[Here is a writeup from new rider Rob, new to both cycling and the MS150. Rob was one of those surprises that we always get every year - a random person signs up for the team and then fits right in.]
|Finishing the 100 on day 1!|
The MS Bike Ride was a pretty fantastic experience for me. It was a very satisfying validation of 14 months of very hard work. On July 3 of last year I moved to Albuquerque with the aid of a transitional assistance program run by the VA in order to work on getting into a Masters of Archaeology program at UNM, find work, broaden my pool of peers and possible friends, and get healthy in mind and body. I had recently been diagnosed with Asperger (something that made perfect sense once I understood what Asperger was) and I weighed 250 pounds, had high blood pressure, and was close to pre-diabetic. I did not get back into school, but I found a job and career that was completely unexpected based on my Naval nuclear experience and I engaged in physical conditioning and therapy (much of which was conducted in my own head during many solitary hours on hiking trails) with equal vigor, and when I started at Sandia in early June I saw the notice for the Penultimates in the Sandia newsletter and it was at just the right time. I have not been part of any kind of athletic team since I was forced to be in Junior High, I have not voluntarily joined clubs (except for utterly geeky ones like Sci-Fi clubs and history clubs) in my adult life, and I had never ridden more than 53 miles in a loop around Albuquerque. I was incredibly nervous about joining the team, about whether I would fit in, and I kept forgetting my helmet in the morning and such. I was pleasantly surprised that I fit right in, and that I had a really good time from start to finish. I have a very hard time feeling ‘part’ of anything that has very much to do with my Asperger, and though I was never aware of the Asperger during most of my life I was aware of that distantness. I can, however, feel connections with people, and however faint those connections may be, they made me feel better by participating with the team and those people on the ride. I very much want to thank everyone on the team for helping me feel a part of the team, and for welcoming me, however distant I may have seemed at times. This really meant a lot to me, and I intend to do the ride again next year.