All the Small Things

This trip has really made me appreciate the little things in life. Such as a pillow. I found it so strange but comforting to sleep on a normal size pillow when I went home for 2 nights! At home I was able to hang out with my family and friends and relax. I also hit up the mall with Nicki and realized how I am not up to date on the latest fashions. But the great thing is I wake up and never have to decide more than which bike shorts I will wear that day. And I have gotten used to no make-up or doing my hair. Leaving my hair to dry naturally has been one of the most beautiful things ever. Sean Laude told me I’m the one with the “crazy hair”. I’ll take it.

Saturday we had the ride along where we invited family and friends to ride 15 miles with us on the Lakefront trail downtown. We ended at Caldwell Woods where we had a bbq. My mom and I took the train and met up with the team at the Cancer Survivor Garden in Grant Park. I loved having my mom there! She was able to meet Linsey’s parents and a few other parents as well as many of my teammates. The weather was not great, but it got better as we continued riding. My dad met up with us later on. I seriously owe my parents my life!

When we rode up to where everyone was gathered I saw a boy pointing at me. I didn’t recognize him at first with longer hair and a beard, but it was the one and only Daniel Mosiman (Mosi!!!). I couldn’t believe it. He had just gotten back from Jordan the day before and saw the event on the home page and decided to surprise me! I was so touched. Thanks for coming Mosi! and Mosi’s brother Cory!

The ride along and picnic was a great way to show our family and friends what we do and why we do it, and also to thank them for being our life support.

After the picnic we rode to Highland Park to Josh’s house for another dinner. It was a great, relaxed atmosphere with good people and his dad let us use his hot tub! That night Linsey and I went on a run. Running and biking are definitely different! After a few days off I definitely was feeling my muscles working when I ran. It was a great way to let off extra energy (I’m surprised that I can say I have extra energy!) and reflect. I’ve learned that you can’t live life worrying, but you have to live appreciating every good thing that comes your way. Nothing can prepare you for an unexpected punch, but knowing that you have enjoyed every bit of life possible is reassuring.

The next morning Gabby’s mosher was for everyone to share who they were riding for or why they ride. It was moving to hear everyone’s personal stories and experiences with people who have been affected by cancer. I never knew that Connor Yanz’s childhood friend died from cancer. Being united by a cause that is so close to everyone’s heart really brings us together as a team. That day we rode with everyone’s family and friends on our minds, each story motivating the next turn of the wheel. Arriving in Lake Geneva at Brad Topol’s parents’ house, we all enjoyed some snacks before some of us headed to the lake. The weather was pretty chilly (about 62) but Linsey and I were determined to jump in the water- so we did. We got some good pictures of us before, during, and after the jump. A jolt of life shot through my body as the icy cold water hit my skin. It’s funny how the senses can make a person feel truly alive. I’m thankful for the ability to seek out the little thrills that life has to offer.

Today was a beautiful ride to Fitchburg, WI. Wisconsin is gorgeous so far. I had a ton of fun riding with Maggie, Christine, Taylor, Dory, Yang, and Linsey. We took our time and took long breaks. The weather was perfect and the ride was not strenuous, but rather peaceful and enjoyable.

Lauren’s aunt hosted us at her house for dinner and showers, which was much more than we could have asked for. After dinner I sat in on a portrait with a relative of Lauren’s named Toni who recently battled breast cancer. The thing about her story that struck me the most was the fact that she may not be able to have kids because the chemo has damaged her ovaries. There is still hope that her ovaries will “wake up” some day, but it is not guaranteed. My stomach turned over when I heard this. Her husband and her were just getting ready to start having kids when she found a lump in her breast. It just goes to show that anything can happen. I was also struck by the pain that she described after having treatments. She was nauseous, but then after taking the anti-nauseous pills she would have huge head aches. She lost all her hair and had a double mastectomy. But, she still smiles. And she still holds her head up high. I asked her where she got her inner strength from and she said God, her family, and her husband who she has been with for over 20 years (high school sweethearts).

Cancer is everywhere, but even with the prevalence I was not aware of the real impact it has on a person’s life. Toni’s story has changed people’s lives. Now her co-workers check themselves regularly and people appreciate life more. I must sound like a broken record.

I’ll never understand why cancer exists. But I do understand a little better how it affects people. And I hope that this ride brings awareness to others too. And that the money raised contributes to a breakthrough, which I believe it will. If I didn’t, I don’t think I would wake up and ride my bike every day.

Comments (1)
  • Carol Barshack says:

    I hope you enjoyed WI. I had hoped to get down to LaCrosse to see you but something came up with the Fire Dept. & I had to be there for that. If I had come down I wouldn’t have been back home in time. Did you get to see any bears,wolves, coyotes,& deers with their fawns? I wish your group were riding more up this way. oh well, Maybe another year! But you can come up anytime you want. You must have missed our 100+ days in WI & MN. It cooled off for a few days & now it’s back up to normal temps.

    Stay save & love you,
    Aunt Carol

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