Heat can exacerbate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis exponentially.  This is called Uhthoff’s Syndrome or Uhthoff’s Phenomenon.  If you rearrange those letters you basically get Ooftah.  Which is exactly the way the experience of Uhthoff’s feels.   Summer is the worst time of year for me, and each year, every year, I feel like I won’t survive the heat.

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I know that sounds melodramatic, hyperbolic, maybe even silly, but it’s how I feel nonetheless.  As if my health, safety (& sanity), my continued existence, are all threatened, under direct attack, by an enemy with armor-piercing bullets & an endless supply of ammunition.  Keep in mind, Uhthoff’s is on top of all the other wonderful symptoms I already get to “enjoy” by way of MS.  Uhthoff’s feels like that last, too-heavy straw.  The one that lands on an already-too-heavy burden.

Riding-wise, Uhthoff’s Syndrome means that I have to get up as early as possible to get my training in before the higher temperatures take over.  My regular riding group moved the time of ride-starts from 9:30AM (in Fall & Winter) to 9:00AM when it began to get warmer in the Spring.  Now that Summer’s officially here the group moved starts again, to 8:30AM, but unfortunately that’s still not early enough for an MS’ed chica like me who suffers from heat-&-humidity-induced exacerbations.  I need to be back home, or at least turned back towards the barn & close to home, by 8:30.  I should really be back indoors & back in air conditioning by 9AM – AKA a heat index of 90 degrees.

Which means that for the most part, I’m back to riding alone.  I very much feel the loss of my riding buddies’ good company.  Their support & encouragement, their mere presence, has meant so much to me these past few months.  They – and the full suspension on my new-to-me ICE Vortex – are the reason I was able to complete my goal of 150 miles during the Lone Star Bike MS event in April.

Until late January of this year I had always ridden alone (over 2 years of solo riding!) and though I very much wanted others to ride with, as that ol’ saying goes, “I didn’t really know what I missing.”  Now, I do know.

I can & do take a lot of what MS throws at me in stride.  It’s a wonkybent stride, but still, I usually make the best of it all.  I have to tell you that this is an exception to that in-stride-ness; I’m extraordinarily pissed off at MS & Uhthoff’s for separating me from my people.  I miss them 😦  Very much.  I miss them picking on me.  I miss them giving each other a hard time.  I miss the jokes & stories that I’ve heard so many times I could repeat them all verbatim (including tone of voice, facial expressions & hand-gestures) if my life ever happened to depend upon it.  I  even miss the *very* few times someone was actually in a cantankerous enough mood to qualify as “bad company.”  That’s how much I miss them.

My riding friend Chuck got up extra early one day to ride with me to Kemah & San Leon. This is Chuck & his lovely green Catrike.

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My friend Fred is a real champ, too.  He met me at my house for a 5AM ride to Texas City, which meant leaving his house at 4AM.  He’s the teeny-tiny blip-on-wheels with the blinking light, leading the way under that heavenly Texas sky.

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Which brings me to the main point of this blog post (yes, I have a point!) which is that I think the Good Thing – maybe the only good thing? – about rides that begin before dawn is getting to witness the sunrise.

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See the heron soaring past the eagle on that totem pole?

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If you’re lucky, the break of day can be quite a treat.  Especially if you live here in Texas.

And most especially if you’re a wonkybent woman afforded the gift of cycling again by way of a recumbent trike

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PS

I’m training for the SanDiego Tri Challenge!  Can you believe it?  This will be my first triathlon since MS came-a-vistin’ to my life.  I’m raising funds & awareness for Challenged Athletes Foundation, an organization devoted to making a difference in the lives of folks with illness & disability who need our help to enjoy a more active, independent, wild-&-wonderful life.  Like this guy, JJ.

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Wanna make a difference?  You could pass on my story & donation page:  email, Tweet, Facebook post – anything you can think of to spread the word would be an enormous to help to me.  And, more importantly, to CAF :0)

Here’s where you can donate to my San Diego Tri Challenge adventure.  And you may read more about my motivation for this ride & the marvelous Challenged Athletes Foundation in my previous blog post.

Thank you!

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