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!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

False Flats

A few days ago I went for a bike ride.  I've only been on a few, literally maybe three, bike rides this year (one being the MS150 :-).  I've been concentrating on the marathon coming up in September.  I need to get out and bike more.  I miss biking.  Especially the downhills :-)

As I was biking I was thinking and thought I'd put my thoughts on "paper" for all the world to read because of course you all love to hear the ramblings (or is that rattlings? :-) that come out of my head when I ride :-)

As I mentioned above, I haven't done a lot biking this year.  As I was riding I felt like I was a little bit out of shape.  That didn't surprise me :-)  At one point I was riding on a nice flat road (or what I thought was a nice flat road!) and on the other side a group of three older gentlemen going the opposite direction whizzed past me.  At that point I was feeling really out of shape!  Were they on the same road I was struggling with?  Soon the road I was on got close to a fairly busy road so I turned around and went back the way I came (the same direction I saw the older guys whiz by)  I was amazed!  The road I had been on was actually a false flat!  Now that I was going a different direction I hardly had to pedal!  No wonder those guys were going so fast!  Of course, I don't doubt they were actually in really good shape too but that's beside the point :-)

False Flats/Invisible Struggles

I thought about false flats in life.  We think we are on a nice flat road and we wonder why we are struggling.  Why do the guys on the other side seem to being going so fast, so effortlessly, on apparently the same road?  Or maybe I see someone struggling with something that seems like it's not that difficult.  Why are they struggling?  Doesn't always make sense.

Recently a friend of mine told me about her daughter who is dyslexic.  I had no idea.  She struggles every day and you would never know it.  I called another friend.  As we talked she broke down in tears and told me that her husband had just moved out.  I had no idea.  False Flats.  Invisible struggles.  At the finish line in Logan we met a guy and asked him his connection to MS, why he was riding.  After telling us he asked us the same question and we told him we ride for Marianne.  She was sitting there in her biking gear and he asked her about her MS.  What were her symptoms?  How did she handle it?  As she was explaining her symptoms to him she said something interesting.  She said that if someone didn't know she had MS they would probably just think she was lazy because she has to rest a lot to deal with her MS symptoms.

All of this thinking was a good reminder to me.  First of all, I need to be easier on myself.  No comparisons.  Even if two roads look very similar chances are they aren't.  And second, I need to be easier on those around me (my kids, family etc.).  I may never know what false flats someone is struggling with.

So there you have it.  Some of the thoughts that rattle around in my head when I bike :-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gratitude 2012

Just finished the 2012 Harmon's Best Dam bike ride MS150 in Logan.  So much fun!!  I love that ride. So many wonderful people gathered together in a common cause.

As I was sitting at the award presentation thingy the evening after the ride I had this overwhelming desire to get up and just say THANK YOU! to everybody there.  So I thought I'd just "take the microphone" here on the blog and say some THANK YOUs :-)

These aren't in any particular order.

Mother of boy with MS/Volunteers
THANK YOU volunteers!  One of the people that spoke at the event Saturday night was a mother of a boy who was just diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) last year.  The boy is 16 years old.  His mom got up and told about how they had found the National MS Society and decided to become involved as volunteers at the MS150 event.  Their whole family was there volunteering at the MS150 that day.  How cool is that!?

I LOVE volunteers!  I feel like a celebrity when I ride in the MS150.  The rest stops are particularly fun.  I've had my bike valet parked, been misted with cold water, served cold drinks, had my sunglasses cleaned, gotten tattooed and massaged.  Volunteers are the best!

Thank you volunteers!  Riding is fun.  Volunteering seems like work LOL  I'm so grateful for people who want to volunteer!  You make the ride so much fun!  THANK YOU!

UHP tattoos at Rest Stop #2

Speaking of volunteers...

Rest stop #3
We got off to a late start Saturday morning.  And we were not the fastest bikers on the course.  At rest stop one I found out that Bethany, my sister Lisa's daughter, wasn't feeling very well.  As the morning progressed she felt worse and worse.  By rest stop number three she was ready to call a Support vehicle (SAG).

I thought about how we had missed lunch last year.  Our goal this year was to make it to lunch!  We were a little over half-way to the lunch stop.  At our pace we'd get there at 1pm and probably miss lunch.  I have to admit, I was a little sad.  It wasn't even noon yet and our ride was ending right before the ride starts to get really interesting!  Rest Stop 3 was closed down.  That's how late we were!  The volunteers were all eating their box lunches.  As we were waiting for the SAG vehicle a volunteer approached us.  Dixie.  She brought four extra lunches that they had.  I thought it was making it to the lunch stop that I wanted.  No.  It was LUNCH!  And here it was.  THANK YOU Dixie.  And THANK YOU Richards Brandt Miller Nelson, the sponsors of Rest Stop 3.

