Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Summer Challenge September Update: 3 months, 3,000 miles, $3,000

Sunset Rd Summit Overlooking Tucson
As you may remember, the Epilepsy Foundation’s 3 month Summer Challenge began June 20th and ends September 20th. Participants could determine their own physical challenge and set their own financial fund raising goal for the Challenge period.

As an “every day” cyclist, both in terms of how often I ride and my skill level, it is no surprise I chose cycling as my physical challenge goal. Since I have cycled 12,000 miles (19,355 km) each year for the last 15 years, riding 3,000 miles in the 3 challenge months seemed like a logical goal. It followed then that $3,000 would be my logical fundraising goal.

As I write my September update I have 15 more riding days. So far I have ridden 2,694 miles leaving 306 miles yet to be ridden. That calculates to a minimum of 20 miles per day which is totally doable if I remain healthy and uninjured.

I have already raised $3,300 to date which is amazing, thanks to your generous contributions and your generous spirit. Like every athlete, when I achieve a goal I usually set another goal and begin calculating just what needs to be different in my training and my manner of living that can help me achieve my next goal. And so, my new financial challenge goal is $3,500 in the remaining 15 days. 

Focusing on just these particular three months has been quite the teacher. Focus is a key denominator in accomplishing just about anything of significance. The two significant goals, over which I do not have full control, in this designated period of time, are the 3,000 miles and $3,000. Focusing, pacing, prioritizing seem to be native skills for me; however; riding 3,000 miles with no ride-altering happenings beyond my control adds a dimension of “planning the process while not planning the outcome”.

In terms of life and ride-altering happenings during these three months the following events have provided me with the opportunity to recalculate and adjust day by day to reach my 3,000 mile goal:
  • my brother’s death and related travel from Arizona to New York (days off the bike)
  • family vacation travel (days off the bike)
  • a quick trip to San Diego to visit our daughter and catch two Chicago Cubs v San Diego Padres baseball games (days off the bike) 
  • theft of my bike, dealing with all the insurance complexities, replacement of my bike from the UK (significantly reduced mileage while riding an alternate bike)
  • near record-breaking heat in the Sonoran desert: (unable to ride expected distances per day)
  • near record-breaking monsoon rains and flooding (needed to detour several routes to avoid   flooded areas)
Uprooted tree from monsoon flooding
Rillito River which is totally dry 355 days each year

A night time user of the muti-use path when the pavement is not so hot

  • a few simple partial and complex partial seizures (depletion of energy and adjustments for safety)
  • my husband’s serious bike crash (support for his comfort and care)
  • my two bike accidents. One resulted in the wound becoming infected, the other resulted in a sprained ankle and the need to replace my rear wheel. (reduced mileage during the resolution of these events.)
My fundraising goal? 100% of my original goal was met within the first 30 days of the Summer Challenge. The outpouring of support from friends and family has left me humbled and beyond grateful. All of you who have contributed are friends from several corners of my life: some of you have been friends for many years, others are newer friends who have become part of my life here in Tucson after we retired here 5 years ago. Some of you are family, some of you are friends from the various churches Kirk pastored or where we now attend. Many of you are cycling friends. 

As a result of such generosity, I’m hoping I can achieve my new goal of $3,500 (only $200 needed to reach my new goal) to make a difference in the care of individuals with epilepsy and for research for effective treatment, especially for those who are living with uncontrolled seizures. 

And finally, I am humbled, amazed and grateful that in my 71st year I am still physically able to continue to ride 12,000 miles a year.