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 !!!  ;)