Tuesday, August 15, 2017

2017 Leadville didn't go as planned

I arrived home today from my trip to Colorado.  I am not quite up for writing about the experience, but I was cutoff at the second cutoff point and felt crushed, to say the least.

My brother sent me a text I would like to share because it means a lot to me:


I am SO proud of you. You inspire me.  We all encounter challenges that, for whatever reason, we may not overcome.  You've overcome so much in your life.  Most people  who may have gone through a fraction of what you have would find a nice place to sit on their ass and reflect on what they've accomplished.  Not my big sister.  She picks the biggest, baddest, hardest fucking thing she find and says "I can do that."   Maybe you couldn't do on their timeline, but you could have finished the damn thing, eventually.  That's tough.  Tough a shit.  Someday I'm going to face a real challenge.  A real motherfucker of a bad time, and I'm gonna get through it because my big sister showed me how.  You are the toughest person I know.  I'm so proud to say I'm Cheryl Parrish's kid brother.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Tuesday - Aug 8, 2017 - Frisco, CO

I have been here a few weeks now for acclimation and to race the Leadville 100 MTB Stage Race with Angie.

I barely made that 12 hours in over three days.  This gives me great concern.  I sit here in tears this morning at the kitchen table in my condo rental.   One minute I am so grateful for this opportunity.
Danielle and Janet have been putting in overtime, stressful hours to run the office while I am gone.

Tonight is the big Leadville party at Doc' home in Leadville at 5:30.  There will be a lot of people I am looking forward to saying hello to and getting some photos.

I have my drop bags labeled.  I am still unsure about my time cutoffs and what I should shoot for. I keep reliving my devastating disappointment in 2013 when I was cutoff at Twinlakes,  the first cutoff, by a few minutes.  I am riding a totally different bike now.  1 x 12 Eagle v 2 x 10.

Erin and Colin Tawney are spending the night with me tonight and leaving in the morning.  Remembering that I met them in Leadville in 2013 reminds me that this whole race is really about the journey and developing life-long friendships.

I try not to think about cancer and will this be my last chance to get a buckle, not to mention I am 59 and there are only a handful of women who have gotten a buckle at my age.

I think of my friends who lost their battle to cancer  and what they would give to even have this opportunity.   I need to enjoy every mile of this race. I need to give my blood, sweat and tears too. Putting too much pressure on myself is a waste of energy. What happens, happens.  No matter what, if you know me, you know I will leave all I have in Leadville this year.

My sister, Debbie and daughter Danielle are flying in this Friday to be here. They will be able to track me on their phones, so I am told.

Registration is Thursday.  Drop of drop bags at CTS support on Friday.
Saturday coach says I should be in LV by 5:00 a.m.  Allow 45 minutes to drive up there.

Thank you, God for my sobriety.
Thank you, God for my health to be here.
Thank you, God for my family and friends.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Leadville 2017 Stage Race photos

                                          Angie Rake and Cheryl Stage Race finish 2017 100 miles

Leadville Stage Race 100 miles

                                           100 Mile Leadville Stage Race - Powerline
                                          Frisco Airbnb for 2.5 weeks

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sunday arrival at Frisco Condo July 23 - Great place!

Photos from Frisco to Vail bike path

Teasing the iPhone upload - Leadville photos - sorry about dups

August 27 - Angie Rake flying in for our Leadville stage race

This morning I was up at 5:00, as usual.   I am so excited that Angie will be here soon and we will head up to Twinlakes and spend the the three nights there with the Dietrichs.

We have a house rented for all us.  Angie and I will be racing the three-day stage race for training for the 100 MTB on August 12.  This weekend is the same 100 miles divided up over three days.

I am so grateful to be here.

Yesterday I decided to sponsor three kids from Huntsville for 900.00 to team race this weekend.  They are 14, 15 and 17.  Team Parrish Reporting.  They are so excited because their parents could not afford it.  I am so blessed and happy to help any kids wanting to ride mountain bikes.  And now I have my first high school mountain bike team.  Photos will be following.

Just a problem uploading them from iPhoto!  

No time to proof!   Danielle and Janet are doing a great job at the office, and it is very busy.
I am not complaining.

