Had my first ride related dream last night. At least that I recall. Started out in a big city by the sea. The map said LA. As I was riding out of town, there where lots of roadworks (although not much traffic). This makes sense, I think, since I’m more worried about the terrain than traffic. Eventually, the route got off the road and was a path through the woods. I kept checking the map to make sure I was on the right path but the map said yes. The path was mainly pine needles and half hidden tree roots. As it got steeper, I left my bike behind and started to walk instead. After what didn’t seem like any time at all, I ended up back in LA by the coast where I had started. The last thing I recall was a guy driving me out of town to get back to where I had left my bike. We passed a building where a black woman was standing in a window playing a stringed instrument that I didn’t recognize and singing (to me, I think) as I passed. Interpretation, anyone?
This morning, the person who will most likely be my last student had his Bar Mitzvah. I listened to some of the recordings I made for him 5-6 months ago. I had to listen for a while before I could actually acknowledge that was my voice. This Bar Mitzvah was particularly poignant in that thirteen years ago, on a rainy November afternoon, I spent some quality time with his parents. And eventually him. In his speech, he mentioned that I had been there for his birth. He thanked me for being a big part of the two most important events of his life so far.
Bike and arm modifications are finished. Thanks to all who participated. Have a couple of wrist and thumb braces to give my hand stability. No, the bolt does not go all the way through but might actually be helpful if it did. I also have an adjustable head and neck support that clips on and off as needed, to my riding shorts.
I have an elbow brace which I do need but weight is an issue. The wrist brace weighs a few ounces but even that adds an extra layer of difficulty with arm mobility. May just save it for days when I have lots of downhill. We put a bar across the top of my aerobars which, along with the wrist brace, will hopefully stop my hand from popping off the bars every time I hit a pothole. And as an added bonus, it also doubles as a GoPro mount.
Lastly, I have a shoulder brace. My shoulders don’t really need bracing but I could do with the padding on what I see as the inevitable falls. Is it comfortable? No, but it may be the difference between finishing the ride and not. I looked at more substantial gear with better padding but I looked more like an extra in Game Of Thrones, so went with the minimalist approach.
Whether I’m awake or asleep, it appears that this is the ride of my dreams. Although these are not exactly the circumstances under which I envisioned doing it. It’s been almost ten months to the day that the neurologist suggested we do the ride this year. Ten months since the idea was just a germinating seed. Ten months since I thought… there’s no way in hell I can be ready this year. Yet here we are. There are so many people I owe for the fact I’m actually about to do it. I needed pedals. Pedals were donated. I needed back-up wheels. Wheels appeared. The cycling community donated money for the spare parts I’ll need on the ride. Drew, my mechanic, came in on his days off to get my bike ready. Tomorrow it all comes together and we hit the road (hopefully, just figuratively). Took this photo on my last Illinois ride. I’m guessing the scenery will most likely be a bit different tomorrow.
I keep a journal. Have for as long as I can remember. It’s where the seeds of most of the ideas I write about come from. I wish I knew if the difficulty I’m having holding the pen to write is because the weather is getting colder or disease progression (yes, this far in I can still find a use for denial). I am constantly revising what I will do with the available time we have. Certain tasks take precedence based on which parts of my body are being affected. I try to come up with a tentative timetable of ability. But unfortunately ALS presents a moving target. The only time we can ever be really sure of is now. And now! This is what’s about to go down.
Peace, love and midwives