Sharon's Ride
September 2005


A dream come true. I worked hard for pledge dollars and LOVED EVERY MINUTE of it. For the first time since 1997 I dared to go on a trip... and had no idea how I would manage without my BiPap, my water pills ... put up a tent, take it down... carry my stuff around...

At the start I felt like a breathless beached whale... wondering what I was doing with a group of – clearly – fit people on a three day American Lung Association of Washington three day bike ride on a trike I'd never ridden before. It seemed all my exercise work wasn't enough. EFFORTS – thoughts of EFFORTS – all you - kept me going! The outstanding help and assistance I received from the volunteer crew enabled me to keep going, but it was a fellow trike rider, Dan... who must have seen I was struggling and rode up behind and asked if he could help. He patiently taught me how to shift gears, including the big gears until I could 'feel' the shifting... as well as see the speedometer computer jump to reflect speed... proof to me shifting pays off.

COPD has given me the opportunity to slow down and discover incredible kindness of folks that I never had time to notice before. EFFORTS gave me my life back – exercise lets me function...

Ferry schedules are kept – ferries wait for no one. The outstanding volunteer group helped me 'keep up'... in particular, Don.

On the last day Don drove me and my trike far enough out to get a head start and I began pedaling the final 19.2 miles into Victoria B.C. and the Victoria Clipper. Pedaling up hills I stopped whenever I needed to – sometimes every couple of feet - for a minute or two. I sat on my trike until I could go again. Foot by foot I pedaled to the top of the hills and barreled down the other side. Until...close to Victoria - a hill came into sight that appeared almost vertical. I couldn't see the top. I stopped when I got to the bottom and stared up. I was outfaced. If I started up I couldn't stop to rest until I got over it. It was steep, yes, but I was too close to stop now. I started up. The top of the hill got closer until I was just below it my legs shook from the strain and I couldn't breathe - I labored to keep going. All of a sudden the trike felt light and we raced upward. A voice yelled, “Keep pedaling”! My feet flew –we hit the summit and started down the other side. I yelled back, “Thank you!” Someone saw I was in trouble and pushed me up! I let the trike race down until I could pedal and breathe again and my heart quit jumping and thumping.

It was Don one of the ALA of WA's extraordinary volunteers ... I'd passed him parked on the side of the road several times during the 19.2 mile ride. He'd ask if I wanted to stop? I”d answer, “No, I'll keep going for now.”

Thanks to many people I rode my trike 19.2 miles into Victoria and when I got there I couldn't stop tears from welling behind my sunglasses. You did it, EFFORTS. You taught me how to live again, gave me my life back. And to see the bright red EFFORTS tee-shirt and meet the man inside, Chris, EFFORTS Ambassador to Canada and his lovely wife was pure joy. Chris is so EFFORTS oriented, so energetic, so giving... he gave me his watch when I said I didn't have one. And our watch says it is now 3:49pm.

God Bless. Thank you for helping me live again. EXERCISE FOLKS please help yourself.... and join me next time?

Sharon O'Hara


 

Baggage
Baggage ready for pick-up on the Bainbridge Island side of
 Puget Sound on the first morning .Please note how tidy my
new green tent, never out of the box, container looks.
 

Cyclists at one of the rest stops...perfect weather all the way.
Cyclists at one of the rest stops...perfect weather all the way.
 
About 350 Trekkers beginning to pour from the Seattle/Bainbridge Island ferry.
About 350 Trekkers beginning to pour from
the Seattle/Bainbridge Island ferry... beginning the
135 miles cycling journey for lung disease.
 
 Newfound friends at one of the well planned rest stops.
Newfound friends at one of the well planned rest stops.

 

Dan, the only other recumbent trike rider
Dan, the only other recumbent trike rider - standing - and
other great folks waiting for a ferry... (I've misplaced my list
of names - I only have  those I'd written down on the back of
an EFFORTS card!) .. I especially remember Dan because
on the first day, he taught me how to ride my trike... how to
shift and why. ... EFFORTS took me into adventure...
 
Trekkers at another rest stop.
Trekkers at another rest stop.
 

One of the great support vehicles helping a cyclist at a rest stop.  Note the bike carrier.
One of the great support vehicles helping a cyclist at a rest stop.  Note the bike carrier.
 
A cyclist replenishing air in one of her bike tires.
A cyclist replenishing air in one of her bike tires.
A good-natured animated discussion usually formed on every line-up on the trip.
A good-natured animated discussion usually formed on
every line-up on the trip.
The master bike mechanic from Greggs Bike Shop in Seattle assisting a cyclist.
The master bike mechanic from Greggs Bike Shop in
Seattle assisting a cyclist.
 

The line gets longer for the patient Trekkers.
The line gets longer for the patient Trekkers.
 The American Lung Association of Washington's official photographer and all around nice person at one of the stops.
The American Lung Association of Washington's official
 photographer and all around nice person at one of the stops.
 
Trekkers at a stop, one of many support vehicles background right side.
Trekkers at a stop, one of many support vehicles background
right side.

Emphysema Foundation For Our Right To Survive © 2005
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