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DouglasMB:

I really loved what she is saying here so i wanted to share.

Originally posted on Kait Nolan:

One of the first things I saw when I logged into Twitter this morning was a conversation between a writer friend of mine (who, incidentally, is also a professional editor and teaches workshops) and another writer who was essentially lambasting her (and all other professional writers) for not helping new writers.  Digging back through the conversation, this evidently centered around the issue of queries, but it definitely had broader implications.  My friend handled things in a very calm, professional manner, stating quite rationally that she couldn’t be held responsible for every writer who wants to write, as it simply wasn’t possible.  To which she received this in reply “Your reaction is why so many writers feel worthless. No one wants to hear from them. No one cares.”

Frankly, the whole exchange pissed me off on multiple levels.

Now I know nothing about this person who initiated the conversation.  Looking back at…

View original 700 more words

Yeah ok who am I to tell anyone the key to life? I’m no prophet or yogi… I’m not a learned scholar… heck I still rely on spell check for grammar and spelling issues way too often, and I still get it wrong… But I digress. I really should get this all out before I lose my thought…

 

 

An easy Google search tells me that a Key by definition is:

 

a. A notched and grooved, usually metal implement that is turned to open or close a lock.

b. A similar device used for opening or winding: the key of a clock; a can that has a key attached.

2. A means of access, control, or possession.

a. A vital, crucial element.

b. A set of answers to a test.

c. A table, gloss, or cipher for decoding or interpreting.

 

And there is more but this serves my purpose

 

 So as we see… a key, simply put, is a way to gain access to something: access to knowledge, access to a place, access to time (the key to a clock).

 

 Getting access to knowledge, places, people, and things… well that is what we do in life, is it not? So the best way to do these things is to live life… by a stretch of my already stretched imagination… to live… to really live is the key of life…

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  The picture above looks very foreboding, metal grate fastened over a window with wire running through the glass… perfect for keeping people in or out. With only a small view as the one pictured, it would make you think moving forward was hopeless, but with a step back, (no picture sorry) we can find that the window is attached to a door. The point I want to make there is sometimes we are much too close to a problem we have in life… maybe sometimes we have to take a few steps back and the way will seem much more clear. There are times I feel that we move through life way too fast and we do not slow down to actually enjoy it… so we come up on our problems so quickly we never see them coming, and then we feel so rushed to get through them, we do not take the time to step back and make clear decisions. Maybe one of the keys to life should be to slow down, and do not be afraid to go back from time to time… maybe you missed something you should have seen.

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   All of us are human, we may look different and talk different but we are all here for the same basic reason, to live life and learn as we go. We come in different colors, shapes and sizes… it’s a beautiful diversity that makes us as humans a beautiful thing.

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   But with that being said… many of us at a glance can seem very alike… but if you look close and take the time to actually see each person for who they are—their likes and dislikes, the things they are passionate about—you will see that even though they may seem to be the same, each person holds the keys to different locks. Each person can bring something different to your life and break open a new part of life you may never knew existed.

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  Many people have a clear path and are good with things from birth… others seem to struggle trying to find their place… much like the keys in the picture above, one has been cut and fits a specific lock. The other is still blank, and although it was never cut to go into any one lock, you can see the age on it and know it has lived a long life. People are like that… some are really good at one specific thing; others never really find that one thing they are awesome at. Jack of all trades and master of none… it does not make one better than any other… it simply makes them different.

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Everyone wants to know the key to the secrets of life… but I think the memories we make with the people we know and love are the best keys we have. It is a key to a memory of a moment in time where you were happy or sad or whatever emotion you remember… it is a key to a moment in time that you lived. Living… is for this guy… the key to life. Take your keys wherever you go… in the form of memories and remember to make new ones and live for today… tomorrow is never promised to any of us.

 

 

   Smile… it might be the only key to unlocking the smile trapped inside someone else.

Party Pooper…

 Normally I do not post just random forwards or funny things… that is what Facebook is for lol I try to keep my blog for stuff that has a bit more meaning. Well I can not help myself, watching this made me laugh.

Funny how words we can use often and know the meaning too without a thought can be missundersttod by those who are not part of our culture.

 Enjoy :)

 

 

 

Four points of view that change how we see ourselves…

 

First word is an excuse used by many people to justify why they do not do something… It is a way to promote failure before you ever try, a way to beat yourself into believing a lie… oh I just can’t possibly to that… I can’t do math… I can’t play basketball…

 

The next word is something society and people around us slowly filter into our heads until we believe it as truth, School books, doctors, parents and even friends will sometimes think they are helping by telling you that a dream or a goal is impossible… sometimes they can be right and I would never ever tell anyone to go against anything a doctor tells them. But what I would say is that if you can afford it and it is possible, to get a second opinion on anything you feel strongly about. Many times we see things that we think are impossible for our self, and we tell others that it must be for them too. Some people lack the will power or the fortitude to push or go forward, then without even knowing it projecting that inability on to others. Sometimes we want to protect those we know and love from failure so we try to encourage them to not even try feats that for most seem impossible. This is not done out of malice or hate, it is sometimes done out of love or kindness and with the best of intentions. But the problem is if we never fail we never grow… and what might be impossible for you might just be possible for them. We have all been given a different measure of ability and gumption… it is what makes us diverse and amazing creatures.

