Thursday, June 12, 2014

Final thoughts not he PCH

When we started to plan this ride over a year ago i would not have thought that for me it would come down to some simple statements made by my mom and dad.  Each at their own time and without knowing it motivated me and changed my thinking about what this is all about, what i need to focus on and how to go about it.
First the statement my mom told me when we hit 65 miles on the first day when i asked her if she wanted to keep going----"yes, we can do this, lets keep going".  Wow, is my 67 year old mother after riding 35 miles further then she ever had trusting me  with her safety telling me, lets keep this going lets finish this ride.  I can tell you i was not sure i could finish that day, i was exhausted and sore.  But how can you not keep going keep trying when your mom is showing such strength of hard and mind, such drive to do something so special.  We did keep going for another 10 miles and with a smile and a hug we finished that day.  I was so proud of my mom and my amazement and pride for being able to do t his with her grew as she rode, the next day for 20 and then a third day for another 65 miles.  All with a smile on her face, a song now and again.
What did i learn from her and this simple statement.  That it is not about doing only what you know you can do or stopping when it may not be easy it is about moving forward, doing what others don't expect of you and making a statement in a quiet way.  I heard---i am strong, i am proud to be part of this, i will ride for my husband, best friend and partner, i will do this for myself to show that i am strong and that together we can get through anything.
Mom, You are a rock and i am proud to have been able to do this 
with you.  Thank you for showing me how to be strong in the face
of difficulties.
The second term that will stick with me moving forward is what my dad with say to himself to get up those big obstacles.  PUSH PUSH PUSH.  This is now just a word to me anymore it is an anthem of determination and strength of heart.  I don't know if you can really appreciate this without having been with him on this ride.  To see the PD and asthma pushing him down and him "PUSH"ing it aside and saying get out of my way i will not be stopped today.  When he made it up that hill or past that point of exhaustion you could see the joy in his ability to do so, i could see and feel the his energy and it made me what to do more to share in what he was feeling.  As i thought about these moments and this word over the last few weeks it really hit me that we all need to "PUSH" forward past our short comings or our diseases or our struggles in life.  We do not have to sit by the wayside and let things be dictated to us.  We can PUSH in the direction of were we want to go and even though we may not always reach that goal we can be happy in knowing that we did what we could and showed ourselves and others that it can be done.
Dad, you showed me to keep moving forward to put the 
challenges aside and overcome those bumps in the road.
I know it won't be easy but i know i can follow your example.
This ride was so much more than i expected in all ways.  I was changed after the first ride and again i feel the tug to change more now.  I also feel the pull to live to its fullest.  If you have never been around people who are challenged by a disease and see there determination and the way the live life then you are missing out.  It is so encouraging and humbling.

As you go through today and tomorrow try looking at this bumps in the road differently, think about how you can "finish the day" and "PUSH' past what is going on that you may not like.  Use people like my Dad and Carl as motivators as inspiration.  Join us moving forward as we keep Pedaling Over Parkinsons'.  We are not done we are going to keep moving forward and making a difference.

Thank you all for being part of our journey.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


So yesterday i ended up riding only about 12 miles before i got off the bike.  I needed a break and was getting a bit irritable so i decided to take the day off.  Shane picked up the tandem and finished the day off with POP's .  I think they had a great time as the scenery was least what i remember i was falling asleep a lot.
I was bummed that i could not ride but at the same time i really needed the break.  I have realized on this trip that our rest days did not just allow our muscles and body to regain strength, but it gave us a chance to shut down from the focus of riding.  I knew that when i was in a race or charity ride in a group that i was really focused but i did not realize until this trip how much mental stamina it takes to get up each day and ride.  I have to give it to my brother he is the man, each day he is up, each day he is leading and each day he finished the entire trip.  Side note today he was climbing up a fairly steep climb with little shoulder and was having a relaxed conversation on the phone.  That would not have happened two years ago, what a difference.
Today being refreshed my legs and my mind felt ready to roll again.  I really could feel the difference and wish that i would have had the ability to plan at least one rest day into this trip.  I think that would have made a huge difference for all of us.  Tomorrow we have only 30 miles to ride so it will be a recovery ride.  During regular training these types of mileages and pace are used to keep the muscles active but not push them as hard as during a regular training ride.  Back to today, the ride was filled with fields full of strawberries and vegetables the smells and colors were intoxicating.  We battled some head winds and a few hills but over all it was a well rounded day of riding.  Each of us were feeling good for the most part and rolled along easily.  We ate lunch at a golf course, it was kind of out of place, that was very well kept and full of large trees.  I would have not done well on this course as i tend to slice the ball and i would have hit just about every tree on the course.

