What is the MS 365 Project?

The MS 365 Project is a celebration of my 20th year with Multiple Sclerosis and the active lifestyle that I have used in my fight against MS. This year long project will hopefully raise money for the Can Do MS organization and raise awareness of how strenuous activity can help in the fight against MS.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's like this every July

Owen gets rad on his new mountain bike at the OVT Trail.
Wilkesboro, NC
Every July since I was 14 or 15 has been devoted to the Tour de France. I enjoy the luxury of being able to watch every day's stage as it happens unlike the days of my youth where 1 hour long programs would show scenes and give summaries of an entire week's worth of racing. I still find myself mesmerized by the effort and the action. It is drama like no other and it plays out over the course of 3 weeks like no other sporting event.

This year's Tour de France has seen a large number of devastating crashes that have left many riders too injured to continue racing, but some riders are continuing despite devastating injuries. Johnny Hoogerland was struck by a TV car while at the head of the race, sending him cartwheeling off of his bike and into a barbed wire fence in what I have to say is the worst wreck I have ever seen. Several deep gashes on his legs (which later required 30 stitches) did not stop him from getting back on the bike and finishing that day's stage (after putting on a new pair of shorts since his had been so shredded they no longer were functional). He is still racing each day, his legs bandaged thoroughly. Lars Ten Dam flipped over his bars and landed face first in some rocks after taking a turn in a descent too wide and losing control after leaving the road. He broke his nose, put a large gash across the bridge of his nose and has a heavily swollen face. He races each day with a bandage wrapped around his head covering his nose. When I saw a picture of him, he looked like something from a horror movie, and still he goes on each day.

Cycling in my formative years instilled in me this idea of getting up and continuing no matter what. Professional cyclists race through injuries that would end the season of athletes in other sports. I think it is my involvement in cycling that has led to my stubbornness to not let MS stop me from doing the things I love with the people I love.

I've gotten comments and messages from people reading this blog or seeing the facebook page. You have shared stories with me, you have shared your struggles with MS with me, and you have paid me the ultimate honor of telling me that I have inspired you to get out and move. Thank you for that and please feel free to continue talking with me.

Owen insists on going first on the trail.
Wilkesboro, NC
This year, I have gotten to see my son progress from riding his bike on hard surfaces only, to riding off road with me pulling the tag-a-long, to him riding his own small mountain bike on some of the awesome mountain bike trails we have in this area. He has gotten a few comments from people seeing him on the trails, all of them encouraging. The ranger took his picture saying he was the youngest rider he had ever seen on the trails. My pride is immeasurable.

While I love to fly through the woods pushing myself to my limits, the best riding times that I have ever had have been following my son's wheel down the trail, offering advice and encouragement and watching him push his limits. I hope to be able to do this until he is too fast for me to keep up, but I know he'll wait for me every now and then and offer me few words of encouragement to go with it.     

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