Category Archives: MS150

This One’s For Mike

Building me a substitute Bike 2010

To the Rescue! Out on the route, MS150 2010

I can’t say enough good things about Mike.  He’s a great guy, with a beautiful family.  He is an excellent bike mechanic.  Oh yeah, he has saved my (biking) life several times.  He saved me today and I am grateful.

I am the only girl I know, who can screw up her bike while cleaning it. I managed to do just that yesterday.  The bike was filthy from the MS150, I’m poor, so I got to work on a little DIY cleaning.  I know what to do, maybe not how to do it the best way.  Somehow, I slipped the front derailleur out of position so I couldn’t shift my front gears very well.  (The big ones by the pedals).  This morning I did a 25 mile ride in the same gear the whole trip because I was scared to shift.  It was a great ride and taught me to shift my body’s gears instead of my bike’s gears.  I stopped by to ask HOW to fix it.  After a couple of spins, a screw and some maneuver, it was magically all better for my big training ride tomorrow.  He’s not giving up his Mike’s Magic secrets.  That is the VALUE of having a bike from a reputable bike shop.  They have people who are experts in bikes.  Bike repair and assembly is a fine art.  There are several artists at my shop, Chainwheel Drive.  They are worth their weight in gold.  I couldn’t (no would’t have a bike to) ride without them.  Thanks Mike! (Bruce, your turn will come-don’t be jealous)

There was a mechanic in my Mom’s life too.  Dr. Jones just kept patching her up and getting her through the disease.  Dr. Mark Jones, our family doctor, delivered my brother and sister, saved my Mom again and again, and he is our dear friend.  He hates MS too.


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Bok Tower Reflection

It takes a conscious effort to self-evaluate.  Honesty.  Dedication.  It means physically stopping.  Mentally stopping, taking a deep breath, and opening up to the details that surround you.  Looking in the mirror of truth.  Reality.  It’s not always easy.  However, to have that concrete information.  Knowing exactly where you stand, even though you are standing right there, is priceless.  Looking back on old reflections, journals, photographs is even more rewarding.  Maybe it’s chance to check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Or it is a reminder of how far you have come, how much you have grown and it’s the momentum to carry you to the next big challenge.  The wisdom to take on the challenge with confidence and grace.

I keep a bike journal.  Not perfectly, but I have kept one since Gasparilla 2009 when Publix gave away an exercise log in the packet.  I have a new journal.  It’s got a fancy cover with a picture of a bike.  It’s a mess, and there are plenty of places to catch up on the log.  I said I would write about the ride after reflecting.  So here is my reflection… looking back three years:

First year, first day- half way and I was struggling a little.

Struggled up the hills and bridges on my lil blue bike

2009:  Plus- I finished all 150, no bike/body problems, met so many new people, surprised my Mom and Dad

Delta- Forgot to eat first two hours of ride, didn’t hydrate enough, tried to take too much stuff, didn’t know how to shift, struggled in climbs, didn’t have a strong core at all, didn’t have lip protection/lip gloss (thanks Karen, for sharing)

Dad and me at the Finish Line 2010

The B-train 2010 at the finish

My "new" bike for 2010

2010  Plus- Trained at altitude in Colorado, got better at climbing, inspired by Mom, riding with familiar people, better nutrition and hydration, rode a great (borrowed) bike, rode with more experienced riders

Delta- Drove from CO to FL a week before ride, rode a borrowed, Men’s bike, overweight and climbs were hard, stopped too long at rest stops, rode above my pace too much, forgot my cell phone at hotel on Sunday, finished later than I wanted, too much salt

I was able to "give" a pull instead of riding caboose

Riding 13 pounds light helped a LOT! (Bike clothes do not flatter)

2011 Plus- Lost 13 pounds, trained wisely, worked on core on days off of the bike, climbed well, gave pulls, rode at MY pace when needed, not others, short rest stops, good nutrition and hydration, minimized distractions, didn’t have to drive :), new bike that FIT WELL

Delta-Lose 13 more pounds for next year, ride the 100 first day, better fundraising, don’t eat too much Saturday night, better pace line skills, new shorts.

Like I said, it was the “Best Ride of My Life… So Far.”  I hope that next year is better.  I hope my next ride is better.  If there was one thing I could go back in time and do-over, it would be to have been a better mirror for my Mom to reflect in.  I think I tried to help her, but my feedback was too harsh when she was beaten down by an illness.  I wanted the best for her, we all did.  I am still working to be a kinder mirror; to friends, to family, to coworkers.  Honesty is a gift, but wrapping it the right way makes it more of a present.

