in the pink leapfrog tee shirt!)

Have as great weekend!!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Can you believe Fred's actually having me back on his show??

     Remember a while back I said I was telling Fred Lefevbre he needed to get me back on his radio show because this was my 30 year anniversary of living with MS.

       You'll also remember he told me he didn't HAVE to do ANYTHING because it was HIS show... Well, guess who he's having on his show again...  I must not have dropped his rating too much the last time; or maybe he just wanted to get me off his back.  Either way, I'll be there!  

     Unless he has the mics turned off (which I wouldn't put it past him,lol) you can hear me plug the Bike To The Bay this Friday, May 22, at 8:05. I'll be sure to link the podcast to my blog as well in case you miss it:)

Remember last year...??
     I rode my bike on the greenbelt parkway trail, in downtown Toledo before the show, and he ripped me apart about my attire... (something about a European Circus...ha,ha) Well, I won't be doing that this time; this guy is brutal; I don't need to give him anymore ammo:) However, his comment did cause me to step up the cycling gear a tad.  And no matter what target he finds this year, I'll be ready to give it right back to him:)

Listen or watch for the podcast Friday!

Have a great day!!


Monday, May 18, 2015

What is it that makes it a bike ride?

       This past Sunday was one of the nicest I've seen for a bike ride all season, and I knew there was no way my friends could come up with an excuse if we road in their neck of the woods; so we met at Harrison lake in Fayette, which was a one hour car ride away.

     This bike ride sure took me back to my childhood; though it wasn't an actual bike trail, it was a true ride down memory lane.

      My family and I used to camp here when I was a kid, but I had no idea what it was like to explore it on my bike.  With having four siblings, taking all of our bikes with us wasn't an option.  We barely had room for all of our shoes, but at least we did have that, and that was what our legs were for.

     There were four of us riding this day but everyone of us was taking it from a different angle.  There was Robert with his reclined, recumbent and bare feet,

and Mary with her road bike, that she had only been on for a ten mile ride previously...

   Then there was Kent on his up right recumbent for back support.

    And last but not least, there was me, who may have looked like I knew what I was doing...


     But the only thing on my mind was hoping I didn't plow into any of the little kids riding on these three wheeled rental bikes, reminding me of those guys in the tiny cars from the shrine circus.

                                      Where were these things when I was a kid??

     Another memory I had from my childhood was when my dad took my brothers and I fishing in the lake.  I must have been around seven years old; I had this orange plastic fishing pole my father had given me to make me think I was part of the fishing excursion. We were there for what seemed like hours, and the fish just weren't biting.  Just then as my brothers were ready to throw in the towel I happened to snag a tiny sunfish with my little kid pole, and you never saw anyone throw their poles back in the water like they did; if a girl could catch a fish how hard could it be...

          Jumping forward to our bike ride yesterday... The scenery around the lake was breathtaking; but then out of nowhere, the road turned into gravel, and that's one thing my skinny tire road bike and I don't like...

          My buddies were anxious to ride across the dam and I wanted to stay in one piece, but I was never happier to stay back and stare at the lake and take a million pictures; besides, it wasn't long before they were back and we finished our ride.

     This lake that I loved to camp and fish at brought back nothing but good memories. And to add to those memories I now had the experience of riding my bike around this beautiful lake as well.

     I learned that sometimes when we experience things early in life we might feel like something is missing; but if we just keep living life, the things that were missing the first time around might show up eventually; when we appreciate them even more.

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 15, 2015

That pedal hasn't seen the last of me.

          After my little run in with my pedal the other day, I knew there was no way I was getting back on my bike until I solved the problem.

     Having screws on my pedal to stop my shoe from slipping off... ingenious!  Screws that stop me from getting my foot back on the pedal... not so much...

     There had to be a happy medium.  My thought was if I could grind the screws down just a little bit then hopefully I could slide my shoe back on, but at the same time it wouldn't slide off when I'm pedaling fast.

     I took my bike to the bike co-op where I usually work on my bike.


     As you can see, these things were crazy huge; and when my leg feels like it weighs 200 pounds those little screws felt mammoth. 


     At the co-op they had a handy dandy grinder that would cut right through these things, and you're right, I'm not doing the grinding... but HELLO... somebody had to take the picture:) Plus, if I was to lose a digit or two then we would have even bigger fish to fry... 

     However, I was right there putting my two cents in as to how much to cut off and whether or not we should cut down both sides. I figured we could cut the one side first and see if I could train my foot to flip it to that side when I start up. Then I could leave the side with the longer screws alone to keep my foot securely planted when I'm riding at a high speed.  We could always grind the other side down later if my plan didn't work out.  But there's no going backwards.

          Then "we" (metaphorically speaking) had to sand the screws down so the rough edges didn't gauge my shins up.  We'll see how that works out...

