We're in New Hampshire now. We've done mountain hiking, kayaking, and I've done a lot of biking and running. There's a bike ride coming up next Saturday, the Prouty Ride, that I'd love to do but we'll have moved on. There are distance options of 20, 50, 100, and 200 miles. It's right outside our door. I can ride out the driveway and be on the course. It's killing me not to be here for it. I would have wanted the 50, and planned all week that since we're not going to be here, I'd go out today and ride the 50-mile course.
Steve & I were watching the 4th of July
parade Wednesday when 2 cyclists rode up on road bikes, stopping right in
front of where we were to watch the parade also. They were wearing
jerseys from previous years of the Prouty. I thought
about asking these folks if there might be going to pre-ride the course
on Friday, but then thought, no, they're old, 70's probably, if they're
riding it at all this year they're no doubt only doing the 20.
Today I went out and started the 50-mile route. After about 5 miles I saw 2
cyclists way up ahead, and within 5 minutes I'd caught them. It was the
older couple from the parade. They were doing "part of" the course
today, about 12 miles. I asked them if they were riding next weekend,
and..... he's doing the century, she's doing the 50. Surprise, Ellie!
Don't judge a book by its cover. I rode with them and talked with them.
He's 70 and she looks older but is probably in her late 60's, I'm
guessing. They offered me a rest stop at their home and gave me a glass of ice water.
As we rode together, she mentioned that she's a little apprehensive about doing 50 miles
since she's just getting back to biking. Oh, have you had an injury?
Slight chuckle, yes.... less than a year ago she wrecked her bike during a race,
in Sweden for petesake, and broke 6 ribs and punctured a lung. (They said the Swedish Emergency Medical Services and hospital were fantastic.) Then when
she recovered from that, they discovered she had a very rare, very
aggressive skin cancer, Merkel Cell Carcinoma,
which has a higher mortality rate than even melanoma. She had surgery and radiation treatments. So, she's now getting back to
biking less than a year after the wreck and the cancer, surgery, and
radiation. She got behind on the climbs today but said although she was
slow and it was hard, she felt well, which is a new improvement. Her
husband was ecstatic. She's definitely planning on the 50-miler next
Oh, she started biking years ago because she was in renal failure and
thought it would better her chances if she became more fit overall. She
got her husband to bike with her and they've both been at it ever since.
This is his 20th consecutive year of riding the Prouty Century. She's been told by both her oncologists the Swedish trauma specialists that her overall fitness is to thank for her quick recovery, especially at her age.
I want to be just like her. I want to be just like them. I want to ride a
century when I'm 70, and if I ever break ribs and puncture a lung in a
bike wreck and then fight a potentially fatal disease, I want to be back
on my bike riding 50 miles in less than a year.
The odd thing is, as we shared experiences, that she said she wants
to be just like me. Because of the things I do... biking, triathlons,
hiking the AT. Even though I've never had to recover from anything worse
than tendonitis and sprains. She called me a "phenomenal athlete."
I'm humbled. I told her about Holly continuing to train for a marathon
while undergoing chemotherapy for melanoma, and then founding the Cancer
to 5K program.
I'm not going to complain about the small stuff anymore.