You are currently browsing the blog archives for May, 2010.




By Leesa Gabel

I’ve been dreaming about biking….and cupcakes.

The dreams started Mother’s Day weekend. The night before our training ride I dreamt about riding out at Lake Tahoe. Of course in my dream it looked more like Colorado since I’ve never been to Tahoe. I dreamt of rolling hills and steep climbs and wonderful downhills. I saw myself finish the ride…all 100 miles. And at the finish there was a cupcake buffet waiting for me!!

And so the dreams have continued on a regular basis in some way, shape or form….biking and cupcakes.

I’ve found that it helps me to see a route I’m going to ride before I ride it. Craig and I will often drive our Saturday training routes beforehand. It really helped me on the 80-mile ride….which was only 50 due to the rain and wind and my health. Which is why we’re renting a car while in Tahoe, so that we can drive the route. I need to see what 100 miles is going to look like. I’ve heard stories, but I want first-hand knowledge. After we drive it, I know I’ll dream about riding it….if not in my sleep dreams, then in my daydreams. I’ll visualize myself out on the course….visualize which gear I need to be in….when I can coast….when I need to crank it….when I need to drop down into ‘granny gear’. And of course I’ll visualize me finishing!!

Now the cupcake part of my dreams…well….that’s easy. I have a new love. Small Cakes. It’s a new cupcakery (yes, that’s a real word you could use in Scrabble) here in Olathe that sells the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever tasted!! I’m addicted to them. Not to any one particular flavor, but all of them! I figure there a perfect way to reward myself after a long…or short…ride. Which is why losing weight is so hard…..I burn the calories and then put them right back in by eating a cupcake. I’m just maintaining my weight at this point….but if it means I can keep eating a cupcake….then so be it!! At least that’s what I tell myself…..

I feel that I am both mentally and physically prepared for the bike ride. More so than any other event I’ve done.

I am ready to ride!!!



Count Down

By Leesa Gabel

The countdown has begun…

  • 7 more days of chemo
  • 1 more day until I see Sex & The City 2!!!
  • 4 more days until I see my parents, brothers and in-laws
  • 6 more days until I’m without kids for 9 days
  • 4 more days until my 2-year cancer anniversary
  • 13 more days until Tahoe and 100 miles on the bike!!!

The next two weeks are going to fly by!!

For those wanting to know how I do at Tahoe, you’ll have to either be patient for me to update here or friend me on Facebook. I won’t be able to update the blog until I’m back, but I’ll constantly be updating Facebook. I might even Twitter.

Here’s how you can find Craig and me via social networking:




12 more days

By Leesa Gabel

The great news — I found out today that I only have 12 more days of chemo pills!!!

The bad news — I found out today that I have to take a little break from training. My ‘numbers’ have bottomed out and I need to rest to help my body get back on track. I’ll go again next week for more blood work.

Lake Tahoe is getting close. 18 days and counting down!!

Thankfully, my doctor understands the importance of the ride to me….understands how hard I’ve been working….and how badly I want to ride all 100 miles.

The ‘mind over body’ idea doesn’t quite work for me at the moment. It’s hard for me to rest, when resting in my mind is a sign of weakness. I missed boot camp this morning because I knew I needed more sleep. I woke up at 5am and made myself stay in bed because I knew it was what my body needed. But there was a part of me that really just wanted to get up and go. I even have a perfect bandana to wear to boot camp — it’s camo!

So I’ll reluntantly listen to my doctor and take it easy this week and won’t go ride 40 miles with my team this weekend.

I’ll look at the positive….the chemo is working….it’s wiping out the cancer cells and bad blood…..I only have 12 more days to take it…..and as long as I rest and do what I’m told I’ll get to ride 100 miles around Lake Tahoe!!!



50 of 80 ain’t too shabby!

By Leesa Gabel

I got in 50 miles on Saturday. Only 30 shy from the 80 that was on the schedule.

It rained the entire time we were on the bikes. Misting rain, fat drop rain, pouring rain, steady light rain… was like the scene in Forrest Gump when he was desribing the rain in Vietnam. The route took us west on 175th into the city of Gardner. A nice little town (with plenty of bathroom stops)! It wasn’t until we made it to the turn-around spot that we discovered the 15 mph wind was at our backs the entire time. So the ride back east to Metcalf was into the wind, which meant the rain was into our faces!! I’d wear my sunglasses for a bit to sheild my eyes from the stinging rain, but then I couldn’t see very well. So I just squinted and dealt with it.

We made it to the next turn-around point…Metcalf….and headed back west to Gardner. By this time I was just wiped out. The wind and rain, plus boot camp on Friday, had taken its toll. I knew I had pushed my body to its limits. I had enough steam to make it back to the truck that was parked at Quivera Park.

I’m sure all the people in all the cars that were passing us were thinking that we were crazy for riding bikes in such crappy weather. I would have loved to be wearing a shirt that read ‘I’m not crazy, I’m in training” on both the front and back. But they’d probably still think I’m nuts!

All-in-all it was a great ride. I know….even despite the rain…..I had a good time. I liked passing all my team. It’s very encouraging to see them all. Besides…it’s nice to know that there are others out there just as wacky as me!!

Hopefully the official ride will have perfect weather. If not…I’m ready for whatever is out there!!!



Go Away Rain!!

By Leesa Gabel

Why does the rain or a cold front always show up on the days I’m supposed to bike?

There’s rain in the forecast for Saturday. The day I’m supposed to bike 80 miles. I think I’m more concerned about biking in the rain than I am biking 80 miles!!