Sober and ready to rock Leadville.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Kettle One memories at the bank yesterday!

Kettle One memories. I am in Wells Fargo and I see a guy who works at Kings Liquor Store on Berkeley and Santa Monica. I don't even know his name, but he has worked there since I moved here in 2005. I said hello, and he looked like he saw a ghost and very surprised. He says, Where have you been, I have not seen you forever". I snuck in close and told him that I have not had a drink in close to eight years. Very seriously, he says, "Thank God you are alive!"
This poor guy used to deliver Kettle One to my house every day in that black bag when I broke my femur and was in a wheelchair. I relapsed in 2006, and every day was a struggle. In 2009, Zometa (for cancer) caused my femur to break in half, spontaneously, come to find out it is a side effect.
I made sure I had the right walker that could balance my drink to get to the kitchen after getting out of the hospital rehab. Clearly, he got to see me at my worst bottom, wheelchair, walker, hospital bed in my living room, cancer, pain meds, and not able to stop drinking. Some of the darkest days of my life, no doubt. Later came the broken foot. Another story.
I laughed at first. Then I realized how serious he was, and shocked. How I am alive is beyond my own comprehension. Multiple myeloma, Percocet and Kettle One is not a friendly combo. I must have looked pretty bad by the look on his face. Why are people always thinking I am dead? lol
Never give up. Today my daily combo is mountain biking, trying Keto diet, working, and loving my job! I am so grateful for my amazing life today, my daughter, family, grandkids, most amazing friends ever! And I am actually going to race across the sky in Leadville, Colorado for 100 miles in August.
This summer will be cycling in Colorado and celebrating life one day at a time, with or without cancer, and definitely sober. Beyond grateful!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Flight 604 from Minnesota to Los Angeles - Rake Farms' Leadville training 7-6-17 Thursday

Flying back home with some uneasy turbulence.  Thinking on my recent nine days at the Rake Farms.   First, I cry. My heart is full.  I am so excited and nervous about our upcoming Leadville ride.  

Angie Rake is like no other woman or cyclist.  She is strong mentally, physically and motivates me to the moon.  I keep seeing us crossing the finish line. I can see myself falling to the ground and bursting out in tears.  I feel with Angie I can do anything. 
We are both Aries.  We are both business owners.  I am ten years older than Angie, but she is confident we can do this.  Angie has completed Leadville three times, I believe, and once on a tandem with Danielle.  
Angie says we have three advantages: 
    1 - We are mentally tough
    2 - We are scrappy (my favorite)
    3 - We never give up - ever - not today - not ever! 

Never have I  felt such love, peace, and a sense of calm, which I cannot explain, while being on the farm.  I will miss Chloe, Risky, Sam, and Minnie.  The horses, Frankel, and Ali. I had no TV in my room for this week, which gave me a lot of time to think.   I thought often of what I am going to do with the rest of my life, what is left of my life.  

I have been wanting to write, but as the feelings come up, the tears, the sadness, the fear, the happiness, the gratitude -- oh, dear God, it is more than I can handle.

Cancer screams out "fear me, I am coming for you“ . My heart says I have a beautiful daughter and two amazing grandchildren who love me and need me. I don't want to miss their life.   

My life road was paved with a broken family and shattered dreams.  My childhood was stolen from me.  I grew up with no father. I grew up with a strong mother who would, and did, do anything to feed five children and put a roof over their heads.  

My life is riddled with far too many regrets.   I scream in my dreams, Please let me go back and do it right, just one more chance”

Last night I had a dream that I was flying up and down single track (for bikes) but I was sliding on my body, sliding on ice, no bike. I was behind someone. I was flying up and down the steep trails with determination and momentum of just Cheryl! Certainly one of the strangest dreams I have ever had.

Every morning that I woke up at the Rake Farms, I looked outside the giant windows and saw a world I have never known. I saw something I lost  hope on long ago. I saw family, love, happy animals, happy people, blue skies, trees, and the white picket fence that goes on for acres.