 

Then we have *unable*… I am unable to do that… you will now not be unable to run or walk or play normally. I understand that these words are close and can be interchanged. I am writing this with the mind set of how I hear them the most in my life and in what way I have seen them used. Most doctors do not say… “You can’t do this or that…” they are more technical… “Because of your blah blah blah, your body is unable to handle… unable to bend… unable to move that way ever again.” Now I must repeat I would never tell anyone to ignore anything that a doctor says. Please do not get me wrong here… I feel all doctors have to go on is what they see… x-rays, and numbers from tests… what they cannot see spirit and drive… is sometimes what allows us to do thing we normally could not. Doctors do not want you to hurt yourself and do not want you to make an injury worse. So they will 99% of the time speak on the side of caution. The way the world is, if a doctor says you can do something and you get hurt they will be blamed and many times in this day and age might get taken to court… so I do not blame them for wanting to limit their patients so as to make sure they are not hurt. And if you are able to do more than expected… well it’s a miracle. Normally a doctor can only go on what is “normal” for your injury and your test results, from there they make educated guesses… it is not an exact science because we are not all the same, each one of us are different in one way or another… part of the reason why I like how they call it “Practicing” medicine…

 

And finally… Chicken Shit, It’s used to help grow veggies, and fruits… to make flowers beautiful… and grass greener when used properly. But when there is too much… it can kill all plant life and leave everything withering and dying and burnt… Chicken shit… Can’t… impossible… unable… all of these things when used to much can leave us withering and dying… but if used as fuel, to help fertilize our motivation and push us to grow… these words can make us stronger so we can blossom into maybe not what the world would see as perfect, but maybe if we work hard enough we can become extra ordinary. Being chicken shit is not always a bad thing… you just have to decide what it is you are scared of… pain?… failure?… ridicule… and sometimes we are scared of none of those things. Sometimes we are scared we may succeed, because once we do, no one will cut us a break anymore. No one will look at us and be easy and give us pity. Whether we like to admit it or not we all sometimes just want to lay back and do nothing and have people look at us and tell us that it is ok. To use what others would call a weakness be it our injury, birth defect, and mental limitations as an excuse to not do or be 100% of what we can. To lay back and say I can’t do that because it is impossible. I am unable to move/think that way and because I am chicken shit. To have people look at us and say, “Oh, it is ok… really we understand, and do not blame you on bit… we could not do it either and we don’t have your limitations.” Sometimes we just want to hear that it is ok not to try… that is Chicken Shit.

 

I’m blessed… I may have had a ton of work between meniscus tears and a blown ACL, collar bone broken in two places, double hernia in my lower abdomen, spent a good deal of time in the hospital as a baby with pneumonia, had the Forest Gump braces because of severe bowing and pigeon toed as my legs were developing, fractures to my skull, concussions, and a couple broken noses… there is more but cry me a river all of that was a blessing and I’m tired of thinking about all the negative stuff, each of these things made me stronger in other ways… but forget about all of that… I am blessed… I can walk upright without any disfigurement, I have all of my arms and my legs, all of my digits, and all 5 of my senses work well. My brain although scrambled at times and can get me in trouble is what I consider one of my best attributes and my heart, though over worked at times, helps me care about almost everyone around me. (Let’s not debate feelings being a chemical reaction in your brain this is figurative) I am blessed to be healthy enough to do the things I do… I have been told I am not allowed to run because I need at least one knee replacement and the other is close… I have been told that swimming and cycling are pretty much the only things I can do but even then I should take it easy *snicker*. But then they messed up, after I was told to take it easy they followed it up by saying, “You can really do as much as you want… it just depends on how much pain you’re willing to live with. You are too young to get a knee replacement at this time so your best bet is to just take it easy and hope science can catch up to you… and of course lose some weight to relieve a lot of the pressure on your joints.” Wait what? I can do anything? That was all I heard… ok it’s going to hurt… but I can do anything? Hahaha GAME ON!

 

So I have done a couple things here and there… a few really tough things to be honest although this is not about me or about what I have done. I have other blessings in the form of the amazing support system I have in my friends and family. I also think back to the very first MS150 that I had ever done… I was dying it felt like, and thinking how stupid it was… that I raised the money and there was no point in putting myself through this, it was hot and everything hurt and is was tired… I was just done; I had hit the wall (figuratively). Then I heard a voice say… “On your left!” someone was going to pass me but the voice was a bit low… it must be a recumbent bike I thought to myself… and then I saw him as he cruised by me with a strained smile and a nod… peddling his bike with his hands because he had no legs. I had never seen that before! I was new to cycling for the most part, but I had to stop myself from staring like a fool. As I watched him truck along by me and put more distance between us, it hit me like a wall of ice water and I teared up a little to be honest. What in God’s name did I have to complain about, I just got passed by a guy who had no legs, and he did it with a smile and a nod. Not a grouchy get out of my way… but an “on your left…” and a good job… keep it up… nod and smile. I got a little angry at myself, not at letting someone with no legs pass me, but at being “healthy” and complaining that I tired. It was not out loud and I was only complaining to myself, but really, what did I have to complain about? I finished that day, it was not easy, and I am sure that man has no idea the affect and inspiration he was to me that day. I had an obligation to do it for those who could not. MS strips people’s ability to do things for themselves… I had no reason to complain.