     I'm anxious to get back out on the trail and see if we fixed the problem, but if we didn't, you betcha, I will be back:)

Have a great weekend!!


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What you see isn't always what you get.

      Over the last six months I've been trying to come up with new exciting stories about my brace just so I don't drive myself crazy explaining the same old story to everyone I meet, every single day, for the rest of my life; and I have to admit, the time I spend on my bike I love the feeling of being "normal" for just a little while.

     When I'm riding my bike I don't wear any of my bionic paraphernalia for two reasons... one: I can't make the rotation of the pedal with my brace and cuff from my nerve zapper on, and two:  they are of no help anyway.

     After I got my zapper, though very helpful in stopping me from tripping, it was as if I was wearing a sign that said I'm not normal.

I actually think I look like I'm in a prison yard here:)

     But before long, I got over it.  Then I got the brace and it stopped my leg from snapping backwards, though that too told the world I have something going on, but what...

     But when I ride I'm in heaven, because on the bike trail I'm a perfectly normal cyclist as far as the average eye can see.  I don't have to explain any challenges; I just simply ride!

   The only challenge I have is keeping my weak leg from slipping off the pedal.  But by this picture you wouldn't think this leg is weak at all.  I work very hard at keeping it strong, so physically, it isn't really weak; but I can't convince my brain of that, because sometimes when I tell my brain to move the muscle, my brain says "no way"... Not to worry; I have little screws on my pedals to stop my foot from slipping off...

     It's a good thing I'm training for the Bike To The Bay though; I learned on my ride on the Wabash Cannonball trail last week that I might need to make some adjustments, because I may "look" normal, but normal is one thing I'm not.

     A trail that doesn't cross major intersections is a breeze to ride by myself, but if I'm riding where there are cross roads I always need a second set of eyes ahead of me to warn me when on coming traffic is approaching, so I have time to down shift for the anticipated challenging re-start.

       Truth be told, that seemingly impressive ride on the Wabash Trail, where I rode seven miles both ways without stopping, didn't exactly go off without a hitch... One thing I have learned with MS is, the more taxed my body gets, the more my brain and nerves don't communicate with each other.

     We came to the intersection of downtown Whitehouse and my trainer told me there was traffic ahead, so I needed to stop. After the traffic passed, he took off. However, my brain and legs didn't want to cooperate.  The strong leg pushed the left pedal but my "weak" leg got caught up on the screws and I wasn't able to slide it up and onto the pedal.

      There I was, at a dead stop in the middle of the road.  I was so glad I wasn't with the driver in the car that was approaching me, because he was probably cussing up a storm... wait... I might have been safer in that car than in the middle of the street... He had no idea; After all, I was a "normal" rider...

     I did manage to get my keister out of the road unscathed, but not without ruffling a few feathers along the way.  Though I did learn I have some work ahead of me to solve that foot issue before the BTTB. I may not be able to fix my brain (not yet...) However, I can sure try to do something about that pedal.  But don't you worry; if there's a way, I'll find it:)

Have a great day!!


Monday, May 11, 2015

I wanna go where everybody knows my name...

          I'm sure we all remember the TV show "Cheers" from way back when; the theme song was "I wanna go where everybody knows your name..."  Well in theory there is nothing more comforting.

       I've been going to Bob Evans for breakfast on Saturday mornings for a million years now, with my mom and some friends; and of course, I know all of them very well. But the thing I love most is walking in somewhere and people who were once strangers, now know you by name.  I had this to look forward to every Saturday when the rest of my life is so uncertain.

     Then a while back my mom and a few of the others decided they wanted a change of pace; however, I liked the pace just how it was... I mean, oatmeal is oatmeal, no matter where you get it; but you can only get that warm feeling where everybody knows your name if you stay in one place.

     Before long I felt the power struggle as I tried to convince them we were fine where we were.  Eventually I had to cave; in the hopes they would see I was right.

     A couple weeks ago we went to Uncle John's Pancake House for a change, and I knew if they got it out of their system we would be back to Bob's.  Well, our server, Ennis, treated us like Royalty and I also met my new friend Judy, who donated to team leapfrog, and I got to hear the amazing story about the group of gentlemen called the "romeos: or retired old men eating out".

     The next week we went back to Bob Evans as usual, and of course, even the regulars knew me; I was home again. 

     I had to admit though, I did experience that same warm feeling at Uncle John's too.  So I suggested to my mom that we try alternating between the two and maybe that will make everyone happy; so the following week it was Uncle J's again... 

     Only this time Ennis came up and hugged me and said he read my post on my blog about the "romeos" from two weeks ago and loved it!  I told him I would have put his picture in that post but I never got a chance to take one.  He told me he'll make sure I get it this time...

     Next, the busser came up to me and said "hey, you're back!" And icing on the cake... once again the "romeos" were there too, along with my new friend Judy; and I asked them if I could take their picture for my blog.  The great thing is, the picture is free and everyone loves when they get that moment of fame, so they were thrilled to pose for me.


