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Make The Miles Meaningful, Man
Previous readers (but old and new are all welcome) know that in 2016 I biked 5,306 miles, which was nothing short of incredible, especially to me. That’s because I’m not a young, thin, professional cyclist. (Or use PED’s [performance enhancing drugs], although I do take my share of vitamins and supplements to get me through the rides.) But more than a few people say I’ve inspired them. Like my good buddy from high school Jeff, who’s no slouch and climbs rocks, plus donates money. There’s a guy on Strava in Florida I’ve never met. My dear lunkhead brother said he began walking more on account of all my bicycling. Co-workers, friends, family, and strangers on line in the grocery store have in various ways said my efforts were, well, to paraphrase my fellow Jewish brohim Adam Sandler’s The Hanukah Song — “not too shabby”. So when I decided to retire from long-distance cycling, especially the charity fundraising rides, I thought I would go back to my car-free life and do more walking, swimming and weight-lifting. No more 10 hours a week getting my 100 miles. Not having to ask for money.
But then Bill (there’s always a Bill in these sort of stories, isn’t there?), an inline skate marathoner (!), fellow bike rider and nice guy who helped me get through a tough patch in the Mamma Jamma Breast Cancer Ride in 2015 and then donated to both my AIDS rides, said he couldn’t do the MS 150, but if I did, he would donate. Then I won the new bike (see my previous blog post), the weather got warmer, I found myself riding more, so I said yes: I would bike from Houston to Austin April 29th and 30th to inspire people to donate to help sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) with treatment and research for a cure.
So I’m back on the chain gang (pun and The Pretenders reference intended. Hey Ms. Hynde — I won tickets to see you at ACL Live in Austin. You’ll never see this post, but in case you do, how about a sizeable donaish? I know you’ve got plenty of Brass in Pocket). To date, I’ve raised $655 (plus another $500 for my own costs just to get me to the starting line like registration, bus, hotel, training rides, etc.). I’ve upped my goal to $1,800 — which is $10 for every mile. So I have a long way to go, both in miles and in money. And it’s high time the internet step up and thrown down to make all the miles meaningful. That means YOU, dear reader, lurker, passerby in blogville!
Just when I thought I was out, they just pull me back in. — Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part III
Houston, We Have a Problem. It’s You. You’re 180 Miles from Austin.
Signing up for a ride is one thing. Preparing is another. Just try running a marathon without doing a bunch of 10K’s first. Or a mile swim with no build up. Pick your poison. Training is key to NOT DYING, something most of us are really into. Looking at A Dude Abikes’ Strava training log, you can see in the chart below that I have definitely ramped things back up up. After a week completely off the bike, for the first two months of the year I was content with 50 miles a week. But in late February and early March, I cranked up the jams. Because writing my book became like homework and I missed the biking.
And now I’m in the thick of it. 11 days to go to the biggest ride of my life. But I think I have done enough training to be able to make it. Without the dying. Below are some highlights of my training rides. I’m gonna cheat a little here and add in Strava links, because all the riding takes time from writing. There are the cool maps created by me riding with my Garmin watch, stats about speed, elevation, etc., pictures and amusing titles.
If you don’t like it, you can go to that new Kosher Japanese restaurant all the lawyers go to hang out and discuss trial strategy: Sosumi. (Get it? So sue me. LOL!) I’m Jewish so I can make that joke, and it really only makes fun of lawyers. And we all know what Shakespeare said about them, right? He’d be arrested for making terroristic threats today. And no, I’m not suggesting anything nefarious. It’s just a blog about bike-riding based on a movie title, so may thine panties not endeth uppeth in a wad. Jesus! (Who, if he was living in America, would be that swarthy, hairy, Jewish man, you know, that nice carpenter from Long Island, Joseph and Mary Christ’s son?) That was a silly paragraph.
Easter Hill Country Tour (Kerrville): 131 Miles
Two Rides, Tons o’ Hills (Austin): 127 Miles
In Town Training Ride (Austin): 52 Miles
Saturday, April 1 – No Ride, but Got a Workout Moving Boxes Out of and Into Storage
Smokin’ Spokes & Solo Ride (Salado): 107 Miles
To the Lake and Back on a Heavy Steel Bike: 60 Miles
SHOW ME THE MONEY! (Please — It’s for the Cause)
The bike lane may be closed, but I’m open for bidness. I’m in the bidness of takin’ names and kickin’ ass. And bidness is GOOOOOOD!
That’s what I said to some befuddled construction workers who had put up a “Bike Lane Closed” sign. But I think all my riding speaks for itself. I’m putting in the time and effort, fo’ shizzle (thanks Snoop Dawg). That doesn’t even include the stuff I do during the week to get around, which can add up. My point, and I do have one (thank you for that book title, Ellen DeGeneres): this is the point in the blog where I quote Tom Cruise (“he’s not Jewish, but I hear his agent is” according to Adam Sandler again): SHOW ME THE MONEY! That was in Jerry McGuire, if you’ve never seen it. It’s a movie about making your dreams come true, Renee Zellweger before her unfortunate plastic surgery, and loving the black man (‘cos black lives matter), played by Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. And I’m pretty sure all those celebrities are avid long-distance charity bike riders, like me, who when they see this will, of course, SHOW ME THE MONEY! See, who said A Dude Abikes isn’t hip to pop culture… from the mid-late 90’s and early 00’s?
None of which has anything remotely to do with MS. But A Dude loves him some Cameron Crowe movies ever since he was nearby the set of Singles when he lived in Seattle, where good buddy Jeff is now. So there it is, full circle. The cycle of life. Bicycling. Hey, I’m tired alright? I just biked 131 miles in a day and a half. But seriously, you wanna donate now, yes? Great, thanks! Knock yourself out. Give til it hurts. Because I sure am. And I will be hurting more on April 29th and 30th.
But that is temporary. Symptoms of MS are not temporary. And MS is serious and mysterious. So as much as I may complain — and at one level, yes, it’s extremely challenging for me to bike all these miles, since I ain’t no spring chicken — it’s not like living day in and day out with a hard-to-diagnose, challenging-to-treat, and so far impossible-to-cure disease. Learn more about MS by watching this short video clip.
A Dude! Just Tell Me How to Donate, Already!
OK, OK! Unwad those undergarments again! Here’s how to donate, and I sure hope you will. Whether it’s in honor of someone you know living with MS, or to support me in this bike ride, or just to express your gratitude for having health and the ability to donate if you do, whether it’s $18 or $180, any reason is welcome. Also, please spread this link around liberally bragging that you did donate:
Thanks for reading and giving. Come back soon, and I will too. Respectfully submitted,
A Dude Abikes