 

I won’t go into why I do so many of the things I do now and the inspiration behind it. I want this to be about the people I think of when I start feeling tired and I start feeling like I have nothing left to give… I will just give you 3 examples but there are so many others…

 

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First is a girl I started following on facebook, Amanda Sullivan I will let you read her back story in the links I have posted at the end of the blog. She is an amazing person, upbeat and the true meaning of inspiration. She does not let anything stop her, and if it does she just trains harder. Amanda is someone I have followed on facebook for a while, when I was attempting my last few challenges she came to mind. A couple times I was thinking about what she is able to do, and thinking about all the people she promotes on her facebook the men and women who have lost limbs or senses and are pushing forward to do extraordinary things. But not only that, they are so supportive of not only those who are like themselves in many ways, but of anyone who are trying. She is without a doubt one of the most amazing people I follow and she has a true warrior’s heart, with the kindness of an angel. I was blessed to have found her and to be able to just read about her adventures and use that to help me drive my own. I wanted to share her spirit with anyone who reads this… follow her on Facebook and help support her in what she does. If anyone deserves it, she does.

 

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The next person I met online and because friends with through a blog sight, she has an amazing heart and well for a long time I never knew she had a disability lol… and I laugh here because well there is nothing about her that says disability. She is one of the most able people I know. I would say she is normal, but she is not… in this day in age normal has become the people begging for money or assistance because they have a disability and should be taken care of. I have followed her blogs, and her life across the US and back again… shared in her heart break as well as some of my own… she has never, not one time, in my years of knowing her used what happened to her to gain an advantage and use it as a crutch.

 

She told me,

 

“Yeah, I really dislike for people to categorize me as “Ashley, the girl that lost her leg. Or battled cancer.” I want them to see me as much more than that. As just myself. Not what has happened to me. So, for that reason I don’t bring it up or let or “control” my life. Which I have seen a lot of”

 

When she was a teen she had a cancer that lead to surgery that led to complications and her loss of a leg. Can you imagine… a teenage girl going through all of that on top of all the stuff teenage girls already go through? (I have a 17 year old daughter I can’t imagine that) But she beat the cancer… and now has such a great attitude, rides horses, has recently become a gym rat… dances… I really have not seen anything physical hold her back. There are some restrictions she says, but most of it would come from the material the leg is made out of more so than her own physical issues. As someone I have gotten to know over the years who is a dear dear friend and someone I hold in the highest regard, she is kind and has not let any of the words above limit her life.

 

The third person is famous in his own right his name is Nick Vujicic and I do not know him personaly (so I have not added any photos) and have never spoken to him in email or otherwise, but I watch his YouTube videos often when I need a lift. This guy was born with more issues than anyone deserves, no arms and no legs. But I do not think you would ever hear him mutter any of those words I listed above. I will put a link here to one of his videos and a link to his channel and we pages bellow. He is a motivational speaker, trying to show people that even when life gives you a bad hand there is always hope.

 

I think I have went on enough… but before you think about using the 4 things in the title, think about the people I have listed and the thousands of others just like them… the wounded warriors… special Olympians… Paralympians… think off all these people before you look anyone in the eye and say… “I can’t…” “I’m unable…” “It’s impossible…” and then stop to think about exactly why it is that your “chicken shit”! Are you afraid to fail? Or are you really afraid you will succeed!

 

Nick:

 

You tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/NickVujicicAIA/featured

Web: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickVujicic

 

Ashley:

 

Blog: http://southerngrl85.blogspot.com/

 

Amanda:

 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1gdHTIGISHwCWa38ADaqnw

Blog: http://blog.spartanrace.com/overcoming-obstacles-amanda-sullivan/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/Crutching_Tigress/#

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSullivanSmiles/timeline

 

   My first ever double century, only 12 short days after I complete the assault on Mt. Mitchell…

 

The alarm goes off and I roll out of bed really doubting myself and why I agreed to this ride. I mean I had already proven all I had to prove this month… and I slept like crud as I normally do before a big ride. But a commitment is a commitment so my feet hit the floor and I start moving before I have a chance to waiver and change my mind.

 

 I get dropped off, pack my stuff in Carole’s car and we were off, just a touch later than we had planned but that was ok… this was not an “official” ride of any kind so a few min here or there was not going to hurt us or keep us from riding.

 

The humidity was around 97%, the fog was thick in some places but after we said our hellos and got everything together the 4 of us headed on our way.

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It was Carole and Scott with me to do the full double, and Marcus joined us to only ride the first 100 miles. It would be his first century for they year! Later that day he had a date with some chickens that he had to cook for friends and family. It was not until after we got started I realized just how foggy it was. It was kind of cool in some places, made some of the trees almost look like creatures… and don’t laugh at me! You have to occupy yourself when you need to take your mind off exactly how long you’re going to be on your bike.

 

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For the most part in the early morning we had the roads to ourselves that made this small town look a bit like a ghost town… I almost wanted to stop and scavenge for food and resources, but then I came back down to earth… I’m on my bike not in one of my books.

 

 

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As the day went on it showed us just how beautiful the day was going to be, we passed a good deal of farm land and some gently rolling hills. I got to see a lot of cows and some realy beautiful horses as well as a ton of goats. We even fervently road past some dogs that were not so happy to see us.

 

 

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Carole was loving the low wind and the spotty sunshine we had early on… while Marcus… well I am not sure exactly if he was pretending to be an airplane or a big condor… maybe singing that song in his head from that cartoon movie Space Jam…

“ I believe I can Fly… I believe I can touch the sky…”

hahaha and yes I know your cursing me cause now that song is stuck in your head.

 

 

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As for me it was a rough start, my lower back starting hurting early and my left knee was acting up… so I stayed pretty quiet and kept my head in the clouds and my thoughts somewhere else the best I could.

 

 

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Then we came across our first of 2 “closed “ roads… did you know that “detour” and “road closed ahead” signs really mean something much different in the world of cycling? Oh yes… they mean “Cyclocross”, (insert evil laugh here) at least for us.

 

 

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My lower back was really getting the best of me so I got a lesson from Carole about cycling and muscles… evidently your hamstrings are attached to your lower back… well I am sure not directly but in a round about way… anyway… after crossing the “bridge” we stretched the hamstrings and poof my back felt much better… It was like magic… ok ok I am sure like 90% of anyone who is actually reading this is rolling their eyes because they knew this… but I really had no clue. I have never really had back issues… well except for sitting on a really thick wallet and having my doc say, “take that out of your pocket and you will be fine…” and I was, in less than a day. Oh it is the simple things sometimes…  

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Well slowly my knee started to feel a little better even though I was still getting a bit winded going up some of the small rollers. I started to feel like such a wimp with these guys doing most of the work pulling, but I worked in 2-3-4 mile pulls in here and there. I just felt super drained. Maybe my body was still recovering from the shock that Mt. Mitchell put on it.

 

Now we are back at Scott’s for a short break as we say our good buys to Marcus and we fill up water and drinks and get some food in us… 100 down… 100 to go… *sigh*

 

Carole is all changed and looks as fresh as she started, Scott is chipper and in good spirits, and I tell Carole that I am lucky she drove because if I had a vehicle there I would probably be done….

Do you know what she did?? She just smiled… and said… “You don’t think for a min I am going to let you quit do you…?”

hahahaha oh hell not even if I wanted to I guess… so I said with my best brave face. “Hey I never said I was quitting… just that I am lucky you drove so I do not have that option…” *another sigh*

 

Scott said to get lined up for another picture… thumbs up…. and off we go…

 

 

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Well honestly I feel a little better after the food and rest… it is just the three of us now so I am trying not to wimp and pull a little here and there. Well that is when Carole decides to get off the front… I think she likes it up there sometimes.

 

Now after some time passes and we get on in our journey we come across our second “detour” Carole was not so sure about this one but Scott was not even hesitating he went right up to it… Just as Carole says, “I don’t think we can get across this one guys.” I notice this little walkway that I assume the workers use… I point it out and it was quite the trip lol climbing down small dirt and gravel hills with a bike in your hand and cycling shoes on, with bad knees at that, is not fun but it was an adventure hahah… besides we could not let it stop us… and heck it’s my first double century! I might as well make it as interesting as I can right?

 

 

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So I go down first and then turn and get Scott’s bike so no one else has to try and carry their bike while walking down dirt paths… respect for my elders and all.

 

 

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After helping Scott get his bike past me on this narrow walkway I turn to then help Carole who is still not so sure this is a good Idea… so instead of waiting and letting her talk herself out of it, I decided to just take both our bikes across… I mean my family did teach me some manners after all…

 

 

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   With Carole across the walkway we find a few more challenges ahead… but there was no point in putting the bikes down now so I just kept going lol…

 

 

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Finally to the other side I reunite Carole with her bike and I get my bike and finish helping Scott across… he lagged back on the second part because he was having too much fun watching Carole tip toe through the obstacles and me playing the gentleman while he took pictures… With one last picture and the bridge about to be far behind us… we leave our last “detour” literally in the dust.

 

 

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Somewhere on that 65 mile loops I just ran out of mojo… the music did not help and putting my head somewhere else did not help. I just had no energy. I only wanted to lie down on the side of the road and close my eyes and go to sleep. This is a strange toss up… I am feeling like this was tougher than Mitchell at this point.

 

So because I was getting so far behind, Carole had Scott pull over in the shade so I could catch up and she gave me an extra goo that she had… for those that do not know it’s a flavored gel, with caffeine and electrolytes and other good stuff to help you get moving or keep moving.

 

 

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Well we make it back and fill up on drink again and we have someone join us for our last 35 miles… 35 more miles… what??? Oh how I just want to stop and sleep… and eat… and eat… and eat…. The smell of all the people cooking out on that trip was nothing short of torture.

 

Brian was all smiles and telling stories from the race he was just in earlier that day… that was a great distraction for me for a little while. He is a strong rider though and they had to keep reining him in because I was really struggling at this point to keep up.

 

 

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We make one final pit stop and one last group photo of the 3 double century folks…

 

 

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Man we are getting close now… Carole had some Garmin issues after she charged it and was lagging about 2 miles behind everyone else… so here we are behind Scott’s “hood” making some loops as the sun starts to fall. Just trying to make sure everyone gets their miles.

 

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And we are done!!! Cheers!!!

 

 

 

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As we leave Scott and his lovely wife behind I am reassured by one thought I have had in the past… that no one can ever tell me that a bike is not the fountain of youth or even a time machine… I mean look… here we find big Scott… and little Scott… lol (Scott’s grandson… same head shape and everything lol like a mini me of Scott) it’s almost like he has found his youth again… great thing to find in retirement if you ask me.

