A Cold Cold January

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA

I’m not sure what the final numbers will show but this was probably the coldest January in 20 years. It was not a good month for riding.

In the middle of the month it warmed to about 40 degrees (5 C). I went “exploring” in Alexandria. The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge has a bike/pedestrian lane which connects Alexandria to National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The bridge is the only one in the country the goes through three jurisdictions. Starting in Virginia, it cuts through the District of Columbia for about 100 meters and 95% of the structure is in Maryland.

Woodrow Wilson Bridge
Maryland side

It wasn’t an epic ride, but still, sort of fun. On the Maryland side is a crushed gravel/shell path for about 400 meters or so. It’s very ridable. At the National Harbor is the sculpture the Awakening.

The Awakening
National Harbor

There’s always something majestic about being on a large bridge crossing over the Potomac River.

W&OD at Gallows Road
Fake Snowflakes

The rest of the month was, well, cold. Today was to be the “warm” day. It was 42 degrees when I left the house and went to the W&OD at Gallows Road. I was expecting a clear trail. Instead, it was snow covered.

So I went to Hains Point in D.C. and it was closed. I couldn’t catch a break. I rode some lightly used roads around Hains Point then crossed the 14th Street Bridge. At first, the Mount Vernon Trail looked clear but as I rode I encountered patches of snow and ice. It was scary on a road bike. I turned around just south of Reagan National Airport. So I just rode. The streets in D.C. were clear.

Ice on the Potomac River

Hard to think in 6-7 weeks spring will be here and this lost month will simply be in the past. Can’t wait. 2014 is going to be great!

Superman

First Batman, now Superman.

We are different from other living creatures because at an early age we
understand there is a beginning and an end, that we will all die. I am
not of an age that I think about it (much) but the last week has made me
face it a lot. When you lose a close friend close in age that will
happen.

Scott Scudamore loved life. He was the life of the party and
where there was anyone and Scott there was a party. When I heard the
news on Sept. 23 that he was on life support I had a hard time accepting
that. But over three months we saw, I saw, that smile. And at Kessler
he told me that he was lucky because he didn’t have brain damage. The
entire time I believed that he would beat this in some way.

Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
West Orange, NJ

We
looked for signs of movement returning. We were all excited the day Scott moved his thumb. But we never saw anything more. And if he were confined
to that wheelchair with no movement below his neck I knew that he would
somehow make a difference in other people’s life in his new condition.

He was Superman. He was the guy we kiddingly said we all aspired to be.
But I never wanted to be like Scott and I doubt that anyone else did
either. For Scott was unique. There was room for only one Scott.

At the start line with the kids from the
Boys and Girls Club, Sept. 15

And confession time: I never called him Scud and I never ate a Scudfry
(although they may not exist in the singular – just the plural,
Scudfries). He was always Scott to me.

Scott would call me at the
strangest times. “Barry Sherry,” accenting each syllable equally, “How
the heck are you?” And I’d ask “Where in the heck are you?” Traveling
between events, skiing in Colorado, visiting his daughter, http://www.yuceajans.com/admission-essay-writing-judging/ Krista, in San Diego, or in
the living room with http://talkingtech.net/how-write-essay/ how write essay Jeremiah and Erin Bishop, he was always planning
our next adventure.

Scott was a legend in the mountain bike world.
And I am not a mountain biker. But he made time for me. He dragged my
butt to Iowa for RAGBRAI two years ago. He came with me to Altoona for a
cancer recovery ride. He invited me to ride with him and the kids from
the Boys and Girls Club in Charlottesville in August. And he supported
every one of my many cancer-fighting charity rides.

follow site Barry, Eli, Scott
August 29, 2013

go to link

Scott was a
proud husband, father and grandfather. He worried about the health of his wife, click “St. Margaret,” also a cancer survivor. He was proud of his daughter, blank
Jen
and her husband, Carl, and their two kids. He always let me know
what Kyle and Marie were doing. And he was proud of his daughter,
Krista, making a career of serving in the U.S. Navy.
Sweating in Altoona
April 2010
Scott didn’t
just (re)learn to talk when he went to Kessler — that blinking stuff was for
the birds after all — he SANG. When I saw him and asked about his voice he
said it was so strong he could sing and he BELTED out LA LA LA LA LA LA
LA going up then down the scales. Everyone who could look did and he
was grinning from ear to ear. That was Scott.

