I'm a junkie. My life has been reduced to very basic things. Sitting. Watching. Refreshing www.ridetoaustin.com. Checking Facebook and Twitter to see what my P3C3 Family is doing. I have no power over this, either to help them or myself. All I can do is watch, pray, wait for my next fix, and hope that the road stays smooth, the weather clear, and the ride trouble free.
As challenging as the 2009 Challenge to Conquer Cancer was for me, I find this infinitely more difficult. Instead of being a part of this amazing adventure, sharing in the experience with some of my closest friends, doing what I can to help, and joining with the millions who have stood up to spread the word that cancer can, and will, be beaten, I am on the sidelines.I'm a spectator. A voyeur. A peeping tom.
When I did this ride last year, I called my father after we had arrived in Austin. He told me that he reckoned I was coming back a completely different person. He was right. The Ride to Austin changes you. Makes you better. Sharper. It also gets you hooked on emotional highs. That's the only way you get through a four day 1500 mile journey when your either pedaling a bike, crammed in a minivan, or trying to get some sleep in a hotel along the road. You come back from Austin with a growing sense of desperation, to do more, to at the very least be with the people who did it with you.
That feeling is coming back to me. I long to be with them. My heart and mind are, but I want to be stuffed in the back corner of the team van, telling jokes, passing bacon/cheddar scones around and being one with my team. I want to be fighting a headwind, taking a pull and pushing to the next transition. I want to be dancing in a gas station parking lot in the early hours of the morning, blaring Black Eyed Peas and not giving a rip who hears or sees me. I want to be rolling with my Warrior friends, staring in awe at their toughness and their pride.
I feel sorry for my co-workers, and not only because they have to deal with a very distracted version of me this week. I feel sorry that they can't have this experience like I did, that they don't know the most passionate, dedicated and loving group of people I've ever known.
And, yes, I feel sorry for myself. Which is about as much of a junkie characteristic that I can have. So, I'll be sitting here, all week, watching my friend thumb their noses at this most insidious of diseases, stare it down, and beat it back. If that means something to you, check out the blog at www.ridetoaustin.com. While you're there, make a donation. We're all in this together.