The Gentle Manatees

The year was 1995 and I was but a wee pup of 27. A couple of friends asked Luisa and I to do the MS150 bike ride with them and I thought, "Ride 150 miles on a bike? No problem!" This, my friends, is what is called irrational confidence. See, I was not so much a long distance biker as a bike around the block kind of biker.  We registered for the ride and my friends organized training rides to get us prepared for the trek. I survived the first ride, though I did not enjoy it at all because there was too much biking and too few snacks and cocktails. Still, I figured it would get easier and then we'd start having The Fun! How could it not be fun? Right? Wrong. The second training ride took place on a cold, wet, windy day and I was struggling up a hill when my Frilly Rabbit Friend came along side of me and said, "Hills are your friends. They make you strong!" I snapped. I yelled, "Fuck you!" I jumped off my bike and growled, "If you say anything else like that to me, I will take this bike and throw it in the river. Just try me." Much to my surprise, she sped away, leaving me seething on the side of the road. I quit training after that and decided that I would power through 150 miles on sheer will and fear of embarrassment.  The day of the ride dawned and it was rainy, cold and windy. Oh, and I had my period. In other words, the conditions were perfect for a day of complaints from the reluctant biker. We headed to the starting line was at the foot of a mountain. A mountain, people! No one told me that I would be biking up a mountain! I burst into tears on the spot. My friends took off up the slippery mountainside and I stood there weeping. Luisa encouraged me, telling me that I could walk my bike up the hill, that there was no shame in that. I said, "That is not a hill. It's a mountain! I can't bike up a mountain!" In addition to the uncontrollable sobbing, there might have been a tiny bit of yelling and Luisa took off at my gentle urging. I was 150 miles from home with no car - I knew I had to bike. So, I started up, made it about 20 feet and had to stop. I walked my bike to the top where my group was waiting for me. I didn't speak to any of them. I simply got on my bike and took off down the hill with the freezing rain pelting my face. I had never biked further than 13 miles and, that day, I biked freezing rain. The next day, we got up and did it all over again. I did it...I finished the 150 miles, though I did not do it with grace and courtesy. 

Looking back, I can't believe that my friends didn't kill me in my sleep and hide my body in the woods. What is even more amazing is that they have asked me to do the same ride again this summer. They have unlimited patience...or dementia. I'm going to do it but Luisa will not be joining me this time around. I can't understand why she doesn't want to go with me. Anyway, I will be biking from Duluth to the Twin Cities the weekend of June 12 - 14 because, apparently, I want to relive one of the most miserable weekends of my life. I need to raise $300 for The MS Society, so, I am hoping that some of you will sponsor me. What will you get in return for a donation? Well, you will get a detailed account of my surliness along with pictures! Heck, maybe I'll even make a video!   

Visit my page and make a donation if you can!

On behalf of my team, The Gentle Manatees, I thank you.