Monday, May 27, 2013


Wow, I'd say it's about time I wrote something, and I can't say not writing is a reflection of nothing going on.  In fact, it is probably more accurate to say that not writing is a reflection of a ton of things going on.  For the sake of brevity, let's do bullet points of some major events over the last two months:

* Directed a bike tour of Florida - 400 miles in 4 days for traffic safety.
* Appointed to the Board of Directors for Florida NAMI.
* Joined development team for NAMI Bikes 2014.
* Joined and left a RAAM bike racing team.
* Began development of a 24 bike ride to promote anti-bullying.
* Completed the a training program mental illness awareness and suicide prevention for police.
* Began work on an enhanced experience spinning program for the police department.
* A bunch of other stuff.

Now, the point of this particular post isn't to line up the things that I have been doing, but to point out the mistakes I have been making in getting involved in too many things.  That is not to say that any of these things are not worthy, important to me, or should be tossed aside.  However, if you know anything about depression, you know that it is important to regulate stress and practice self-care.  Well, each and every one of these things, added to work and personal responsibilities can ramp up stress to rather intensive levels, and this has the effect of sprinkling triggers throughout your days and weeks that can kick in depressive episodes at the most unpredictable times.

So, to get straight to the point, these last too months have been a combination of being extremely busy, coupled with the task to curtailing certain obligations that have less of a return on investment in time and effort.  That is to say, dialing back the intensity a bit.  What's more, I have been making more of an effort to do one of my primary management activities -- cycling.  Not directing a cycling team, or developing a race or event, but just riding my bike for exercise, fitness, and enjoyment.  It seems I allowed myself to become so immersed in cycling that my actual time on the bike was becoming limited more and more. With less of the positive impact of riding in my life, things were getting a bit harder day by day.

This is were my experience in dealing with my depression comes into play and is put to good use.  Managing depression means understanding the disease and what has positive and negative effects on it.  It means taking control of the events around you, being willing to say, "No", and putting the brakes on when necessary.  I guess you can say depression is like driving a car.  You can't run the engine at 9000 RPM, and you can't speed out of control, because you will come to a grinding halt.  You have to take control of the steering wheel and guide it when and where you can.  And it means you can never, ever take your eyes off the road.

Inattention with depression, like a car, means you may end up in a tree.   So, I've been very busy, but time to grab the wheel and drive, not just hang on for dear life.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Do SOMETHING about the mentally ill !!!

One of the things that I have found very interesting in the news lately and in the current media discourse, is the attention to mental illness.  Of course, much of this is coming out of the gun debate, and while this particular blog is not about that, the references to the mentally ill have generally been a concern to me.

The mentally ill.

What comes to your mind immediately when you read that?  Be honest.  Crazy guy with a gun?  A woman with wild hair in a straight-jacket screaming in a rubber room?  A homeless man shuffling along mumbling to himself?

Something needs to be done about them!

Let's face it, if you don't think about people with mental illnesses this way, a lot of people do.  The fact is that the majority of the time -- the great majority of the time, mental illness is not like this at all.  For every portrayal of someone who is in an extremely animated psychotic state, there are many more who suffer in silence, or even worse, know there there is something wrong, but are too afraid to see a doctor, or simply don't understand what is going on.  For the record, when referring to mental illness, one must understand that mental illness has the same breadth of severity as other forms of illness.  That is to say, a cold is a virus, and so is the Black Plague, but they are two vastly different things.  A person with schizophrenia who has learned to cope with its symptoms is mentally ill, but is still functioning and succeeding in life. In a physical comparison, a person with diabetes who deals with his or her disease effectively, does the same.  A person with diabetes who ignores the symptoms will likely die from the affliction. In other words, when the media or policy makers decide that something "needs to be done" about, or as they term it "help" the mentally ill, it is very important to examine if they are making decisions based upon knowledge or ignorance.  Policies and attitudes need to be educated and thoughtful, and definitely not extremist in thought.  Would we support amputating someone's leg because they broke a toe?  No way.  Should someone with a diagnosed mental illness be denied certain rights or jobs or credit because he deals with a particular illness?  The answer to that is "no" as well.