Scott and Angie Rake open their hearts and their home to everybody.  They give it all back and never take.  In some strange way, I feel, maybe, just maybe,  this is my final great break — meeting the Rake family.  Scott told me before I left:  “The door is always open”…I almost cried.  Nobody has ever told me that. They would do anything for their friends and family.  They believe in me.  Angie has gotten me to push harder than every before.  Legs on fire, bring it on!  She has real grit.  We only met in January at the Coast ride, where we rode 600 miles in a week.  Oddly, It does seem as though we have known each other for a lifetime.

I have nothing to prove, except to myself, that I have what it takes finish the Leadville 100 MTB.  

I will be driving to Colorado the end of July. Angie and I will take on the three-day Leadville stage race first. Our goal is 10.5 hours in the three days in total, and possibly move up a coral for Leadville.  Angie flies home and returns two days before Leadville, August 10.  I will stay on and ride and train with my Leadville family friends.

My day is coming.  August 12 is my day!  I know mechanicals and weather can play a part and cause problems.   With the help of CTS and my coach Julia Priest, I am stronger than I have ever been.

So I am sitting in this airplane and heading home to my other life. A life of chaos and stress.  I will continue my training and get back to work so I can pay for this trip. 

Simply said, I owe my new life -focus to Scott and Angie Rake.  Angie believed in me when I did not believe in myself.  Now I believe in myself. I believe in us, as a team, will crush Leadville.  Angie gave me her Leadville necklace, which I will return when I get my own.  The gifts of the Rake generosity seem endless.

We rode our bikes on gravel and pavement.  We tested our limits.  We have no limits. 

I saw deer, fox, bunnies, cows, horses, pasture egg huts, wild turkeys, pig….

I met their friends and their family.  We shared stories of hard work.  We shared stories of family addiction and alcoholism.  We shared hope.  We shared dreams. We laughed. We hugged. I cried. Angie does not cry. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day 2017

This is the worst day of every year for me. Father's Day! I really don't know my "dad" - He abandoned my mother and four kids when I was very young. He was a mean alcoholic and nothing good I can say about him. I don't know what it would be like to have a father that loves you and supports you. No clue. He was mean and scary and disappeared for years at a time.

I remember, like it was yesterday, when I was in Hoag Hospital for my first bone marrow transplant in 1996 and thinking..."he cannot get sober and get here from Tennessee to see his dying daughter" - I knew deep down that I was unloved by this man. That he was not capable of loving anybody unless he ever got sober. That never happened.

Last night I saw the amazing film Blood Road with Rebecca Reba Rusch and her journey to find her father who was shot down in the Vietnam war. Beautiful film. All day all I could think about was how she grew up without a father who died for our Country and a hero. She was only three when it happened. So I spent today thinking of all the wonderful fathers I do know, including Capt. Rusch.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2017 Dirty Kanza - 100

Danielle and I headed to Kansas last weekend for an amazing race.  The race took pace in Emporia, Kansas.  My goal for the 100 was 10 hours.  This is a gravel grinder race, so I took my Crux cross bike.  I have never ridden 100 miles on my bike, except for the road bike (14 pounds) on pavement.

The views were amazing.  The people along the way with cow bells and signs was nothing short of making me cry every time I saw those kids!

I went out fast for me.  I realized at the 50 checkpoint I was 3:40, so I called Dani to tell her I might be at the finish sooner.  

My ride time was 8:07 and elapsed time was 8:38. I refilled my three gallons of water!  I stopped twice for potty stop!  I climbed every climb where others were walking.  The guys really don't like that.

Rebecca Rusch came running up with a big hug at the finish. Jim Cummings, the founder of the Dirty Kanza 200 also put me in touch with a camera crew. Dani and I were interviewed and told we will be on CBS sports channel in July.

Travel was tough on Danielle, as she cannot eat much. She was my inspiration to finish!  Thank you, Danielle.  Next I am flying to MN to train for seven long days with my Leadville partner, Angie Rake.
Then we will be racing the Leadville 3-day Stage race end of July, and Leadville is August 12. I am really hoping Dani can be at Leadville.

Last weekend changed my life. I am happy. I am relaxed. It was amazing.  Sort of feel like stress is not an option, like taking a drink.