My family has participated in the Logan to Jackson (LOTOJA) bike race for more than 10 years now. The race is 206 miles long, crosses 3 states, climbs nearly 10,000 feet and is the longest amateur bike race in the United States.
For us it has become a family tradition that allows us to cheer each other on, train and race together, and enjoy a beautiful weekend. But this year the race took on a new meaning as it meant the end of a long, hard year for our family.
This year we had 2 teams and 2 single riders in our group. Here are our teams:
Team Beating the Beast
Obviously, the names of our teams are a little strange, however we had our purpose. Last October, my 64 year old dad (Rick) was diagnosed with colon cancer. He spent the last year undergoing major surgeries and a terrible 6 months of chemo. His last treatment was in July (2013.) From the day he felt well enough until now he has been pedaling away to try to strengthen his body again.
You can’t imagine the joy it is for us as children to go on a bike ride with our dad as last year we were uncertain if he would be with us. We are happy to announce that he is now in remission and was able to ride part of the relay with us.
This year we dedicated our race to him. My sister had the white and blue jerseys made that have a biker with the blue cancer ribbon representing colon cancer. (A special thanks to Melissa Ricks for the artwork on the jerseys!)
I think everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer. For our family, cancer has taught us to cherish every moment and live in that moment. We have become a little more selfless and learned how to pray a little harder each day.
I hope that we can all enjoy the opportunity we have to be healthy and make the most of our bodies. Each day is a gift and we need to cherish and enjoy it.