Look, I am very outspoken about having depression.  The reason I am outspoken isn't to trumpet it to the world.  Rather, it is to show others who have, or think they might have a mental disorder to know that they can survive and thrive in the workplace.  This includes a work environment that includes significant stress and responsibility.  My very existence and success in law enforcement serves as an example that while having a diagnosis is a burden, with some smarts and some attention to self-care, an illness can often be controlled and pushed back to a manageable state.  Let me be clear.  There is not a day that goes by that I am not reminded that I have depression, but the fact that every single day I knock it down and push on shows others that if I can do it, so can they.

So remember when you hear debates, or see portrayals about people that have mental illness, listen carefully and discern what is really being said.  What you will find very often is the speaker, whether it is a journalist, a politician, a lobbyist, or an activist, really has no clue about what mental illness really is.  In fact, let's take this to the next level.  You never hear about "what to do" with people who have other illnesses.  If we are saying that mental illness is in fact an illness, probably at its root based on some physical brain abnormality on some level, why don't we just call it an illness, like any other?

So when policy makers talk about the mentally ill, delete the "mentally" part.  How do they sound now?

The conversation should never be based on what to do about, it should be based on what to do for.

And finally, on a somewhat unrelated side note, some time ago, a friend of mine who has schizophrenia and is a cyclist, was told by a bike club that he couldn't ride with them.  Apparently he made them feel uncomfortable.  They decided to do something about him by rejecting him.  Now this friend, I might add, in addition to having schizophrenia, is also smart, resourceful, a dad, and driven to help others who suffer.  So, he made his own bike team, and entered races, and consistently places and wins.  He just finished a double-century.  (That's 200 miles in a single ride, folks)  He is the example not to count someone with a mental illness out. They have learned to fight and win battles every day, and they more often than not become experts at meeting life's challenges face to face - and conquering them.

Here is his blog - check it out!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Be Nice to Your Crew

This last summer I had the privilege to serve as crew chief for Team Kinema (pronounced Kin-eh-ma) at the Race Across America (RAAM).  To those of you who may not know or be familiar with it, RAAM is undeniably the toughest, most grueling bike race in the world.  It is 3000 miles, non-stop, from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.  Teams and solo riders take on this incredible challenge and if fortune is upon them, they complete the race between 6 and 12 days.  Sleep is a foreign concept during the race, and the stress upon individuals physically, and even more-so, mentally, is incredible.  I'm not kidding that RAAM can cause otherwise sane and sound people to be driven into psychosis and hallucinations.  If you ever wanted to experience a psychotic break, race RAAM as a rider or crew member.  I personally enjoyed 60 hours of no sleep.  A fellow crew member was sure that she was being stalked by an otter when she snuck off away from the car to pee.  The issue was that this otter apparently lived in the Arizona desert.  RAAM has been described as something more than a race and this fact is true.  It is beyond a race.  It is a descent into the ultimate in human endurance and it is no joke.  RAAM has collected its toll in broken bodies and broken minds. 

Racers have died in RAAM.

Solo racers and teams launch on different days, as teams invariably overtake soloists a few days into the race, and the organizers prefer everyone finish within a reasonable spread of one another.  So, our team headed down to the start line to watch the solo riders begin their race.  Before each rider would leave, they were interviewed with a mic on a loudspeaker by the ride director, so they could say a few words to the crowd.  I remember one racer in particular who was asked by the director, "Do you have any advice for the other racers and teams during the race?"  The answer was short, concise, but incredibly meaningful.  Five words.  "Be nice to your crew".

This may at first sound simple and trite, but consider a solo racer a couple years earlier who had recruited his family members as crew.  About 500 miles into the race and deep in the boiling desert, he was coming apart.  The story is that he continually berated the crew and let out an endless assault of stinging criticism.  Bear in mind that crew is also mentally and physically exhausted, often going sleepless, without food, without showers, and more, and they are tasked with encouraging the racer.  At some point, as the follow vehicle crawled along behind the racer, the driver got too close and tapped the rear wheel of the rider.  The rider hit the deck, but luckily was unharmed, and he had enough energy to once again verbally blast the crew.  This time his chastising backfired.  Big time.  The crew had had enough, and this time, they simply turned the support vehicle around, and headed west, abandoning their rider in the desert.  His race ended right there, and suddenly he learned a hard lesson that he could not continue his journey alone.

Now, I have to say, as a crew member, that you must NEVER abandon a rider.  The racer in this case, although he was a complete jerk, was put into a very dangerous situation.  The desert can get to 120*F, and it wouldn't take long to get into real, life-threatening trouble.  As it turned out, he was okay, and got home, albeit probably not a very happy home.

