Do I even know what that word means? I’ve been known to be the guy that’s always on the move, from one project to the next, often double booking myself and running from one appointment to the next. It was difficult to maintain the commitment to ride every day during MS Awareness Month this year, but I managed to do it — even if it was only 5 miles, I still squeezed in a ride every single day. The total for the month – 590.3 miles! Hopefully, my riding and my accountability on various social media platforms did more for awareness than just stroking my own ego, because although I love riding my bike, I’m pretty sure I would have given up on it by now if it wasn’t for the many reasons that I continue to pedal.
Let’s face it: sometimes riding a bike is difficult. When you are putting in a lot of miles, when you are climbing that steep hill, when you’ve run out of food and water and when the heat is overwhelming your body, it’s really easy to just think “F THIS!” As a self-proclaimed instant gratification guy, I also tend to find the shortest/easiest means to an end result. You can call it being efficient or just lazy, I’m a different person when I’m on the bike.. because the whole reason I got into riding and found this passion is for the people living with MS.
Here’s the journey: Christy rode the Boston MS ride for many years. Upon her return to CA, she put together a team to ride the NorCal MS ride, called Waves to Wine. After having just visited my Aunt in Italy and seeing her fight with MS first hand, I was “all in” for this MS ride. I bought a bike, raised a bunch of money from family and friends for the National MS Society and in the process, Christy and I became extremely good friends. It was through the National MS Society that I learned of Bike the US for MS — and fell in love with that organization. After riding a few days with them on the TransAm route in 2015, I decided to do more in 2016 (a LOT more), which brings me to this year — riding in Italy to visit my Aunt. I’ve met some amazing people that have very similar journeys and reasons for riding for MS and I’m excited to see how our paths will continue to cross in the future.
But, back to riding. When I hit those difficult challenges: the hills, the bonking, the weather … I instantly think that even at the worst part of a bike ride, there are people that I love that are fighting a disease that has taken over their bodies and limits their mobility. If I wanted, I could just get off the bike, walk up the hill, or just choose to end the bike ride and find the quickest way home. People with MS don’t have that choice. There is no short cut around the pain and the frustrations. So … I ride to support them. I put on my Bike the US for MS jersey, find the difficult routes and push myself as hard as I can.
It’s true that I love riding. There is nothing like the pure joy felt while rolling down the road, all of the senses engaged, whether you are with good friends, alone or pulling a 45 pound cattle dog… I like to think that this is karma tapping me on the shoulder … rewarding me with a fulfilling hobby that is both mentally stimulating and physically engaging, as well as spoiling me with a network of friends that have become so much more than how the word friend is usually used.
Although March’s MS Awareness Month is over for this year, you can be sure that my work is not done. Whether you see the Bike the US for MS sticker on my bike, read my jersey, stumble upon my blog, or listen to any of my favorite TransAm bike ride stories, this is who I am and what I will continue to do. It feels good to have a purpose and it feels even better to share it with others.
Rest day is over. Back to work.