 

 

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Oh and one last thought… this is mainly for my pack… ya know Goldsboro might just be our Vegas… I mean… I felt beat up… and it’s like we woke up and poof… there was this baby… almost like our own Hangover movie… and I swear we passed some houses that had crystal meth tweekers in them somewhere… I would bet money it… I’m just glad my friends are much better than the ones in the movie… No one lost Me!  

 

 

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    Here is my Garmin Data for the adventure!!! and a Special song that my friend Marcy like to share with us from time to time.

     http://connect.garmin.com/activity/511108552

 

 

 Special thank you to Scott for letting me use some of the pictures he took… to Carole and Scott for being so patient when I was struggling…. To Marcus and David for hanging with us for what time you could… and To Scott’s awesome wife for all the encouragement and hospitality!! All of you guys are awesome!!!

   yours truely…. Dougie Doug Doug

I have been training for this for the whole year, and now what seems to be in a blink of an eye it’s here. While I was getting ready I was having mixed emotions, I mean am I ready to tackle this challenge? No matter the outcome, part of me wishes I had more time to ride and to lose a bit more weight. If I am honest with myself I do not feel ready for this, I’m antsy and nervous and I really am sure this time I bit off more than I could chew, but there is no backing out now. Patrick and I are packed and the bikes are on the car and we are headed to South Carolina…. ROAD TRIP!!!

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We had a great ride up for the most part… funny thing when you put two men on a trip who are used to driving and finding their own way, I bet it would have been comical to watch us debate routs and why this and why that hahaha! 

 

We got to see some cool stuff on the way, the first night we stayed in Greenville, SC not in Spartanburg because the hotel was over booked. For the most part that was fine I mean they comped the room and were super nice. Our issue was finding good food and beer in the area of our hotel. The staff at the hotel although nice seemed a little clueless, seemed none of them were from the area or just really had no opinion… so we go to the first place we found using our phones and well it was a touch disappointing… waited forever in a place that was not really busy, and then found out that probably 55% of the beer on the menu had been changed or they just no longer carried it… so after trial and error we finally came up with 4 beers (4 oz.) each to try for our sampler… and ummm we really think they got those all mixed up. Yeah we finished what we had and just left.

 

Went to try another place and the line out the door made us not even stop… so once again back to the phone and see what it said… well we found a place pretty close to our hotel, and man was I surprised. It was not at all what I pictured by its name and honestly that place alone might be worth a trip back there someday. If anyone who happens to read this goes to Greenville, SC you have to try Bacon Brothers. The people there are so nice… they grow their own herbs and smoke all their meats on site. It’s an awesome place.

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So we sleep… get up and time to head to Spartanburg… uneventful trip check into the hotel with no issues at all… and then it happens… we get our stuff, head up the elevator step out and start walking to our room and I notice the door is slightly open. I push the door open and pow… “Why… is there a man in my room?” it came out of me before I even had a chance to stop it. He kinda scared the crap out of me… as I walked in he was about to walk out, someone from the hotel fixing something. That became an ongoing joke for the rest of the trip. “Why is there a man in my room… “ lol I told Patrick I would make that the title to my blog when I finally wrote about the trip.

 

The view from the hotel was perfect. We could see where we would be starting the ride in the morning.

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We put our stuff up and got ready to go check in for the ride. We had some time to kill so we went to the lobby of the hotel and got a drink… it was the coolest thing. They had a WII set up on a big screen and also had a pool table down there. So we goofed off for a bit while we waited to go check in.

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I will say that the gathering of vendors was not as big as I expected to be honest, but the people that were there were extremely nice and a pleasure to talk to. We got checked in and I walked around a bit and then it was time for me to leave… I was going to have to spend a good deal of time on the road because I had to drive the car to the camp ground at Marion so we would have a ride back the next day. Then catch a ride on a bus back to the hotel and eat and get settled in.

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The drive to Marion was uneventful I stopped at a little country store for a coke and a snack. I found the campground without too much trouble and got on the bus where we waited for over 30 min past the time it was supposed to leave. But honestly I was just sitting there listening to people talk strategy, what they were eating or going to eat, how hard they would climb, how hard it was last year and how nice the weather was. It went rather quickly, so between Facebook and texts and people talking the wait was not too bad. I slept part of the ride back, it’s a habit I have when I am not driving on long trips, I just pass right out. As a kid I spent a lot of time on buses, you could say that Greyhound was a family business for a long time, and the bus reminded me of those trips.

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Between texts and naps I was back… one more trip inside the convention center because I forgot my water bottles in the car and then I was off to meet Patrick in the hotel for food. They were doing a pasta buffet, yummm.

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The food was good and Patrick was close to being ready for bed… I don’t sleep a lot on a normal day and the night before an event I really have trouble sleeping so I headed down to the bar in the hotel for some last min carbs…

1

 

 

It’s morning… and the time has come… I felt a little sick… it was just the anticipation of the ride. I really did not think I was ready and already had it in my head that I would stop at Marion if I did not think I could make it. Even as I had that thought I laughed at myself… I knew better… As we left our room to head downstairs with one last, “Why is there a man in my room…” with a nervous laugh we were off…

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Patrick had some last minute mechanicals to work out and I went and found a spot in the line and snapped a few pictures.

