Wow! It’s hard to believe that we are only two months away from cycling 1,700 miles. Per usual, time has flown by these past few months, but it has been such a sweet time of growth and new experiences. Of course, it hasn’t been all ups. It turns out putting off bike rides is much easier than actually setting aside the time to do them! For a period of time, I honestly began to feel discouraged. I hadn’t kept up with the training schedule and I hadn’t sent out my support letters by the suggested date. I felt like I was already letting my team down, The Refuge down, and myself. But I want to talk about an experience and an individual who quickly helped turned this around for me.
After being behind on the training schedule, I finally got my lazy butt to go out and do my 35-mile ride. After driving out to the wrong location (turns out there are two YMCA’s off 183) I finally made it to a beautiful trail in east Austin that Savannah L. told me about (shout out what up).
A few inclines in and I was already more winded than I anticipated. My chain had been slipping around and I really didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I kept going though and took a break around 12 miles. Sav had mentioned you can ride all the way to downtown from this trail, but I wasn’t able to find it. I then saw another cyclist waiting at a stoplight to cross the street, so I pulled up next to him and asked if he knew the way downtown. He was super friendly and said he was heading that direction so he’d be happy to have me ride along to show me the way. PRAISE. We rode, we chatted, we swapped stories, and we rode some more. I want to share some of his story.
Lancing is 65 years old, he is an Austin architect but was laid off a few years ago. He still does architecture projects on the side whenever they pop up. His wife Liz, has MS, and he is her caregiver. He rides 100 miles a week to train and raise money for his 18th year participating in the annual MS Ride at the end of April. This is an amazing two-day ride from Houston to Austin with thousands of participants who all raise money that goes towards support for MS resources and research. Incredible stuff right.
He also showed me the coolest routes and even took the extra time to show me some scenic routes. He bestowed some of his bike knowledge upon my amateur self, and when he saw two people who looked lost, he didn’t skip a beat to immediately stop, unclip, and ask them if they needed help.
When I shared with him about Pedal the Pacific, he listened so intently and cared so much. He made me and my cause feel important and empowered. He reminded me of my heart behind why I ride, and the incredible position we are in to fight for the people and things we believe in. We parted ways after we reached the board walk along Lake Travis. He handed me his card (check out teamliz.org if you want to read more and support him and Liz) and I told him about our website. Then that same evening, he donated to The Refuge!!!! The whole experience has left me blown away.
That is why we ride guys. Not only that, but this is a big part of everyday life y’all! We live to lift up those around us who need a hand, we make time to ask other people if they’re doing alright, we support one another. I believe that the world is full of kind-hearted people like Lancing. This has already been revealed to me by those of you who have supported PTP and The Refuge, YALL ARE AMAZING. But at the same time, the world needs more Lancing’s.
So, this one is for you Lancing. Thank you for inspiring me in a new way. Thank you for being so dedicated and for giving your time and effort to fight against MS for the past 18 years. I am so honored to have met you, and I am more honored than ever to spread awareness about human trafficking. I am honored to ride for its victims and survivors, and I am just honored to witness the kindness and generosity of so many of you who have already supported my team. I cannot wait for what is to come.
Lastly, y’all ever watch that movie with Lil Bow Bow called “Like Mike”? Well in it, he has these magical shoes that make him play basketball like Michael Jordan. When he puts them on for the first time he says, “make me like Mike.” So, I think whenever I put on my shoes in the morning (or my cycle shoes haha) I am going to poetically whisper to myself “make me like Lancing,” no disrespect to MJ of course. I hope it works! Cheers y’all.