This weekend was my charity ride for MS. With all the changes that have been happening in my life, I did not take the time to train properly. My longest ride this spring was a little over 30 miles and I did that a couple of months ago. I typically put in a minimum of 100 miles per week on the bike. This year I have been lucky to get 20 miles per week. Needless to say, I chose to ride the short route of 60 miles per day as opposed to the 75 mile route that I have done in the past.
This year is my fourth year riding and raising money for MS research. My younger brother was diagnosed with the disease four years ago, so the cause is very close to my heart. For a very short period of time I considered not riding due to my lack of training. I would have regretted that decision greatly. This was probably my most challenging year, but I rode with my brother's limitations, struggles and challenges on my mind and in my heart. It also ended up being the most magical and meaningful year for me. I found myself alone in the middle of nowhere, legs screaming, tired, cold and just wanting to be at home in my bed. Then I thought about James' struggles and I found the strength to continue. It turns out that my fitness was a bit better than I thought and I averaged somewhere around 17 miles an hour both ways. On Saturday, I called James when I was two rest stops out and he met me at the finish line. Any question in my mind about why I was out there disappeared. I ride for James. I ride because he cannot. We spent the afternoon enjoying the atmosphere. He told me that he wants to find a bike and ride with me next year. I will ride as slow as I have to next year to make it happen for him.
So, call the MS rides what you want...fred fest, fred-tastic, whatever. For me, it is a celebration of a life that is altered. I ride for James.