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There were a lot of people all bunched together with no real rhyme or reason behind it. Everyone laughing and talking like this was just another Monday afternoon ride.

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5…. 4… 3… 2… 1… and we are off…

 

   Patrick and I got separated early he got in behind some folks who were going just a bit faster than I wanted to start off with. I learned in a previous ride this year, I was not killing myself to keep up early. I needed to save every ounce of energy I could… so after a few miles I could not see him or his group anymore.

 

The roads were like most big rides I have been on good spots and bad spots, so nothing big to note there. But between the sunrise, fields, hills, and the mountains in the distance I was blown away. This if nothing else was going to be a beautiful ride.

 

 

The first bit was a normally hilly ride, lots of rollers, a few nice downhill spots, I felt pretty good. Then out of nowhere there is this climb… Bill’s Hill… holy sweet mother of sprockets… I am not sure if I am glad I forgot it was coming up so I really had no time to think about it… just shift and climb. And honestly about the time I started doubting myself it was over… I was out of breath and I passed a few people cramping up and one even seeming to get sick. But other than being tired I felt ok. Humm… Maybe I can do this…

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I stopped at the next rest stop and talked to a few people who were laughing because if I thought that was tough I was going to get a rude awakening… I had not seen tough yet. *sigh* What did I sign up for? Why? I will never, ever, do this again… my mood was slipping.

 

Ear buds in and music on… I have some go to music and some motivational tracks that I brought with me… I knew ahead of time I would need every trick I could think of. So back on my bike time to go…

Before too much longer as I was getting worn out I notice my mileage and knew that Marion was close… this would be where Patrick and I would meet up and here we would either talk each other into going forward… or just getting in the car lol…

 

Well Patrick was well ahead of me, and smartly he decided to go ahead and not wait too long, he did not want to get stiff and chance getting cramps because he waited too long. I did not blame him at all. So I walked around a little, talked to a few people and read through my texts… My friend Marcy sent some pictures from the people in her office where she works. They were holding up signs for us, telling us we could do it and she was saying we had a village behind us. My friend Shannon was taking time out of her day all the way from Texas to help keep me motivated, as were other friends and family. Carole one of our “Pack” members kept close tabs on us all day as well encouraging us to keep it up… with all of these people behind me… I could not stop now… I have to at least try. But man I was tired. This was the most climbing I have ever done on a bike, and I was about to more than double it.

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Well off to the parkway… The climb to get to the parkway was tough on its own… there were cool tunnels and the view… man the view was beautiful. I had plenty of time to look at it too because I was creeping along between 2.5 and 5 mph in some places, just struggling to keep moving forward. The climb was a bit demoralizing because you’re working so hard and not really getting anywhere. I am not ashamed to admit that I was 240ish lbs when I climbed that mountain on my bike and gravity was not my friend. Down from 274 in January, I was wishing I would have dropped even more at that moment.

 pano

When you’re pushing that hard you really think about anything that will make it better. So back to my music, and back to looking at the view… stopping her and there to take pictures I really was trying to move it the best I could. For the longest time I pictured Patrick already at the top waiting on me, to get a good photo of me coming in or to tell me we were stupid and everything hurts… then around a corner and I see a rest stop… good I really needed more water.

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And to my surprise there was Patrick in a Sag… he had mechanical issues and was done about 5 miles from the top. You could see in his face he was worn out and tired. I wanted to stay and talk and just hash over our day… but I shook that thought off, I did not want to be rude but I really had to get moving I could not sit long, and one of us was going to finish if it killed them… please oh please let’s not let it kill me lol.

 

The switchbacks were brutal… 13% grade in one spot but if you did not hit the road just right then the angle of the road increased that in the turns significantly. Man I just really wanted to stop… this was stupid I kept telling myself… this was not for cancer… or not for MS… I had not involved any charity in this ride like I did so many others in the past… why in the hell was I doing this… oh… this one was mine… for me… to dig deep and do it for myself to prove that I was good enough and that I could do it without any other reason than to challenge me…

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Stopping a few more times here and there to get some awesome pictures and talk to others who were taking breaks. I happened to see some eagles and got pictures of them in a tree… the tunnels of course… but back on my bike…

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Finally to a point where I just did not want to go any further and it had to be close I flagged down a car headed down the mountain… I did not even give the pour guy a chance to ask me what I needed… in a breathless, exasperated voice all I said was… “You got to tell me I am close… please tell me it’s just around the corner… I have to be close…” he said I was, and the lady in the passenger seat in a cheerful voice told me not to give up… and there was a little kid in the back clapping his hands… that was all I needed. Off I went.

 

Around the last few curves and then the end was in sight… my legs were shaking and my back hurt, I could not feel my hands and my shoulders were on fire. But I did it… I did it.

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If you were to ask me at the moment would I ever do it again… I may have taken a swing at you and told you to hush your mouth … but now… Patrick says he has unfinished business with that mountain and well, even though I finished I feel like I do to. I’m not sure what I left up there… but I feel like I need to go back. It was tough to celebrate because my friend did not make it… I felt bad for him because of how bad he wanted it to… maybe that is it… I’m not sure… but I know I will go back… and I will beat that mountain again.

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It was one of the best and worst rides I have ever been on… but looking back it was one of the best things I have ever done for myself in my life.

