Tuesday, March 6, 2012

California Coast Classic

I am extremely excited to announce that APL has decided to ride in the California Coast Classic this year - a 525 mile bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in support of the Arthritis Foundation!!

Even though it was about 40 degrees and extremely windy in Boulder this weekend, most of the ice and snow was off the roads (and bike paths) so APL got on his bike for his first training ride!! I am super proud of him.

You can learn more about the ride at APL's Fundraising Website. There's even a photo gallery of our life with RA and another photo gallery for the baby (which we will continue to update!) In the meantime, I wanted to let APL tell you, in his own words, why he decided to ride:
Every since my wife, Mariah, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in June 2008, I’ve struggled to find ways to help. When she is in pain, I try my best to be supportive. I open jars and carry heavy things. I offer to run her a bath and I try to make her laugh. I go with her to endless doctor’s appointments and give her weekly injections. But it never feels like enough.
Getting involved with the Arthritis Foundation has been a really great way to make a bigger difference. Team Z has now participated in three Arthritis Walks and raised over $5,000 for arthritis research over the past two years. Mariah and I also volunteer at events for kids with juvenile arthritis (JA) and work on advocacy and awareness issues. But I still want to make a bigger impact – which was why I was so excited to learn about the California Coast Classic.
When Mariah first got diagnosed with RA, our lives changed in many unexpected ways. We used to be very active people – hiking and biking, skiing and snowboarding – and I always thought that we would be able to do everything together. But almost overnight Mariah’s ability to participate in these activities was dramatically reduced, and more than three years later I still feel like I’m grieving for my missing athletic partner. But even if I can’t ride with her, I can still ride for her.
I will be riding from San Francisco to Los Angeles – 525 miles over 8 days – not only for Mariah but also for our son, who will be born this June. RA has had a huge impact on our path to parenthood. Most RA medications are not safe for use during pregnancy and can take months to leave the body, so Mariah had to deal with untreated RA for many months before it was safe for us to try to conceive. Though her pregnancy has brought some welcome remission, it is highly likely that her RA will return in full force after the birth. And, since we would like to breastfeed our son, she won’t be able to re-start her RA medications. So, in addition to the difficulties faced by most new parents, we’ll also be dealing with Mariah’s untreated RA. And it has been really hard for me to watch Mariah sacrifice so much of herself to realize our dream of starting a family.
That is why the California Coast Classic is so important to me. Arthritis affects the future of my family in so many ways. Not only does my wife battle her RA every single day, but osteoarthritis (OA) is also something that we will all eventually face in one form or another. By supporting the Arthritis Foundation I’m hoping to make a better life for my wife, my son, and those who come after him.  
I hope to get as many of our friends and family involved in this event as possible. While I would love to have you all ride with me, I realize that the ride itself is a major commitment and won’t be possible for everyone. But if you can’t join me on your bike, I would really love for you to help by making a donation – no matter how small. I’ll take all your love and support with me down the California coast and bring it to Mariah and our little boy when I cross the finish line.

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