Years of Courage

SamsMom 2009

13 years ago my life looked very different- it was the Summer of 2009, Samantha was on day 14 at Children’s Hospital and I was trying, very, very hard to train for the Courage Classic. I would ride from the hospital. I took the elevator from the 8th floor in my helmet, cycling shoes and super-flattering bike shorts, grab my bike from the car and take a cruise around scenic Colfax and 225.

Samantha was sick. Thursday before the ride she was still in the hospital and my chances to ride looked iffy. On Friday evening, we were finally discharged, with the caveat that if anything looked suspect, we would head back down the mountain.

We unpacked that Friday from the hospital and packed again for my ride.

We left Saturday morning at 5:00 to drive to Copper.

I got a migraine an ugly bout of diarrhea on the way up the mountains.

I don’t know why this ride was so important. But it was. Perhaps it was my time to prove I was still alive. I had spent months in the hospital with our girl. I needed to climb a mountain. I needed to find my breath.

I rode the entire tour.

Upon our return, Samantha ended up right back in the hospital.

But I did it.

And I sobbed when we finished.

Since 2009, this team has raised over $1MM for the Mitochondrial Clinic. Yesterday I sat at Panera with our doctors and they stated, quite clearly, “The goals we set ten years ago have become a reality. This money from Summits has made it happen.”

The Summits team will ride on Saturday.

They will ride without me.

This year, I am the patient.

I am a grumpy, self-pitying patient.

It was hard to bow out. It’s hard not to be up in Copper with the people I love.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of my FOMO.

It’s hard to put my knee ahead of the feeling I get when I climb these mountains, when I find my breath, when I see my girl in the vistas.

This year, I am the patient.

Because this year, I no longer feel strong when I climb. A bike dismount is followed with concern that my knee will support me. A ride is coupled with a struggle to climb the stairs the next day.

Maybe I’m back where I started 13 years ago. Needing to find my breath again, prove my strength, find my moxie.

It takes Courage to know where we are and what we need.

This is what I am telling my grumpy, self-pitying me…..that she is courageous.

I still don’t know if she is buying it.

But next year will be different.

PS- I am still fundraising for our clinic! You can donate here!

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