Chemo damaged my brain.
Those who have known me long enough would say, “You mean, ‘Damaged it more?’” Yeah, well, screw you if you’re thinking that! Anyway, it’s true: Chemo has affected the part of my brain responsible for rational decision-making. Exhibit A: I signed up for a 200-mile charity bike ride, despite the fact I haven’t been on a bike in more than 30 years (it was Pepto-Bismol pink and had a green frog on the banana seat), despite the fact I was pretty sure I'd be a slacker when it came to training, and despite the fact that when I registered, I didn’t own a bike.
Those who have known me long enough would say, “Charity bike ride? What is the charity? You?” Yeah, well, screw you if you’re thinking that! Anyway, Tour de Pink East Coast benefits a wonderful organization called Young Survival Coalition, which provides education and resources to young women diagnosed with breast cancer, like me. I would never consider doing a ride of this nature unless it benefited a cause very near and dear to my heart, and unless I could ride with a whole bunch of awesome people. I suppose I also did it because I could; 2016 marks the first year since my diagnosis that I haven't had any part of my body removed or worked on. I suppose it also helped that the chemo damaged the part of my brain responsible for recognizing my athletic limitations.
I was so worried about raising the minimum $2,500 for this ride that I sort of forgot to concentrate on training. Then I focused on securing my team some super awesome custom jerseys and kinda let that consume me. Then I was like, what about accessories? We must have the proper accessories! ...Shhhh! Did you hear that? It's the sound of training falling to the wayside.
|I'll get this bike-riding thing down eventually.
Now I find myself 17 days before the ride and probably only having racked up about 40 miles over the course of a few infrequent excursions. Those who have known me long enough would say, “40 miles—really? Didn’t think you had even that in you. Did you accidentally get stuck to the back of someone’s bumper and get dragged?” Yeah, well, screw you if you’re thinking that! Anyway, my goals for the ride changed: I’ve gone from “I want to complete as many miles as possible” to “Please don’t let me die.” Believe me, the irony of dying during a cancer bike ride isn’t lost on me. But hey, if I face-plant or get hit by a truck full of hot garbage, I’m going to look good when it happens, thanks to a stellar custom jersey and killer accessories.
Luckily, I’m also teamed up with some pretty great gals (and fellow slackers): childhood pal Tara and fellow survivor and “BRCA sister” Mollie. We’re the ride’s equivalent of the kids who sit in the back of the class, passing inappropriate notes back and forth and competing to see whose farts are the loudest. Not coincidentally, at the back of the pack is where we plan to ride (due to lack of training and, more importantly, out of concern for the safety of our fellow riders).
We won’t be the fastest, won’t be the most stable on our bikes and won’t have road rash on anything less than 90 percent of our bodies by the time this is done, but we will be surrounded by amazing (and inspirational) Tour de Pink riders and we'll be having fun. Those who have known me long enough would say, “I never doubted that.”
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I have a thing for nice, round numbers and I’d love for my team to hit the $10,000 mark. If you’re reading this and can identify with slacker underdogs like me and my teammates, please consider making a donation to the cause. Seriously, it can be, like, $5. No amount is too small. And you can keep your donation amount hidden, then go around and brag to everyone about how you donated a king’s ransom. We won’t tell.