By Christopher Cudworth
We Run and Ride started with a discussion with my friend Monte Wehrkamp who has been a correspondence partner and good friend for more than 15 years. We had both taken up cycling a bit more seriously and he told me, “You should start a blog about this.”
At the time I was thick into caregiving for my late wife Linda Cudworth, whose cancer survivorship lasted 8 great years from 2005 through 2013. During the last two years of her life I blogged about our experiences as a family through the Lotsahelpinghands.com website we used for our caregiving communications.
The blogs were not just a record of our daily existence. They covered the philosophy, inspiration and raw grit it sometimes took to get through treatments and side effects and job losses and insurance issues and surgeries, family needs and all the funny things as well that can happen along the way.
Now those blogs have been folded into a book I’ve published titled The Right Kind of Pride: A Chronicle of Character, Caregiving and Community.
What follows is an excerpt of one of the blogs titled The Rules. It’s a fitting sample for WRAR because it deals with the so-called “Rules” of cycling as outlined at Velominati.com.
I hope you’ll check out my new book on Amazon.com. It’s only $20.00 (on sale at $18.00 currently!) and I’m told by those who’ve read it that it is both inspiring and entertaining as well as informative.
Again, thanks for your readership of this blog, and please consider purchase of The Right Kind of Pride. It talks much about the parallels between the perseverance of athletics and that of life. Here’s the excerpt:
Monday, August 8, 2011, 10:15 AM
Some cycling friends and I enjoy a web site/blog called velominati.com. Basically the site is a humorous take on the “rules” of cycling; how to dress, ride and act. We kid each other about how tough we can be, which is the primary focus of the rules, in a humorous sort of way, along with how to properly maintain your cycling tan lines. A little warning: If you choose to visit the site there are some bad words used to reinforce the rules so be prepared.
So that sets the stage for today’s blog.
Saturday morning my little group was scheduled for a ride, but it was raining quite hard at 5:30 a.m. One of my riding partners has always been willing to ride in the rain once you’re out there, but is not a fan of “going out” into the rain from a dry house. Unfortunately the Velominati Rules think differently. And I must abide by the Rules.
Circumstantially, the crew had been planning to ride to Lake Geneva on Sunday, the next day. So Saturday’s ride was not so important as it usually is. But with Linda’s health in rough shape the last four days I elected not to join them on the trip to Wisconsin because it is generally an all-day affair.
So I definitely wanted to ride Saturday morning and jumped on my bike and headed out into the pouring rain at 6 a.m. Because, according to the Rules, that would make me a cycling Hardass. (oops, a bad word slipped in there…)
The rain lasted about an hour. I was wet as a seal by then and felt like one too. Rather than being miserable it was fun to ride with rooster tails of wetness shooting up from both front and back tires. I was also fabulously alone out there on Saturday morning. Rode up over Campton Hills and down the other side of that glacial hill and headed west for a while. Somewhere out past 47 the rain stopped. Then so did I, to pull off the rather hot rain jacket and dry off in the wind.
It got me to thinking. Being a hardass is not easy, but it can be fun. Of course it can also create problems. It’s fine to be tough and there are many situations in life where you must be tough to survive. I’m sure you can name a few. There’s also a fine line between being a hardass for the fun of it and being hardnosed simply because you’re selfish. I was a little of both this weekend.
One of the key challenges in life if you are a person of faith is when to trust God (people will tell you…always) and when to take initiative on your own (which we also must do.) How do you separate the two?
Where it gets really tricky is when to be strong and when to be sensitive. How do you forge on without being callous and how do you be considerate without being weak, or giving in, when perhaps you shouldn’t back off for the betterment of all involved. Most of all, how do you know when and how to hold up your end of the bargain?
When caregiving a cancer patient, these questions get carved in bold relief. Sometimes I fail miserably by pushing when I shouldn’t push or caving when I shouldn’t cave. Nothing reminds you of your flaws more than caring for someone else. I mean that in both the physical and emotional sense of the word.
Hopefully my Linda can forgive me these flaws and we can help her recover a bit the next two weeks. That first treatment each chemo cycle (pun intended) is like climbing the Chemo Alpe du Huez, an uphill battle fall the way. 5 days of 18% grade in the driving rain of fatigue and nausea, you might say.
She is the ultimate Hardass. And I need to remember that.
Maybe we need to write down our own set of rules for reference when times get tough. Hopefully we can laugh a little along the way. And work on our tan lines.