Wednesday, June 17, 2015

If you think you don't need help; your wrong!

          Last Sunday we had a fundraiser in the parking lot of the Black Kite Coffee shop, in the Old West End.  They were calling for super high temps, humidity and rain showers on and off all day.  

     Robert, my riding buddy who is also on Team Leapfrog, set up a couple of bike rides for anyone who wanted to get a good practice ride in before the fundraiser. 

     Of course, Robert was planning on leading the long route, which was about 28 miles, and Tom (another Leapfrog rider) would lead the 12 mile ride.  Being it started in the Old West End I had to figure that meant a ride through downtown Toledo to the Green Belt Parkway trail.  The people doing the long route would ride to Maumee Bay State Park.  Being as hot and humid as it was, and then the threat of rain... I chose the "safe" 12 mile route.

     Downtown Toledo isn't my favorite place to ride; if you remember, I had my first melt down when I rode my new road bike through those crazy busy streets and almost had a run in with a truck.  But I've since learned to make safe choices so I wouldn't find myself pinned under an eighteen wheeler.
       Now I always insist we start on the other side of downtown and away from the heavy traffic.  And of course I always have a spotter so I can prepare to down shift if we have to come to a stop; so my weak leg would be able to turn the pedals when we took off again.

     Remember when I rode the Green Belt last year and I had to turn this sharp corner going up hill?  Before I knew about the shifting gears thing... and in the highest gear my right leg couldn't turn the pedal anymore, so rather than wipe out, I bailed...

     Some might say I chickened out, but in my mind I knew it was the grass or the pavement and I chose the safer of the two.

      Tom was great at guiding us through downtown, reminding us it was just a ride, not a race (where have I heard that before...).  Mind you, I had never met some of these riders before, and the rest I had't known for very long; at least not long enough for them to know all of my hidden challenges. Only those who know me best really do. 

     At that point I had to let the other riders know that I have to do the buddy system when I ride.  I don't just start and stop;  I need a spotter and I also need to stay right on top of them, so when they say clear I don't happen to be a block away and barrel through a red light.

          The Green belt is a cool trail; going under the freeway, then across as well as along the river and of course riding through International park is amazing.  

         When we finally made it to international park unscathed I knew I was home free.  However I still had to make my way back through down town again; ugh...

     We had finally gone ten miles and I knew the hard part was over. Though I could feel the fatigue in my body from the humidity and ten miles of riding, but I could surely make it two more miles and then I could cool off inside and be back to normal (at least, my normal).

     However, I was in the middle of the pack and crossing a busy intersection (Jackson and Speilbush to be exact) when my chain popped off and wedged its self between the small ring and the bike frame. I had no choice but to stop dead in my tracks; right in the middle of the intersection.  Now, for an average person you would jump off the bike and run to the other side while dragging the bike along side of you.

     Being I'm not the average person, I had a body that wasn't moving and a bike that wasn't either. I think the other riders were puzzled by my lack of urgency to get my foolish little self out of the intersection. But I had sunglasses on, and what they couldn't see was the absolute look of terror in my eyes.  A couple of them rushed out and grabbed my bike as one of the ladies asked me if I wanted to lean on her as she noticed my leg was almost worthless.  I couldn't even answer her because I couldn't breathe. I was actually experiencing my first time ever, panic attack.  I had heard about people having them, but I had no idea what they felt like... now I know...

     One of the riders fixed my chain and we all rode the last two miles, though I was trembling in silence.  Of course I survived this ordeal, but not without experiencing my now second meltdown.  Interesting that they both happened after a ride through downtown Toledo... maybe I need to quit doing that; but you know they say you have to face fear head on... or not...

     We finally got to the Black Kite where they had a few musicians entertaining the crowd.  I asked one of the young men playing if he could play the song "Lean On Me" because it's a song that holds very special meaning to me; to which of course he did:)  

     I might be very strong willed and refuse to give up for anything, but this ride confirmed two things... the first being: people can't help you if you don't let them know your weaknesses... and second... if you think you can do it all alone... You're wrong:)

*Listen to me on Fred Lefevbre's radio show this Friday morning at 7:15 AM, 1370 WSPD AM radio :)

Have a great day!!


1 comment:

  1. Not on a bike, but I now panic attacks much better than I want to!

    You're absolutely right about needing to let people know you need help and the importance of accepting that help! Sometimes the hardest thing, even without MS, is admitting you need help. If anyone was supposed to be able to do things without others it's still be just Adam and the animals, right?


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