Sunday, September 12, 2010

Vuelta a Margarita

“The Europeans look down on raising your hands. They don’t like the end-zone dance. I think that’s unfortunate. That feeling—the finish line, the last couple of meters—is what motivates me.”—Lance Armstrong

 Barking Dog Cycling of Vermillion, SD (formerly the Lane Hogs, Inc.) has once again provided a spectacular day and venue for an organized philanthropic bicycling adventure (Margarita Ride IX) for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. You really have integrated some of the most beautiful scenery along the Missouri and Vermillion River Bluffs. Imagine that even the route’s road names explicate the beauty—Timber and Bluff Roads. Well done my friends!

On the next ride you take, STOP (and I mean that literally) and reflect on the opportunity and adventure that awaits you. Medical statistics reveal that some of us will fail in our advancing years, succumbing to various deleterious diseases that will restrict our future rides. Our genes will cull us from the Peloton as our nervous systems falter…whether it be MS or some other neurodegenerative disease.

I want you to meet a friend and colleague of mine. Kelly had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease when Rocket introduced us. She thought the two of us should meet, because of our common interests. Besides being one of my most fascinating friends, Kelly is a nationally, regionally and locally recognized master teacher, extraordinary technologist, an authentic adventurer, and genuine friend. If you have ever been one of Kelly’s students, colleagues or friends; you know that you gain more from your unique association with him than you can quantify/qualify. Only a part of his story is told by this YouTube presentation of his 10-day 550 mile adventure with Dominic Gill—Kelly: The Century Ride.

“Those that believe the earth is flat have no place here, where the earth’s curvature is visible beyond field after field of rippling green. On one side of the road a field of corn jerks northwards, like the head of a small child having its hair pulled by the school bully. On the other side sunflowers look away, every single one of them, ignoring the wind’s bullying and staring straight at the sun despite the warnings we have all read about the dangers of doing so.

This is South Dakota, where grain elevators scrape the sky…”

Dominic Gill--Sharing a Ride Across America (

It’s not immodest to celebrate the personal victory. Raise your hands, protrude your tongue and shout out your conquest!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Climb

"I had been familiar with that street for years, and had supposed it was dead level: But it was not, as the bicycle now informed me to my surprise. The bicycle, in the hands of a novice, is as alert and acute as a spirit-level in detecting and vanishing shades of difference in these matters. It notices a rise where your untrained eye would not observe that one existed."—Mark Twain

So what do you do when you can’t ride your bicycle? Of course, you blog!

You don’t know how much you’re missing, until you are missing it… Shifting to left-handedness (which many have claimed I did long ago in my own sarcastic way), from my better and dominate right-hand, has presented the worst conceivable inconvenience—taking away that long bicycle ride to clear your head of frustration, fear, fatigue, anxiety, and anger.

Metaphorically, my dear friend Samuel L. Clemens has once again hit it “dead on!” Our emotional-level is mitigated by our compulsion to ride; wherein, resides the therapy. The shift of our transfixed gaze on the next climb exceedingly fades the day’s adversities; and, our ride senses our need to re-focus.

There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb

The Climb—M. Cyrus

Here’re a few pictures from the rapidly vanishing Summer.