"Be nice to your crew."  It suddenly speaks volumes.

In the mental health arena, you may be a "racer" or "crew".  As a racer, you are the person with the affliction.  You are the person driving forward against a challenge and internal enemy that is relentlessly striving to put you out of the race and crush you.  You find ways to manage your energy and will, and drive on with the goal to achieve ultimate victory.  The crew are the racer's family and friends.  Those that provide support, encouragement, guidance, refreshment, and a push when needed.

My blog tonight isn't an admonition for someone with a mental illness to be nice to their support system (although it's not a bad idea).  Rather it's intended to highlight just how important the "crew" is, and to prompt those of you who are crew to someone, to know how critically important you are.  Just as in RAAM your racer will not make it without you.  Unlike RAAM, you may find yourself to be support crew completely not of your choice.  Your loved one may have been affected by a mental illness after several years of marriage, or perhaps you saw your brother, sister, or best friend slowly feel the advance of the disease.  Maybe your war-fighter has returned with images in his or her mind that just will not fade.  Whatever the case, welcome to the toughest race in the world.  Like RAAM, this is for real.  People can die.

If you are somebody's crew member, the number one training task for you is to learn about your loved one's disease.  Immerse yourself in literature, blogs, advice columns, and books about it.  Why?  Because when your loved one is coming apart, turning inward, lashing out, or suffering, the success of the entire race falls on you.  In RAAM, crew chiefs were instructed that as the race wore on, they would be more and more responsible for making simple decisions for exhausted racers who would lose huge chunks of cognitive ability.  These simple decisions, and the inevitable complex ones can only be made based upon a foundation of knowledge.  When you understand the illness, you understand what can and should be done to help get your racer to this finish line as a victor, and not a victim.

And just to put a stamp on it, here is a really good music video about support in hard, lonely times...

Ride on.  You can do this.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Pink, Robots, and Racing

Last weekend was one of the most instructive experiences I have ever had on a bike.  I participated in the Bike Sebring 12 hour bike race where cyclists compete to see how long each can ride in 12 hours.  Those who ride the furthest in their respective categories win medals and the respect of their peers.  In the end, things went remarkably well for me, and I ended up medaling with a 3rd place finish.  But, the medal is nothing compared to what the real takeaway was for me...

Preparations for the race began months before with the formation of Team Grayson Pink Robot Racing.  The name sounds strange, but let me explain and it will all make sense.

I have a beautiful little boy who is eclectic, creative, imaginative, and fun.  He has a wide variety of interests from robots, to Star Wars, to his animals, mermaids, blasters, drawing, and more.  He loves pink too.  It's his favorite color.

One day, about eight months ago, Gray came home from Pre-K and in the course of a conversation I was having with him, I asked him, "What's your favorite color?"  To my surprise, he answered, "Blue".  I asked him why suddenly he liked blue and not pink.  He then said with a hint of shame in his voice, "Boys don't like pink.  Boys like blue."

Now, I know my little boy, and I know that he loves pink, and I knew immediately that somebody, somewhere had decided that it was up to them to tell Grayson what color he should like because boys are supposed to like pretty much anything but pink.  Of course, I got down face to face with Gray and told him in no uncertain terms that he was allowed to like pink, and in fact, Daddy loved pink too.  Pink was a cool color and boys could certainly love pink.  Pink rocks.  The little guy seemed validated and relieved.

But beyond the pink issue, I was concerned.  I took it to heart that Grayson had experienced perhaps his first run in with another person manipulating his self-determination.  The very idea that some other random person has the gall to decide for another person what that person should like, or be was an affront to basic human care and value for others I thought.  You are lesser than me unless you are like me.  This, I believe is the root of bullying and ostracizing behaviors.  I am not okay with that concept and even less okay when that concept is forcefully imparted upon my son.  You may have noticed that I am an activist, so the little talk with the little guy just wasn't enough for me.

So we made a bike team.

Grayson and I made our very own bike team called Team Grayson Pink Robot Racing.  As excerpted from the team's Facebook page, he's what the team is all about:

Team Grayson Pink Robot Racing exists as an athletic (cycling) team to support and validate those who are different and vulnerable to bullying.

Team Grayson Pink Robot Racing is a cycling team created to support those people who have experienced or are vulnerable to experiencing bullying, judgment, and being ostracized for being different. The name of the team is diverse, and its mission supports and celebrates diversity and self-determination.

