Sunday, June 21, 2009

Riding for Trista

I love the roaring sound of water.
Summit of Ute Pass(9,500 feet)

Blue River

Blue River Century-Getting ready to roll!

I felt very emotional as we rolled off at the start. There were approximately 275 riders that had signed up for the ride, raising money for the Lance Armstrong foundation, riding in honor or in memory of their loved ones.
I was riding in honor of my cousin's daughter, Trista Otto, age 11 who was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer. My Aunt had sent me a picture of Trista which I pinned to the back of my jersey. I received many compliments and well wishes for Trista during the ride.
I knew I wasn't really physically ready for this ride. My longest ride had only been 42-43 miles and I had done very little climbing. In some ways that was by choice as I almost felt like it wasn't fair that I could choose to train. Trista didn't get a choice about her cancer.
Off we rolled and I thought of the fight that lays ahead for Trista. I thought about Kelly's fight, the courage she had as she battled for almost 12 years.
I thought about one of the lines I really like in the Lance Armstrong Manifesto as we rode off together.
We're about the fight.
And I thought of the LLS chapter staff
And the Moms I know that fight relentlessly for their kids
And my team heroes
And my TNT teammates
And my angels
We're about the fight, about being relentless for a cure, providing support and hope in anyway we can.
So we pedaled.
There was a 5.1 mile climb to the top of Ute Pass.
After the descent there was a 20 mile per hour headwind which battered the riders. There were times I could have sworn I was riding downhill and I still had to pedal hard.
The wind was relentless, swirling. It was really discouraging. We were getting pummelled. There was nothing to do, but to pedal. So we did.
The last aid station was phenomenal. Cheese and crackers, cookies. Wonderful volunteers. Helpful, supportive, caring. One asked me about Trista. I told him I was riding in her honor. I didn't know what else to do. I just feel helpless, powerless...Riding, doing something is empowering.
They told me it was 6 miles up Montezuma road and 6 miles back to the finish. It was a long 6 miles and I got my wish. I suffered those last 6 miles of climbing. There were times I was tempted to just turnaround. No one will know.
I had to keep going. It was important for me to keep fighting for Trista. I want her to get to her finish line with a cure. If I quit, I wouldn't be honoring her. I wouldn't be honoring Kelly's memory if I gave up. So I pedaled and pedaled and I struggled to turn the pedals over. Finally I saw the sign for the turnaround. I was done climbing.
I am not done fighting.


  1. beautiful pictures! Keep fighting Ross, you are a hero to so many!

  2. Heather,

    Thank you for your support! I greatly appreciate all you are doing in taking the fight to cancer. Game on!!!

  3. I'm crying. Shocker, I know.

    I'm really proud of you. Thank you for the photos and the story.

    L&L, x11, x13, xMetric100.

  4. Thanks for your support and always grateful for the L&L x 11 x 13 x Metric 100!

  5. Beautiful pictures. Your race report and passion for the cause is inspiring!

  6. Middalia,

    Thank you for your kind words of support :)