Saturday, December 6, 2008

Leaving well enough alone.

As much as I like the status quo, I do tend, every once in a while, to try to crank things up a notch to put a little extra challenge into something that I've agreed to do. One of the most difficult ones off the top of my head was when I entered into a story writing challenge with a group of people over on the Zoetrope writers workshop site. If I remember correctly, the challenge was to write a short piece that contained four things. It had to have a couple, someone had to die, there had to be mention or discussion of the afterlife, and it had to have a key. Not satisfied with those restrictions, I decided it would be fun to write it without the letter E. That's right, without the most common letter in written English. I dare say that I did an alright job, it ended up having only one E, at the end, as a sort of clue to the reader as to what had been missing, since some of them seemed to not notice. It was fun, challenging, and I took a little measure of extra pride having met my own personal challenge.

Well, I'm starting to get the urge to do it again. Only I can't really decide how. Yesterday, I was the 86th rider to join Team Fatty for the Austin, Texas Livestrong Challenge. The more I think about it, though, the more I want to do. See, I made a list. It's a list of all of the people in my family who have had, have, or died from cancer of any type. Well, there are twelve people on that list, including Robyn's immediate family that I know of. There's her father and grandfather; my father; my great-uncle (who just lost his battle on November 29th); my grandfathers (both sides); grandmother; step-grandmother; an aunt; an uncle; a niece.

And that's not counting the three or four friends who I can think of off the top of my head.

If you'll pardon my French, that's just too fucking many people. This thing needs to be beaten and beaten badly.

So, just raising money and flying to Austin and riding 90 miles doesn't feel like enough.

So, I thought I might ride a little more. And try to raise a little more.

I won't lie. I was already mulling over the idea of trying for the century a month thing again in 2009, especially since I had such a great go of it this year. (sarcasm) And I'll admit, if I somehow raise over $3,000 and get invited to the Livestrong awards diner in Austin on October 24th, that would be cool. And if I, by some miracle, managed to score an invite to ride with the man himself in the Ride for the Roses by raising $10,000 or more, that wouldn't suck, either.

But, really, I think it's because I feel the need to do more and I'm not a doctor or scientist or hospice worker and honestly, me changing my life now to become any of those things would be a lot harder than what I'm thinking about doing and since, you know, I'm a little lazy, I'm going to do it my way. Symbolically.

I'm thinking about riding a century a month and somehow using that to try to raise even more money for LAF. So far, the following thoughts have crossed my mind.

  1. I could try to get people to sponsor, like for the walk-a-thons I did for something as a kid, you know, so much per mile. So, if you pledged 50 cents a mile, or better, a whole dollar, for every century I completed, you'd donate $50, or $100. I know there'd be a certain amount of trust involved in this, there are plenty of months around here were there are no organized rides, so I'd have to document a personal century and you'd have to trust me. My thought is to sign up again for the Year-round challenge with the Ultra Marathon Bicycling Association and follow their rules for personal centuries. That way there's an organized body tracking my rides and I could show this as "proof." This has the added benefit of qualifying me for that Larry Schwartz award, that I wrote about last year, if I ride all 12
  2. I could try to get some local companies on board, to either donate or let me raise money by putting up signs at their locations or something. This one's not so well thought out, yet.
  3. I could get some other local riders on board to try this with me. Hey, maybe I could get Fatty himself (who I've never met but who sometimes feels like a close friend because of his amazing way of sharing his life on his blog, which if you haven't read, go read it, it's way better than this one and not just because other people read it. I've thought about stop writing "you" and just write "me" instead, since, to the best of my knowledge I'm my only regular reader. But, I digress.)
Anyway, this is just a rough idea. If I know myself at all, and I'm finding out regularly that maybe I don't, I'll loose my excitement about this, realize how overwhelming the idea is (for me) and just give up. Maybe.

Oh, speaking of riding. I just rode my longest ride since before we went to Guatemala in September. I rode 20 whole miles this morning (hey, it was 32 degrees when I left home!) I am so pathetically out of shape thanks to my foot surgery that I feel like a slug. So the thought of a century a month starting next month scares the hell out of me right now. But, hey, it's nothing compared to what cancer survivors deal with every day, so who am I to complain. The good news is that the foot felt mostly fine. The other good news (see how I avoided calling this the bad new? I'm still in the optimist stage of the idea) is that it gave me time alone to think and this crazy idea is what I came up with.

I'll keep you posted.

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