Thursday, June 4, 2009

Riding for a reason….

Earlier this year I committed to riding my bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation. I agreed to attempt this insane task for a couple of reasons…

One, my friend Jerry wouldn't leave me alone about it...

And two, and the real reason I'm doing this, is that this is a disease that has affected my immediate family.

For as long as I had known her, my mother-in-law suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a condition that caused her no small amount of pain and discomfort. My mom as well, deals daily with arthritis in her hands. And for someone that loves to work in her garden, this is a very frustrating and again, painful, issue to deal with.

We often associate a disease like arthritis with old people. We almost expect to get arthritis of some sort once we’re up in our golden years. The interesting fact though, is that arthritis is not an age specific illness. Juvenile Arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States and almost 2/3rds of the people that have doctor diagnosed arthritis are under 65!
(Look at
Also Touch , one of the teams doing the ride, for a very dramatic example of how arthritis can affect the young)

At first I wasn’t really concerned with the actual riding portion of the event. I figure I’m in pretty good shape, I ride pretty regularly, I’ve done several centuries or 100 mile rides….how hard can it be? My real concern at the time was whether or not I knew enough people to actually raise the $2950.00 in donations.

Well, this morning, in my email I received a link to a video from last year’s ride (
click to watch video) and as I sat there with my coffee, it dawned on me that while I’ve done several rides longer than any of the single days we’re going to be doing, I’ve never actually done several long days in a row. The realization that I’m going to be spending 8 days on a bike and actually riding 525 miles is starting to cause me some concern….

Granted, I have until the beginning of October to be ready to pull this off, but knowing my ability to procrastinate and my inability to focus on anything for more than a couple weeks at a time, I’m really starting to wonder what I’ve gotten myself involved in….can I do this? What happens if I can't finish? What happens if I dont' raise enough money? What do you actually bring for an 8 day ride? How exactly are you supposed to apply chamois butter? the questions just kept coming and the answers.....well, those didn't...

I may have to actually come up with a plan for both the training and the fundraising….ok you’re right…..better to just wing it and see how it works out.....that’s more my style anyway.....

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