I hadn't mounted Babe since the Pan Mass Challenge. Choosing to ride my other, my first road bike, Ruby. But it's getting darker in the mornings. The schedule does not permit long lovely AM rides, so it is back to the garage on weekdays. Back to Babe, who hung patiently waiting for her turn to serve.
She is an important part of the winter riding routine. Braced in the trainer we will work together to prepare for the PMC2017 and she will be my faithful ride for the Boston Brain Tumor Ride in May.
Can you have a therapy bike? Or in my fortunate situation, two? I spend so much time alone with them. Thinking and planning.
A month ago I joined Weight Watchers as I had gained 20 pounds in two years. My clothes were not fitting and it was either new clothes or relearn to eat properly. I love my clothes. They have tons on wearability still. I chose WW.
As community service project my religious education class collected flip tops to donate the recycled value to Daniel's Table, the organization in town which feeds hungry children. We worked with the premise that each flip top represents an act of kindness.
Think of the weight of a flip top. Now think of thirty seven pounds of them. That's a lot of kindness.
A Ghost Bike is dedicated to a rider who died on the road. Eugene Thornberg died on June 16, 2016 on this stretch of road. A stretch I ride frequently. For when I heard about this dedication I knew where it was being held and how to get there without a map. Been there. Ridden that. Knew I had to attend, even though I didn't know him. He was a cyclist.
Heading there, by bike, of course, I rode the usual route. And as I past my friend's parents' home on Landham I noticed her car was in the driveway. Two years ago she moved to New Hampshire. I stopped. A quick chat. Two or three hugs and I was off, I had to. Two miles more there was a cyclist stopped on the road. She was standing over a huge snapping turtle. I stopped. And we try to move the huge beast to the side of the road with some branches. Making some progress but meeting resistance from our new 20 pound friend a landscaper stops and a soccer family stops. And with the landscaper's shovel and the branches we were able to move the snapper into the swamp next to the road. I rode on. Now pressed for time. Knowing that I was heading for a solemn service, but celebrating life along the way.
Visiting my daughter at college we ventured to the local super store to secure food. My sense is that if we give into market pressure we will poison ourselves. A lot went on between mother daughter yesterday. In the end I bought a bag of kale salad which was eaten like a bag of popcorn, some fruit and a probiotic beverage. Feasted while daughter upgraded her phone in her dorm room.
I delivered a copy of my PMC2016 reflection to a donor from our parish. A woman I didn't know. Who responded to my funding request in the bulletin. She invited me into her home and we chatted for 30 minutes. A lovely lady who when she heard the size of the PMC and that 46 million dollars was raised, offered to donate next year.
The Pan Mass Challenge was a month ago. There is one month left to raise funds for PMC2016. And as I started this journey in January so shall I end it. Any dollar amount up to $1000 donated between now and October 1st, I will personally match.
Probably easier than lining up ducks. School is starting. The exercise regime needs to switch. No more 1.5 hour bike rides in the morning. Have taken a couple of hour walks instead. Out early. Home to see the school bus is met.
PMC2016 in the rear view, when do you stop riding? Went out Sunday at 7 AM with fellow Kermit for a quick 40. Had to get home for family. This morning was out at 5:30 to ride before work... An hour and a half ride squeezed in... In the last leg wondered about the early mornings, and the push to ride. When will the training be over?
Answer: When I cannot pedal. Gratitude for good health.
Gratitude for two great bikes that roll like dreams.
Gratitude for cool morning rides instead of hot and humid afternoons.
As fellow Team Kermit member, Alan Cantor, stated, the ride is over but the cause continues. Our pedal partner Declan is living proof the Pan Mass Challenge is key to winning the war on childhood cancer. Seeing him and reading the signs along the route which said, "Thank you I had cancer when I was (younger) and this August I'll be going to college" truly put power in my pedal stroke. I can't help but ride again.
A PMC advertisement showing a bike seat with the text "We are sitting on the cure" could not be more true.
The goal is to raise 46 million dollars by October 1.
Every Team Kermit member rides with a friend on their helmet. Some highly decorated. Mine not so much. My friend has a helmet of course and two buttons. Today's view is front facing: Showing an appreciation for warm hugs. Tomorrow's view will be the back.
The ride is three weeks away. I am either ready or I am not. For you can't really cram training. There is time for two big rides approaching 100 mile days. The rest will be sitting pretty at 25 to 40 miles. With the truly BIG concern of how will my friend Kermit ride on my helmet and even more vexing is what will he wear?
Lately I have been training with the Team Kermit kit on. First of all, all I can hear, in my head is Frozone asking where his super suit has been placed. And I laugh. For the Kermit kit is my super suit.
Second, I ride alone for the vast majority of my rides. And yesterday twice as I saw other groups of riders, individuals called out "Team Kermit" or "Green".
I spend Monday through Friday 7:30AM to 4:00PM in an office with no outside time. So early in the morning I ride my bike through areas that have water and fields and hopefully few cars.
And when I see a roadkill I wonder if kids today, and many adults too, are desensitized to death and killing. That they don't see how precious life is anymore due to video games and media. It's just a frog, a squirrel, a hawk, a robin, a mouse or vole. We pass them by.
In the game, in the movies, death is clean. It's just a character, the enemy, the bad guy, a cartoon, a small trickle of blood. The body remains intact.
I'm tired of reading the bumper sticker Black Lives Matter. Get real. All Lives Matter. Yours. Theirs. Catholic. Muslim. Young. Old. Depressed. Imprisoned. Holy. Imfirmed. Vibrant. Jewish. All.
My dear friend and fellow World Youth Day pilgrim passed away recently from cancer. This morning, I was taking a pass through the cemetery, on a Pan Mass Challenge, training ride when I saw his grave marker. I make these rides through to pay my respects and to visit a bit. I stopped. Remembered my dear friend and then saw the two stained glass windows I made for him.
Such an honor to have small acts of kindness raised to such a high placement. Proving the fact that we never truly know the power of kindnesses, big or small.
Rest In Peace my dear friend. I'll see you again on my next training ride.
I saw a video where Dick Prentke carved a spoon for a friend's wife, as a thank you gift. I was so amazed I had to try it myself. In two hours Mr Prentke had a spoon. In two hours I had contentment and a few blisters.
Think we will finish it today. Or at least get closer.
There is calm in handwork. Prayers for all of us touched by the violence in Orlando.
Long day yesterday. Ride time came and I dragged to the bike. Pan Mass Challenge. Cancer patients don't have easy choices, no time for me to be a slacker.
Ride review: first time I truly nearly got whacked by a driver not paying attention. I yelled and scared them. Well they scared me first! Afterwards I thought, I'm too young to die. Silly thought. Cancer fighters die each day much younger than I.
Saw a huge turkey. Always exciting.
Got a bit further from home at dusk. Thankful I have a headlight.
Got caught in the rain. Despite the thunder, it was a great ride. Muddy and soaked I returned home safely.