If anyone could
beat this injury, it was Scott. Yet, looking back, even the few hours I
was with Scott, I saw the optimism one needs to overcome the injuries
but also the frustration and disappointment. The physical therapist
moved his shoulders and asked him if he could feel that. He smiled and
said yes. And then realization set in as he realized that he did not
feel his shoulders move. And the frustration and maybe even anger at
being trapped in this body, Superman’s body, that didn’t work. 

follow site Altoona ride, April 2009

It shocked me, and probably most of Scott’s friends, because we saw, we
believed, the ever smiling Scott would beat this. But unless you had a
personal visit and saw the downs as well as the ups, you wouldn’t know
any better.

Then there was “the bike.” Whether it was designed
for follow url Christopher Reeve (that other Superman) or he just used it at
Kessler, I do not recall. But even with limbs not working Scott’s rehab
equipment of choice was the bike. His feet would be strapped to the
pedals and a motor would move his legs. The therapist explained that
with his blood pressure “all over the place” they could not risk putting
him on this machine. And he was quite dejected.

I showed him
the picture with me and Kyle’s soccer team, all wearing their new Scud’s
Courage jerseys. He proudly told his physical therapists how Kyle’s
team got special permission from the club to wear those and “they’re
going to wear them next year too.” Such a proud grandfather.

Kyle’s team honoring “Scud’s Courage”
Kyle is next to me, my hand on his shoulder

When I told Jen that story today she said “sounds like Dad made that part up.”

Still, I left Kessler remembering the smile. The proud grandfather. The
promise I made that I would be back to visit and that when he went home
I would come stay and visit.

I forgot that during my time
visiting that he had some down moments. He was someone you would
remember the good times. And, in my case, ignore the signs that all was
not well.

When I had arrived for my visit, Margaret and I talked
and she told me that she almost asked me not to come because of Scott’s
ups and downs. But Scott had vetoed that idea because he wanted me to
come. However, just two weeks ago she did ask me not to come because he
needed his rest. 

Superman
Picture from TrailsForYouth.org

The signs were there for me to see but this was Superman. I ignored them.

This video is from the tribute Scott’s
colleagues at the
Lake Monticello Rescue Squad
gave him at his funeral.

 
If there was one person to beat this horrific injury it was Scott. But
in the end it was too much even for him. All of a sudden you realize
that we don’t live forever. If death can snatch someone so energetic and
vibrant, and in reality he was a cross between Superman and the
Energizer Bunny, then I am left to realize that it will catch us all.
It’s something we don’t like to think about but it is real.

A great man. A great friend. He will be sorely missed but his memory and his legend lives on.
 
Maybe Jen was right and her dad made up the part about Kyle’s team
wearing those jerseys next year. But as Director of Referees for his
soccer club, I talked to the administrator today and told them Scott’s
story.

They will be wearing those uniforms in the spring.

Superman lives on.

Royal Order of the Iron Crotch

WOODBRIDGE, VIRGINIA

My local cycling club, Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, has an award, which may be tongue in cheek, but it is called the Iron Crotch Award. This recognition goes to anyone who rides 5,000 miles in a year. And I qualified. Again.

  • TOTAL MILES: 6,350
  • LONGEST RIDE – Ride the Rockies – Pagosa Springs to Alamosa CO. 104.20 miles with a new max speed of 54 mph
  • % MILES COMMUTING — 0%. I retired but did ride on Bike to Work Day because it was fun.
  • % MILES PPTC RIDES — 0%. Although I did organize a Ride of Silence in honor of James Callahan and advertised it to PPTC as an Impromptu Ride that drew 40 riders.  Those 13 miles count so 0.2%.
  • Date on which 5,000 was achieved – Sept. 29 at the Jeremiah Bishop Alpine Loop Gran Fondo
  • Most miles in a Month — 1,066 (June)
  • Most miles in a week — 579 – in Colorado, during Ride the Rockies
  • Number of Zero mile weeks – None
  • Number of 100 mile days – Six
  • Most interesting story – I was looking at the autograph table with Jens Voigt and Ben King at the Save a Limb Ride when someone grabbed my phone and said “jump in and I’ll take your picture.” That someone was former pro rider now TV commentator, Robbie Ventura.

 

Reflections on the Year – 2013

WOODBRIDGE, VIRGINIA

It was a year in which I once rode 109 straight days (a “ride” being defined as one of at least 10 miles), including breaking my collarbone only 10 days into the streak. And I didn’t miss a ride. For the second straight year I went over 10,000 kilometers (6,200 miles). I finished with 6,350. But the year would end with incredible sadness.

In no particular order I present my Top Ten Moments of 2013

1. Meeting People on the Trail 

I
met two groups of young people while riding along the W&OD. In May I
met a lost group from the University of Illinois, the Illini 4,000. I rode
with them to Vienna before saying goodbye. 

