Why I ride.
My last year of intramural sports at CalState LA ended in 1982. Graduation was finally behind me (yay me!). I had the best time ever going to college!
So, now what do I do that school is over? I loved to participate in any sports. So, I ran, ran, and ran! I ran in 5Ks, 10ks, half marathons, full marathons. I ran switchbacks, I ran up mountains and down mountains. I ran in every event I could to stay fit! I loved to play softball, so I played recreational softball, a lot!! But in 1989 my running and cross fitness came to a BIG HOLT!
I was in a car accident that almost left me crippled. I was told I would never be able to have kids and never run again. I injured my neck, I had nerve damage on my life arm, fractured and herniated disc, concussion. For almost 4 years I could barely move, I needed assistance to get out of bed. I thought Athlete broken?
Rehab was incredible painful, the tears ran down my face everyday. I had shooting pain down my back legs arms and neck. But I never had a doubt in my mind, I was going to get through this. I worked on me daily. Everyday I woke up at 4:00am slowly dressed and went to the gym. I walked in the pool and and road the stationary bike every morning working so hard to become stronger and stronger each day. I had good days and bad days. It was so hard, it was a challenge. But myself self esteem, confidence that I had, was not broken. Sure I had a ton of set backs. Set backs after set backs, but I looked at it as any coach would, get up and try it again, take it slow go through the motions in your mind, relax, gradually ease into position and let your body and mind move together in sync. For 4 years that's what gave me the confidence to ride in my first of 8 California AIDS Ride in 1994. And when the LGBT CENTER changed the name of the Ride to AIDS LIFECYCLE I road another 18 ALC RIDES. People ask me all the time “how did you do that?” “ I've heard you've broken over 15 bones in your body” and road with one leg on a mountain bike twice”. I'd tell them, I’m patient with myself in order for me to move forward and get back on my bike and ride again. I figured, if I still have a breath that allows me to pump air into my heart & lungs, I can hop on my bike and ride. The real story isn't about how many times or how I've been able to find away to work through pain and my injuries and ride. It's about a life. When I first heard about about a challenging bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, of course that's just the craziest thing. But why not! The journey and the ride in itself, has saved me in so many aspects of my life.
Still to this day, it's a pinnacle stage of my life. I do have a positive outlook on life. The journey of each ride took me down a different path every year. The first year, my emotions were crazy all over the place but the ride was saving me, giving me a sense of purpose. At that point in my life I had only experienced love once. But now I could understood the meaning of love of life from others, I was able to open up and let life in.
What I didn't know was, who I was training with or sharing emotional stories with. It turned out to be with guys that most likely I would never see again. Not because they moved on, but because they would not live to ride again. Lives lost but not forgotten, I ride for them and for the memories they shared with family friends and me and for the future they created for others to live. I donate part of my life to help someone live theirs. I was inspired by their courage and willingness to give part of their life for others. Sadly some of those riders are gone to AIDS and the complications that AIDS has. How could I not challenge myself and ride? Sure I was afraid I might fall off my bike and injure myself again, as I have multiple times. I am truly inspired by all the cyclist who have accomplished the 565 miles and some of the hardest hills to Save Lives. I ride not for me, but to continue to keep hearts beating to keep us safe from ever allowing a disease from ever spreading across the world so fast. #KeepAIDSfromSpreading. #BeatingHearts.