Friday, September 25, 2009

Not Dead Yet (NDY)

posted by Mary Lello, Friday, September 25, 2009, 5:36 AM

Yes, a little black humor there in the subject. I didn't come up with this though. This is the name of a fundraising bike ride that 2 doctors who live here in Falmouth have created. They are both cancer survivors and they ride to raise money for cancer research, cancer support centers, those fighting cancer now, the caretakers, and because - well, they're not dead yet!

Earlier in my posts I had written that they have organized a ride here in Falmouth and that I had this brain storm to get JIm on a tandem to ride in this ride (a tandem bike is "a bicycle built for two", as my sister said when she asked me what a tandem bike is). It was a goal 1 1/2 months ago that I thought just might be do-able. Last week it wasn't looking so good for Jim. His PT guy, David Reese, was coming up with other options - wind trainers in the parking lot? - and I would say, "well if nothing else he will be on his wind trainer this winter and we haven't been able to do that for months". NONE of these comments were cutting it for Jim. He wanted to do this ride and nothing else would compensate this.

We actually had a few fights over this. I think I was feeling pretty responsible that I had come up with this goal and that maybe it was a tad too big and now I had to help JIm understand that it wasn't the end of the world if he couldn't ride in this damn ride!

Jim heard "we're giving up". This is NOT in Jim's vocabulary!

David Brink (a good friend, a really strong rider who manages a bike shop here in town, Cyclemania) signed on to ride the tandem with Jim. He brought the bike to PT, he brought over bike shoes when we realized JIm needs to wear his brace to ride and the brace didn't fit in Jim's bike shoes, he showed up at PT to sit on the tandem on the wind trainer to feel how Jim's erratic cadence would feel while riding together. He offered encouragement and a few "hoorah's".

The ride is this saturday 9/26/09. This week we had to get Jim out on the road on this tandem. My nerves were fried. Wednesday was the day we would take the tandem outside in the parking lot and just see how Jim would do. I was asked to be there to help "spot" Jim along with Reese. I was wishing we had training wheels on this damn bike. I was looking at all that pavement and thinking what might happen to Jim if he hits it. David Brink reminded me to bring Jim's bike helmet. OH, RIGHT, DUH!!!!

We got Jim onto the bike and Brink gave Jim all the instructions. He also told Reese and I - who are standing on either side of the bike to catch Jim if he were to pull the bike off balance - to NOT touch or help unless they were going to fall. I knew Brink was right but it was really hard NOT to reach out and just hold onto Jim while they tried to get the bike started. The plan was to ride to the grassy area on the other side of the parking lot and stop.

Off we went. We got to the grass and Brink yells, "we're going over the grass and into Waldo's parking lot" .... GULP! But it went smooth. And then, by God, I could see in Jim's face that he was on his bike again! He was looking up ahead, he was steady and balanced, he was riding!!! With Reese and I running along beside they took several loops around the back of this parking lot that was dirt, pot holed and lumpy with absolutely no problems. Brink said, with some surprise, he could feel Jim's strength with the peddling and that he was really strong.

I got crying with pure joy at what this trial run meant .... JIM IS DOING THE NOT DEAD YET RIDE!!!! HOO-RAH!!!

Reese and I will be running along beside the tandem for safety sake this Saturday. I've suggested we dress like Secret Service who run along beside the Presidents limo but I don't have a black suit. And many friends have signed up to ride along with Jim. Our friend Mick Cochran is coming up from VA just for the weekend and to ride this with Jim (this means some good pictures too folks!) and many other friends will do the actual ride of 10, 25 or 55 miles - all dollars that will add to the fundraising pot for the Cancer Center in South Portland.

Another gorgeous, sparkling blue September morning is unfolding before me as I finish writing this. We Are Not Dead Yet! In fact I'm feeling more alive then I have ever felt in my life.

Loving you all back!


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