Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I made it to the Bay; just barely!

          After a year of preparing for the Bike To The Bay I knew I had this in the bag.  We had a huge team and we were all raising a lot of money for a really good cause.  I knew I just had to ride for all of my friends who no longer could, and I really felt I was ready.

     However, the best laid plans don't always go off with out a hitch...
  Most importantly, without a doubt, I had to have riding buddies who would be with me through thick and thin and my BFFs Maryann and Dave planned to be with me from start to finish.  If I needed a break, they took a break.
Maryann is on the left and Dave is on the right with their lovely Meghan in the middle.

     Of course I couldn't ride with my brace and nerve zapper so I had to figure out how to get my bionic leg devices to the finish line, making it possible for me to walk freely when I was finished.  I knew I just had to walk very carefully at each rest stop with out them.

     My friend Kelly had her parents, who happen to be one of the team sponsors, take it with them to meet us at the end.  I had that problem solved.

Jim and Kelly Neville; team leapfrog

       Then, when we all showed up at 6:30 AM it was pouring down rain.  A little water wasn't going to stop me; I had to ride!  By 7:30 we were looking at clear skies, so we hit the trail.  

          When we first took off I was really cooking; in fact my friend and general manager of Bob Evans (another team sponsor) Matt, and I were sprinting out ahead of our group in the beginning... until Matt put his battery pack on and was flying like the wind... So Maryann, Dave and I soon became attached at the hips.  


     Those first twenty miles really weren't that bad.  My tunes were playing on my I phone and I was in my zone!  Though my poor riding buddies probably had the song Lean On Me playing in their head for the next three days...  Of course, all of the riders who passed me liked those thirty seconds of jams before they bolted past me. 

      It's true, I had gone twenty miles many times before. But as I rolled into the second rest stop and the clouds opened up again, I wasn't sure how this was all going to end.  There was a subtle fear of my tires slipping on the wet pavement, however, I was on a high and I knew nothing could stop me. 

      Incidentally, this was when I had discovered my cycling glasses were safe and sound in the bag with my bionic leg, waiting for me at the finish line... ugh!  This would have been a great time to wear them...  Later that evening I noticed my eyes looked a little like road maps from the wind in my face.  Next time glasses; a must:)

      By the third rest stop, which was the lunch stop, I began to feel the effects of the constant riding, with the brutal wind in my face taking a real toll on my body, but I didn't think I had room to complain; my friends from team sitting bull were going seventy five miles both days.

       Yes, it was raining and by this point I could feel my leg becoming week, but it wasn't enough to make me quit.

          With all of the crazy things that go on between my brain and my body I have to try my best to improvise; however, the sharp screws on my pedals, which are helpful in keeping my weak leg from falling off, are the same culprits that gauged the back of my calves, causing me to almost bleed out (well, that might be an exaggeration...) when I inadvertently used my pedals to brake... oops... 

     At the time it looked like one small puncture and a chain mark, but when I actually washed all the grease off, this is what I discovered...

     Note to self... stop braking with my calf... :)

     By the last ten miles, my body felt like cement; I have plenty of muscles in my legs, but when my body gets overheated my brain stops telling my nerves to move them, and it feels like riding 54 miles having never trained at all.  

     I began making my own rest stops in between the designated ones.  I was pulling over every two miles to shake the feeling back into my arms and legs.  Before long, each mile took every ounce of strength I had, and I dreaded the next mile ahead of me.  

     But the one thing I feared more than anything, was the huge hill crossing the expressway at the end; I had no idea how I would ever get up it.  All of the strength in my legs was gone, so even walking my bike up was out of the question.

     At one point I began praying for a flat tire so the sag drivers had to haul me in and I wouldn't be a quitter; but no such luck.  

     After I had been riding all day, I could finally see that monstrous hill in the horizon.  I began to feel the fear within me.  But as I took that first half of a turn of the pedal, making my way up, the Police officer standing there directing traffic must have seen the fear in my eyes, because he put his hand on my back and ran with me half way up that hill; and then my buddy Dave pushed me the rest of the way; all while riding his own bike.  See... I knew it would somehow work out:)

     I made it over that finish line, but the only feeling I had left in my body was pain.  Laying flat on my back on the ground was all I could do until my brain and body became friends again.  At that point if you were to ask me about riding next year I would say "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!"

          But two days later, knowing my crazy body can go back to normal in time... as long as I can, and have a riding buddy who totally gets it, you better believe... I will be back!!

Have a great day!!


1 comment:

  1. Incredible! You could SO write this story as an inspirational movie script! :) I was pretty tired from reading by the end, and was also saying "NO!" when you ever so briefly entertained the thought of not doing it again.

    BTW; I figured out that wasn't a microphone I mentioned in an earlier comment. That's a rear-view mirror, isn't it? (you still need to be on the other side of the reporter for TV so people can see your face! You have an infectious smile that should be viewed without obstruction.)


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