Being different is not a weakness. It is strength, and self-determination is the right of ev
eryone. This team exists as a home and rallying point for those who are made to feel lesser-than. Here, you are everything this team is about -- we will show those who think we are weak, that we are STRONG and we can and will accomplish great things and outstanding achievements.

Today is a bike team, and tomorrow it will be so much more. Our color is pink, WE are the engines for our machines and WE determine the distance we will take them. We are pink, unstoppable robots! Let's roll!

Fast forward to February 16th and the team hit the race course for 12 hours.  Racing for the team were of course me, and I was joined by my friend to be referred to as Female Racer 1 or F1 because she didn't want her real name used in the blog.  Crewing were of course the little Gray-man and my wife, Connie.

Without going into the turn by turn details of the race, there was one outstanding factor that definitely defined the race.  The wind.  Not just a little breeze or a few occasional gusts.  No, this was a sustained 25mph headwind for miles and miles, accentuated by 35mph gusts.  Some riders were so beaten down by the hours of relentless winds that if they didn't get blown off the road, they quit long before the end of the race.  There were times I wanted to quit too, but I had come to the race with a purpose.  I wanted to show Grayson how tough pink was.  How important individuality was.  Dad would wear sissy pink and grind out 12 hours on a bike and crush the concept that pink, or softness, or caring, or gentleness were anything but brave, worthy, and rock solid concepts.  Actions, not words, drive me.  I could tell Grayson pink was cool, or I could show him.

As I pressed forward into the blistering winds, I had ample time to think.  I thought about how people and especially kids, who suffer at the hands of others, and are beaten down like the wind wore down the riders, could eventually reach that breaking point.  That point where they give up or lash out.  The point where the pain of living becomes greater than the fear of death.  When suicide becomes an option.

You see, Team Grayson Pink Robot Racing is inextricably linked to the mission of suicide prevention.  When a child is reduced and invalidated by others to the point that they are driven to find a way out, any way out, it is especially sad.  To me, sadder even that an adult with a mental illness, like me, because adults even with such an affliction, are adults and more apt to understand and deal with what it happening to them.  Children are not equipped in the same way.  They take the abuse, internalize it, and slowly dissolve.

I pressed on.  I pressed on because my friend F1 was with me and she stuck with me, and I stuck with her.  Our crew poured out their love for us and their support.  The wind kept blowing, even getting stronger as the day wore on.  But as fatigue and pain would set in, I remembered the mission and indeed, I could not forget it, because after each lap he was standing right there in his little pink crew shirt, cheering his Daddy and F1 on.  In pressing on, I thought the following, which I posted this week on the team's Facebook page as well...

Sometimes it's hard to think you can go the distance in life, in school, through pain, or ridicule. Cruelty can feel like it will wear you down to the bone. But don't give up. You can go a little longer. You can press a little farther. Not because it's easier than you think. It is hard. But you are stronger than you think and importantly, you are not alone. We are freaks too. We are different. We stand out and we will stand up. For you and for ourselves. Our revenge is our success and our proof to others that we can do great things, and that the greatness that we aspire to is of our own choice and direction. Be yourself. Embrace yourself and chart your course not along the beaten path, but along a road of your own. Each cobblestone you lay bears your imprint and inspiration. And you know what you will find? You will not be following the path worn into the ground by others. No, instead you will be leading those that will follow you on your road, because those that stand out and stand strong are the beacons for others who are finding their own strength.

Finally, at the end of the day, I hope that Grayson learned the lesson that he, like the rest of us, can and should determine who he will be.  He is a beautiful individual and in being an individual he is not alone (irony?), and when others push back, he can push through, stronger than the winds of ignorance and intolerance.  The headwinds in life will not weaken him.  They will make him strong.

Press on.  You can do it too.  You are not alone.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Guts n' Stuff

Dealing with depression isn't popping a pill, going to a therapy session, or reading Psychology Today.  It is living with a constant awareness of your state of mind, and endless micro adjustments to your interaction with the world, other people in your life, and how you understand yourself.  It is a frustrating process, never being quite in control of when symptoms are going to crop up, but you become better at recognizing them and "cutting them off at the pass".  In this sense, the disease makes me much more self-aware and more aware of my relationship with others.  I think in this way, it may make me a better person in some aspects, in that it definitely pays to be on top of my cognition of everything I do and say, every second.  With the preamble complete, let me tell you about my week, or rather my weekend.

