As I was driving to my rental cottage the other day, I passed these bears. Not actual brown bears, although those do inhabit the area where the cottage is. These bears are works of art created by local artists for Art in the Park, an art auction with proceeds benefitting Colorado Chautauqua (there is also a Chautauqua in western New York) and 14 other local non-profits. As I was driving towards the reservations office to check in, I saw them and out loud pulled an Elaine Benes. “Get OUT!” I shouted to myself in the car. It was already getting dark when I arrived, so I vowed to get a closer look at the bears before I left.
To that end, I took a break from writing, put on my hat and down coat, and went for a stroll in the snow among the bears. And, dang it. They are all adorable. I am struggling to come up with reasons why I do not need one of these bears for my backyard. I have space for one. And my yard could definitely use a little more personality. And it is for a good cause, right? I mean, come on! How are you supposed to resist this?
If you want to check out all the bears, take a look. I’m open for thoughts. Which bear do you fancy? And which one needs to go in my yard? I would much rather find one of these bears in my Colorado backyard than an actual furry one. Help me convince my husband that this is a wise and necessary expense for a great cause. Go!
This week I am focused on only one thing. Five mornings from now, hubby and I will be waking up at 4 and driving up to the starting location for this year’s Colorado MS150 ride. I’m trying to get excited about it. I am. It’s just not working. It’s not the riding I mind. I’ve trained. At least, I’ve trained as much as I have the previous two years when I’ve also done the ride. So, I think I’m ready to go on that front. I might be a bit sore next Monday, but I think that endurance, muscle, and seat-time wise, I’m ready to go. What’s freaking me out is the heat. While the current forecast for this weekend does not show us at 100 either Saturday or Sunday, it does show us in the high 90s. I’m not happy.
Truth is, I am what I call a “fair weather” rider. That means, I won’t ride when it’s below 50 because I don’t own the gear to stay warm enough and I really don’t want to buy it. Why would I? I have winter sports. I ski and snowshoe. I don’t need a nose frostbitten from cycling in freezing temps to make me feel I can get out in the winter. If there’s a good chance of any sort of precipitation, you can count me out of riding. Call me a wimp, but I shower plenty. I don’t need to go ride in the rain for that. And I choose not to ride when the temperature exceeds 85. So, training in this high and dry heat has been unpleasant. As I look toward a predicted high of 99 for Sunday’s ride, I feel myself shriveling up.
I’m going to do it, though. Well…barring heat stroke, hospitalization, and heavy smoke from the fires I’m going to do it. Why? Because I can suffer through two days in extreme heat on my bike to help raise awareness about MS in our state. I know too many people and families affected by this disease not to. Years ago, when I started doing these long-distance, fundraising events, I realized something about myself. I whine too much for too little reason. I’m healthy. My family is healthy. We have all our needs met and then some. It feels good to take the focus off myself for a few minutes. It’s humbling. It reminds me that I’m part of something bigger than the microcosm that is our family. I’m connected to others. So, I’m going to put on my big girl panties, deal with the heat, and ride for Michelle, Gretchen, Amy, Suzanne, Brad, Stacey, and the other 9,000 people living with MS in Colorado.
If you find yourself compelled to push yourself with athletic events, look for ones that support a worthy cause. There are oodles of charities that run wonderful events that would love your help. Yes. You have to raise money or pay a higher entry fee. You can do it. It is possible. I’ve done it six times now. I’ve never missed my minimum fundraising goal. And, in the end, the payout you get from helping someone else while achieving a goal for yourself is nothing but a win-win.