Well, for a long time I have had “Cycle across America” on my bucket list. So today I signed up with CrossRoadsCycling.com to join their 2018 tour from LA to Boston. What was I thinking?!
So if you read my page Why your “Bucket List” should not be just a list. You know that I had thought about cycling across America as a possible one day “Bucket List” adventure. To be honest with you, it was one of those things on the list you write but never actually think about doing until you have an excuse not to do it. Why? Because it is much harder to do than actually it sounds. It might sound like, if I just had the time I could get on my bike and cycle easily from LA to Boston. In reality it is much harder than that and includes all of the following:
Days riding: 43
Miles: 3,500 (about)
Miles per day: 79 (Avg.)
State line crossings: 15
Longest day: To Wickenburg, AZ – 116 Miles
Shortest day: To Liberal, KS – 40 Miles
Total elevation gain: 90,039’ of climbing
Most gain: To Prescott, AZ – 5,648’ of climbing
Least gain: To Guymon, OK – 480’ of climbing
Highest point on tour: Glorieta Pass, NM – 7,570’ above sea level
Lowest point on tour: Indio, CA – 14’ below sea level
So for someone who has only ridden a bike 1,527.45 mi on the flat roads of Florida since September 2011, it is probably not going to be that easy. My longest ride so far, was back in April 2012, when I did two consecutive rides of 75 miles for MS. That month I cycled 371.6 miles and I thought I was Bradley Wiggins. However, I had enjoyed training for 7 months alone on my bike and went from a struggling first 5 mile slog to a pretty smooth pair of 75 mile solo. I discovered the benefits of using “Butt Butter” or as us European’s prefer to call it “Chamois cream”. I had also re-discovered the joys of riding a bike again. So I guess my thinking was always, if I trained a little harder it wouldn’t be impossible to think I could do all of the above.
So with “Ride across the USA” on my bucket list and a past introduction into the joys of cycling, I was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia. Obviously the first thing you do when diagnosed with a lymphoma or cancer is sign up to ride a bike 3,415 miles, right?
Well to be honest it was not my first thought while sat in the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville waiting for blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy. But as I started to find out that WM was not necessarily life threatening, often very slow progressing and is very treatable, I started to think how I am going to beat this. I have never been into self-pity or worry. I have never been scared of dying, having seen it often as a nurse. However I have always loved life and tried to enjoy every moment, every person I have got to know and every new experience on my journey in this world. So having accepted that I have WM, Deirdre and I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get healthier to help fight this disease. Why it took a diagnosis of WM, to want to be fit and healthy is another question we could all ask ourselves. Why it takes the realization that your life could and will one day end, makes you want to do your best to live it fully now, is another.