Why We Ride

Team IRON EAGLES is a group of friends and family dedicated to fighting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). We join forces to raise money for the NATIONAL MS SOCIETY to support the great PROGRAMS they have available to help members of the community and to support the exciting RESEARCH being done in the field. We blog about why we ride, our experiences at fundraising events, our fundraisers and training tips. We also have links to information on MS and MS research. JOIN US!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Some People Ride Cadillacs

This section of the blog is labeled "Why we ride."  This is an essay I wrote after my second MS150 ride and for me it sums up why I ride.

Some People Ride Cadillacs

Before the bike tour Bill needed a bike. He didn't have one. So he bought a road bike at Mike's Bike Barn in Lehi. A Cadillac. Very very nice bike. Smooth, sleek, light. Very very light. With it he got a cool new helmet with a visor and matching bike gloves. He also got bike shoes that fit into cool little pedal clips. Nice bike. He asked me if I was going to get a new bike. After all, we were planning on riding 75 miles. I told him I was ok. I had my trusty Murray 10-speed. I'd had it since I was a kid. It was a little bit small for me now but not bad. 

About a week before the tour my bike chain started slipping and actually slipped completely off a couple of times. No problem. I took it in to a local bike shop and they fixed it.  $7.50. A bargain I thought. Much better than spending the big bucks on a new bike. 

The day of the MS150 came. Mile 30 my trusty chain jammed. I thought that was the end of my ride. Bill however was able to wrench the chain free. After that though I wasn't able to shift to the lowest gears without hearing an ominous "clunk, clunk, clunk" as I rode. Fearing that this clunking might lead to a broken chain I avoided low gears for the rest of my ride -- including "Killer Hill." Killer Hill is a very long, albeit gradual, hill. As I rode up Killer Hill I thought I might actually make it this year without getting off my bike. I was doing pretty good. About 50 paces from the top though I just couldn't go on. I got off my bike and started to walk. Two or three steps later even this was too much and so I crossed the road to get out of the way of other riders and sat down. I was in pain. Lots and lots of pain. How could I go on? Bill noticed me and
rode back to where I was. Was I ok? He asked. I put on a brave face. "I'm ok," I replied. "OK. I'll meet you at the top," he said as he casually turned around and made his way back up the hill. 

Eventually I picked myself up and walked to the top. We then coasted down to rest stop #6. Rest stop number six was at mile marker 53. Fifty-three miles. Only about 20 more miles to go. I was in so much pain though. Laying on the grass looking up at the sky I cried and cried. Was this the end? I fell short on my fundraising goal and now I wasn't even going to make my biking goal! I had failed miserably. How could I face my friends and family? There was no way I could get back on my bike though. We talked about switching bikes but Bill is five inches taller than me. He would never fit my bike. I barely fit it myself!  Bill was very supportive. He sat and listened to me. He offered what moral support he could. I knew I had to call the SAG truck. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Finally I decided to say a prayer. I knew I didn't have to actually finish the tour. The donations were raised and they weren't dependent in any way on how far I rode. It was simply a pride issue :-) We have a very loving Heavenly Father though. Pride issue or not he heard my prayer. 

I somehow was able to get back on my bike. Bill rode ahead of me in an attempt to block the wind and make my ride a little bit easier. As I rode I vowed that next year I would have a decent bike!

Looking ahead I saw Bill on his Cadillac. The gears switched smoothly, effortlessly. The bike looked cool. Other riders would ride past me, ignoring me and ride next to Bill.  They would casually chat with Bill. Laughter would ring through the air and then the they would be off. I was alone. Alone with the squeaking of my pedals. Alone with the "chitty chitty bang bang" that accompanied every gear shift. Alone with my thoughts. And then it occurred to me that in life I
actually do have a Cadillac. A Cadillac body. Smooth, sleek, stealth. I have higher gears that can reach high speeds. I have lower gears that can climb hills seemingly effortlessly. I get up in the morning and run all day.

Then I thought of all the people that we were riding for. People with MS.  People that have been given Murray 10-speeds for bodies. People who sometime wake up in pain. Pain so horrible that they wonder if they can go on or how they can take another step. Bravely they put on a stoic face. "I'm ok," they say. "I'll meet you at the top of the hill." And we go on.


  1. Really beautiful essay, Michelle. Always makes me cry.

  2. That is a great analogy, Michelle!

  3. I am amazed it took me this long to find and read this. What an insightful story. Another reason I look up to you.