Reconnecting with the Cause

We’ve been training for the trip for a long time. Trips to the ARC have been going on since November, twice a week since January, and we’ve been riding like crazy since we got back from Spring Break. For a while all I could think about was the trip: What type of bike should I buy? What snacks will I want eat? Should I get a rack bag? When are my bike shoes finally coming in? Will I be in shape enough when the trip begins? And so on and so on.

This past weekend we did a doozy: a 90 mile trip. In fact, my group got lost and off track enough that we ended up going 104 miles, so I can check that off my list already! It was pretty brutal: the morning started out very cold and it didn’t warm up much, the sun came out for only an hour or two, it rained for part of the trip, and my group got about 10 miles off course at one point. While finishing the ride was rewarding, it was difficult and sometimes frustrating, and my group ended up spending about 10 hours from start to finish.

After we arrived at our stayover location, we had an event for the Portraits Project. I was tired, but I knew had to do it. The half hour that I spent doing that portrait had a huge impact on me. I heard the story of a father of three who fought acute myeloid leukemia, and the struggles that he and his family went through. At the end of the portrait, I had an entirely new perspective on the day. I worked hard to move myself 104 miles on a bike, and I was tired, but that night I got to eat pasta, chill with my fellow riders, go to sleep, and wake up well-rested the next day. And after returning to campus, I got to go to sleep in my bed, and by Monday morning it was as if nothing had happened.

A cancer patient is not so lucky. They can’t just go to sleep and wake up better; they go through chemo, and can wake up feeling even worse. It takes years to recover, if it all, and not just a couple of days. My ride was hard, but it was nothing compared to the ride of a victim of cancer.

I complained a lot on last weekend’s ride, and I really regret it. Whenever I was hurting on the short ride back home, I did my best to not allow it to get to me. Instead, I let it motivate me. My struggle was just the tiniest blip in my lifetime, and I let it remind me of the fight that others have to give against cancer. When I think about the ride, I no longer think about how hard it will be to bike every day. Instead, I think of the difference that I can make with this ride. My sacrifice is small, and if it means something to someone battling cancer, then it is way more than worth it.

Comments (3)
  • gfairbairn Gabrielle Fairbairn says:

    Great post Kenny!! And now you for sure know you can ride more than 100 miles.

  • Arnavaz Mistry-Mujthaba says:

    Go, Kenny, go! I really enjoyed your post and how the portrait impacted you. It certainly helped me look at my day today from a different perspective.

  • Rebecca Shaevel says:

    Honey, I love you! If someone took every bike rider in the world, lined them up and told me that I could choose any rider I wanted to be mine, guess who I would pick?

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