Sunday, April 2, 2017

April 2, 2017 ... 15 years ago ...

Can it really be 15 years ago that one of my major life changing events occurred ??? Where has it all gone.  I knew I would be retired but little did I realize then that in 2017 just how far depleted my body would have become !!!  I was working and MOST active in 2002 and I just didn't see the forest for the trees, I suppose !!!  Today I am required to wear a brace on my right leg and use of a walker is necessary even for simply getting around my home ... The outside world can be another story !!!  BUT DON'T YOU EVER START FEELING SORRY FOR ME !!!  For I have lived a life so full of rich blessings that it would have been more than enough to make a dozen men hsappy with themselves !!!

15 years ago was when I began my cycling trek across the United State !!!  From Los Angeles, CA to Boston, MA ... 4,320 miles in seven weeks !!!  It has become such a special part of my life !!!

Working as a United States Probation Officer since 1992, my life was full of success and challenges ,, BOTH making for a wonderful experience !!!  I loved my job and worked long hours but I didn't care about the time spent as I was having "fun" ... Then I began having noticeable health issues, particularly as it related to my walking ... not something that could be easily hidden from management.  As my symptoms increased ... the duties and functions that I loves to perform were slowly taken away,  At times I felt almost lost ,,, not knowing what to do or even which way to turn.  The one thing I relied on was my cycling ... still riding for literally 1,000's of miles a year while still getting lost in my work that at times seemed over whelming to me !!!  I tri3ed to find a balance between the two things that seemed to give a sense of meaning and purpose to my life.

Management even tried talking me in to an early retirement based on my disability..  But then I emembered the days of my High School Football.  I wasn't much of a player but I loved the game ... I was like the "Rudy" of our simple little team ... Although there was NOTHING simple about our team OR our most special coaches who did far more for me than to teach me how to play the game ... THEY TAUGHT ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE !!!  NEVER give in, NEVER give an inch and NEVER QUI !!!  Although I never received any sports notoriety, the lessons I learned taught ne to give my best and to, most importantly, NEVER QUIT !!!  Not just during the games but during my life as well !!!   I am so bery glad I listened and ran the course !!! 

Just as in 2002, when I rode my bicyckle across the country, I once agained learned to believe in myself and my ability to push myself far beyond simple living but to living a full and extraordinary life in the process !!!  The same is coming true again this year ... only my main battle is coming from within ,,, I need to listen to my coaches words ... MEVER give in, never give an inch and NEVER quit !!!  Many folks have questioned why I do what I do ... I really don't know how to respond other than  it has been deeply ing4rained in my very soul  to live by those words of my beloved coaches so many years ago now ...

So in 2017, the 15th anniversary of my Cross Country Ride, I am still dreaming BIG dreams !!!  The first this year is to participate on the Blue Ridge Marathon, actually doing a DOUBLE MARATHON !!!  This year I will have to ride the first leg starting around 7:00p.m. on Friday April 21st and riding it again at 1:3-0 a.m. on April 22nd with the "real" double marathoners. (I am working with the Blue Ridge Independent Living Center in hopes of having it changed in 2018 so ANY disabled athlete can participate in the actual BRM with appropriate accommodations).  Secondly, on June 3rd and 4th, I will be participating in the Virginia/West Virginia MS-150 from Richmond to Williamsburg on the first day and back to Richmond the second day.  This will make about 50 MS-150 tours I have ridden in over the years ... an accomplishment I am most proud of !!!  :)

Thirdly, on June 10th of this year,  I am looking at doing a MOST challenging ride on my hand crank trike for the Multiple Sclerosis Alliance of Virginia (MSAV) !!!  This ride will take place beginning at Breaks Interstate Park on the Virginia/Kentucky border and going over 595 miles and ending in Yorktown, VA.  On April 1st of this year, I dove the portion from Breaks Interstate Park to Christiansburg, VA, just to get an idea of the mountains and roads that I have before me...  This will be as challenging, if not MORE challenging, than my cross country ride in 2002.

Once again I will be doing this challenge ride for the MSAV ... our local 501c3 non-profit here in South West Virginia.  ALL donations stay in this part of the State to help folks living with this disease and their families to have a place to "connect" and find support.  The board and all leaders operate on a completely volunteer basis so ALL monies go directly to services, programs simple neds for folks in this area.  We are still affiliated with the Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation and very much appreciate their support and direction as we all work together tio make lives a little better while searching for a cure to this devastating disease.

