Breaking through the Caution Tape

I was recently discussing with a relative the financial needs for my seven marathons. I said it is really difficult to fundraise, especially a huge goal of $55,000+. His tone was nonchalant and said, “Well, that’s okay. If you don’t make it, you can at least say that you tried.” What? Really? Not only do I have obligations to my sponsors, donors, and the MS community, but my pride is on the line! Quitting is never an option for me!

The conversation reminded me of the Bay to Bay Bike MS Tour in October 2008. It was my first cycling event ever. I bought a road bike with clipless pedals and learned to ride for many hours on a sore butt.

Day one of the 100 mile ride had perfect weather and the ocean views were gorgeous. About 30 miles into the ride, we cycled past San Onofre Beach where they were holding a surfing contest. They barricaded part of the bike path to allow room for spectators. It was a very windy day and as I rode past those barricades at 17mph, a gust of wind wrapped caution tape around my body. The tape had a firm hold. I was yanked off my bike and went crashing to the ground.

Within seconds, people were surrounding me and bracing me in case of spinal injury. The ambulance came and I told them I was fine. I said I wanted to get back on my bike. I only had a few more miles until the lunch stop and I was hungry! The paramedic told me I had to go to ER. I said, “No!” I explained I have MS and it is important for me to finish. He asked Brian to hand him my bike helmet which was laying on the ground several feet away. It was cracked all the way through the center. The paramedic said, “Your race is over, young lady! You are going to the ER.” I was pissed. That is when I started to cry.

Other than bloody road rashes and a contusion from my hip down my entire thigh, I was fine. The MS Society took my bike and repaired it right away, gave me a new jersey because mine was shredded, and a kind volunteer drove Brian to the hospital to be with me. After more crying and a good night’s rest, I was able to participate in day two of the bike event. My bruises throbbed the whole time and the ride up the 440 foot Torrey Pines Hill was slow, but I made it to the finish line!

This is just one example of my determination. I will keep on pushing and not only will I make my personal fundraising goal, but I will also raise money for the MS Society.

I did Bike MS again a year later in 2009. I wanted to break the caution tape curse and put all fears about crashing asunder. I successfully made it to all the food stops and completed 150 miles of cycling! And now I am fundraising to successfully complete seven marathons on seven continents in 12 months.

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