Archive for Eduardo Arguelles

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News

Posted in cycling with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2015 by runmyssierun

Event honors injured, killed cyclists – Valley Morning Star : Local News.

The Shape of my Heart – Valvular Heart disease and April’s Heartaches

Posted in Running with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2015 by runmyssierun

This April, like the many Aprils before this, has been notoriously and expectedly damaging to my heart. I don’t know why so many bad things happen to me in April but it does. However, because I am now aware of April’s intentions, I find myself more prepared to deal with it so that I can shelter my heart from more damage. Well… at least I’d like to think that I protect my heart. Sometimes there’s just no way to shield yourself from the pain that hurts your heart.

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April is the time of year when seasons change and Spring arrives. It is a new beginning.

April 8th was the day that we lost my mother to cancer.

April 11th was the day that we lost my brother.

April 17th was the day that Eddie Arguelles was hit and killed on his bicycle by an intoxicated driver.

April was when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. I could go on and on about death and heartache… but here’s the truth about April. It’s when bad things happen that the opportunity to make good things happen from them arise. Events like this can either make you or break you. It’s your choice.

Now, don’t get me wrong, misunderstand my words or try to turn this whole thing around. The pain of the loss from all these mentioned above is still agonizing. I don’t want you to think that it’s all ok now. Because it’s not. I doubt it ever will be ok. That pain will always be there.

However, watching the way Monette gracefully and eloquently handled the one year anniversary of the loss of her husband, Eddie Arguelles, was so inspirational and uplifting. I have so much yet to learn!!! My mother died on Easter Sunday and I haven’t been able to keep a dry eye even thinking about an Easter Egg hunt. This woman bravely goes out on a celebratory 5am morning bike ride along the route that took her husbands life. She was able to hold her head up high and celebrate his life in the way that he loved to spend his life doing… cycling. It’s times like this that make me question my strength and courage and validate to myself that I still have so much more to do, to grow, to achieve.

It was an emotional day as the UTPA family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of Eduardo “Eddie” Arguelles. This picture montage video was created in loving memory of Eddie. He will truly be missed by all whose lives he touched and everyone that had the pleasure of knowing him.

Posted by UTPA – Division of Information Technology on Friday, April 25, 2014

Considering all that was happening, it was understandable that there was a lot of emotional drama that not only I had to live with but many of my other family members and friends dealt with as well. Too many of these issues interfered with my training and state of mind. For now and until some of these personal matters become better managed, I am stepping down and out of all of the events I had prepared to do. There is no way that I can properly train for the big events I had hoped for. I’m not quitting… I just know better than to risk my body and health for the ego of the finish line. My time will come. I’ll see the sign when it’s ready.

It has been hard to train on my own. I am not the self-motivating type… in fact, I’m pretty self-defeating. I’ve written several times about the mean voice in my head… she’s actually worse in person. I’ve had to edit much of the language here in the blog that she actually says to me. and quite honestly, just between me and you… I think she really needs a life. 😉

I am very much a goal oriented person. I see a finish line and I work myself towards it. But in this case, today, there is no more finish line. The ironman I was looking forward to is no longer there. I won’t be attending CapTexTri for family reasons. And it’s just too late to sign up for other races without proper training… so I’m basically just going through the motions.

But isn’t that the goal?

Tada!!! Helllloooooooo!!!

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sigh So, I’m having a hard time dealing with not going for that gold star on my head, not having accomplished something and putting a check mark by it to note that it’s done. What I’m working at is never ending… and I’m having a hard time adjusting my thought process around it for proper motivation. This is my struggle today.

I need to find it in my heart. Last thing I want to do is quit on myself after all this hard work has been done, with or without the support I’ve had thus far.

So in my search for motivation, I figured I needed to start with my heart. If I can’t find motivation in my heart.. then were else would it be??? Coincidentally, a symposium was being held by my running guru and a group of cardiologists that are experienced marathon runners. There it is!!! Answers to my heart 🙂

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I attended the meeting, late of course, and stood in the back of the room listening in awe to those doctors who ran the courses all over the world that filled my bucket list. They gave advice that, for the most part, I had already been following.