 

It took me 11 hours and 30 min to complete the ride… with lots and lots of stops, putting my saddle

time at 8 hours and 48 min. My total amount of climbing was over 11 thousand feet… My HR monitor

was acting up so I do not have a true avg for the ride.  Here are a few link to my GPS data for you

stats junkies…

http://www.strava.com/activities/143316080   Strava

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/503221299    Garmin

Mt. Mitchell 2014

I will do a blog about this later… I just wanted to post this for now… thank you for your support.

Bipolar emotions…

   Bi-polar emotions…

 

First off let me say (because of the way people over react in today’s world it is sad I feel the need to first put a disclaimer before I write my blog…) that in no way am I making fun of… making light of… or down playing a mental illness. This was just the best and fitting comparison for my purpose.

 

With that said WebMD defines Bipolar as Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking, and behavior. With that thought, it is the best way to describe the roller coaster of emotions that I am feeling about my upcoming journey.

One min I am excited and I cannot wait to go, the next I am scared and I have no clue as to why I signed up for such a thing. As most people with Bipolar disorder take meds to balance out their thoughts and feelings, I have my friends and family. The fact that I am not alone in this and that I am going with someone else helps greatly. We also have a supporting cast of family and friends who will be cheering us on from home, in texts and well wishes, who at this point if I am honest believe more in our ability to complete this task than I do in my own at this moment.

Assault on Mt. Mitchell is a tough and grueling ride that has in fact been going on sense 1975, which is fitting because that is the same year I was born… almost as if this was meant to be. Some web pages list this ride as the 2nd hardest ride in the US, so what the hell am I thinking. I mean at one time I was a weekend warrior cyclist, now I ride a bit more. I have my own group that I ride with normally 3 times a week but as much as even 6 times a week. It’s our “Pack” if you will… tight nit and supportive of each other in more than just cycling. Mitchell was a challenge I first heard about a few years ago and put it out of my mind, I mean first off fat guys do not climb hills well, 2nd ummm I am not crazy… or was not crazy at the time. I mean the pros use this as a training ride, and it is also a qualifier for RAAM, I am neither anything close to a pro nor do I have the ability to attempt RAAM. (I will have links for what I am talking about at the bottom) I have watched a ton of YouTube videos on the ride, and read other blogs about it, I have been told by people I look up to how hard it is and how often they had to stop and walk the bike because it was just too much of a climb in some areas. But ya know… how do you find your breaking point unless you reach it.

I have a feeling my friend Patrick and I will reach out breaking point and either have to stop, or we will push through it and have a new one. This ride is going to be epic for us in many ways and will give us something to talk about for years I think. As these bipolar emotions run through my head and heart, I am playing the waiting game… two more days and I will be on the road to the event… and then the next night I will not be able to sleep at all. A combination of a child waiting to come home with a bad report card knowing he will be grounded and get his but spanked… and a child waiting for Christmas and the best presents ever… now you see why Bipolar was the best way to describe my emotions right now…

 

So for any of you that read this, on May 19th at any point during the morning or day, if you find yourself with a moment to spare… say a prayer for us… send us some positive energy… rub a rabbits foot for us… anything you want to do. Because I have a feeling we will need every bit of it. And once we are done I will post some pictures and let you know how we did.

Thank you to all my friends and family who always support my crazy ideas and challenges… May the Pack roll on… and please oh please lord don’t let me get kidnapped by crystal meth tweekers, cause then we would just be shit out of luck. (inside joke)

   RAAM link info here…

 

   MT. Mitchell link info here…

    Here is a picture of one of our centurie rides… 4 of us ride together a lot… but like most packs we get people that wonder in and out that we still consider part of the family for as long as they are with us… we take care of each other.

pack

The explanation…

 

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So first off let me tell you Bruno is doing much better, he ate his food last night as well as drank all of his water and he kept it down!! That is great news! I talked to a Tech this morning and well she seemed really optimistic but in the end it is the docs call to figure out if he can come home or not. So once the doc gets in and has time to look everything over she will make the final call. But we are excited to have him healthy and to have him home!!

So… something that has been on my mind quite a bit and I feel the need to explain. Not that I have to mind you… but I sort of want to. There are several different types of people in this world; it takes all different types to make the world the interesting and diverse place that it is… also we need each type to balance out the others, because if we were to all be the same then the world would be a dull place.

I am and I have tried my best to raise my children to be the kind of person that believes anything is possible. I am and I have tried to raise my children to know that kindness is not so much something you show to family and friends but something really you should show to all living creatures. As a child I was told I was too tenderhearted when it came to animals… I brought home sick creatures of every shape and size. I wish I have a picture of my mom’s face when I walked through the door when I was about 11-12 and I have a black snake curled all the way up my arm and partially around my neck, with its head in my hand. It had been run over by a car and I wanted to help it… lol she about flipped her lid. But being half country girl half city girl she quickly saw it was just a black snake and knew it was not going to hurt me. We did what we could and let it go… Is it silly? Probably… but I have a question… who did it hurt? Who did it hurt to show kindness to a snake… who does it hurt to show kindness to any animal.

I know I know… many people out there in the world think animals are just animals… and I get that and to them they are correct. But only to them… ask a blind man what his dog is worth to him… ask the kids in the hospital who get visited by pets and animals to help comfort them when they are sick what that animal means to them. Ask the grandparent who lost his/her spouse, and whose family no longer visit as much… ask them what that little dog/cat means to them.