          And of course, here on the end is my friend Judy; proud to be with these fine veteran gentlemen.
     When we were all getting ready to leave I told Ennis I stilled needed to get his picture.  I pulled out my phone and pointed it... and all of a sudden I noticed Ennis was behind me, looking over my shoulder...  In the age of "selfies" I guess this generation can't comprehend the photographer only taking the photo rather than being in it:) 

     I did realize however, I could have just as many friends no matter where I was; and the one thing I learned by stepping out side the box is, it doesn't matter where you go because people are all the same; and we all wanna go where everybody knows our name.

Have a great day!!


Friday, May 8, 2015

I'm on the fast track now! The Wabash Cannon-ball trail

        I don't often find myself on the south fork of the Wabash Cannon-ball trail, because it's wide open country riding for the most part, and in the dead of summer it's brutal, with the scorching sun beating down most of the ride.  Wednesday, however, was absolutely gorgeous; about 75 degrees, so this was my chance.

     I've heard this trail made from the old Wabash rail road goes through the tiny town of Whitehouse, and all I hear about from other cyclists is hitting up the ice cream shop that's right along the route.  I guess we all have to have some kind of prize at the end of our journey...

     But I've never seen it, so I really didn't know what all the rave was about... maybe it was just a topic of conversation; with trails being mostly trees it hardly seems practical to say "did you see those trees"...

          But speaking of trees... check out this lonely pink tree.  I never saw another drop of color the whole ride, but this pink tree was all I needed to get my fix:)


      I've had to deal with this obstacle course many times in the past because the north fork starts here as well, and I swear they did it just to drive me crazy, because simply riding in a straight line is already an obstacle for me as it is.  A friend suggested I invest in knee pads; Hmm...:)

     But as I was taking this photo, it hit me... it crosses a functioning train track, and while the road next to it has a crossing gate, the bike trail doesn't; so they need to force riders to practically come to a dead stop to avoid an accident.  Of course, I still almost end up in a heap on the ground just trying to make it through this thing...


     It was a little over 7 miles from the start to downtown whitehouse, and we actually made it all the way there with out stopping to take pictures:)  But when we got there, next to this old train depot, I found my second pink tree; so I guess I got a bonus after all!

     And that almighty Ice cream shop really did exist, so now I can actually say I've been there:) 

          But it soon sunk in that not unlike the ride there, I was now looking at over 7 miles of solid riding to get back to the start, and the ride back had the wind in our face, but we managed anyway; after all, it was a beautiful day and I'm still riding:)

Have a great weekend:)


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Every story has a back story

        It sure seems like life has many layers, and as we try to tell our story we find ourselves peeling it back, layer by layer; to paint the entire picture.

     When I wrote my post last week about wanting to back out of a ride because it was cold and windy, and then felt guilty because my friend was riding barefoot, I had someone question if it was due to the complications of MS causing him to not feel the pedals.  I may have mentioned a little bit of his story a long time ago, but I felt like it was a great time to recap about the strong will some people posses in order to make it through life's many challenges.

      My friend Robert Hannon, was a very avid cyclist for many years, and often rode between cities, traveling hundreds of miles at a time.  After riding in the Bike To The Bay for 7 years, simply as a hobby, and because it was a good cause, he found himself faced with MS himself.  In spite of his diagnosis, he continued to ride all over the city as well as in the Bike To The Bay.  

     As more challenges arose and he found himself with balance issues, Robert changed to a recumbent bike and powered on.  His balance almost causing a near miss accident resulted in him backing out of the BTTB last year; but when he saw I actually started riding myself, that short lived sabbatical came to an end.  Sometimes we need a little nudge to step out side of our comfort zone. 
     I know all it took for me to ride was someone believing in me; and I soon discovered anything was possible.

my friends Robert and Stacy

     However, as Robert managed to overcome the many obstacles; MS just kept testing him.  Before long, he wasn't able to feel his feet on the pedals with his shoes on; but that didn't stop him.  Robert knew it just meant he had to ride in his bare feet.

     But it wasn't that simple, because his bare feet would slip off the pedals.  Once again, Robert took the challenge and created handmade wooden pedals.

     Robert's make shift pedal, as you can see, was "photo bombing" my picture.  If you look closely, you'll notice the wooden pads carved with the impression of the sole of his feet attached to standard bike clips; which are actually used to attach cycling shoes to.

     Some people won't except defeat, and Robert is no exception.  His latest challenge has been keeping his foot from flopping off of the hand carved pedals. But as we speak he's in the process of building an AFO type device that attaches to his pedal acting as a brace; keeping his foot from falling off.

     We all have to do what we have to in order to survive life's challenges, but as hard as it is sometimes, there are some of us that don't just stop at "survive".

Have a great day!!