MS Ride – 2010

Last year about this time, and certainly during last year’s MS Ride in June, I was convinced that I would take a year off. I had done the ride for ten years in a row. I had my share of bad breaks with two flats the first day and an eye infection that left me wearing my normal glasses on the second day. Let me tell you, the main reason I got contact lenses 25 years ago was that wearing glasses during a hot summer’s day bike ride is a pain. The photo that you see associated with this post is of me at the finish of the 2009 ride. I have a big smile on my face because I’m done. I also had my wife and son greeting me at the finish line.

This was also the time when we were dealing with a flooded basement in our relatively new home. Lots of obstacles seemed to be getting in the way of me training, and therefore, enjoying my rides. I felt slightly less prepared for the ride than usual. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t the first rider in Williamsburg. Well, despite all of what happened last year, I will be riding the 2010 edition of the MS Ride. The reason that I will is that it has become a habit. It’s something that I can still do. The obstacles that got in my way last year are nothing compared to the obstacle that is MS. All of the stuff that got in my way were mere inconveniences. What I enjoy is the challenge every year. Sure each year I ride, I will get progressively slower, and there will always be younger riders that will ride ever faster. The more I do the ride, it’s more about being reminded of the struggle, and how minor it is in comparison to people with MS. I ride for Bruce Lowery, husband of Pam Lowery, whom I work with at the University of Mary Washington. Pam has shared with me that Bruce’s struggle has stabilized somewhat, but life is still a quite a bit of a struggle living with MS.

I hope that you can support my ride this year. Encourage me to suffer for two days and 150 miles, if only to remind me that my life is pretty good.

Visit my Personal Page and donate what you can. Thank you.


Any 8 year-old can do it

liamlivestrong.MP4 — powered by

He may not be your ordinary Internet user, but Lance Armstrong comes up with some pretty compelling content to entertain us with. 8 year-old Liam is riding up the Col de la Columbiere with our boy Lance, and he’s making it look easy. The Columbiere is not the steepest climb in this year’s Tour de France, but it will be the last climb of 5 major mountains in the 170km 17th stage, so it could be very decisive. Who knows where Liam will be around 2025, but you can never start training for the Tour too early.

Giro Heroes

Lance and Levi Postrace Recap After Giro’s Stage 15 — powered by

I’ve got lots of things on the burners right now, but along with the Hockey play-offs, I’m watching unprecedented coverage of the Giro d’Italia (even as I write this). The Tour de France has gotten lots of play over the years, with the Versus network doing the daily reports for the last several years. However, the Giro gets short shrift every year. Mostly because their aren’t generally any prominent Americans that ride it, at least not a marquee rider like Lance Armstrong. Well this year is different because Lance is riding it for the first time. Hard to believe that during a 17 year career he never attempted it, but that is the nature of cycling in the modern era. Riders specialize and race to get maximum exposure for their sponsors. For Armstrong and other Americans, that has meant the Tour de France.

Armstrong really has had three cycling careers now. His pre-cancer career was highlighted by a World Championship win and a Tour de France stage win in 1993. Another TdF stage win in 1995 and success in the major U.S. tour at the time, the Tour duPont, were additional highlights before a slow decline culminating in his cancer diagnosis in 1996 at the still tender age of 25. His second career (and remarkable comeback) began in 1998 when he finished high up in the standings of Spain’s “Grand Tour”, the Vuelta a España. 1999 was of course the first year of his total of 7 Tour de France victories. His retirement following his 7th Tour win saw Armstrong going out on top.

For 2009, the beginning of his third cycling career, Lance obviously felt like he had something left for the sport. He also wanted to make more prominent his role as spokesman for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, also known as Livestrong, an organization that brings awareness to issues and programs related to cancer and its treatment. While victories have alluded him so far this year, he has performed well and has helped his teammate, Levi Leipheimer, to a Tour of California win in February. Armstrong even had a setback in late March, breaking his collarbone in a Spanish stage race that also saw Leipheimer win. Despite that, Lance is showing well in his first Giro.

Which brings us to the intimate video you see above, with Lance and Levi taking turns being both cameraman and narrator. To see them talk about the 16th stage of the Giro ( a 7+ hour affair!) as one of the hardest of their respective careers is really startling. What’s also startling to me, is that the technology of the day allows these two super-humans to bring us such exquisite detail of one of the world’s toughest bike races, almost instantaneously. With the addition of Lance’s Twitter feed, it gives a cycling fan a revolutionary view of the life of a bike racer. Bellissimo!