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Posting Date: Sunday, August 15, 2004
Subject: TOH: Riding for So Many People

After getting a foot cramp during a tempo drill Thursday night, I was worried what this weekend would be like. Yesterday was a 60 mile ride, and it thankfully felt good. However, I arrived home to one of the most difficult emails I have ever received. I learned that my friend Lori had lost her battle with cancer.

Today I didn't ride until 1:00 PM. By that time, the wind was up to about 15 mph and my ride took me straight into a headwind for most of the first 22 miles. It is just what I needed to focus. More accurately, to suffer a bit.

Coming around the backside of Lake Minnetonka, the speed increased. I now focused on cadence, breathing, and rhythm. I intended to stop at my parents for water and snacks at about 40 miles, but had to keep going. All of a sudden I was overwhelmed and started talking to Lori, to Scott, to God, hoping that it was they in the peloton riding with me. Whether it was that, the tailwind, the endorphins or adrenalin rush, I had a special end to the ride.

I am riding for so many people right now and will be carrying their stories across the country on the Tour of Hope. I receive several emails a week from people in the fight. Yesterday it was from a woman in San Francisco with a GBM Grade 4 brain tumor now in a clinical trial. She has a hard fight ahead of her, but with the attitude she conveyed in her email, she will persevere. Today, it was from a man in Denver on an eerily similar path to me. The same tumor, similar treatment history, similar timing yet his road has had a few more bumps. I get really scared sometimes at night that more of these bumps are ahead for me. He is also a big cyclist and he is going to bring his whole brain tumor group to the Denver rally as we pass through.

Many of my teammates have more cycling experience than me and are stronger. If they would invent a "swimbike" and let me use it for a few days I would be much better off. I will be digging deep at times (into my suitcase of courage as Phil Liggett would say), and it will be Lori’s memory that will very often be filling my sails.