Riders from the Illini 4,000

In July I met a
group of young Orthodox Jewish women biking from Miami to New York City
with Bike 4 Friendship. When they told me they were riding to Baltimore
on U.S. Rte 1 I told them I would take them on safe roads instead. I ended up giving them an impromptu tour of D.C. then taking them through the Anacostia Trail System up to Laurel, Maryland so they could
avoid Rte 1.

Some of the Bike 4 Friendship Riders
in Front of the White House
Shaina Myers

2. Ride of Silence

I never participated in a Ride of Silence before and don’t want to again but I organized one for a fallen cyclist, James Callahan,
who was struck and killed by a 17 year old girl while he was riding on
the bike path next to the road. I had never met Mr. Callahan but it
seemed the right thing to do. Almost 40 riders including his family
members joined us for a silent slow 13-mile ride that honored his
memory.

Stopped at the accident scene where
a bagpiper played Amazing Grace

3. Trexlertown

Labor
Day weekend I joined friends from Spokes of Hope at Trexlertown, Pa. to
ride on the Velodrome as we honored pediatric cancer survivors. Our
featured survivor was Duncan Mitcheltree. As I entered the track his mother, Andrea, called my name. We had met last year at Jake’s funeral.

Barry, Duncan

4. Key to Keys

(Multiple Journal Entries)

In April I rode with the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adult’s inaugural Key to Keys
ride, a fundraiser from Baltimore to Key West. There’s nothing like the
community of survivors and people who hate cancer who come together
with a common cause. And when my group did not get a chance to ride across the
Seven Mile Bridge, on Sunday after the ride I did my own solo century ride
to and across the Seven Mile Bridge – twice.



5. Salisbury Trestle 

My
dad had never ridden across the Salisbury trestle at Meyersdale so in
July my sister, Betsy, and I rode with the octogenarian from Meyersdale
to Rockwood.

Barry, Betsy, Dad
At the Rockwood Entrance

6. Mount Washington

I thought last year would be my last time up Mount Washington. Then I met the Gubinski family and they asked me to come back and ride with them so they would have someone to beat. And I complied. My sixth straight year on that climb.

Alexa, Barry, Vic, Lucas

7. 4K for Cancer
  
An organization that has become close to my heart is the 4K for Cancer.
I rode with Team San Francisco on Day 1 from Baltimore to Alexandria; met
Team Portland on the Pike to Bike abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike on Day 2;
escorted them from Bedford to Ligonier on Day 3; and rode with them again in
Muncie, Indiana on Day 17.

4K on Allegheny Mountain at former Ship Hotel

8. Jeremiah Bishop’s Alpine Gran Fondo

Jeremiah
Bishop’s Alpine Gran Fondo is a beautiful ride and is sponsored by the Prostate Cancer Awareness Project. As a prostate cancer survivor I was
invited to ride off the front with pros, Jeremiah Bishop, Joe Dombrowski, Cameron Cogburn and Ben King.

Pros on the Start Line

 
9. Ride the Rockies

(Multiple Journal Entries)

Ride the Rockies is simply the best multi-day tour I have found. Awesome vistas with screaming descents – four times I went over 50 mph. I rode with six time Tour de France rider, Ron Kiefel, and met George Hincapie, Bob Roll, and Connie Carpenter-Phinney.

Ron Keifel, Barry Sherry

10. Save a Limb Ride

A man grabs my phone as I am looking at Jens Voigt and Ben King and says “jump in – I’ll take your picture.” And it was none other than Robbie Ventura. At the Save a Limb ride I met Jens, Ben, and Robbie. Too cool.

Jen Voigt, Barry, Ben King
Barry, Robbie Ventura


In Memory of Scott

In August, my friend, Scott Scudamore, invited
me to Charlottesville for a practice ride with some kids from the Boys and Girls Club. They were getting in training miles to ride a Century (100 miles) in September and he promised me we would ride up Afton Mountain which “you will really enjoy.” 

When the assignments were given out Scott was very apologetic because he was asked to mentor the youngest
rider on a shorter route than the other kids. He encouraged me to go ride with the other kids up Afton Mountain. I chose to ride with Scott. He
didn’t quite understand it was more about who you were with than where
you were going. It was my last ride with Scott.

On September 22 he was mountain biking at Bryce Ski resort in Virginia when he crashed and broke his neck. Very sadly and unexpectedly, he died from those injuries
on December 29.

Barry, Eli, Scott

You taught me that life is short and to live every moment to the fullest
May you rest in peace, my friend.