Yesterday kicked my ass. And my CROTCH. And the bottoms of my feet, my toes, my forearms and my neck. But mostly my crotch. Fortunately my thighs, calves and lungs held up pretty damn good for the whole 100 miles. My spirit wavered occasionally and I had the shit scared out of me twice. But it was worth it.
Fifty people donated in support of my ride. Together we raised over $3000 of the $15,000 at the Blazing Saddles event to help Montana families of children with cancer. Your support helped carry me across those miles.
When I faced a knurly headwind during the 8th hour on that tiny abusive seat on top of those impossibly skinny hard tires I swore out loud. Seriously. I also panted a mantra the last few miles, “you are healthy – you are healthy – you are healthy” which was as close as I could get to “you are strong” and “you got this” because at those moments when the wind pounded my spirit and the relentless deep cracks in the pavement punched my softest most sensitive parts, I didn’t feel like I “had this” or that I was “strong.” I felt like crying and more than anything I wanted to be DONE.
My pain was real. But I was heartily aware that my pain was temporary and a self-imposed “luxury” that comes from a choice I made while being healthy, unlike young’uns faced with cancer. Cancer has touched all of us one way or another. I witnessed my father’s last breath when pancreatic cancer took him. I saw the fear in my mother’s eyes when they wheeled her away to cut off her breast. The day before the ride a courageous dear friend who continues to fight texted (without whining) that he was “Feeling lousy today. Weak from chemo and sick.”
I do not personally know a child with cancer but I thought about three new babies recently born to 3 of the ten couples Raymond has married. I rode for those healthy babies and their future even as I road for the children currently fighting. Yesterday was the kind of day that took me places within myself that are both personal and not-at-all about “self.”