17 June 2017

Breaking Tradition

Ride the Rockies, Day 0 – Alamosa

I've been writing today's blog post in my head since April 18, when I learned my “mouse elbow” was going to prevent me from Riding the Rockies this year.

I cried in the doctor's office. This was going to be my year. I was going to be well-trained. I was going to be slimmer. I was going to have more power so I wouldn't have to endure any more 12- or 14-hour days. We got hotel rooms for each of the seven nights. We would be able to sleep in comfortable beds. We wouldn't have to use the shower trucks. And we wouldn't have to use the blue rooms.

It was a very difficult dream from which to walk away.

Scary Stuff

Lizard and I discussed pulling out, getting a partial refund on our registration fees. He was afraid I'd be depressed if he got to ride and I didn't. I finally managed to convince him this would be no different than Triple Bypass, when I drive along the route and meet up with him in key locations to make sure he has enough food and drink.

In the end, he asked, oh, so politely, “Are you sure you won't be upset if I ride?”

How could I? Riding has been such a gigantic part of our life together. Just because I can't ride this time doesn't mean he has to give up something that fulfills his dreams. He did the same thing for me two years during the MS-150 when we weren't able to raise enough charitable donations for both of us to ride. My snowflake pattern booklets were the magical ingredient that enabled both of us to ride, and I didn't come up with that idea until 2011. We've been riding as a team since 2004. We just don't always get to ride together.

The May day after I learned surgery may be eminent, I came up with another brilliant idea. I could set a mileage goal and ride the stationary bikes in the hotels each day. I wouldn't get 70 miles a day, but there would be no risk of further and perhaps irreversible injury due to potholes or inattentive drivers. I could ride in a non-conventional way and be completely safe. I could do my Ride the Rockies miles in a creative and unusual way.

Now I know what a recumbent bike would feel like...

It brought excitement back onto the horizon.

Until we walked around the Alamosa fairgrounds today after picking up our packets. I feel like I'm here, but I feel like I'm not part of the ride. I see riders I recognize from previous years. I see volunteers I've seen in the past. I see jerseys and T-shirts like the ones I proudly earned. And I feel the wind those 1,999 other riders, including The Lizard, are going to have to battle tomorrow and Monday.

There's a hollow feeling inside because I can't ride, but there's a joy in my soul because I'm with my soulmate for a whole week in our favorite part of Colorado.

I will find reasons to smile this week, and I will share them here. I will make this a magical year, even without the headwinds, the saddle sores and the pesky gnats.


  1. Oh, I thought you were resting it and would get to ride too. That sucks indeed. You can always find a creative way to do it, but sometimes still not the same. Crummy bodies crapping out can sure put a damper on things.

    1. Resting it, too, Pat. It's been emotional, but I'm glad I got to take part, even if not the way I hoped and planned...

  2. Isn't it strange how much we miss all the pains and inconveniences of riding, when we're unable to do it? Because in spite of the headwinds, saddle sores, and gnats, it's just a wonderful thing to spin down the road on two wheels under your own power. To be part of the landscape instead of seeing it through glass. To feel the rush of air and smell the pines and see the flowers growing by the road.

    Keep on keeping on the sunny side, dear friend!

  3. Thanks, Sue! You know every ounce of that yearning to ride as well as I do. I will get back on my bike. It may take a while this time, but I will be back!


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