On the facepage of my website at www.msride,org is an address that checks may be sent to and all checks must be made out to the MSAV.  And once again, as last years Colorado Tour, I plan on keeping a daily BLOG on this site so that anyone interested may follow along and even send notes of encouragement if you wish.  Once again, I do not seek ANY sympathy for the way my body hurts and feels.  ALL I seek is your friendship and support ,,, either financially and especially through your kind thoughts, words and prayers..  By the way ... jsy to make you doubly aware ... ALL monies collected go to the MSAV as I pay all of my own expenses for this trip ... Bless you my friends and have a GREAT week ... You will be hearing more from me as the time gets closer !!!  ;)

Thursday, March 30, 2017

March 30m 2017 ,,, A NEW CYCLING SEASON BEGINS !!!

Good afternoon ALL !!!  It has been a while since my last BLOG note and this is to make you aware that I am alive and well !!!  Well, as well as this old guy can be any3y !!!  ;)  Things are moving fast lately ... I was trying earlier this year to get into the Blue Ridge Marathon but for "logistic" reasons I will not be an "official" rider this year ... BUMMER !!!  Never fear and don't think I have given up hope !!! I have ridden the course aqt least 5 times already this year and was looking at doing the DOUB:E MARATHON so .. to make a long story short ... I will be doing it still just that I will be riding the first loop of the course by myself starting at 7:00 p.m. on Friday April 21st.  ANYONE car to join me for the first 26 mile loop .. I will begin at the Roanoke City Library on Jefferson Street and head to Walmut, up mill Mountain to the Blue Ridge Parkway, ride the Roanoke Mountain loop, back to Mill Mountain and up to the STAR,, down the old road to the greenway, cross South Roanoke Park and go under the train track, cross over to Avenham and ride up the Clydesdale to Peakwood and up, up, up to West Ridge, back down to  right on 27th Street to South Jefferson and loop that neighbor hood until I come back down to Jefferson next to South Roanoke United Methodist Church, right again on Jefferson back toward town and turn left on Highland Avenue all the way and turn right toward Wasena bridge, cross the bridge and ride through Vic Thomas Park, cross Memorial Bridge and to a left turn up by the Jesus Saves Church and back down Winona and cross back over Waseba Brisgw ti 5th street, turn at the old Jefferson Gym and go past YMCA until you get to Martin's and turn right up hill , cross Franklin at the old APCO building and YWCA to left hand turn back down to Patr4ick Henry Hotel and Roanoke Library ... THEN REPEAT AGAIN !!!  The second loop will have the "official" double marathoners running ... I am just not allowed to ride in the daylight this year due to "safety" and "insurance" reasons ... GO FIGURE !!!  ;)  This issue will be resolved by next year and I have promised to be a good boy and not cause any issues this year !!!  And just to make you aware, provided you have read akk of this post ,, I WOULD NEVER INTERFERE WITH ANY OF THE RUNNERS !!!  So, keep your eyes posted on this BLOG for future postings as it appears this may be another interesting year and I plan on keeping you posted on this site !!!  As ALWAYS, I thank each of you for your continued support in ALL that I do !!! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The last HOORAH !!! (OR IS IT ???)

To ALL my DEAR FRIENDS that have followed this old guy's dream and adventure ... As I said on FB ... I THANK EACH OF YOU FROM THE TOP, BOTTOM AND MIDDLE OF MY HEART !!!  Although I was the only one on that hand crank trike I KNOW I was NOT ALONE !!!  I had the support of so many ... pushing me ... pulling me and literally willing me up and over those mountain passes ...  And I have KNO FOUBT I could NOT have achieved this dream without having EVERYONE'S support around me at ALL times !!!

Although my body is still physically hurting and may be for a while ... I promise to you ... my friends living with M.S., for those who are care providers and for those of you who simply care ... I will MEVER quit as long as I can draw a breathe into these lungs !!!  and EACH OF YOU are my inspiration !!!  I am aware ... that without your support and friendship ... I would ne nothing ...

My next dream is just that ... still a dream ... But just like the Bicycle Tour of Colorado was once upon a time a dream ... It is NOW a reality ...  One I hope we can ALL draw strength and encouragement from  for this was not just one man's ride ... I WAS RIDING FOR ALL OF US !!!

And so ... until I find another dream to share with those I love may I encourage you to pursue your own dreams ... And ALWAYS remember that achieving the dream is not the real meaning behind all this but the fight and battles to get there ... even the one's you don't win ... as long as you never quit ... YOU CAN NEVER LOSE !!!

Take care my friends !!! United we stand ... Divided we fall ... May the MSAV and ALL of our friends stand together for a long time !!!