Thought for the day:
turn off the phone, the tv, and the radio go out ot the park, the woods the beach or were ever and just unwind.  My brother and i like to call these mental health days.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The hills are alive with the sounds of chains poping and musles bulging

Ok so Day two of bing on the tandem with Dad was a big one.  We rode a total of 57 miles and 4000 of elevation change.  We earned every mile of our day today.

Before i go any further i want say that our friend Richard Jutzi was in a bicyle accident yesterday and our thoughts and prayers have been with him and his family all day.  Stay positive buddy you will be back up in no time.

Today was a real test for myself as we road up all of the hills.  This was not a test of strenght or endurance but one more of dealing with trying to be patient and put myself in my fathers place on the bike.  As i spoke a little about this yesterday i am in the captains chair of the tandem and i have never been in the stokers spot.  i dont know what it is like to be lead by someone up a steep narrow roadway.  And i dont know what it is like to completely put my trust into someone in a situation that could be dangerous.  So as i rode and tried to explain what i was feeling up front to my dad i realized (slowly) that i was not very aware of many of these things.
How sad is it that it took me all day to figure this out, heck it took me all these years to learn how to better stop and listen rather than give advice or coach at times.  I am so proud of my father he never yells at me or at the situation he simply just takes the direction and tries to make the best of it.  He is so strong and i hope that i am doing him proud.  We pedaled up so many hills today and each time he just kept trying to do his very best.  With each passing mile i realized how much it was taking out of him to do this incredible feat.  How much each pedal stroke he had to focus on what was going on. I noticed this about a week ago and wanted to challenge myself to feel in some small way the challenges that he was facing in pedaling up these hills.  So for the past week i have been riding all the miles in only the big ring.  This has been tough and i can really gain some understanding of what a conserted effort it takes to ride each mile that he has.  Many times today i wanted to stop and just give in, then i would realize that my dad was there and that he wanted to keep going.  So i decided that we would ride until we needed to stop.
I know i need to stop taking my health for granted because tomorrow it may change.

I dont know if I have ever told anyone why i started calling my dad PoP's all these years ago.  I have always had a good relationship with my dad.  Like all teens we had our disagreemnts as i was trying to find my own way.  I went to college, moved away and realized how much i had learned from  my dad.  When i would come home i saw how close my brother was with him and wanted to kind of re kindle or build a new relationship of sorts.  Calling him POP's was my way of starting this.  I think that over the years we have grown closer and have realized how much we are alike.  I am proud to be his son.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Two riders are better than one.

Today i got back on the bike with Dad, we worked out the kinks int he system and had a really fun 50  mile day.  You would think that riding a tandem would be so easy all you have to do is pedal.  Well i will tell you it is very difficlt todo and it really does take some good team work and communication.  It starts with just getting on the bike.  We use one of two methods, we either do a rolling start where both riders push off and then hop up into the saddles together.  This has some advantages in that you have a little more power to get the bike rolling.  However more often then not someone pushes done on the pedals before the other person is ready.  This can cause some minor issues but usually works itslef out.  The other method is to have the stoker (person in the back) get up into the saddle and get ready then the captian (frnnt rider) just pushes off and gets the bike going.  You loose the power start but dont have to worry about timing or an accidental ill timed pedal.
Once you are up it gets a bit easier but then the balance has to start.   I did not think that it would be that much harder than riding your own bike.  But each movement you make the other rider feels and affects how they ride.  if i shift the gears to quickly i can throw off the stoker, if they pedal out of sink or lighten there pedal i can feel it.  So we talk, i say shifting, call out bumps, let them know if there is a hill comming, and they tell me if they need to move or grab water.  As you get more and more used to riding like this some things become second nature.
Since mom and i have ridden a lot together she knows how i am going to pedal going into a corner, or how i am going to shift on the hills.  Both of which make those things so much smother.  I have asked many couple i have met riding tandems what they think of the experiance.  all of them have said how much fun it is but warn that it can make or brake a relationship.  riding will eaither bring you closer together or tear you apart.
Although at times it is difficult i really do enjoy spendin the miles on the bike with my parents it is so much easier to have a good conversaiton with them enjoying the time on the road.  If you ever want to try riding a tandem bike let me know.

