adaptive cycling, biking, BP MS150, Catrike, Emily Penn, Emily's Exercyclists Team, FARA, Friedreich's Ataxia, hill training, ICE trike, Kyle Bryant, multiple sclerosis, National MS Society, recumbent trike, Ride Ataxia (Dallas), Team Chain Gang
I have two big cycling events coming up: the Friedreich’s Ataxia ride in Denton (hills!) on March 23rd and the Lone Star BP MS 150 (moreMoreMORE hills!!!) on April 20th & 21st. If you live in Houston training for hill climbing is no easy task. Your choices are pretty much parking garages and bridges. Last Thursday my new riding buddies decided to take me over the Kemah bridge. Twice.
As bridges go, it’s not even that impressive in terms of height; as hills go, not so monumental. But when you’re not used to anything more than the grade of your driveway (which has only slightly more grade than a kitchen table), trust me, your legs will let you know that something out of the ordinary daily ride is occurring. (I’m pretty sure my legs were saying “WTF?!?!”)
The ride down is great fun. I Woohooo-ed fairly loudly 🙂
That’s me in back (in the green) Chuck up front. Chuck rides a Catrike, so I was lucky to have another recumbent 3-wheeler in our midst. In the photo below, taken in the San Leon part of our route, that’s David (bike mechanic guru) in between us.
Our group isn’t much in the speed demon department, but we certainly excel at enjoying the scenery. Counting the ride from my house to David’s, where we began our trek, I did 37 miles on Thursday. This was our route, which is supposedly Chuck’s favorite local ride. Can’t say as I blame him in the least; the views were spectacular.
And then there’s Fred, who hung back with me for most of the ride, making sure I didn’t get left behind. He also took all these photos. Tricky thing about my new friend Fred is, he doesn’t tell you when he’s snapping pictures – so you just look over and realize that a camera is being pointed at you. Which is how random photos of you riding-and-talking get taken.
But also how a photo of you relishing the bright-as-Texas-bluebonnets sky and wide-open glorious expanse of Galveston Bay happens.
It’s like he knew exactly what I was thinking in that moment.
Which was, God, I love my life!
For 2 1/2 years I’ve been riding solo. So I’m really grateful to have some local friends to ride with now. The journey is very different – somehow greater, definitely sweeter – when shared. The thing about riding with others that moves me, perhaps most of all, is the camraderie. The built-in cheerleading section. The being welcomed. The abiding. Having wingmen is a whole new (cycling)world for me. And, like many presents just-received, I’m still counting up the ways I feel thankful. Finding new joys to number, to name, to celebrate. (starting, of course, with names like Fred, David & Chuck)
Speaking of support and encouragement, I’d truly love yours! Both the National MS Society and the Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance are causes near and dear to my heart. If you were inclined to donate to my riding efforts in the hope of raising funds and awareness to speed cures for Multiple Sclerosis and Friedreich’s Ataxia, I’d absolutely take it personally, and I’d count you, too, among my wingfolk. I would be tickled-pink grateful for any measure of “muscle” you might be able to contribute. With your help, people like Kyle Bryant (the most active warrior against FA that I know) and me (wonkybent woman fighting the MS-monster with three wheels instead of a sword) will be training for hill-climbing for years to come, our trike-grins flashing as we pass you on our pedal-powered journeys, our very personal and urgent missions, to make a difference in the lives of everyone touched by Friedreich’s Ataxia and Multiple Sclerosis.
Just click on either link below. Or, if you’re feeling incredibly generous and super-heroic, feel free to click on both. Come on! Haven’t you always wanted to be a superhero? :0)