Tuesday, July 15, 2008

MS Ride

Zazoosh failed to snap a fabulous shot of me from this ride...c'mon, there were only thousands of riders...so if you look behind this guy, you can see me in my pink jersey.
This is my brother-in-law Rick (Rachelle's husband). He was nice enough to invite me to ride with his company Omniture.

Drafting rocks.
It's so cool to ride in a group. I ride alone a lot and I couldn't get over how much easier it was to draft off people in front of me. I can see why century rides are so fun.

Chivalry is NOT dead...at least on the bike.
I was the only lady in the group and the guys took care of me, especially Rick. He kept making sure I was OK. At one point I had fallen off the back of the group and he came back and said, "Hey, I'll pull you up there." I didn't expect him to stay with me because he is much speedier than me, and I mean much speedier. But he was taking care of the group and in no hurry. Thanks again Rick for making the ride enjoyable.

Eric rocks
Eric never even hesitates when I ask to do a ride like this. He takes the kids and is excited for me to have a great time. He knows how happy I am when I get home and I am so grateful that he supports and cares about my interests.

Tremonton rocks too, wait, no it doesn't.
Tremonton is not 20 minutes from Logan. It's about 45, going 80 miles an hour. It's a funny little town. We went to the grocery store and I asked the cashier where the protein bars were and she said, "Oh, ummm, I think we are out of those." Really? You only carry one brand of protein bars and you are completely out of them? Wait, where am I?

Is shooting knee pain normal?
The last 20 miles of the ride were pretty bad. I had shooting pain in my knees and toes and my right forefinger was numb. So, I dropped off the back of the group and tried to suffer alone. The pain was unforgiving, it wouldn't quit. And how could I quit? I only had 20 miles left and the rest of me was doing fine. At this point the group had moved on and I rode alone for a while. Then I saw a guy from our group and we rode the last 15 miles together. I just wanted to be out of my misery. At the very end, and I mean the very end, we raced to the finish.

It turns out that the pain was coming from my IT band. Pushing heavy gears and coming back from being sick for 2 weeks were the most likely culprits. It was great to finish another century.

Raising money for Multiple Sclerosis
Of course the most important part of the ride was raising money for MS. Our team alone raised $15,000 for the cause. It was special to me because I was riding in honor of my Aunt Becci who lost her life to this disease. I don't remember her much, but I recently read my grandfathers life history and he wrote of her compassionate, fun personality. I love what she often said to my Aunt Karen, “Just do whatever you think is right, do what feels good to you and do what is in your heart and what comes from your heart.” She was only 32 when she died.

A family friend, Verlan J. Terry, wrote this poem for Becci.

A Morning Leaf
By Verlan J. Terry

Confused. I left my sister's step and started down the walk.
I read again the note she left where I was due to knock.
"Dear brother, Dad called, sorry I couldn't stay.
He said he wants you home too--a little later in the day."

So passing beneath her sycamore tree, I paused in its cool shade.
I found myself bewildered, perplexed, not angered or afraid.
Strange, it was so urgent-- so brief a warning.
Why had he called her so early in the morning?

And there at the foot of the tree where I had stopped to lean,
My down-cast eyes beheld a leaf--a leaf of brilliant green.
How cruel! How sad for a leaf to fall on a warm midsummer day.
Probably caused by a stormy wind, or a child's rough hand at play.

But no-- there's another drifting down--down softly t'wards earth's breast.
Why now? So green-- so long before the rest?

For most leaves wait for frost, then fall with a warm golden hue,
Leaving behind on a barren branch a lonesome, withered few,
Silhouetted against a cold grey sky, bearing deep winter's chill,
Clutching life's limb with miraculous power, abiding the Master's will

Were I the master, I mused, all leaves would together fall,
Or more likely yet, I couldn't bear them leave the tree at all.
And thus the plan would be thwarted, its whole purpose denied.
No, it's best He be the Master, its best that He decide.

And so with mind enlightened, heart content and serene,
I left the home of my sweet sister, Becci Jean.
And stepped into the noonday sun, happy for what I'd seen,
Holding close my note and leaf--my leaf of perfect green.

Mindful now of undone tasks, I hurried along my way,
For she said He wanted me home too, --later in the day.

This poem reminds me to make the best of each day and that my time here is unknown. Recently I’ve read of tragic circumstances in others' lives--mostly of families losing children. It crushes my heart. It makes everything else in life seem so trivial. Each story I have cried over has given me another ounce of perspective and added compassion for those suffering.