Dr. Paul Manoharan and me as he gave me my  cardiology exam results. Yes, that IS his happy face :)

Dr. Paul Manoharan and me as he gave me my cardiology exam results. Yes, that IS his happy face 🙂

Prior to taking my initial first steps towards my marathon journey, I went to Dr. Manoharan – my cardiologist who also worked with my baby brother, Donny Cardenas, and knew better than most other doctors about my family history and my personality when it came to accomplishing a goal. After several exams, stress tests and even went so far as to offer me the option to choose the dye that my brother sold to him (my brother was his pharma rep for this product), he discovered that my heart had a malformed valve.

My grandmother and grandfather on my father’s side both died of heart disease. My grandmother had this same heart defect. My father and my brother have/had heart disease. My brother died of it. My father is living with it.

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Dr. Manoharan carefully went over all the pros and cons of this genetic oddity with me and after all the discussion, we decided that I would continue cautiously while he monitored me closely and often. After the first year of running, he removed the cholesterol medication I was on. After the second year, he was sarcastic (his normal self – whew! – that’s a good sign) and I think pretty stunned that I stuck with it and kept improving. Now into my third year, I’m curious as to what his numbers show.

So… long story longer… and getting to my point: Your body doesn’t have to be perfect to do amazing things. You can have things wrong with your body and still do some pretty neat things you thought you never could. I did. However, you do have to be brave enough to ask the right questions and do all the right tests to know all the right answers about your body. You have to communicate correctly with your doctor, not just once in your life or once a year – because your body isn’t what it was 10 years ago, 10 months ago, 10 days ago. You aren’t supposed to be the same. You change and change often. It’s knowing if you are changing for the better or for the worse that’s important.

Know what’s in your heart. And know what’s in your heart.

Now, go run and set up that appointment with your docs.

Late night prayers on the Jogging trail

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2015 by runmyssierun

I’ve talked before about dog runners and cat runners… (dog runners run in packs and cat runners run solo and independently) Since, leaving the Team in Training triathlon team in February, I haven’t had any organized group workouts. Finding the motivation to go out there and do the scheduled workout has been a personal struggle. I don’t get those encouraging, motivating texts to get my butt out of my warm spot I’ve snuggled into at 3:45 a.m. anymore. Its so much harder doing this solo.

And now it seems that my morning workouts will change to evening workouts because of hubby’s crossfit class at 5:30am.  The struggle to be consistent is always challenged by the struggle to be adaptable to any and all situations.  In March, I had noted all the morning classes around and group runs/rides that I could join. I even got super excited because there’s a new SURFING class at 5:30 that would help me focus on my core and upper body so that I can empower my weak swim stroke.

My first #surfset class  at Contempo Fitness Studio - LOVED IT

My first #surfset class at Contempo Fitness Studio – LOVED IT

I found myself quickly scrambling to adjust my calendar of workouts to see who was doing what in the evenings… checking open pool times, costs, memberships, group rides, distances, speeds, sags, etc…. and then it happened. My freak out session came. I cracked. That thought again…

WHY AM I DOING THIS???? It’s too much. Just quit it all. Do something that doesn’t take so much time. Do something that’s not so hard. There’s tons of other stuff you can do to help. Besides, you need to be here for (son) when he does his homework and to do laundry, sweep up the dog fur, take the dogs out, (insert a million other excuses that will clearly make the world come to a screeching halt because I didn’t do this or that… and that lasts for about three hours of conversation in my head while I desperately try to convince myself that it was ok to quit)

uh oh…

You read that last word in parenthesis, right? Yep, that’s all it took to wake up that mean voice in my head.

Have you ever felt someone roll their eyes at you? Have you ever felt someone snicker and sneer at you even they knew you knew they were doing it? Has that other person ever been your inner you? I swear the Inner Myssie is so sick and tired of me now. Her patience is wearing thin.

Anyways… long story longer…

I had it out with myself – again – as always – and got out there to do anything… anything… just to get out and move and get clarity back where it needed to be the first chance that life gave me…. later that night. Much later.

I love how a simple little jog takes my mind to where my heart is. I had a pretty messed up month and as each week passed, things seemed to be getting worse. It was as if this big dark cloud was following me around CONSTANTLY!!!

