I won't ride at all....

John was talking with a neighbor friend after returning from a challenging group ride and invited him to ride along the following week.   His response was, "I used to lead the A ride.  I won't do it now, because I can't sit up front anymore."

Andrew* was recently diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma.  Thanks to many years of riding, racing, much training and knowing his body really well, he knew something was wrong.   He had been training hard, riding a lot, and yet his performance was diminishing.  He FINALLY (after much prompting from his wife) went to the doctor and blood tests revealed MM.  Prognosis is "squiffy"...my term for not terminal, but not definitive.  Andrew and his wife are taking it day by day.

I need to give you a bit of history... Andrew has been a significant force and influence in John's cycling 'career'.  As John timidly set out to gain some fitness 18 years ago, Andrew supported him wholeheartedly.   First he brought over Power Bars, then a jersey, then some new bike shorts he, "would never use"...  Andrew encouraged and helped John at every turn.   (Plus, Andrew is a 'Gear Head'.   I am sure it pained him to see John riding in sweats, tennis shoes and a sweatshirt back in the old days!).   As John progressed, Andrew would encourage him and ride with him.  John would strategize as to how to overtake Andrew just once a season!!!!  I will be forever thankful to Andrew for his passion for riding and encouragement for John as he started out.

As neighbors, we have watched each others children grow up and move on and continue in our quest to remain fit and healthful.  I consider Andrew to be fit and healthful to this day, despite his diagnosis.  I wish he felt the same.

Andrew has always been an example to me and John.   He has been diligent in his eating and fitness routines.  He did not ask for cancer and he is not keeping his MM diagnosis a secret.  He is maintaining phenomenal fitness despite his diagnosis.   I personally consider him a great example of what cancer and fitness can look like in co-existence.  I  only wish he saw it this way and would lead whatever 'alphabet' ride he chose with confidence and courage, because he is, and has always been,  a cycling hero in his own rite.

I think this begs us to ask ourselves, "What would I do if I were still healthy enough to ride, but not in the capacity I used to?"  Would we be courageous enough to ride the ride we are able and be thankful?  Would we  take the opportunity to step up and be an example in lesser settings?   Pride is a strong and wicked opponent.

We are all leaders.  Sometimes 'A' leaders and sometimes leaders in other ways.  I pray I will see the difference and be willing to lead wherever  I am destined to.

I believe Andrew is missing a huge opportunity to give and receive.  It's not always about being the leader of the "A" group.  The "B" and "C" group need leaders, motivators and examples too.

*Our neighbor and friend's name has been changed to protect his privacy




Originally posted 2013-05-29 05:19:29.

Amy Macgowan
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