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Riding on publicity (29 days till “The Ride”)

May 25, 2012

   I’ll admit it – I’ve been a slacker lately. I’m acting as though I have all the time in the world to learn this new skill, but the Ride is less than a month away. Perhaps I’m treating this whole thing incorrectly, as if it were an assignment for one of my former newspapers. Having been on tight deadlines for my career over the past decade, I have become accustom to saving a majority of the work for the last minute and savoring the rush of adrenaline that comes with racing the clock. Something tells me this method will serve as nothing but a roadblock to accomplishing my current goal.

   I received a very public reminder that time is running out two days ago, when the story about my journey to the Ride for Roswell aired on the local news. Each year around this time, area media outlets start promoting the Ride by telling heartwarming stories about some of the participants, and I was honored that one of the stations found my story interesting enough to share. It made me tear up watching the nearly five-minute report, and I already know the story! The reporter did a wonderful job piecing together the hour and a half worth of interviews and footage without making me appear too pathetic. Portions were somewhat humorous as Patrick’s and my backsides were prominently featured. They say that the camera adds 10 pounds, but I didn’t realize it also adds inches to womanly curves. My 40-inch hips take up quite a bit of real estate on the small screen. 

   Patrick was particularly mortified by one scene in which it appears he is grabbing my bottom, when in reality he is holding the bike seat. My parents enjoyed razzing him about copping a feel of their daughter for all of Western New York to see. 

   The piece has resulted in about $200 more in donations, which is so exciting! The day the story aired, a woman commented on my Stick it to Cancer blog that she usually partakes in the Ride for Roswell, but her wedding falls on the same day this year. In lieu of favors, she and her husband decided to donate to the Ride, and they chose my efforts as the benefactor after seeing the report. I’m so moved by this, largely because lately I have imagined having my own wedding (not that there’s one planned or anything … just a dream) double as some sort of fundraiser. I don’t need more silverware, dishes and appliances, so how great would it be to throw a huge wedding bash that benefits others? I’ve always voiced similar thoughts about my funeral – don’t mourn for me; celebrate my life, and in lieu of flowers, bring a canned good. 

   Two days after the wedding donation, the reporter emailed me to pass on a message from a representative of a local bike shop offering a bike and lessons. After the ordeal I experienced to find my Greeny, could I even accept and use a different bike? I would feel as though I would be cheating on my old-new bike, which has taken all the beatings of me learning how to ride. Plus the past three times I’ve gone out, I haven’t even fallen, so I’m not sure I really need lessons at this point anymore. Sure, I still maintain a death grip on the handles and I can’t complete a 180-degree, right-hand turn without panicking, but Patrick keeps saying I’m about 80 percent there in terms of learning it all. 

   I’ve been waiting for that click – that “EUREKA!” moment – that will come right before I take off and act as though I’ve been riding all my life. It happened when I was learning to drive, too, when my professional instructor suggested: “Just point the car where you want to go.” What a novel idea.

   I guess my concerns about the offer originate from my inability to use connections. I’ve always had issues with this. Asking for this type of help is the source of great guilt for me. I choke on that feeling each year as I prepare the Stick it to Cancer donation letters and emails, but I’m asking those 200 businesses and individuals to help everybody else. I have great difficulty accepting gifts for myself. 

   Patrick makes me feel so good when these situations arise, telling me, “If anyone deserves this, it’s you!” I don’t fully subscribe to this notion, but he’s wonderful for propping me up in such a manner.

   The offer didn’t come to fruition, but it did force me to evaluate my status. I realized that I am farther along than I thought and that I can accomplish the other 20 percent before my deadline.

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