It was late. 9:30p.m. I usually don’t run in the dark at night here in this border town that has been infiltrated with illegal activity for a while now (and some pretty scary stuff happening on the running trails to women on this trail). This evening, though, I was determined – almost in a rebellious driven determination – to get a run in. No head lamp. No reflective or light vest. No mace. No gun. No taser. No garmin. No runkeeper. No NikeRun. Nothing but me and my iPhone with none of my playlists that took years to build (in my bad luck, my iPhone died… taking all my running playlists with it – my songs got backed up but not the playlists).

*DO NOT EVER DO THIS!!! NEVER EVER EVER RUN LIKE I DID. I LUCKED OUT BECAUSE I HAVE AWESOME GUARDIAN ANGELS…. ok, proceed onto the rest of the story…

So there I was in the dim shadows of the Bicentennial Street Running Trail right smack in the middle of my pity party about about a mile and a half into my run when I see him…. the first split second is a freak-out session… He’s sitting down about 200 yards ahead of me on a bench by one of the metal planet informational sculptures along the trail, his head in this hands, elbows propped on his knees and looking down and I’m running towards him… but this wasn’t what I first focused in on… the first thing I focused on from the distance were his shoes. They were brand spanking new blinged out Clorox white leather court shoes… like for tennis.

*Runners don’t wear court shoes on a running trail.

Clearly this young man – approximately mid-20’s – was not a runner. Immediately the runner snob in me takes a mental note: this man does not belong here. And then the Myssie that I like about me pops out…

“He’s here for clarity. The same clarity you are seeking.” I said to myself.

“Look at him. Can’t you see? He’s praying. He’s asking for guidance, seeking answers, wanting help.”

I ran to the northernmost trail and looped my way back South again. I’ll bet a good 20-30 minutes had passed. There he was still. On the bench, hands clasped holding his head against his knees… praying.

Yes, yes, I could see that now. This trail is not just for people running marathons. This trail is the path that all people take to seek clarity, answers and the way to their own happiness. Some of us run this trail. Some of us walk this trail. Some of us ride this trail.

But we all are here in search of that thing that makes us happy, whole, productive, appreciated and loved.

We all have our reasons. They may all be different but none more important than any other. We all have our reasons.

I prayed for him that night for the rest of my run.

This month is tough for a lot of us. It marks the anniversary of the death of my Mother, my baby brother and the one year hit-and-run death of Eddie Arguelles.  Friends and family organized a petition to establish an alert system similar to the current Amber Alert but designed for hit and run drivers. The news media has promoted it and we need just a few more signatures to make this possible. Please help us with your signature and share amongst your friends so that they can share and be more aware and unafraid of calling in any suspicious cars with fresh dents or witness a hit and run.

Sign this petition: https://www.change.org/p/sergio-munoz-juan-hinojosa-texas-hit-and-run-alert-system?recruiter=268720761&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=autopublish&utm_term=mob-xs-share_petition-reason_msg&fb_ref=Default

Just Du It already!!!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2014 by runmyssierun
Me riding my "Mimi" custom Felt bike from Wally's Bike Shop and wearing my sunflower trisuit from http://triflare.com/

Me riding my “Mimi” custom Felt bike from Wally’s Bike Shop and wearing my sunflower trisuit from http://triflare.com/

After last weekend’s disappointing DNF at CapTexTri, I entered the Duathlon last minute with the promise to myself to just finish it.. not for time… not for anyone… not for any cause… not for glory or “I told you so” or “I knew you could do it” or even the whispers of “I knew she wouldn’t beat me.”

I needed to finish this so that I could prove to myself that I was not going to give up. Still sick, I pushed through.

My legs felt heavy during the run. I hadn’t run like I was supposed to so I expected this to hurt… but I didn’t give up. Didn’t stop once. But boy oh boy all that mucus that had accumulated over the last few weeks all of a sudden wanted to come out… and it did!!!

I wore my brand new beautiful Triflare sunflower one piece triathlon suit. I got so many compliments (although I wish I was 20 years younger and had the body of Alex when she wore her Triflare trisuit in Brownsville). I loved it!!! Well, until I tried to figure out how to get OUT of it in a hurry while running straight past T1 and onto the bathrooms while asking the race volunteers to unzip me!!!

What happened in the bathroom is seriously TMI. Don’t even ask. All you need is a good imagination.

I spent a good 10-15 minutes in there.

I walked out and found another fellow runner who was relaying and asked her to zip me back up.

I looked over to transition and saw just three bikes left racked… including mine. “Eh… might as well be the last one out and enjoy this one.”

What????? Is my inner sarcastic voice having a nice day????

Well, alright then! Let’s go have a great time!!!

I gently took Mimi off the bike rack and maneuvered her to the mount line. Stroked her seat, said “You ready Momma? Let’s go!” Jumped on and the fun began!!!

That feeling came back and boy did I need it!

I remember Sissy saying that she wanted me to find a way to deal with stress in a healthy way because she knew things were only going to get harder on me. She was right and I did.

I remember every single person’s advice along the way. I remember every helping hand and loving gesture from supporters, donors, sponsors, coaches, friends and family. Best of all… when I’m riding my Mimi, I forget all the pain, sorrow and anger I hold inside and feel more alive and happy than I’ve ever felt before.

So I understand what Mike Padgett said a few weeks ago about how if he died riding his bike, he’d die happy. As much as it hurt to think that it could happen like that, I understand that feeling. I hope it doesn’t happen like this but if it does… I’ll die happy.

And as promised… the latest from the media regarding Eddie Arguelles

http://www.krgv.com/videos/driver-indicted-in-cyclist-s-death/

 

 

The lovers, the dreamers and me

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2014 by runmyssierun

A man shared with me not too long ago that after he lost his child to cancer, he also lost his job, his house and his marriage. He used his sons college fund to pay for his daughters treatment and was head first in the quicksand of debt. He stared off into space as if he was reciting a poem that wasn’t authored by him. His voice cracked as he looked up and said “buy hey, I’ve got my health.”

I’ve had some pretty deep conversations lately with strangers. Isn’t that weird? How you can spill your guts to a total stranger easier than you can talk about those same feelings with your best friend? Hmmm you don’t? Well at this moment and with this topic… I did.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spilled my guts before to people who I thought were friends and they used that weak point against me later on. I’ve found that sometimes speaking to complete strangers is quite liberating. We can’t judge each other because we’ll never see each other again. It’s pure emotional venting of the soul.

Oh… wait… did I just call myself weak? Fantabulous!

See, I am weak. I am no stronger than anyone else out here. I cry. I sob. I turn red and blotchy and boogers run uncontrollably out of my nose and get rashes on my neck because of emotion. I shake in anger. I can’t speak in clear sentences when I’m flustered. I can’t sleep some nights. I can’t wake up some mornings. I have a tremendous amount of guilt that I must live with every single day. Why did cancer choose those that I loved instead of me? Why do I have to live without them? Why?

Ahhhhh… but remember that promise I made. I’m never going to let you see that side of me. I won’t say that it doesn’t exist because it does. But just as my mom didn’t allow others to see her in pain… I cannot allow you to see me in mine. Well, at least I keep it to an absolute minimum population.

So don’t you call me a fake because I’m smiling in all my photos. And don’t you try to compliment me by saying I’m strong or brave or courageous. I am none of these things.

I am my mother’s daughter.

That is the only label I will never wiggle out of.

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____

The book is on again. But I’m going back to square one. If I’m going to do this… I’m going to do it right. Taking much longer than I expected and it’s much tougher than I predicted. But isn’t that the story of my life? Book galleys to a select trusted few should be ready in about 90 days.

____

As promised, continued media links for Eddie Arguelles

http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/utpa-awards-posthumous-degree-to-cyclist-killed-in-edinburg/article_11097946-d8a9-11e3-86ef-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=jqm

http://www.krgv.com/news/bicyclist-struck-in-hit-and-run-receiving-posthumous-degree/

http://www.valleycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=1044457#.U3ULDvldV8E

http://www.yourvalleyvoice.com/news/ride-of-silence-to-be-held-may-push-for-run/article_ed30afd4-db9c-11e3-82cf-001a4bcf887a.html

https://www.facebook.com/roycantu/media_set?set=a.10203787049420738.1073741834.1354313464&type=1

http://tablet.olivesoftware.com/Olive/Tablet/SanAntonioExpressNews/SharedArticle.aspx?href=SAEN%2F2014%2F05%2F13&id=Ar00108

http://www.krgv.com/news/bond-lowered-for-suspect-in-cyclist-s-death/

and what didn’t make the news… two of the ghost bikes that were to be dedicated at the Ride of Silence have been stolen.

 

What’s your limit?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2014 by runmyssierun

For two years I’ve busted my butt pushing my body’s limit and taking it places I’ve never thought possible. I’ve caught myself saying several times that there are no more limits anymore. Nothing is impossible.

Getting healthy —- no limits! I can do this!

Losing weight — no limits! I can do this!

Curing cancer — no limits! I can do this!!

Running 7 marathons — no limits! I can do this!!

Cycling 108 miles up a 5,000 foot mountain — no limits! I can do this!

5 triathlons…wait, but I don’t know how to swim… Who cares! Learn! No limits!!! I can do this!!!!

Ride my bike a couple of miles with Eddie through the streets of my hometown…. Uh yeah… See… I can’t do that. I’m limited. I’m not limited by legal limits because I’m legally allowed to ride my bike in the street but the ignorance, lack of respect and inexperience of automobile drivers limits my ability and now my life longevity.

Seems I got a big wake up call this week.

See, for a while I lived my life without limits. And IT WAS AWESOME!!!!!

But sitting in a courtroom this week gave me all new insights on limits… Legal limits.

All this time I’ve busted through perceived limits and countless finish lines but I see now that there are lines that no human being SHOULD cross. When a child of God, a fellow human being, crosses that line with complete disregard to all moral, ethical and legal limits, it makes me wonder if there is still another path to run (or ride) in front of me.

As I enter for the first time the Capitol of our great nation attempting to convince our elected leaders of necessary change that must take place in order for cancer treatments and possible cure for cancer to be both affordable and accessible, I am reminded of legal limits once again.

I find myself racing along a path with lines that can be pushed one way and limits that restrain in another way and lives at stake all around us.

I sat with women from all over Texas today sharing our stories of cancer. How we’ve all lost children and how we’ve lost jobs and how time had been stolen from our lives because of cancer. Each story was profound and each struggle prolific and each woman still had a smile on her face after sharing it with me… Just like Momma used to do.

And then I met Ethan.. A reality TV star. You would think his celebrity status would diminish the harshness of his struggle, or his professional soccer talent would hinder the brutality of his disease or even think… Nah, he’s too handsome to go through such pain and suffering. But cancer is not prejudice. It picks whoever it wants and it usually picks the good people. It picked his dad. He lost him to cancer when he was just a boy. And cancer picked on him, too… Twice.

Ethan was well known for his long hair but insisted on being in control of his cancer and shaved himself bald. He was still very striking. And then he shared a video diary of himself while on treatment.

He cried while watching himself as if the suffering all came back to him that very instant. He never said it but insinuated that there were moments that he didn’t think he could make it… And moment that he didn’t want to. And then he looked up with years in his eyes as he admitted the reality … “And it can come back again.”

The second time cancer hit him, he said “It hit me in the gut.” He said he had to do something …. SOMETHING. It was his “do something moment”. I know that feeling all too well.

My whole family had been effected by cancer. It will never ever be the same again. I am hit in the gut in a way that you may not understand but I promised y’all is be candid. And just as Ethan was incredible candid with me tonight, I’ll share this tonight with y’all….

I feel guilty. I feel guilty for not being chosen. I feel guilty for being healthy, for taking my health for granted all these years, and for NOT going anything until it was too late to enjoy it with those who are now gone.

There will be lines that can never be crossed. There will be finish lines that I hope will never end for me. Countless I hope! There will be limits that I hope to break and limits that I hope will never ever be touched.

Do you know what your limits are?

Oh Sissy… What a journey you’ve chosen for me!

*ps — I dreamt Donny last night. He was his six year old self sitting with me in front of the tv in the living room in the house on Samano watching Saturday morning cartoons together… As we always did. Can you guess what was on the tv? Can you guess what we were singing? #schoolhouserock #imjustabill

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Are you Riding or Hiding? – Eddie Arguelles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by runmyssierun

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving” – Eddie Arguelles

Mike Padgett said this earlier today: “We had a large turnout at 5 AM this morning for a memorial ride for my best friend, Eddie Arguelles. Lots of emotional, spiritual, and physical support for friends and family. Three cities supported the ride with police escort. Local bike shops sent SAG vehicles. Cycling clubs and groups, competitive and social riders bonded together to show the love that we all share for Eddie. Eddie did a lot of blogging and even wrote about “Memorial Rides”

Eddie wrote this in his blog: There is a willful species in the world that carries with it nothing more than a simple code of ethic. It is true of every single one in this species, persistence! You will never keep a cyclist down, you will never break the bonds that are established in our crazy little groups of suffering, you will never dull down the sharpness of our camaraderie, you will never break our spirit, you will never beat us, we always win!

Thursday, April 24, 2014, exactly one week – almost to the minute – of Eddie Arguelles’ fatal hit-and-run, hundreds of cyclists, close friends, co-workers and family gathered at Starbucks in solidarity for Eddie, showed support for the cycling community, and collectively gathered to discuss what can be done to minimize the number of auto/cycling/pedestrian incidents in the Rio Grande Valley. We finished the ride that Eddie wasn’t allowed to. And we did so with a little underlying fear inside a good number of us, with a whole lot of pride in all of us and reflecting upon all the wonderful memories that we shared with Eddie.

I watched in awe as the crowd of supporting cyclists grew and grew and grew. I have to admit that I giggled to myself for just a bit as I remembered the term “militant cyclists” that was used the day before in a response to the letter to the editor in a local paper.

“Is this what he meant by ‘militant cyclists’?” I asked myself as I witnessed each rider hug and console each other with invigorating calmness.  No, we are NOT militant cyclists. But we certainly are NOT pushovers either.

For decades I remember the Valley being labeled as backwards and ignorant and uneducated and lazy. Now, I find myself in the midst of community evolution. A horrific tragedy happened and we have all learned from it and are carefully and quietly and intelligently discussing methods of change, playing devil’s advocate and observing all sides of the issue. This is what gives me hope. And we all know what happens to those who do not change. And change IS happening. We are now more forward thinking, intelligent, highly education and active in lifestyle and community than ever before. Sure… there are still those who do nothing else but hangout in the neighbors garage and float a keg, smoke some weed, and have nothing productive to offer the world. But that doesn’t mean that this latter population is the majority. Clearly by the responses published here (on the link below), the ignorant WILL NO longer be ignorant to the issue.

http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/letters/letter-cyclist-killed/article_39b46546-cb33-11e3-b453-001a4bcf6878.html

The 5AM Wake Up Riders efficiently and effectively organized THE most mesmerizing bike rides of our life time. We all met together once but discussed details as they developed on almost an hourly basis over the last week via group text and resulted in a fine tuned event with a very loud message.

“The event is a way to keep Eddie’s memory alive, and rather than focus on the tragedy, it is a way to focus on the way he lived his life.” Ramon Hermida

“In my opinion, this is the best way to counteract the disgusting act of drinking and driving. It demonstrates the beauty of clean living.” Ileana Garcia-Spitz

I arrived to the ride a little early to the Thursday ride, just as I did last week and waited in my car until about 4:20a.m. This is my speculation but I’m pretty sure that after learning the details of Eddie’s hit and run, he was hit right about this time exactly one week ago from that moment. I took that time to reminisce and be grateful for all that I had and had been given.

Because of the large number of cyclists that were predicted to come, we were directed to the Lowe’s parking lot next door as to not over crowd the Starbucks parking lot where we all normally gathered as the starting point for our ride. I unloaded my embarrassingly dirty orange “Mimi” bike, I was immediately greeted and blessed by Big John, the same man who greeted and blessed me at my very first bike ride event ever… Arbor Day 2012. That was a great sign. I took a good look around.

Wow! So many cyclists! This early in the morning??? We must be nuts! Nah, we must have all been really touched by this man to all be up this early in the morning and not filled with anger but actually overflowing with love and respect.

I made my way through the crowd from Lowes to the entrance of Starbucks. I leaned my bike against the wrought iron fence and immediately began scanning the area for the best light and angle to capture the moment and the enormous crowd.

“Are you preparing for the selfie?” someone asked.

“Yes, yes I am.” I replied. This one was going to go down in the history books. I had to get it right… for Eddie. I couldn’t let the light hearted part of the ride disappear because someone took Eddie from us. His light hearted humor must remain and this was the only way I knew how to keep it there. “Andale Myssie!!! We’re waiting for the selfie!!!” he would yell at me jokingly.  I had to get it right. Andale.

I was given the bullhorn and Monette, Eddie’s widow, took the speaker. I watched and listened in pure awe as she gracefully thanked the crowd for their support. Her voice cracked and her lips quivered but her eyes looked straight into the hearts of the cyclists in front of her. Her strength and bravery and stoic beauty was enchanting. I stood by her, completely still unable to breathe, holding the bullhorn with tears gushing and mocos running out of my nose so very thankful that all the cameras were BEHIND me unable to capture me in the emotional state I was in (or so I thought).

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Eddie Palacios led us in prayer for safety and thanks for all our blessings and then Mike Padgett announced the 5AM Group expectations and safety reminders. He went over the course route and then the floodgates opened when he read us a quote from Eddie Arguelles’ blog. (I posted it above) And even the President of the University came and spoke to the group.

“Today, all of you ride in his memory,” Dr. Nelsen said. “Somos familia. We are a family. Be safe. Keep him in your heart. Keep Monette in your heart. And remember, this is about Eddie, and this is about us all being part of one big family.”

And then it was my turn… I felt my throat immediately go dry. I had explained to the crowd that Eddie had me take silly selfies of him and I and anyone else who rode with us that day after every ride… and I wasn’t about to break that tradition that he and I enjoyed. However, I did add something new, a little bit of me and my Momma. I asked the crowd to do two selfies. One of all of them just being normal and the second with their hands raised up in the air with the hand signal that says “I love you” to Eddie. AND THEY ALL DID.

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And then we all rode off… together.

I waited to the very end, like I usually do. It was completely and totally surreal. The whirr of the 400-some bicycle tires churning in unison over asphalt was the hymn of unity, remembrance and honor. I turned the corner onto Jackson Road going South and took my eyes up off the tire in front of me and said just one word… ‘WOW’

The sight in front of me was nothing short of spectacular. From Highway 107 (aka University Drive) all the way South on Jackson Road to FM495… pretty much as far as the eye could see were flashing red lights of bicycles, two by two, all along the bike lane for miles upon miles in the velvet black of night.

Three cities, three police departments, almost three hundred cyclists (the numbers are still in question) united together for Eddie, for what he loved to do, for what he wanted his family to do, for what he had hopes of his community embracing… for the love and benefits of cycling.

The community has spoken. And the conversation has just begun. About a year ago, I had posted that I was warned about the various bike gangs and how territorial they were about their members, their distances, their paces, their bikes… and I admit I saw it then… but not on that morning. There were no gangs. There was only a “species”. The one species that Eddie spoke of in his quote.

I find myself now in the beginnings of an enormous wave of change. It will anger some. It will empower many. It will be necessary or it will be our own fault for allowing our world to morph into IDIOCRACY (yes, just like the movie).

http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/late-beloved-cyclist-s-friends-and-family-pay-tribute-with/article_46c9f7d4-cc1c-11e3-9c94-0017a43b2370.html

http://www.kveo.com/news/cyclists-gather-memorial-ride-honor-fellow-rider-killed-drunk-driver

http://www.krgv.com/news/almost-200-participate-in-memorial-bike-ride#.U1lzmQk8hS0.facebook

https://www.facebook.com/RioFastRacer/media_set?set=a.10201899788724925.1073741851.1490054572&type=3

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