Just for fun:  “Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they call it the present.” -Kung Fu Panda and Joe Madden (Tampa Bay Rays Coach)

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Best ride of my life… so far.

Training partner, riding partner, teacher (of bike knowledge) and accomplice-Christine

Lookin' good halfway with J.T. Nutrition guru, bike genius and just all around fun to ride with!

Although tired, I really wasn't too scared of Sunday

Finish line with my new buddy Matt

Here are a few preview pics from the ride.  The best ride of my life … so far.  There is so much to reflect on and share with you all.  Let’s just say, the third year is a charm.  I enjoyed every minute from almost forgetting my bike leaving home, to feeling great waking up on Monday morning.  My body feels great, my mind is still pretty mushy.  So for now, I made it home safely.  I will be writing more about what was so great about riding my bike last weekend.  Good night!  (James, I’m sorry I haven’t downloaded the 149 cell phone pics yet)


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No “ME” in TEAM!

Some Teammates Ready to Start the Ride

Fun times with friends

My friends at the beach

My Tampa Jayhawk Family

Yes, if you rearranged the letters, there would be a me in team.  It is a play on the phrase “No I in team”.  This post is missing countless friends, most of whom have at least one photo, safely stored in a box, not this computer.  Today, is a day off the bike.  This post is to recognize the friends, the family and the team who make “me” possible.

The teams who make this ride possible are:  Bike MS150 team of Central Florida NMSS, Suncoast Cycling Club, Chainwheel Drive, riding partners, the Barry group, Bayside peeps, beach girls, work girls, friends from Gainesville, Charlotte, KU, Lex and beyond. You all are literally spread across 42 states, three decades and yet each of you valuable individually.  This blog has a heading: Just Me, On My Bike.  The truth is there are always reminders of an old friend or thoughts about close friend who is struggling.

Today, this blog is dedicated to you all.  This blog is also a tribute to the teams, and teams of people who went above and beyond to help my Mom and our family as we struggled with Multiple Sclerosis.  Merely beginning to recall some the extraordinary acts of kindness and support that were given to my Mom and our family by friends, health care providers and even strangers brings tears to my eyes.  We were lucky.  People with MS, can’t take a pill, don’t have much hope for a cure, but when a team pulls together there are usually great strides made in accomplishing a goal.  Our team is close to the goal of $40.000.  The monies raised will fund teams of researchers and support staff for people who may be stuck on the island of “I” with MS.

Thank YOU friends.  Go Team Go!!!  

**Every effort was made to omit the words I/me in this post.  If there are strange grammatical twists, that’s part of the reason.

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Time as the coefficient

I love to get on these signs. I got 26, but the pic was taken at 23 (had to be careful)

Wind was a significant factor in the equation

Mid-climb up the Clearwater Memorial Causeway

The view from the top isn't bad!

Monday was gut-check day.  I had a rematch with the bridges of Clearwater Beach(9%, 11% and 10% grade) .  It was good.  To roughly quote a line from Talladega Nights, “You made that bridge your b*, Court”.

Why would I turn around the day after a very tough ride and punish myself like that? 1.  Rain check from Friday 2. I wanted to build the muscles that I felt weakness in on Sunday, my muscle memory was fresh 3. I wanted to have the confidence of riding them well going into the MS150, it’s got some stretches of rolling hills.   I had a busy day yesterday, so time was scarce and I wanted to go a certain distance.  Time Trial!  DISTANCE = TIME x SPEED  There is a reason time trials are important training tools for cyclists, part of big races like the Tour de France and one of my training tools.  They force you to focus on your performance instead of your final result, challenge you to push harder to reach your goal and wake up fast-twitch muscle fiber.  I finished my circuit with two minutes to spare.  The bridges were different than yesterday.  I was alone, focused and I even said “Hi” to people as I was climbing.  I was in a much better place mentally.  Great ride.

In the formula of life, we have a certain amount of control over  the D (distance) we travel, the S (speed) we keep.  Our variable is T(time).  MS really put a limit on the amount of T (time) my Mom had here with us.  It eventually, dropped the speed of her youth and days as a P.E. teacher to a slow roll.  She kept going the distance.  The distance to see her grandchildren, the distance to teach reading (even after her disability forced her into volunteerism), the distance to see her friends and family.

