Oh man… I don’t even know where to start.
So I’ve kinda been MIA for a while. I have some cool stuff to talk about now so hopefully it was all worth the drought…
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in one of the coolest events ever! On a whim, I registered for a 150 mile memorial bike ride. I pedaled my ass through the southern portion of the Texas Hill Country, sweating, cramping and grunting the whole time! But it was totally for a great cause! I’ll elaborate on the sweaty, grunting stuff in a bit.
First I want to talk about why this was such an amazing thing to do and why I am training to do it again!
Concerns Of Police Survivors (C. O. P. S.) is an organization that helps the families of fallen police officers. Given the current climate right now I thought something positive will be a good thing. We were able to donate $40K to our local chapter of this organization a few months ago. This will help fund counseling, therapy, summer camps and other events for children and spouses who have lost their badge wearing loved ones. I had never even heard of such a group, but I when I researched their cause I was excited to help in any way I could.
So the first thing I did was register as a rider. Now I had been riding a few miles a day at the time I registered. I was stoked to put all that I had learned to the test and prove to myself that I had what it took to be a true roadie… lol, no! I had no idea what I was getting myself into!
The closer I got to the actual event, I did ride more and more. I started commuting to work on the bike. I locked all my gear and uniforms up in my locker and just showered at work. I felt like I was doing pretty well. I even converted my mountain bike into a quasi commuter/road bike so that I could get used to riding that style of bike. Yes, you read correctly… I converted my MOUNTAIN bike into a Frankenbike of sorts that presented itself as a road bike, however it
was more like a 35 pound tactical SWAT bike as opposed to a dainty road bike that utilized proper gear ratios for that type of event. In layman’s terms, I was pedalling WAY too hard and WAY too fast, while everyone else was casually gliding along…
I thought I had converted enough here, and changed or upgraded enough components there, that hopefully, just maybe, the bike would perform well enough to go ahead and ride in the 2016 Texas Peace Officers Memorial Ride. Over 150 miles on this frankenbike (see image) with mountain bike gears! And YES there is a freaking difference! DO YOU WANT TO GET LEG CRAMPS, BECAUSE THAT’S HOW YOU GET SERIOUS LEG CRAMPS!!!
I remember watching any one of the other riders and trying to understand what I was doing wrong. Everyone else was pedaling at a nice, smooth, casual cadence. Here I was pedaling like I stole a jar of honey from a damned honey badger! I couldn’t figure out why until the bike mechanic explained to me that my stupid frankenbike used to be a mountain bike. “Ah” I gasped breathlessly. “That sucks.” It did suck. It sucked donkey balls because now I realized that I had to finish this thing working three, nay, eight times harder than everyone else! By the end of the whole thing, I was bragging that “anyone can do this with the proper bike and equipment, lol!” What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger, or at least a bit smarter!
So it turned out that I had the right idea, just the wrong vehicle to execute my plan.
This memorial ride was put into motion to show our dedication to remembering and never forgetting our fallen brothers and sisters. I chose to ride for a local officer who passed away on-duty a few months before I registered. I was assigned a metal bracelet called an Honor Band. This had his information engraved on it so that I could look down and remember why I was punishing myself throughout the ride. Every time I got exhausted, I would look down and see the reason that I was doing this. It was tough, but I kept going.
“SHUT UP LEGS!”
This helped keep me pushing when I wanted to drop to the side of the road. I thought about the family left behind when my buddy passed and how those loved ones would hurt so much longer and so much deeper than any muscle burn or residual soreness I could ever experience. When I returned, some other officers and I presented that fallen officer’s family with our honor bands and shoulder patches from our respective agencies. It was a very touching, intimate ceremony. You may read about it here if you wish.
The good news is that I have dropped a few pounds, I have INSANE cardio health now and I have learned a lot about myself and about the bike I have so poorly transformed. The Frankenbike Conglomerate that I christened for my maiden voyage will be retired for good soon as I have recently acquired a proper road bike.
Thanks to the kindness and generosity of a local bike enthusiast, I am on my way to outfitting, repainting and repairing a ten-year old road bike that will hopefully serve me well on my next tour. I recently confirmed that we will be cycling from Ft. Worth to Austin next year! Approximately 200 miles!
Samuel Beckett once wrote “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.” I really appreciate the inspiration Sam.