By Leesa Gabel

One of the signs I made for the Olathe Marathon has more significant meaning to me now…..

Don’t Stop Now…People Are Watching!!!

Megan Cloherty and Fox 4 News gave me added motivation — they made my story public and significantly increased my cheering section! I can’t thank them enough!!

Thanks to the generosity of family, friends and colleagues we’ll meet our financial goal of raising $8,000 for LLS thus securing our spot on the plane to Lake Tahoe. The rest is up to us.

I’m determined to finish the 100 miles….no matter how long it takes me!!

Here’s a link to the event:

Here’s a link to the Fox 4 story:



Back on the Bike

By Leesa Gabel

I got back on the bike today. Went out to Shawnee Mission Park for a 6am start time with Team Tahoe. Due to a glove malfunction, it was more like a 6:30am start for me.

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d make it out of the park. We went across the dam and then immediately up a hill. I had to get off my bike and walk it up!! Since starting back on chemo I’ve been having respitory issues….something like asthma. So by the time I got to the top of the hill I was out of breath and whipping out my inhaler. I knew this was just the first of many hills.

But I was only a mile into my ride, I had to push on, to push my limits. So I did. With the help of Craig — he is such a great motivator.

We got out of the park and onto the main road. Downhill!!! I love starting down a hill…..of course there’s an up at the other side. A named hill….even worse! But I made it up while still on my bike. Then came the infamous Johnson Drive…..the very first hill….OMG!!! I walked it up. I rode as far as I could….then off I got. I do hate walking because the pedals always hit my leg….ouch!

We cut the 20-mile loop short because I was just wore out. I did stay on my bike for the last big up hill. Even got a nice little push from Craig as I passed him. He’s so patient to wait for my slow butt. I really appreciate that.

I’m tired now, but I feel good. It felt so very good to be back outside on my bike. I love the feel of the wind whipping by me as fly down hills. I love the rush!

Next weekend is the BIG 80!! Can you say, yikes? !!!!



Pushing My Limits

By Leesa Gabel

This weekend I’m going to push my limits.

Saturday — going to join my Tahoe Team for training on Saturday. There’s 40 miles on the schedule. My goal is to go at least half that distance. It’s out at Shawnee Mission Park, so I know hills will be involved. I haven’t been on my bike for over a week and I can’t recall when the last time I was out on the road with it was.

Sunday — doing the Mother’s Day 5K out at Corporate Woods. I’m just in it to do it this time. I had hoped it would be an event to achieve a personal best time, but I don’t think so. I’ll be happy to finish in under an hour. It’s a flat course for the most part, except for this one incline that I’m already dreading. I think my daughter is going to join me. I’ve reminded her that ‘mommy doesn’t run like daddy does’…..we’ll see if she can keep up with me.

I also see lots of naps in my weekend. I haven’t pushed myself like this since starting back on chemo. Although I know my limitations, I think it’s good to test them every so often.




By Leesa Gabel

I have a confession to make…..

I spent the entire day in bed yesterday! Sure I got up to have a little bit to eat, I managed to shower, picked my son up from his after-school activity, and ate dinner with the family, but other than that I was in bed sleeping. I had absolutely, positively no energy. I haven’t had that happen for quite some time. And I honestly can say that I didn’t like it.

I haven’t been on my bike since last week when I did 20 miles before I took my first chemo pills. I miss being on it. I’m determined to go to Saturday’s group training. I’m not sure how far I’ll be able to ride, but I know that Coach Keith will be there to pick me up if I need it. Plus it’ll be nice to be surrounded by all my teammates.

I am now taking a lower dosage of chemo, so I hope that this period of extreme tiredness will soon be over.



Hair today…gone tomorrow

By Leesa Gabel

Deja vu.

I had to shave my head again. My hair started to fall out over the weekend. For those who’ve never experienced hairloss in mass amounts, it’s gross. Especially in the shower. Icky!! So out came the clippers. There wasn’t all the hoopla like before. I didn’t cry. I didn’t freak out. I was just very matter-of-fact about it. My biggest concern was my kids. It’s easy to hide when I feel like crap, but it’s hard to hide a bald head and they interpret a bald head to mean that I’m very sick — which I’m not. I waited until Craig was back from camping and the kids were occupied. In fact, I shaved my head myself while Craig was napping. I enlisted his help to do the finishing touches, get all the spots I missed. Nothing brings a couple closer together than shaving the other’s head!

So now I’m bald again. But I’m happy. :)

I wish I could say the same for my kids. Ashlee is indifferent — she doesn’t get upset until she notices that Alex is upset. Alex didn’t want to go to school today because he’s worried that something is going to happen to me while he’s at school. I took them up to school today and we had an impromtu meeting with Mrs. Head, the principal and Mrs. Roy, the school counselor. It was a very good talk. Both kids are in school….and are in very, very capable and caring hands.

Today I was reminded of something — Craig and I are very blessed.

God knew what was going to happen in our lives – my cancer diagonsis and such - He knew we were going to struggle and have some hard times ahead of us. Although He didn’t lessen the challenges, He did make sure we had a community of support available to us to give us help whenever we need it. I truly believe that our move to Olathe, KS from Liberty, MO was part of His plan. Craig and I (and our kids) are surrounded by so many wonderful people. I’m learning to become a person who can admit when help is needed. It’s very comforting to know that when I do ask for help that I will get it and plenty of it.

So thank you to everyone — the list is ever-growing — for blessing our lives!!!