As I look down at my chubby legs squished into biking shorts like sausages into their casings, it feels foreign, this is not my usual look.
As I see the quote written in permanent marker on my leg – We must embrace pain – and on my friend’s leg – and use it as fuel for the journey . It makes me feel strong and determined.
We have signed up for, committed to and trained for the 2012 MS Bike Tours from Stonewall to Gimli and back. Two days for a challenging 170 km (100 mile) bike ride.
Humbled by my supporters who have helped me raise over $2000 to help people with Multiple Sclerosis, I know I have to finish this ride for them.
Day one is easy, the wind is at our backs, the rest stops are frequent and we breeze there, feeling great after ‘just’ four hours of biking.
Day two, is a different story. Uphill against the wind, where are those rest stops??
This picture was before the tour.
People are dropping like flies, welcoming the support trucks who are driving by scooping up weary bikers and their bikes.
“No TRUCKS!” becomes my mantra, I will not cross the finish line in a truck, finishing upright and smiling is the goal.
Much inspiration came from that ride. For example, I met:
- Helen ,a 73 year old minister who has been riding in the tour for the past 6 years – she said every year she goes out on her lawn and does an headstand, if she can still do it – she figures she is capable enough to do the ride. (Can I even do a headstand – I must try!)
- Brett, who gave a stranger (me) his last double packet of Oreos –when I was having a craving at the rest stop that only had fruit.
- Deb, an experienced rider who offered her really good bike to another rider whose old bike was causing her trouble and who just about to quit (not me, and she didn’t quit)
- A whole team who was wearing orange and riding in memory of a friend who had recently passed.
- Another team with pink flowers in their helmets in memory of their friends mother who died of MS after suffering with it for 16 year.
This picture was during the tour.
- People who had been participating in the event for over 20 years, people who had raised thousands (even one who raised tens of thousands) of dollars to support the cause.
I saw new riders, experienced riders, young riders, old riders, fast riders, slow riders, happy riders and one rider with a shirt that said Cranky Old Bastard on it.
I saw a sweet Mennonite couple parked on the highway, clapping and cheering us on. I cannot tell you what that meant to us going uphill into the wind – it was just what we needed and it mattered.
All these strangers brought together for a common goal – to ride because they can, to support the belief of making a difference.
Not everyone can do a ride like this, but everyone can be a part of the experience or one like it. Maybe you can donate $5 or $500, maybe you can cheer them at the start line, serve food, clap en route, or be there at the finish line. In these ways whether you ride or not, you are still part of the team, sharing in the victory, helping make life better for someone else.
Thank you to everyone; 700 riders, 250 volunteers and countless donors for helping to raise over $400,000 in a single weekend. It was a beautiful thing.
What would you like to be a part of in your community? Go ahead – go along for the ride!
This picture was after the tour – happy girls!
Stephanie Staples is a motivational speaker, life coach and the author of When Enlightening Strikes – Creating a Mindset for Uncommon Success. She helps audiences & clients across North America find more time, energy and motivation in their life and livelihood. Stephanie has a special interest in working with nurses and healthcare providers. She happily calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home. You can get loads of complimentary resources to help with issues such as work/life balance, wellness, stress management, happiness etc. as well as find out more information about her services at http://www.YourLifeUnlimited.ca