We're T-12 days to the start of the California Coast Classic - where this year I will attempt to ride my bike 525 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise funds and awareness for people living with arthritis. I have to be honest and say I'm having some pretty major mixed feelings about everything right now.
I've spent the better part of the last eight years figuring out how to set realistic expectations for myself, how to accept whatever limitations I might be faced with, and how to give myself enough credit for small accomplishments. It feels extremely strange to reach for something so big and feel like I might actually be able to achieve it - to want something so crazy and feel like I might actually be able to do it. It's very unfamiliar and, frankly, downright scary.
When I think about the upcoming ride, my brain seems to be taking it in turns to feel ready and then terrified. On the one hand, I am actually feeling pretty confident about my abilities. I don't expect to be able to ride every single mile, but lately I've been feeling better than I have in a long, long time - probably since well before I was originally diagnosed. My treatment is going really well (knock on all the wood) and I've trained as much as I was able (and babysitting allowed). And, on some of my recent rides, I've even felt downright good - a word I have almost certainly have not used to describe how I feel for more than eight years.
But the fact that the word good feels so foreign is, in itself, downright terrifying. Can I trust my body to continue feeling good? Or am I going to wake up in camp after the first day of the ride literally unable to walk? Either is completely possible. And while I know I should be really proud of myself for everything I have already accomplished, it would mean so, so much to me to do well on the ride. I'm almost afraid to think about it, to be honest.
Between now and the start of the ride, I'm trying my very best to stay positive and to appreciate what a gift it is for someone with severe RA to be able to ride a bike at all - let alone consider riding 525 miles. One thing keeping me positive are all the people I know are cheering me on, especially those of you who are living with arthritis yourselves!
I've decided to take a list of names with me on the ride to help me keep moving forward, so if you or someone you love lives with arthritis, please share another name for my list! I don't want to ride for you - I want to take you with me!
You can also still donate to the cause - even if all you can spare is the cost of a latte every little bit helps! A lot of the money raised on the tour goes to scholarships to send kids with JA to camp and conference, which are such important experiences for them!