Kenny

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Saturday June 25, 2016 Naturita, CO to Montrose, CO

Hellp All !!!  Today was aq very special day !!!  We have ridden full circle on our journy hich began last Sunday ... a 359 nile journey around the Southwetern corner of one of the most bautiful places I have eve been !!!  It hasn't all been a party as there were many hardships and hard timsd face3d this week.  Major decisions were faced and standing up tall to those decisions is the ONLY ay one can face them and also face the world !!!  So lets get started on todays journey ... including decision made, plans set and lets see what,if any, goals were achieved this day and/or week !!!

The ride tomorrow was going to be the longest ride of the week, 83 miles fom Naturita back to our starting point in Montrose.  Many of the folks had miles to driv upon our return so "group decisions" were made to SAG a ways into tomorrows ride before we would unload our "bikes" to complete this truly hard and epic journey !!!  Certainly there are those folks that might saythere is nothing EPIC about this journey but if it could be done in another person's shoes ... One's determination of what epic is ... one's opinion may greatly change !!!

I chose to ride with my companions and friends, Matt and Myles, two paraplegics that had a quick wit and insatiable desire to keep moving ... characteristics I look for and desire in people !!!  My other friends made this week, Bobby and his son Lucas, saged in to the top of the Dallas Diivde because they had atleast a 5 hour ride after finishing today to get to their reservations.  We stopped first in Placerville to unload Matt, Myles and myself andsaid our so longs to Bobby and Lucas.  I have a good feeling that our paths will definitely cross again !!!

The climb for today began almost immediately but the gradiant of steepness was almost negligable but the length was 13 miles.  So, nearly 2,000' in thirteen miles ... Unlike our climb out of Euray a few days ago where we climbed close to 3,500' in 12 miles ...  The odds for a successful climb at this point were definitely in our favor !!!  The only excitement in the early point of this day was when a motorcycle poliuce officer pulleed between Matt and myself and advised us thatwe needed to stay entirely within the bicycle lane,  Honestly, we seldom had more than our left rear wheel over the line and that was due to debri and rocks within the lane ... but the law is the law and better than getting a ticket we just said "Yes Sir" and the officer drove on,

Then we reached our second Aid Stop for the day, just ove the top of the Dallas Divide at 8,600'.  And then our fun for the afternoon began in ernest !!!  We all ran diffeent speeds on downhill runs so we decided to get back together closer to he bottom of the run.  Myles took off first and Matt motioned me to go second.  Within 300 yards, I was hitting 40 mph and quickly passed Myles.  soon there after I hit my top speed for the weekend at 52.6 mph ... not the fastest I have eve traveled on a bike but stikk a fir rate of speed !!!  Matt caught up to me at the end of the "big hill" and later Myles joined us as well.  Even more fun was about ready to begin !!!  Although the three of us had ridden together some during the wek ... our travel speeds often separated us from each other,

But today was different,  Tody we stuck together in a three man hand crank pce line rotating frequently off the front to help keep our speed up !!!  Matt first took off after a young lady ho was riding quite well so we quickly caught onto his wheel and kept "the machine" churning along !!!  About seven miles outside of Montrosse Myles pulled up beside me and in a moment's notice ... PSSHHhhh ... Matt hit some debris and flattedone of his rear wheels.  Matt was already there and I rolled back to them to keep a watch on approaching traffic as we were right on the side of the road.  Another Adaptive Assistance Voluynteer soon joined us as Myles qyuckly set off to change the flattted tube in his left rea wheel,  As I was at the back watching traffic another young girl came riding byt and asked if I had been hit by a car ... to which I responded, "No Ma'am ... I've always looked like this" !!!  She continued to roll on andI shook my head wondering just how bad I might really look !!!

A BTC mechanic soon arrived on the scene and took over the job of replacing the tube and shortly thereafter we were rolling again !!!  This time, Ron continued to roll with us taking the point and was averaging about 17 mph the ret o the way back to our starting point !!!  And just as we made the final turn toward the school, Myles flatted again but this timw he kept rolling until we all crossed the finish line !!!

One observation I can make of today's ride is that often times when things in our lives seem to be rolling so smoothly there can come an obstacle which can change our day in the blionk of an eye ,,, Like Myle's first flat tire ... still miles from the finish ... just when things had been running so smoothly all day !!!  But Myles NEVER got excited or lost his temper ,,, He simply unhooked himself from his trike seat lowered his body to the pavement, pulled out his toold and began replacing his tube so he could continue his journey,  Just like an M.S. exacerbation in our lives hitting us when things sem to be running so smoothly ,,, Is it proper for us to react negatively or simply to contact our Dr, to determine the best course of action to take night be,  I KNOW WHIUCH ONE IS THE EASIER CHOICE !!!  But really, which one is the best for us in the long run ???  I believe you know too !!!

