athletes with disabilities, Bike MS Coastal Challenge, cycling, heroes, inspiration, Life List, multiple sclerosis, New York City Marathon, No Opportunity Wasted, Pacific Coast Highway, Phil Keoghan, recumbent trike, Together In MS
Dear friends, tomorrow’s the big day! It’s tomorrow already, actually, two-something in the morning; I can’t sleep. In just a few hours I’ll be at the starting line of the Bike MS Coastal Challenge preparing to pedal, ready for Day 1 of a dream-manifesting weekend. Ten years ago I drove up the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to just north of Mendocino experiencing all of those breathtaking views and vistas for the very first time. I was overcome with a feeling of having returned home, even though I’d never seen any piece of that landscape in real life before. As I drove and took in all the white-frosting rushing waves on one side of me and the mountains that soon transformed into towering green with flashes of sparkling river singing out every so often from the other side I kept saying to myself, I want to ride there, There, and THERE – I have to come back here and cycle someday!
Which might sound like a fairly normal, common thought. Unless you have MS and haven’t been able to ride a bike for years because of balance and coordination issues related to that disease process.
Even though I reminded myself that riding along the PCH – or anywhere – wasn’t a possibility for me anymore, a few miles would pass and I’d see something else that called to me, begging to be encountered on two wheels, and suddenly I was forgetting my limitations again. Evidenced in declarations of Oh, I’m for sure coming back to ride that piece of coastline next Fall! On those twists and curves of the PCH, surrounded by such unmatched natural, wild beauty, counting up the opportunities for adventure and exploration unfolding on my right and left, seemingly limitless – my mind, body and soul responses kept looping back to You must come back here soon because you have to ride, baby, ride, all over this newfound home-away-from-home.
How did I manage to forget even once that I couldn’t ride anymore? Especially given that not being able to ride was foremost in my mind the rest of the time back in my “real” life.
This is how: logic forgets its place in the face of inspiration. Common sense goes out the window when your head and heart, even your limbs – the very veins that pump life to keep your feet moving forward and your arms reaching out – are charged with spontaneous, overwhelming passion. There’s a kind of calling-out from something greater-than that you respond to full-force, instantaneously, as if you’ve been waiting your entire life to hear the luscious sound of it, been aching impatiently for the invitation to please, hurry, arrive. When this brand of common-sense-fleeing and logic-dissolving experience occurs, you’re actually dumbstruck. Which happens to be the perfect state for allowing imagination, inhibition, insight and inspiration free reign. Your heart’s purest truths dance out, confident and proud, unbridled, unconcerned with reason. My heart knew it wanted to ride along the Pacific Coast Highway and wasn’t going to acknowledge any naysaying from my logic-bound brain.
Now, a full decade to the very month later, with the glorious gift of cycling a part of my life again – thanks to the discovery of recumbent trikes 2 years ago! – I’m dusting off those vows to come back to this beloved place and Ride, baby, ride. What’s more, I’m riding for a reason, to help raise awareness and funds for the National MS Society. I made the goal of riding the BikeMS Coastal Challenge while on the route of my first New York City Marathon. As the finish line approached and I was about to cross one long-held and resurrected dream off of my Life List, the question begged, So, what’s next?
Because I have a limited amount of time and energy and good health days, most of my time and energy are spent on keeping fit and training (along with the rest of real life, of course). I have a lot of not-so-good days, and there are not-so-good parts to each and every day. There’s not a lot of time or energy leftover for fundraising, and I have done a pitifully-poor job of it. So this is my last minute, Hail Mary of a plea. My
hat helmet is in my hands and I am asking you, Please, if you’re able, would you give me five bucks toward the manifesting of my dream?
Because my dream isn’t just about coming back here to ride. My dream is also about celebrating my ability to cycle again. My dream is fueled with my desire to make a difference in the fight for better treatments and ultimately a cure for MS. I would be incredibly grateful for any amount of support you’re able and willing to offer.
Oh, and speaking of dreams coming true, I met and swapped stories with Phil Keoghan last night. I looked him in the eye – just like I wanted, just like I envisioned – and thanked him for all he’s done for the lives affected by MS, for his cross-country ride to raise funds and awareness, for his No Opportunity Wasted philosophy. While we talked, Phil felt up Luke a few times, and Luke couldn’t have been more thrilled with the attention (it would seem Phil Keoghan has some mad dog-petting skills). I tried out the seat of the tandem Together In MS bike with Phil in the front seat. Now there’s photographic proof of me “riding” with one of my heroes 🙂
After hearing how much I’d like to (actually) ride with him someday, Phil invited me to the starting line
tomorrow this morning so that we can ride a ways together. I’ll be pedaling the first span of my dream ride with the very person who motivated me to do the Bike MS Coastal Challenge now – N(o) O(pportunity) W(asted) – instead of putting it off till when I felt in better shape, or could better afford the expense of the trip, or, Or, OR.
How cool is this day going to be? How bliss-struck is my life? Holy Guacalmole, no wonder I couldn’t sleep!!!
Here’s the link to donate to my dream ride, my celebration of being able to ride again, my ride to make a difference in other lives touched by multiple sclerosis: WonkyBent Warrior Woman Against MS