Friday, May 16, 2014

San Fran is golden...

I don't have to much to say tonight.  It was a good day and a lot of fun.  But I wanted to share some photos.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Guess whos back, back again, shannons back tell a friend....

Hello Y'all,
Sorry i have been MIA i have had a few issues with time and internet working out the last few days.  Had a couple of laundry duties, some poor internet and a long day that did not provide me enough time to write coherently and get the sleep needed.  Well we finished at a decent time i was able to get showered up after a long hot day and am ready to do a little writing tonight.  I will try not to be to long winded but i will have to just let the post write itself.
Well first off it has been a fairly decent three days there have been some of the normal ups and downs that come with riding for 18 days straight.  Sore muscles, rough mornings, bad attitudes (mainly shortness at times) but these all fade as the day goes along and we get into sync with the days ride.  Each pedal stroke takes you not only further down the road but lets worries float away and focus on what matters in the moment.  That is usually the road, where your team mates are at and how close the next car is.  Then you look up to see a hawk flying, or a great view of the ocean or something else.  Each time you go through this routine the day moves on the minutes fade to hours and the hours to the end of the day.  This is broken up by lunch breaks or stopping to smell the roses, and yes i have stopped to just take a picture of a flower or smell one even if it is on a hill.  Why because this is the time to take it all in and gain the perspective on life.  I know that certain days i really cant stop thinking about what i want in life and then on others my head is just simply blank.
The other day i was thinking about how much different this ride is from the first one.  In the first ride we had three guys who had been soley focused on getting ready for the ride for over a year and were at their peak for the ride.  This time there are four (sometimes more) people who are at varying levels of fitness and health.  The first ride we had a schedule and we stuck to it.  This trip we ride only by time and we get as far as we get and then we start the next day.  First ride, we rode for Parkinson's and for i think to prove something to ourselves and others.  I don't think this is wrong because the focus was always really PD but i know that I wanted to know that i could do it and wanted to ride each mile for my dad and make a statement.  This ride we really are riding to support two great men and make sure people know how strong they can be in the face of a challenge.  The first ride we rested took time to recover.  This ride we just ride each and every day no breaks no time off just ride, ride, ride.  I think each ride has had a specific point even if they are being gone about in two different ways.  PD does not have a cure but that does not mean you have sit back and just let it have its way.  You can stand up and say i will not let you change me i will accept what you bring my way and i will use it for someting good.
What a lesson for each of us to think about what a challenge to try to live this way.  Are you up for it, can you take the bads and turn them into positives can you leave them behind?

Fun things that have happened in the last three days.  We rode through the Giant Sequoias, much better via bike then a car.  We saw a whale surfacing near the shore of Arena Point.  Met some great people from Vancouver Canada, and Montreal.  Ate some fresh backed pastries had some great laughs with everyone and have seen some more of Gods Beautiful handiwork.  Tomorrow it is over the bridge and onto San Francisco.

Catching some air
our Friends from Canada Rob and Jane Weiss
Keep the wheels turning guys you are impressive.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A big hill for Big Pappa....

Today was a great day to ride.  Temperatures were just right and there was little to know wind in our faces.  For the first half of the day we rode in the big ring which until today has only been seen on some short down hills.  I could not have asked for a better day.  Today is Carls Day off the bike and dad has found that if he starts a little later in the morning he feels better so he was not riding this morning either.  So Keith, Shand and I just mashed some gears and had a good conversation about random things.  By lunch we were ready to get off of the 101 and onto some scenic byways.  At this point Dad Joined us.
Not that there was much that could be done but it seemed like the first two weeks everytime dad woudl jump on the bike the hills got longer and longer.  So today it was really good to see him have some down hills and some flats.  He was having a great day riding strong, smiling and singing.  We did encounter one hill and it was a bit steep.  But with Dad focused and yelling out his Chant of PUSH PUSH PUSH and shane coaching him along he made it to the top.  It was so great to see the big smile on his face.  The hill ended up being a 14% grade for the last 75 yards and was not much less then that before hand.  For refrence most highways are only at 6% grade.

My Dad, the real Iron Man.  My Hero, My Mentor, My FRIEND

Parkinsons's may attack the brain but it is far from the heart and everyone i have met who has PD has a huge Heart.

For some good info on PD and its symptoms please visit,,