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Back in the saddle

By Leesa Gabel

Saturday was my first time back on my bike out on the road since June 2010. And my first time using clips.

I didn’t fall and I didn’t throw up….so it was a good ride!

To see the humor in the ‘throw up’ statement you needed to be here from the moment I agreed to go buy clips. Just the thought of being connected to my bike made my stomach turn. Practicing clipping in and out with my bike on the trainer was easy. I didn’t have to think about balance, just focused on the feel and sound.

For the non-cyclists reading this….clips refer to a type of shoe and pedal. The shoe has a special connector on the bottom that clips onto the pedal. Making me and my bike, one.

Supposedly being clipped-in will help my performance. I have yet to experience this. Right now I’m most concerned with remembering to unclip or clip-out before I stop so that I don’t just fall right over.

Saturday’s ride was also a reminder as to how not flat Kansas is. And this route didn’t even get to the ‘big’ hills. While I was riding I was wondering what the people passing me in cars were thinking. I figure it was either, ‘that woman is crazy, doesn’t she know it’s barely 30 out!’ or ‘look at that woman, it’s barely 30 out and she doesn’t seem to care…good for her!’ Honestly, once I got riding, I warmed up quickly. Plus I dressed for the weather….special gloves, special shoe covers, special hat, special jacket….I was just special!

Now to make time during the week to get time on the bike in….hopefully the weather will allow for it to be out on the road.






By Leesa Gabel

In life, it’s very important to have support….to be supported.

The fourth anniversary of my cancer diagnosis is fast approaching. Since May 2008, I have discovered who my true supporters are….the people I know I can turn to at any time….the people who make up my support network. Sadly, I have also discovered who isn’t a supporter. Surprisingly, it’s people that I spent years of my life with, shared intimately personal moments in my life with who weren’t there when I needed them the most.

I have been blessed beyond words by complete strangers. One blessing that quickly comes to mind is the handmade quilt that the mother of the young woman who shaved my head when I first lost my hair to chemo made for me. I think of her fondly every time I see the quilt and I say a quick prayer of thanks to God for bringing her into my life.

Then of course there are the financial supporters who have blessed us. Not for our family personally, thankfully we’ve not needed that kind of financial support through this experience. I’m talking about the donations we’ve been given to give to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Those dollars stay here locally to help families who are in need of financial assistance. Those dollars also go to fund research. Research that is desperately needed to find a cure.

Often I am moved beyond words when I see the donation notice. It’s not about the amount….because any amount is appreciated. But it’s the person that it comes from. For example, a high school friend that we hadn’t really communicated with since 1993 sent a very generous donation after learning about my cancer journey. Completely unexpected…and appreciated beyond words.

Then there are Craig’s co-workers. They humble me. They make me feel so special. I love the stories that Craig shares after returning from big meetings or trips about how the first thing he’s asked is ‘How’s your wife?’. Having the support of people I’ve never met warms my heart.

One of the reasons I love Team in Training is because of the support. All it takes is a hug from a teammate to turn my day around.

I know that I have support. I know that I am blessed. Plain and simple.

So here’s my advice….your take-away….

Be a support to someone. It could be anything — from bringing over a meal, giving  flowers not for a special occcasion, taking them out for coffee, mailing a card or sending a quick Facebook message, email or text (those last three are free!) – to let that person know they’re on your mind.