Wooster, OH to Niles, OH
Another ride over 90 miles again today and for the first time started with some light rain. The rain was nothing much to write home about but just enough to make you slightly damp. All of us pondered the crucial question – do I wear my rain jacket or not? The problem we have in these conditions is that it is humid and hot enough to make it uncomfortable to wear a jacket, as it’s likely you become wetter inside your jacket from heat than from the rain. I went with no jacket and lucked out as it didn’t really rain again for the whole ride, and I was actually quite comfortably cool.
The ride started with a few hills, but then settled down into gently rolling landscape dotted with fields, woods and now houses with large yards. One thing that struck me today is that the further east we have cycled the more the yards have been mowed. More often than not I saw perfect parallel lines of dark and light green grass on either side of the road. As I was riding along one of these rides, and admiring the freshly cut lawns, I noticed a truck in a driveway letting Mike and Terry pass before coming out. I noted he was looking at me again waiting so I waved and said thanks. “You should go ride on a bike path where you belong” was the friendly early morning greeting. I was tempted to do all the things you shouldn’t do, which included use of one of my fingers, but I resisted. I thought wouldn’t it be great if there was a bike path that leads from LA to Boston. It always amazes me how self-centered many people can be. I should have actually stopped and told him I have cancer and am riding from LA to Boston to raise as much money for research into a cure for my disease and to save my life! I suspect he would have had a different perspective on some early morning cyclists disrupting his exit from his house, but maybe not.
After the first SAG we passed through a small town that had put pictures of its war hero’s on each of the light poles. The individuals were from all different conflicts and military forces. It was a really nice touch to see all of these faces of those who has not been forgotten by their home town.
Just as I was approaching the second SAG, I had my very first experience of being chased by a dog” Back in Arizona we had some dogs run after us a little, but this was a full blown chase. I have to admit that the black Labrador was old and little on portly side, but nevertheless he did make a gallant effort to chase down my back wheel. Barking as he chased, I could see he meant business so I stood on the pedals and sprinted off thanks to my new well trained cycling legs that I have developed over the last five weeks. The dog gave up and probably went back to hide waiting to ambush another rider later. I rode off with a big smile on my face, and my wheels, ankles and pride intact.
Late in today’s ride we were able to cycle along a bike path for 8 miles.This section was great with no one much else there apart from chipmunks who seem to be running across the path for the whole of the eight miles.
Before I knew it, the ride was over! I felt even better when we were given an ice cold Miller Lite. As Terry rightly stated “this is the best Miller light I have ever had’. It was good. After a quick shower I went to meet a fellow WM’er who had contacted me a few days ago. Shari has had WM for over 20 years which in of itself is a a testament to how she has handled the disease and also encouraging for me to hear. The one thing I never guessed would come from my adventure and this blog is that I have found a network of people who are going through the same thing as myself and who’ve been in my exact shoes as a more newly diagnoses WM’er. Having a rare disease can make you feel quite alone sometimes. You tell people you have a lymphoma, you look fine and do not need chemo, so they forget about it and tell you about their bad back. It’s not that you want to talk about about it to anyone. Sometimes it is just hard living with the idea that WM is incurable and I have no idea if it will turn into another cancer or cause other health problems as it can do. Shari and I chatted about our WM, my bike ride and her husband’s recent hip replacement, and we had a really nice time getting to know one another. When Shari was leaving I told her I was meeting some more of the WM support group team in Erie. It turns out that she knows them through the IWMF support groups that are dotted across the country. What a great thing the IWMF has set up, which allows people to share their experiences and encourage one another on their own personal health journey.
Dinner was at Outback, and it was a calorie fest to be ready for tomorrow’s 90 mile jaunt to Erie, PA and a day off. It is hard to believe that this will be our last rest day before Boston. Yes sports fans in 10 days I will hopefully be dipping Irma’s wheels into the ocean at Boston. This means it’s time for a last push to raise as much as we can for WM research. If you could spread the word, ask your friends, or get your kids to use ‘Puss in Boots’ eyes on the neighbors to donate anything, I would be and am eternally grateful.
If you just haven’t got around to it then please get around to it!
If you have generous friends tell them to be generous!
Finally, if you know anyone in the media in Boston then please tell them this story as its not every day that a regular guy gets diagnosed with cancer, takes up cycling and rides across America less than a year later in hope of getting fitter, raising awareness for this disease and raising money for research find a cure or long term treatment for Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia.