Friday, February 04, 2011

Let it burn

What does it take to ride 200 miles?

Many people ask me what it takes to ride my bike 200 miles in 2 days.

  • A hard ass?
  • Strong legs?
  • Carbo loading?
  • Are you high?
OK, that last one isn't really about what it takes, but why I do it. I've covered that before.

Not to downplay how hard the ride itself is, but to put it in some perspective, the ride's the easiest part of this journey. After all, by the time I get to the ride, I will have ridden over 2,300 miles in training--and that's just my bike commute. It doesn't include longer rides I'll have to do close to the event. I will have raised $4,300 during our country's biggest recession since the Great Depression. I will have written hundreds, if not thousands, of e-mails, tweets and blog posts.

And I will have stayed up until midnight almost every Thursday to appear on Kevin's show in Portland, Oregon, leaving me about four hours to sleep before I have to get up and get ready for work the next day. Despite the fatigue this creates, it's worth it. Over the last year, I feel like I've gotten to know Kevin through our weekly chats and regular contact on Twitter. Honestly, I speak to him face-to-face, as it were, more often than I do with my best friends, and through that we've developed a friendship.

I keep up as best I can with his daughter, and he grills me about my diet and the spare tire I grow around my waist over the winter...hey, waitaminnit...

And there will be the friends, some long-lost, some already in close contact, who step forward to make donations and share their stories of how cancer has affected them. And while that's hard--lord, it's always hard for me to hear these stories--it's fuel for my engine. I lay my sadness, my hurt, my anger on the fire and let it burn.

And that's all it takes.

Papa Bradstein's legs are going to burn for 200 miles--we won't even talk about how his ass will feel. Ease his pain with a shot or a rock or a bottle.

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