 And then we may be hit by a second setback shortly after the first. I too know how easy it is to give in ... when you are so close to your goal !!!  Myles had that second flat a few hundred yards from the finish but instead of pulling to the side of the road he chose to keep riding to achieve his goal of crossing the finish line at the Bicycle Tour of Colorado !!!  A second hit is at times far harder to take thn the first hit ... especilly when there is little time in between those hits,  Once gain I ask you ,,, which is the best chioice ti make ... to pull over to the curb abd simply say "I quit !!!"  ... or to persevere forward and achieve that gol youmay be looking for !!! And I say again ... I know which choice I would like to make !!!

But making choices is an individual matter unless we have family or friends that "get it" to help steer us though "stormy" times !!!  And that may be where you may need to reach out to a friend like one you may have at the Roanoke Valley M.S. Support Group.  And if we don't have the answers ,,, we can help to connect you to theright folks that BOTH "get it" and "have an answer"  But to make sure we keep this goup going ,,, we need to help support it !!  Please consider making even a small taxdeductable donation to the NSAV today and mail it to the address of the facepage of www,msride,org

And once again I thank each of you for following this journey and hope in some small way it may have helped or encouraged you or someone you know in some small way !!!  Thank each of you for your time and contributions to the MSAV ... But resy assured ... the journey is not over for the guy ... Not until we find a cure for this ugly disease ,,, M.S. ... the disease that robs so much from so many ...

And I'm NOT done ... just done for tonight ... so please come back tomorrow "for the rest of the story" ... Rest well My Friends !!!  Kenny

Friday, June 24, 2016

Thursday & Friday: Telluride to Naturita

Hello all!!!  Today's entry will be little different, since Thursday was a rest day and Friday a riding day, both days will be included in this Blog to get us up to speed.                                                                                                    
I awoke early Thursday morning and my body did not feel just right.  Both my arms and legs ached a great deal.  But, the sore I had developed on my backside had turned into what might become a potential ride stopper.  Additional, the flatted right rear tire had not been repaired as a mechanic had not been available.  So, at this point, I made the tough decision to stop riding in this tour.  I was greatly disappointed, however,  I felt like I was making the right decision.  Unlike last years tour, where the wreck on the motorcycle and untimely departure could be attributed mainly to my error: this years departure was the result of giving what I believed 110% of my effort to the cause so backing out at this point was not a "failure" but rather my body's response to my effort given.  As disappointed as I should have been there was some peace in my decision.  

On Friday morning I awoke and felt a bit lost as I knew my friends were preparing to leave and I was not among them.  I climbed in the car and we headed to Naturita.  We stopped a couple of times to provided assistance to my fellow riders and each time I felt a bit lost believing I should be riding with them.  Additionally, this route consisted of over 5000'  of decent and 1700' of climbing, a riders dream.  After arriving at our hotel decision was made to consider repairing my strike for the last day's ride.  The parts needed for this repair were assembled together and taken to the bicycle mechanic who quickly made the repairs.  The strike was now ready and I had a twinge of excitement building within as it was now becoming more clear that I was indeed going to return in the last days ride of the 2016.  My dream was indeed reigniting that my return was going to be a reality.  Although my body pains continue, I felt there was enough left in me to ride one last day.

Living with MS is very much the same, as you never really know what your symptoms maybe from one day to the next.  I believe that is why we must all choose to live our lives to our own fullest potential on our good days and strive as quickly as we can to overcome our bad ones.  That is why the Roanoke Valley Multiple Sclerosis Support Group was established.  To give folks a place to connect with other folks that "get it" .  This group ca9 not continue without your assistance.  Please consider making your tax deductible donation today and make it out to The Multiple Sclerosis Alliance of Virginia and mail it to the address listed on the face page of www.msride.org.  Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Please return tomorrow to find out how this tour ends.  Although this tour maybe coming to a close, our fight with MS continues and we can not do it without your help.  Until tomorrow... Take care!!!

P.S.:   pleas leave any comments, questions or concerns at the bottom of this page.  Thank you,  Kenny

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wednesday June 22, 2016 Cortez to Telluride

Hello all !!!  I hope both of you reading this BLOG had a good day !!!  Mine started EARLY !!!  4:00 a.m. TOO EARLY TO WAKE UP TO GO RIDE A BIKE !!!  So we were on the road at 5:00 a.m. but the weather was close to perfect for riding !!!  We left early as well: 5:00 a.m., and other than being too dark to see, after we left the city lights.

Matt, Myles and myself initially rode together as a unit but we eventually all split up riding on our own or with other riders for a short while.  At first I ran fairly well but after I tried a short kick  ... my "battery" was beginning to lag behind and I fell off on a most reasonable pace That was being set.  Was I just having a bad moment and soon to recover or was this the beginning a much larger issue ???  The day could only tell !!!

The road we left Cortez on had become a rather flat, excluding an occasional hill must have been to add a little balance to our long day still ahead of us ... Though at moments I felt like I was riding along at a reasonable speed: just when a group of riders flew past revealing I was only puttering along.  Although it was a long flat road, there had been and still was a construction zone along our same route, leading to big trucks and lose gravel.  Not much fun ... particularly as the heat of the day was starting to rise !!! And just to add a little excitement to the mix ... there was a thunder storm brewing in the distance and word was"possible severe thunder storms" in the area.

Then there came that moment when my right rear wheel dropped off a short side of the road and put a pinch in my tire giving me a flat tire ... my first one on the rear wheel since I bought the bike.  Reluctantly putting a possible end to my day.  just then the Adaptive Adventures van drove by and advised me we were being taken off the route due to an impending storms ... So was this an unofficial withdrawal from today's or was I forced to withdraw by "unforeseen storms" ???

Anyway ... we drove into Telluride and went to our "mountain village"; our home for two nights and some much needed rest !!!  I must confess, my entire body aches and hurts as much as it ever has !!!  Additionally, I am having  other issues, even though I am using "protection" ... O.K. just checking tosee if you have fallen asleep yet !!!  Even with the "air cushion" I have been using helps ... my "pain" there hurts quite intensely ... I need this day off the bike so much !!!

And that's the way life is !!! Even with the right "medication", there is no guarantee other "stuff" might hit us !!!  Just like our M.S. hit us !!!  So what is one to do: see a Dr.,  take your medication as directed or maybe even join a Support Group"  !!!  And I hope those of you living with this disease are encouraged to do 111  PLEASE REACH OUT AND FIND US TODAY !!!

Until our paths keep me in your thoughts and vibes and prayers for a day of rest and haling ... PLUS remember I have to get my trike fixed tomorrow too !!!  Take care ... Kenny                    

Tuesday Durango, CO to Cortez, CO

Hello All !!!  I'm glad to be back here with Ya'll !!!  The ride from Durango to Cortez was a good ride ... We did have some climbing but is was more gradual in nature unlike the previous day !!!  And there was one ood bit of news to start the day ... Last year when I was in Durango I rear ended a car with my motorcycle and was sent flying ... This year, I made it out of town and NEVER came close to any car bumpers ... A VAST improvement I must say !!!

Today I wanted to ride with one of the other hand Cyclists, Myles,  a 33 years old who has been a quadriplegic for nine years ...  A remarkable young man who loves a good challenge himself !!!  We spent th morning just cruising along and that was fine with me.  After pushing myself the way I did yesterday, I was really beginning to "feel the pain" !!!  And with two more days until we reach our rest day ... zzzzi knew I needed to pace myself a bit to get through.

After we had reached our lunch stop we had the highlight of our day ... long uninterupted downhil run into our stopping point for the night, Cortez, CO.  I really like going fast down those mountains and again hit speeds in excess of 50 mph !!!

But I must admit that despite taking it a little easier today .. my body is feeling the pain.  My shoulders are quite sore from all the spinning and climbing but I am trying to push through it. Also my left shoulder is experiencing pain related to the tore rotator cuff I received during my motorcycle wreck last year ... And to be even more honest ... I am developing a sore spot on my backside despite borrowing an air cushion seat from Matt.  Right now I am OK and dealing with it all ... I can only hope that any and/or all of these symptoms do not increase.  So please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers ... I will be 60 in a couple weeks and this body just doesn't recover the way it once did.

I know we ALL deal with our own set of aches and pains and the ones related to our MS symptoms are the ones where we all "get it !!!"  With our MS, it's tough to sometimes explain our "unseen" pain but WE know just how real it is !!  That's why it is so special that we have our Roanoke Valley M.S. Support Group where we can be comfortable being ourselves and not have to try to pretend our "stuff" doesn't exist for a society that can't understand what we deal with on a daily basis.

And as always I close in asking those who haven't already made a donation to the MSAV ... please consider doing so today !!!  As always ... I appreciate each of you !!!Please check back later as I work on getting this BLOG back up to speed !!!  Kenny