Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Anniversary Bike Ride

Two years ago, my dad and I made a plan to go on a bike ride. The fact that he was in Minneapolis and I was in Boston did not stop us - nope, he was just going to throw his road bike in the back of our old clunker of a mini-van and drive it half-way across the country, and what's so hard about that? I should say that this was not just any bike ride, but a big group ride - the Boston Hub on Wheels, the annual 50 mile group ride that attracts an average of 5000 riders - and if there is one thing my father likes, it is group bike rides. Seriously, I don't remember the last time I saw him in a T-shirt that wasn't from a big group bike ride - the Saint Paul Classic, the Watermelon ride, the Tour of Saints, the Mankato River Ramble, various Iron Mans - if it's a group ride in Minnesota, I guarantee my dad has done it, and has the t-shirt to prove it!

We never got to ride the Hub on Wheels that year. A month beforehand, I came down with a mysterious illness that had me confined to home and bed, and as the ride approached, I only seemed to get sicker. A week beforehand, my dad called, sounding sad. He couldn't risk missing two weeks of work on a bike ride that I was probably too sick to attend - it would have to wait until next year. We couldn't get a refund on our registration, but at least we got to keep our matching T-shirts.

A week later, almost two years ago to this day, I received a note from my doctor: "Kara, your tests are actually POSITIVE for celiacs disease." The mystery illness turned out to be an incurable autoimmune disease, and what's worse, one that would forever forbid the consumption of cake! And oh boy do I love cake! Suffice to say, the last couple of years have been a mighty challenge - nine months of leave from school, living with my parents, numerous dietary overhauls, more doctors that I can count, and generally feeling pretty awful - but, on the two year anniversary of that fateful e-mail, I have a little something to celebrate:

My dad an I went on a bike ride!

Yep, two years later it finally happened. My dad toted his van and his bike 1400 miles across the country, and on September 23rd we gathered in city hall plaza with thousands of other bikers to, literally, take over the streets of Boston.

Car-free Storrow drive during the Hub on Wheels - Mwahahaha.
We made it a total of 45 miles, and at the end of the ride, my dad bought not one but TWO t-shirts for himself. Plus one for me, so we could match.

I have learned, if you can't celebrate a bittersweet anniversary with cake, a good bike ride will always do the trick.

My dad and I at the first rest stop