Superheroes Among Us
Back on August 6th, I was at the beginning of an 80-mile bike ride in Colorado that would take me over three mountain passes and experiencing a gain in elevation of about 6300 feet. I realized that to some of the riders around me that this was hard. In fact, it was, and while contemplating the experience as it unfolded in the August pre-dawn chill of the Colorado Rockies with my hands and fingers numb and the burn of lactic acid in my legs during the first 12 miles at a 6% grade, I thought that this is but a moment of time and will pass and the sun will warm the air and it’s going to be a great day, and it was…Hard and a great day. It was in that moment that I began to contemplate what hard was. On this day in August this challenging event was for me, hard but not too hard. On other occasions, it has been very hard. To some around me I could tell that it was going to be a long day. On my bike, I have attached several superhero’s representing people with Parkinson’s that have done amazing things in spite of PD. I call them my PD Superhero’s. This tradition began when I met Carl Ames as he was riding from British Columbia to San Diego. I wanted to take him along with me as I rode across the Colorado Rockies in 2014. It was then when Captain Carl was created as a take on Captain America. Captain Carl has since gone on to be a symbol of positivity and living well with Parkinson’s. So, I digress to explain about Carl because on this ride in August, Carl and his daughter, son and daughter in law were also riding. This was Carl’s first time back to Colorado in a few years and I soon remembered that a person with Parkinson’s is working so much harder to maintain all the techniques of cycling. Carl is a true PD superhero, he finished the ride with his family in support. As another PD superhero, Iron Man Mike explains, “I am truly blessed to have a village of support, I’m a blessed man”. It is so true that it does take a village and it is important that we as care partners understand that we need support too. Support comes in many forms such as a ride for your PWP to get to the doctors, a friend drops by and helps out with yard work (thanks Joel), and it may just be an ear to listen. Images of superheroes on my bike may seem silly but it has taken hold and expected now when I show up to events. I have had great conversations about Parkinson’s with cyclists from all over the country. It is what I do to help encourage and support all living with Parkinson’s. You see any person living with Parkinson’s is truly a PD Superhero!