October 25, 2012: It’s Not about the Bike, It’s about Stella

I have been getting quite a few e-mails from cyclists who want to join my ride from Mount Hermon to Neve Daniel. While I really do appreciate the desire to help out, let me give an explanation and then an alternative.

Riding from the Golan into the Bekaa at night is dangerous. Luckily for me, I have a number of friends who for twenty-four hours will have one mission: To keep me safe. I will have one friend on a Vespa Scooter riding in front, and three in a support vehicle guarding my back and ready to hand me water bottles, spare clothing, diaper rash cream, and whatever I need. They are doing so on a purely volunteer basis, and we have worked out detailed logistics for keeping one rider safe throughout the 260 kilometer ride.

However, we cannot take the responsibility and give support for other riders throughout most of the route. Again, I DO appreciate the offers, but I must by necessity decline. If you want a really cool organized ride that has mass participation for a great cause, ride the ALYN Ride. I rode Alyn for five years, and it was always a great experience. They plan and support hundreds of riders of all different abilities.

But my ride is not Alyn, and I simply cannot have other riders joining me in the dark zooming around the Golan Heights. It’s a bit like all those who want to sit with Stella through chemo. It’s not that she isn’t grateful for the offers. It’s just that it doesn’t really work for her to have a number of guests sitting with her in the chemo room.

But for those who are still eager, there is a way to join.

This ride is NOT an attempt at a sports record. Despite the excitement surrounding the ride, we must always remember that this is a ride for Stella. An attempt to beat cancer, not to beat a time record. In fact, at 9:00 AM, I will stop for an hour so that we can pray at Almog (at the bottom of the Jerusalem-Dead Sea road.

That will add an hour to my overall time, but that’s o.k.

I mean let’s face it. I hope that G-d will be impressed with the ride and the number of people giving charity in Stella’s name. But I think he would also be impressed with prayer on Stella’s behalf.

And I think stopping on an endurance ride to pray is something very Israeli that you will not find in similar efforts elsewhere. (By the way, at Alyn they do take breaks to daven.)

Here is where everyone is invited to join us. Just let me know since the hospital will put out some breakfast. (You can eat mine, since I don’t think “rugalach” will be in my “feed bag.”)

And for those cyclists who would like to ride with me for a bit, you can come up the big, monstrously steep, 24 kilometer torture-fest road to Jerusalem. (Doesn’t that sound enticing!) I know some mountain bikers plan to ride up a bit and then down to Almog along one of the great desert trails in the area. It will be daylight and the road has some great shoulders so it is pretty safe. And since your car will be at the bottom, you will have a great return ride.

I am overwhelmed at the response of the ride so far. It gives Stella and me something much more fun and exciting to look forward to then weekly chemo treatments. And as the donations roll in from some friends she has not seen in decades, it reminds her of how many people are out there thinking, praying, and sending their love.

She has had two of the new chemo treatments so far and thank G-d, she is getting through them fine. If you are in Neve Daniel, do not be surprised if you see her walking the dog or working at the dentist office, or even inviting you for a shabbat meal. She is not letting cancer slow her down one bit.

And the best thing (IMHO)?

She has never stopped smiling.


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