Mmmmmmm.  Lunch!! :-)
LtoR: Bethany, Lisa, Dixie, Marianne, Me

Mountain America Credit Union
THANK YOU Mountain America Credit Union (MACU)!  This year we got back to the Village earlier than we normally do.  Lucky for us!  We got back just in time for the MACU afternoon drawing.  Bethany's name was drawn out as a participant in the money grab game.  This is where you step into a thing.... what's the right word? .... a tent/tube thingy (it's like a plastic phone booth) and they turn on a fan which blows money all around you.  Seriously.  You grab what you can and you actually get to keep the money!  Bethany was able to grab $32!  Now she only needs to raise $218 for next year's ride :-)  

MACU also sponsors a BINGO game.  You take a bingo card on the ride and get signatures for things like "person with yellow socks," "person in the top 75 of the 150 club," "someone from team Harmon's."  Things like that.  We've done the bingo in the past but we've never won.  This year two of us on the team won!  Yep.  We stayed to the bitter end Saturday night and finally our name was called :-)  Lisa won $50 and I won $100.  With that $100 we can purchase 1700 jawbreakers for our jawbreaker machine at the Water Gardens theater in Pleasant Grove and raise $425!  How cool is that!?  THANK YOU Mountain America!

Bethany in the money booth grabbing money :-)

THANK YOU Bethany!  As I mentioned above, Bethany wasn't feeling too well.  After lunch at Rest Stop 3 though and a little yoga with Aunt Marianne, she decided she would try and go one more rest stop. We told her about the really fun rolling hills between Rest Stop 3 and Rest Stop 4.  One of the funnest parts of the route in my opinion.  We are so proud of Bethany!  She made it to Rest Stop 4 and can now officially say she has biked from Logan to Idaho!  Thank You Bethany for riding to Franklin with us!  Bethany is also one of our top fundraisers.  She raised the money for her mom, Lisa, to ride with us this year!  Thank you Bethany! :-)

Lisa and Bethany in Idaho :-)

The Rookies
THANK YOU Lisa!  THANK YOU Craig!  As we were riding, both Marianne and I discussed how this year seemed different.  We just didn't seem as pumped and excited to be there.  Something was missing.  Luckily we had Lisa with us!  This was Lisa's first year.  She was one of two Rookies on our team.  As we plodded along, Lisa sailed on ahead of us.  I can still see her smiling face.  She was loving it!  She didn't complain at the hills.  In fact she tackled each one deftly without even getting off her bike once!  Quite often we'd look around -- Where's Lisa? we'd ask.  Inevitably she was way ahead of us, oblivious to the fact that we were trailing behind.  Thank you Lisa for bringing some energy to a group of not so energetic riders!  

And Thank you Craig!  He pulled the 100 mile team along.  We met Craig the day before the MS150.  Apparently Craig bikes A LOT!  He was in really good shape and was able to help the 100 milers tackle the windy conditions.

Hills?  Ha!  I eat hills for breakfast!  Bring it on!!

THANK YOU Bill!  Bill is my husband.  He's our bike mechanic and team support.  He was also team captain this year.  Thank you Bill for remembering that Marianne's bike last year had lots of problems and that she ended up finishing the ride last year on my bike!  Because Bill remembered this we were able to fix up my bike for Marianne to ride and get another bike ready for me.  This made for a much more pleasant ride!  So nice to have a decent bike to ride on, eh?  Bill switched bike seats and adjusted bikes the morning before the ride so that we could each have a good bike to ride.

Superman!!  Cyclist, Team Captain, Master Mechanic and so much more!

Jacob and Reid
THANK YOU Jacob and Reid.  Jacob was a good sport.  We all painted our fingernails orange for the ride.  Jacob was the only manly man among the men :-)  He painted one hand's nails :-)  Thanks for playing with us Jacob and Thanks for riding even after having two flat tires!  Thanks to Reid for helping with the flat tires!  Reid and Jacob rode 75 miles!!  Way to go!

Friends and Family
THANK YOU Friends and Family!  For the past couple of years Bill and I have relied on money from the gum ball machine and CureMS, the iPhone/iPad app, to have enough to ride.  This year I was hoping to get into the 150 club (top 150 fundraisers).  I was quite a bit short though but thought I still might be able to pull off $600 to get a jersey.  As the race approached I was still about $70 short of my goal.  I decided to call Bill's mom.  Bill's mom always donates $50 to the ride each year.  This year however she was on her honeymoon.  It was Friday.  I was desperate.  I called.  I know.  I got a lot of flack from the family for that one.  But it was Grandma!  She loves to donate, right?  Anyhow.  I got the answering machine.  Dang.  The first year I rode I sent out an email and raised money that way.  In recent years however email pleas had gone unanswered.  So I decided to try a less-than-subtle Facebook status.  "Yahoo!  On my way to the MS150!  So excited and only $50 short of my goal!"  I added a link to our fundraising website :-)  THANK YOU to my cousin Staci for seeing that status update and donating the much needed/wanted $50 :-)  And THANK YOU to Aunt Charlotte for donating the other $20!  And THANK YOU to all the friends and family that support us in so many different ways (including reading this blog :-)!  It means a lot to us.  We love you!

THANK YOU Marianne!  Thank you for suggesting years ago that we fundraise as a family.  Thank you for having such fun ideas and making everything so fun!  Marianne suggested we paint our fingernails orange this year.  Great idea!  That was a ton of fun.  She also encouraged us and led us onto BINGO victory! :-)  Also it was with Marianne that we brainstormed the "Crush MS" campaign on one of our runs.  Being with Marianne turns on the creative juices!  THANK YOU!

Crush MS!

Yoga at Rest Stop 3

THANK YOU to Water Gardens theater in PG for hosting our jawbreaker machine and to Apple for creating the App Store and the iPhone/iPad so we could make CureMS (and to Bill for the idea :-).  THANK YOU to Scott, Jenni and Jeff for watching the kids while we rode.  THANK YOU to you for reading this :-)