Set your goals for D high.

Keep your S  steady, and push yourself to go faster sometimes.  Coast downhill when needed.

Always remember, while you think you control the amount of T you have in this life,  it is really a coefficient chosen by someone much bigger than physics teacher.  Make the most of your T!

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Mother’s Day… No, Angels Day.

My Helmet and Sweatband

You can barely see, but there's Boji's pink tongue as he barked at me for leaving this morning

I don’t write this to appease an audience.  I write what comes to mind when I’m riding or how I feel about a certain event or day.  I had a great ride today!  It was, unbeknownst to some, exactly what I wanted it to be.  I rode with a group for about 20 miles, then separated and ended up solo.  Ok, the truth is I was riding above my usual level and I kept up just fine in the flats, but I lagged about 200 yards behind after a bridge and I didn’t try to catch up.  I was in my neighborhood near Clearwater Beach and I was planning some time alone on the bike anyway.  (I remembered my phone this time)  So I took the opportunity to do the rest of the ride my way.  Guess what, I get to do Mother’s Day my way now too.

I heard on the news that Mother’s Day has surpassed Valentines as the busiest flower holiday.  I don’t remember ever giving my mom flowers.  Maybe a corsage for Mother’s Day?  I do remember picking flowers for her.  We usually had a few in our yard by May.  I’m not a big fan of card and flower holidays.   I did find a few of the cards that I sent to Mom from Charlotte and KU.  I guess they were a big deal to her.  So now, I have this day and I want to spend in a way that I think honors and connects me to Mom.  I challenged myself to ride faster.  I climbed three bridges, and added on three repeats of the Curlew overpass standing.  I rode solo, and didn’t feel alone.  I met a new friend, I learned more about biking.  I went to church and learned about the Book of Ruth and Hesed.  I took a short nap.  Spent time with friends.  I have seen about five of the seven “Moms” that have come into my life around here this week.  I was a good, no great, mom to Boji today.  These are all things that “I” did, but really I wasn’t alone.

Hallmark can make up behave a certain way by promoting a holiday.  The truth is, I like to celebrate in unconventional ways.  If MS has given me anything, it was another angel.  So I celebrated Angels Day today and nobody could have told me how it was supposed to be done… except an angel.

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Life Lines and Rain Checks

Clouds rollin' in

I set out for my ride at 7:25 this morning, I don’t know where the people I was supposed to meet were?  Maybe I got confused on the starting location.  Anyway, I headed out on the regular beach and bridges route that I love(hate) to do.  This route is about 30 miles around the beach(love), including up to three bridges between 9-11% climbs(hate).  As I proceeded solo, I was doing my usually acclimation activities and realized I didn’t have my cell phone, some of you call yours Blackberry.  I know the route well.  I know people and businesses along the route ,but… I had this terrible feeling of uneasiness as I rode toward the beach.  What if?  Terrible mindset, I know.  When it is accompanied by a “gut” feeling, I usually listen.  I can’t change my own tire, my hands are not strong enough to get the wheel off/on my rims.  What if I got hit, hurt, lost, dog…  ????!@#$%^&

In life the “what ifs” can be very self-defeating and hold people back from moving forward.  This is the way I saw it relate to MS in my Mom’s life.  She carried her little flip cell phone in her bra strap.  What if she fell?  What if she had trouble breathing?  What if she needed something while she was laying down?  It was her life line.  It became a what if line for my Dad too.  For the past five years or more, my Dad had his cell and picked up quickly all the time.  Even when the number of calls exceeded reasonable.  I have actually smiled a few times when my Dad left his cell phone behind in the car or didn’t answer when I called.  I think he is enjoying being off “call”.  We can all relate to ways that we use our mobile devices as life lines.  I’m glad I went back to get mine.

As I headed out for Round 2, it seemed like a gorgeous overcast day.  Four miles later, the storm arrived and I have a rain check for Sunday with the bridges.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society provides life lines to people diagnosed with MS.  There are support groups, chat rooms, call in centers, medical referral support lines and more.

This is a critical part to helping MS patients, caregivers, families and friends deal with the disease.  I have my life line, so long as I remember it, to family and friends.  MS survivors need life lines too.  That’s why I accept the challenge to ride the MS150… with my Blackberry, so I can Tweet.

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