|That's me, grinding away|
I want to tell you about my ride, but first the important part.
In Rotary we call this The Ride to End Polio. It’s a part of the famous El Tour de Tucson, a 36-year tradition and traffic nightmare in the Old Pueblo.
Since the 1980s Rotary has partnered with WHO, CDCP, UNICEF and (lately) with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation toward the eradication of the disease. Endemic polio exists in only three countries now and worldwide eradication is nearly here.
I won’t bore you with more than my one favorite statistic; 17.4 million people who would have been disabled by polio since this project began are not. Let that one sink in.
|The Fam, post ride|
This year it was a family ride. My nephew, his wife, her dad and I all rode 52 miles and lived to tell about it. We didn’t see much of each other during the ride, and though I had some short conversations with folks on occasion I was mostly on my own. The plan was to keep it casual, but I got swept right up in the excitement and decided to see what I could do. That is, I got rather competitive with myself. This was the longest distance I’ve ridden and I’ll estimate that, subtracting the rest stops, I held about a 4:10 pace. That’s really remarkable only to me, but I’m darn proud of it!
Perhaps you've experienced a physical challenge that becomes mostly mental. I’ve felt that on some hikes, like the Mount Whitney climb I did before I crossed the threshold into middle age. It’s tough but feels pretty cool to get past that point. On Saturday, I had an unlikely savior. I was planning to grind right past the last rest stop, at about 46 miles. They had a sign out on the route that said “brownies.” Oh my. Laugh at me if you must, but those (two!) brownies were the mental boost and attitude adjustment I needed to get it done. They were good, too.
I’m incredibly grateful to the donors who supported polio eradication in honor of this ride. My current total is $6042, which will be matched 2:1 by the Gates Foundation to $18,126. In case you’re wondering, its not too late to donate; ask me how!
Beth, my riding partner from last year, popped up on social media saying she’s excited about riding in 2019. I haven’t ruled out the possibility but am reminded of a thought I had when I was working as an Obstetrician. It’s OK to ask a new mom if she’s going to have another baby, but not so OK to ask in the delivery room.
Beth could probably talk me into it with brownies, though.