Now do not get me wrong, I am not preaching… I am not soap boxing I am just explaining. I am not asking anyone to have passion for animals or anything the way that I do or my family does. And honestly I do not put an animal’s well being over that of my children or my family.

I have been asked from many places why on earth I would ever consider using this much money to make a puppy better… I have heard that I could buy 2-3 puppies for the cost it takes to heal this one, who might not even make it. I have been flat out told it is stupid what I am doing. Or that I could save the money and get another car (because at the moment we have only one). A lot of people just do not understand… and when I decided to take this on, I had decided I would sell whatever I could, or had to, to help make Bruno better.

My daughter seeing the strain it was going to put on us wanted to do something to help. And boy did she ever… and then for every person I knew that told me I was crazy. There were others who not only understood but wanted to help, with kind words, and support of many different kinds.

How much is it worth to, if for only a moment, be your child’s hero… the person that did not say no and did what they could regardless how stupid other people thought it was?

My obligation… Bruno never asked to come home with me… he never asked to get sick… he does not have the ability to make himself better. When my daughter begged me for a puppy and told me it would not cost me anything because she had the cost covered, and she was going to get a job for the other stuff and I would never even know it was there. Well I’m not stupid… I have been around the block once or twice and I knew what would end up happening. But I never could have guessed it was this. While he was not sick in his short time in our home, he quickly won over our hearts, such a little fragile puppy with teeth like razor blades… and who snored… ha-ha yup and even snorted. The stupid little dog was just too cute. My daughter was in love… I was told that we have not had time to even really be attached to it… I am not sure you can put a time frame on something like that, but we were more than attached.

My daughter has been to almost every charity event I have done over the past 8-9 years. She did not work out in the sun all day and help for a t-shirt… or to get free food… she really believes in the things I do. Be it for MS, or Cancer, Or the Human Society… she always wants to help support me. Taking pictures… giving out medals… doing whatever it takes. With her help I have raised a lot of money over the years for a bunch of awesome and well deserving organizations. I have tried to teach her how important it is to not just give money but time. And to help where you can… she has that caring spirit in her.

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So why would I agree to pay a ton of money to heal a sick dog… love… responsibility… because it is the right thing to do. Because of the gifts of family, friends, and strangers… this will not be a burden to our family at all… because of the love everyone has shown us this is one of the best learning experiences I could have ever give my children and anyone around me. Where there is a pure heart, and a will, there is a way.

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Because there are other people like us in this world, later today with tears in my daughters eyes she will see Bruno again, and the vet will tear up and the techs will tear up… but I won’t cause I am a guy and we don’t do that stuff ;) and her mom will be blubbering like a child lol… and then I guess I will see all of this and my best explanation would be to the question of why would you pay so much to make a puppy better is… how could you not… the vet is going to walk away today and the techs… thinking to themselves as they wipe the tears from their face seeing my daughter and the puppy so happy… “This is why we do this… this makes the bad days better”
Ask anyone in that room what is that feeling worth… it’s priceless.

Would I let my family starve to do this? No… would I get my electric shut off? No… but I knew somehow it would work… and it all has. Thanks to everyone who loves animals the way we do… That bond is priceless.

HOPE FOR BRUNO

Fundraiser link

 

kaylaanddad

Bruno’s Update…

So just a quick up date and a few pictures that make me a little sad…

 

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I will to save myself time just cut and paste the update from my daughter’s fundraising web page…

 

 

Bruno update Thursday April 24th

 

I just got off the phone with the Vet tech and it’s a tough update day… Yesterday he only had water and was not interested in food still. But last night sometime he did actaully eat a little. But then he threw up. The vomiting is a set back because he needs to be able to keep food down. The tech is not sure exactly where the doc will want to go from here, so I will be calling again at lunch to see what the prognosis is.

 

On the flip side to that, it seems that the techs have fallen in love with Bruno and spend a good bit of time with him… but then again how can you not J She said that he is very happy to see them and is moving around a great deal. And even with the vomiting set back he seems emotionally stable. But she stressed as happy as he seems, the vomiting is a big concern.

 

He is still drooling a good deal which she said is an indicator that he is still nautious, hence the vomiting and they have injections for the nautia schedualed but at this point he should not need those anymore she said. So again she cautioned me and showed concern.

 

Our whole family is ready to see him and have him home… we are past our lower initial vet deposite and now will be getting into the higher end. Which as it stands now may go even higher… but honestly with all the love you guys have showed us we are going to do whatever it takes. We just want Bruno back home with us.

 

Thank you all so much for your continued loved and support.

 

 

So there it is in a nutshell… I’m a little worried about the food issue and the vomit… and he looks soo sad it is heart breaking to be honest. But I have faith that with all the well wishes and love from everyone that this is going to work out and we can bring him home soon.

 

 

Keep him in your thoughts if you would and feel free to share and or reblog this… if for no other reason than to make people aware that puppies are not safe out in the public untill they are done with all of their shots… not just a few sets… but all.

 

withtech

 

Hope for Bruno Page 

 

*breaking news*

 

Just as I typed this up I called to ask the Tech if it was ok to post her picture… and well they have given him an oral antibiotic and he kept it down… as well as more crushed ice and water which he also kept down! That is a good sign. Also they are going to try more food in a little bit… so I am hoping that it is good!

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