This weekend was a tough one.  The kind where you say stuff that you end up apologizing for later.  Depression in men especially has the added fun tidbit of unhinging your mouth from your brain and when you may disagree with someone, or if you perceive you disagree with someone, the result can be an explosive launch of verbal insensitivity and offense that seems to spill out like Jell-O flipping out of a bowl.  Once it goes, it goes, and in the end, nobody is happy.  It can be triggered by stress, environmental factors, not taking your meds, not eating right, or whatever, but it can be triggered.  Well, this time, it was dealing with negotiations with the ex-wife concerning after school child care programs.  Doesn't sound like a profound, impacting, life event?  Doesn't have to be.  Remember, depression is a mental illness - it's not a rational thing.

So, here's how it goes (and nope, not going to bash anyone - I have depression, I'm not stupid).  My ex got a new job which will require her to put our boy in an after-school program on her weeks.  That's understandable, but some ideas she has don't jibe with some concerns I have.  I discuss with my current wife and total wonderful  love of my life (she reads this), and she gives me a few pieces of input, which I am conflicted about.  Now the particulars don't really matter, and in the end everything worked out fine, but at the time when I was discussing with her on the phone, my response was, and I quote, "Why don't I just do what everyone else wants me to do?!!  What about what I want?!!!  F*** it!  Just f*** it!  I have to go.  Bye!" [Click]. 


Yeah. That's why depression can ruin relationships among other things.  That's what I mean when I say you apologize a lot when you have depression.  The other thing is that after a slight little overreaction as illustrated above, you often snap out of it and realize that you just peed in your Wheaties.

This is where an understanding of the disease both by the afflicted person and family and friends can make a huge difference.  Of course, the goal is to manage the disease so these little incidents don't happen, but every once in a while they do.  Well, Connie didn't leave me.  She didn't file for divorce.  We sat on the bed and talked.  I told her I felt very alone.  I didn't mean this as an insult to her and she knew this.  It was a description of a symptom just like, "I have a runny nose".  I told her some other things too that I was feeling.  She laid her head on my chest and said she was there for me.  That made all the difference.  She knew what I was experiencing and knew what to do.  She reassured me and made sure that I knew that she was in my corner and wouldn't abandon me.   That's like Penicillin to depression.

Now, that doesn't mean that depression goes *poof*.  I still felt bad throughout the weekend but I knew what I was dealing with.  I communicated more readily with Connie.  I told her that I was moving slow, my back hurt, and I didn't feel motivated.  She stepped in and motivated me, and she knew enough about depression to know what works for me.  "Jim, why don't you go for a bike ride?"

So, I rode.  I rode hard, and although it didn't cure me, it did feel a little better and had an accomplishment in the bank.  Sunday I did the spin bike, and ramped up the climbs to double what I usually do.  The hard workout was a good shot in the arm.  Today, I visited my massage therapist and that carved out a good hour of "Jim time", to take care of my sore legs, and tight neck and back.  Once you get in a depressive state, it needs to work itself out, and it can take a while.  If you are treating the disease, it may take a few days.  If you are not treating the disease, it may take a few weeks, or it may kill you.  Fortunately, I treat it, and live with it.  Key words - live with it.

Depression is a disease that you learn to live with, and the learning part takes a long time to master.  I am still learning, but every day I get stronger and this affliction has less power over me.  One thing I know for sure is that had I not gone to my doctor the first time, I would have learned nothing, and there is a very real possibility that I wouldn't be around to write this.  Depression is a silent killer, so I talk a lot and I talk loud about it.

You may recall, that when I started this blog, I promised to share everything about my journey, and you can see that the journey isn't just about miles on the bike.  It's the road that I travel not as a cyclist, but as a human being with a challenge borne by millions of others.  I'm like you.  I slip.  I get up.  I keep going. 

I almost feel like I am writing to someone in particular tonight.  So, I'll finish with a message.  Don't give up.  You are allowed to make mistakes.  If you have depression or some other mental illness, remember that you didn't ask for it and you don't deserve it.  It does things to you and you can get tired.  You can slip.  Maybe it will get the better of you at times.  But it is okay to forgive yourself (someone who suffers will understand what I mean).  It's okay to acknowledge that you are not okay, and it is okay to ask for help.  It is okay to tell someone you love that you feel vulnerable. It's okay to accept support from someone who wants to help you.  You are not weak.  You live and move forward with a weight that a lot of people don't have to haul around.  You are strong.

