Monday, September 8, 2008

Tanya Writes About Her Hero Riding Strong for LAF

Lance said it best in his book, and my hero lived it. We didn't now what would kill him first, the cancer or the chemo.

So with remission five months behind him and fresh scans totally clear of that ugly thing, my hero determined to ride a half-metric (appprox 32 miles) to raise funds for Livestrong, Lance Armstrong's cancer-fighting organization. And ride he did, our daughter at his side. (Well, as he explains it, she was miles ahead, waiting for him LOL.)

His stamina is mostly back but not like it was when he could play two rounds of golf in a day in desert heat. Or when he could fight a fire for fourteen straight days like he did in Big Sur. Still, he's hale and hearty and handsome as hell. He's been riding daily and getting stronger, but we live on a large, fertile plain. No hills remotely nearby. But, the fundraiser's coordinator assured him, "there's only one difficult climb. The rest is a leisure ride."

Well, that was a stretch of the truth LOL. The roads throughout the lovely Santa Ynez valley had a lot of ascents, climbs, and rises through ranch and vineyard country. Plus it was about 100 degrees. But ride the route, my hero did. And finish to boot, raising over $900 in pledges from friends, family, and fellow firefighters.

It does rain in Southern California, in the winter and early spring. Last February and March brought snow-capped mountains and bright green hills. On all those drives to the hospital, I sent up my own versions of Psalm 121...and watched those hills, green and ripply as Na Pali.

But now it's fall here, and our hottest time of the year. The hills have become the more traditional camel-brown as brush and grass have tried out after months of no moisture, studded everywhere with hunter-green oak trees that hunker across the hills in exotic positions. Santa Ynez is especially beautiful --the area where Ronald Reagan had his ranch, and vintners grow award-winning grapes. A local restaurateur holds a Livestrong event every fall, and we determined this year to be a part of it.

I, well, I'm no athlete. But I did the 5K walk through the beautiful little town so evocative of an old west town. Ranches spread out in front of me and beyond, alive with cattle and California live oaks. And some friendly horses came to greet me on a gravel trail. Oh indeed, I got my fill of western local color last Saturday, in addition to meeting some wonderful folks who join our family in the common cause: continuing to kick cancer's ass.

After delish local wines and a gourmet lunch, black linen napkins with yellow Livestrong bracelets as napkin rings, it was time to make the 1 1/2 hour trip back home. Along the way we visited one of my favorite places, Cold Spring Tavern, a stagecoach stop right out of the Old West whence it was built in the 1860's.

We came home rejuvenated, living strong, believing firm, and loving our family more than ever. If that's possible.

But these past eight months...we've learned that anything is possible.

Live strong....and prosper.

No comments: