Monday, December 20, 2010

The Start of POP's Ride.

Losing sense of smell.
Losing sense of taste.
Numbness on the left side.  Left arm and hand tingles like it is asleep.
Left arm not used as much….kinda just hangs there.
Throat troubles.  Sense of something there.  Constantly needs to clear throat.
Dr. appointment – it may be Parkinson’s disease.  Not real impressed with Dr. so we look for another.
Dr. Martin Blume provides referral.  “Shane, I don’t know her but Dr. Padma Mahunt comes very highly referred.” 
Dr. Mahant confirms diagnosis.  Dad and Mom or both very comfortable with Dr. Mahant.  She becomes Dad’s movement disorder neurologist.
July 30, 2004….our lives changed.
July 30, 2004, was not the end of life as we knew it; but rather the start of a ride we could have never imagined.  You see, Dad hasn’t felt sorry for himself since the diagnosis.  He hid it at first.  Not wanting to tell people what was wrong.  But his friends and family noticed.  They saw the changes in Dad.  Changes in his walk, his posture, his personality.  The disease was in him and working its way out.  Eventually, it won the battle and came to the surface.  The disease reminds us it is there every day.  As of today, it has not been given control of Dad’s life.  Dad has control of his life.  We are here to share this control with everyone we meet.

Shannon and I started riding road bikes (the kind you pedal) in late 2007.  We had bought mountain bikes but I was tired of driving somewhere in order to ride.  One day he stopped at Performance bike shop and called and said he found a road bike for me.  I went up there, bought it and then looked at him and said, “I’m not riding alone.”  He bought a road bike a couple of weeks later.  He wasn’t happy since buying the bike means he couldn’t buy the kayak.  Not sure he has gotten over that yet.  Little did we know buying the road bikes would impact our lives so greatly.
We rode in the Arizona MS150 in March 2008.  The MS150 is a two day, 150 mile ride in southern Arizona to raise money for the Arizona Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.  We didn’t make the full 150 miles but we did learn we liked being roadies and started looking for our next challenge.
In September 2009 Shannon was sitting at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix waiting for his flight to board when he sent me a text that said something like, “we should ride across the country and raise $1 million for Parkinson’s.”  Whoa, wait a minute.  We had talked about wanting to ride coast to coast on our bikes but through in raising $1 million and that seemed a tad much.  However, I responded, “I’m in.  Let’s do it.”  And so, Our Ride began.  Humbly.  Shannon and I riding our bikes with a crazy goal.
Shannon registered with the Michael J Fox Foundation and our membership with Team Fox began.  We were sitting in my kitchen one night trying to think of a catchy name for Our Ride.  Throwing out ideas….and then it came….not sure who said it first….but we came up with POP’s Ride.  But what does POP’s stand for, besides our nickname for Dad.  Then, someone said it, Pedal Over Parkinson’s.  The name stuck and Our Ride was official, at least from a marketing standpoint.
At Thanksgiving dinner 2009, we made the announcement to Dad and Mom.  Tears were shed and then the planning began.
The 2009 El Tour de Tucson was our first official ride as Team POP’s.  Shannon and I rode and started to make contacts with vendors.  I will try to list what happened next in chronological order the best I can remember and reconstruct from emails.
January 13, 2010 – We secure the domain name through GoDaddy and POPSRIDE.COM is born.
January 26, 2010 – Fluid Recovery Drink becomes our first sponsor by signing on to donate enough recovery drink for Our Ride.
January 30, 2010 – Dr Will Bar agrees to supply nutrition bars for The Ride.
Somewhere in here Shannon designs our training jerseys.  Wait, we need a catchy slogan.  M&M’s have “they melt in your mouth not in your hand.”  Ford has “Built Ford Tough.”  And then I emailed one out to everyone: “Our Ride, Our Cause, Our Passion.”  All approved and it sticks.  We are now, in marketing lingo, Branded.
Also during this time, Kyle Worley asks if he can come along.  He tells me that he and Sarah have discussed it and she is in full support of him joining if we want him to come along.  Shannon and I discuss this exciting opportunity and agree Kyle is in.
At this point you have to be asking yourself a couple of questions.  First, are they crazy?  Probably.  Second, why would one of their friends want to sign on for that kind of pain and finally why would his wife agree to let him leave and ride bike for six weeks while she stays at home with two young boys?  Common questions and I will try to answer them.  In Kyle’s words, “I told Sarah I will probably never have another opportunity to be involved with something like this with friends.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”  Sarah has a couple of reasons for supporting Kyle’s request.  Her Grandfather has PD.  Also, she is Kyle’s “lovely wife Sarah” and understands how much this will mean to him.  Yes, she is an amazing lady and I can’t thank her enough for encouraging and supporting Kyle and us as we train, plan and live POP’s Ride.

This is only the beginning.  I will write more soon and hopefully get you caught up before the end of 2010.