And it takes guts to live with it.

Monday, January 21, 2013


This was a Facebook post I did today, but I think that it captured a thought I have had for a long time about why I do things in the first place...
Recently, a question was posed to me from a dear friend. She asked me why I feel to driven to be involved in so many things and extend myself so thin. It is actually a question that I have thought about a lot, but frankly, I don't know if I can answer it without the help of a psychologist. What I was able to answer was that I have never been content to sit on the sidelines and watch the world change around me. I want to be a part of change, even if that part is very small. I've continued to think about the question and my answer, and what keeps coming to mind isn't why I (or someone else) do things. Rather, I think the question is "why not". 
Every time someone is presented with an opportunity to make a difference in the world, big or small, there is always a reason not be involved. I'm not strong enough. It's none of my business. I don't have the skill. I'm too weak. I don't have the knowledge. It's too hard. What is it that counters that pull inside that says, "Do something"? I venture to say that usually, the thing that stops us is insignificant in comparison to the positive impact that we can have on someone's life. I view life as a series of obstacles that I need to negotiate, over, under, or through, to get me to a goal. For me (cue the psychologist) the goal is to die knowing that what I did in life and who I was mattered, and resonated beyond my mortality. 
 It is my expression of empathy in the world. Empathy is more and more a rare and precious emotion. It is the glue that binds a civilized society. It is built upon our personal understanding that we matter, which is in turn, grown by love we feel around us. That is, a loving family, safety, and security, and knowing that we are significant. Empathy resides in each of us, but it can be buried in fear, ego, and a self-centered perspective. Also things we all possess. Our challenge is to recognize that the obstacles that keep us from doing things that matter to others, are in fact obstacles that make us feel like we matter less. 
Therefore, the path to feeling like you matter is making others feel like they matter. The answer then, seems self-evident. It's not about why do we do things. It's a question of what's stopping us, and why would we want or allow anything to stop us? The irony is that doing things that matter to others is ultimately the selfish act of making us matter in our own hearts. The simpler answer. It feels good.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cough cough!

I think I've pretty much experienced everything the flu has been able to throw at me.  Let's see, there's been a 103+ degree fever, coughing, sneezing, hacking, congestion, aches, chills, runny nose, and today, well, let's just say I couldn't keep anything down.  I had actually gone back to work this week, because if you know anything about me by now, I can't stand sitting around on the sidelines.  Bad idea.  Monday went okay.  Not great, but I was especially tired when I went home.  Tuesday, the Chief got tired of my coughing, and kindly urged me to take the day off and don't come back until I was all cleared up.  He was right, as I stayed home today, and stayed in bed all day.  Definitely not back from this thing yet, and the truth is the flu is nothing to be messed with.  Overdo it and you can find yourself in the hospital.

Ok, this isn't a blog about the flu.  It is about this journey to show that someone suffering from a mental illness can accomplish something great, and to document every step of that journey.  It is meant to teach and inspire.  So, yes, there is a teaching moment here.

Things don't go according to plan.  Depression was not in my plan.  The flu was not in my plan.  Getting behind in my miles was not part of the plan.  A sign of strength is what do you do when the plan changes, or is tossed out altogether.  So, here is the plan:

1. Get well (obviously).  That means a lot of rest and sleep.  Hoping to be able to go to work tomorrow.  Main thing at this point is congested lungs.  They clear up some more and I am good to go - I think.

2. Look for opportunities to make up significant miles.  This means that 2013 will have to be pretty robust as far as 100+ mile rides.  Those are the most efficient way to make up and build mileage.  One 125 mile ride is almost a week's worth of 30 mile rides.  It just happens that I am a member of RUSA (Randonneurs USA) a long distance cycling organization, and there are a number of rides coming up in 2013 not too far from here.  You can bet I'll be doing some of them.

3. Stay consistent.  The 30 miles a day still applies, so between consistency and big rides, everything will be okay!

And, the moral of the story here is that you are not hearing a certain word.  Quit.  I can't quit depression, and I can't quit life.  If this ride is a celebration of life and success, then I welcome obstacles.  I welcome bumps in the road.  I was not somehow removed from day to day challenges in life just because I decided to make an additional challenge.  This is on top of what life has for me.  You know want you do in long distance ride when it gets tough.  Easy.  You pedal.

Pressing on!