Just two nights left before I hit the road. I’m having lots of mixed emotions that are keeping my mind stirring and my heart tight. I can never sleep before major events. I did a hundred mile bike ride once on no sleep and climbed Mt. St. Helens on no sleep (more than once!). I’m just too excited to sleep. It has been a long road getting here.
I can remember not being able to walk around the block about six years ago until one day I did and I kept doing it. So I was throwing up on the side of the road with cars pulling over asking if I need help. “I’m fine, I just rode 5 miles or 10 miles,” I would say. Within a year I was doing hundred mile rides and back to climbing to the top of Mt. St. Helens. I had three really great years.
About two years ago I started getting massive headaches that would last for a week or two. I could not function at all. I continued riding for a year with frequent headaches. My doctor had advised me to cut back on my riding when they first started, but cycling was my life, and after a year of pain I gave in and stopped riding more than 10 miles a day and no racing. No one wants to go 8 mph when they can go going 22 mph!
That was a year ago. This winter was very depressing. My pain levels were out of control and I had to ask the doctors for some medication. It sucked being back on pain pills. My mental health was really going downhill. I had lost most of my hope.
I broke down and started a fundraiser to raise money for a recumbent bike. Because I had operations on my neck, and had a feeding tube for so long, seventeen years too long, and had lost too much muscle mass, the riding position of my road bike was hurting my neck. The recumbent fixed all of that.
Instantly I was back in the saddle. Within a few weeks I was up to doing four 40 mile rides in ten days. The world went from a dark painful place where I saw little hope to one where I could dream again, dream about adventures, and a better life for my daughter.
Because of my recumbent bike I was able to stop taking the pain medication and will be doing my ride pain medication free. I still have pain, but no pain while cycling and nothing feels better than a fifty mile bike ride.
Thankfully a few believed in me and Atos Medical put up money and medical equipment to make a 30 day ride happen. With this small ride I hope to gain enough momentum and gather enough support to spend a year or two riding around the entire world with my family, completing the filming for a feature length documentary along the way!