In 90 days I’ll be taking part in my 1st triathlon since MS joined up with my life.  Or at least since MS was an officially recognized “partner.” (By the time I was finally diagnosed, the activity on my MRI indicated that I’d probably had MS for about 8 – 10 years.)

I wish I were doing the whole triathlon on my own, but until they paint some big black lane markers on the bottom of the ocean for wonkybent folks like me – who cannot swim in a straight line – I’ll have to forego the swimming portion of the program.  Which is sad, really, because I’m actually quite capable of doing the distance.  As with cycling, I’m not super-fast.  Speed is not my forte by any means.  Endurance is more my thing.

For doing the San Diego Tri Challenge as a relay I have the option of cycling both the Bike (44 miles) & Run (10 miles).  The mileage of the bike route is no problem for me, but the hills will no doubt provide a significant challenge.  So I’m unsure whether to go for cycling both the Bike & Run portions or just stick with the Bike leg.  Check out the map with elevations chart here, if you like.  Have any of you ridden in this area?  Please let me know your thoughts about the difficulty of the course.  Oh, decisions, decisions!

It doesn’t help  that I don’t know the route.  Not only am I unfamiliar with the Tri route, heck, I don’t think I’ve ever even been to San Diego.  Have I?  Nah, I don’t think so  . . .

If I sound a little brain-dead, that’s because I probably am.  It’s 3:30AM and I’m getting ready to head out for a training ride.  Since heat is kryptonite for many people with MS, me included, I have to take desperate measures to get in enough miles in the summer months.    Desperate, as in, getting up at an hour even farmhands scoff at.  Somehow I always end up participating in these big fundraising events in the Fall, which means most of the crucial training happens during the hottest months in Texas.

Speaking of heat, I got a little addled from too much of it yesterday.  I’ll leave you with this idiotic anecdote.  Or, to perhaps label it more accurately, let’s call it a Cautionary Tale – as I don’t recommend you ever EVER do what I did.  Especially not if you live in Texas.  Ya know, with the high number of gun-owners & all.

I was riding my Vortex along South Shore Harbor drive around 11AM on my way home, yesterday. I usually ride to the gym – 10 1/2 miles – do my mile swim and/or a Pilates class & then ride home. I’d gotten a late start because of trouble with the valve when I was airing up my tires, so I was about an hour & a half later than usual, making it already 90 degrees outside when I left the gym. I try to be done riding in the summertime before 90 degrees comes along (whatever time that may be) because heat & humidity exacerbate my MS symptoms. When something delays my ride-start I have to make a tough call: drive to the gym & back, or risk the heat-induced MS worsenings.Anyway, I was going home along a road in a suburban area that doesn’t have much traffic. There are two lanes going each direction with frequent stop signs & lights along the way; a narrow sidewalk runs the length of most of this road, though it’s old & the cement is all broken up & uneven. I was in the right lane, about 3 feet from the curb (there’s no shoulder). A middle-aged male driver in a 2-seater silver convertible pulled up alongside of me, slowed & then yelled out, “Get off the road! Go ride on the sidewalk, bitch!” Then he gunned it, leaving me, quite literally, in his smoke.

Though I wasn’t trying to I caught up with him in a couple of blocks. There’s an entrance to a golf course where the carts have the right of way at a crossing, which meant the convertible’s driver had had to wait for them to putt-putt through the intersection. I pulled up in the lane next to him & when the guy looked over at me, I smiled.

(My grandmother taught me that nothing unnerves a rude person more than returning bad behavior with a big smile, so this has become a habit of mine.)
Something – and this is where I’m gonna go with the heat-addled excuse – came over me.  I suddenly found myself smiling even bigger, and then I said, “Cycling on the sidewalk’s illegal, bitch.”
The light turned green, and I pedaled away. After about 50 yards I looked in my mirror & the guy was just sitting there at the intersection. Then after a bit he drove to the next block & turned off that road.Oh. My. God. This is proof positive that heat makes people do things they’d normally not do! And further proof that heat makes me stupid-crazy.

Okay, now it’s time to go make the donuts!  And by go make the donuts I mean, go to work.  And by work I mean,  Ride, Swim, and Ride some more :0)

I still need somebody to do the swim and/or run portion of the triathlon on my relay team!

And I still need a sponsor – any business or organization – who’ll make a donation and/or help with travel expenses in exchange for my wearing a jersey & flying a flag with your name/brand/logo!!!

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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.


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.