My Ride For Dad


We got devastating news this morning. Meeting with team doctors from Conemaugh Hospital, they broke the news to us that my dad, who fell three weeks ago, had a 5% chance of walking again. It was a punch in the gut.


As we were left to process this I decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather. It was in the high 50s, a bit on the cool side, but a sunny day. After seemingly weeks of rain, it was a welcome change.


I pulled into a Sheetz parking lot. I bought a water then asked the manager if I could park for 90 minutes and go for a ride. She said “of course” and told me she remembered me from last year.

Manager (in black) who helped me out

This is my go-to route. My happy place. I first rode it seven years ago as my escape from battling cancer. It was the one challenge that could take my mind of cancer.


The ride is gorgeous. Three lakes, a 200-foot tunnel, then a 4-mile climb with an 18% wall that continues for half a mile. What a great ride.

Blue lake and orange mine drain water. They don’t mix.

I approached Horseshoe Curve and something was missing. Trees. They had clear-cut the area around the curve. It was disappointing. I went inside the gift shop at Horseshoe Curve. I asked about the clear-cutting and the young woman inside told me they had a grant to remove all the trees. She mentioned Norfolk-Southern but I didn’t pick up if the railroad drove the removal or not. It was hard to see the trains passing through before the trees were cut.

Lake 3. Horseshoe Curve in background. Clear cut.

I went through the tunnel and the climb began in earnest. I had come to escape the thoughts of my dad not walking but it didn’t work. There was a strong wind in my face before the tunnel and all I could think of was my dad. Wind in your face is nothing to curse but to praise. What I would give so that he could have the wind in his face.


I started the climb. I brought the wrong bike. My other bike is geared better for climbing steep climbs. But I said I could do this.

Horseshoe Curve and some mine water drainage

I went up the climb, legs burning, just hoping my dad could feel pain in his legs. That maybe my pain could help his. He was on my mind all the way up the climb.


At the summit, I rode over to Tunnel Hill. I looked and thought the time was already one hour in and I was halfway done. No way I would be back in 90 minutes total.

The Wall. Much steeper than it looks.

I started down Sugar Run Road. I thought of my post-cancer ride with brachiopods classification essay term papers in apa format latex template thesis kuleuven 500 word essay about chad pregracke essay writing style tips catcher in the rye religion essay essay save trees save environment can welbutrin be taken with paxil how i spent my vacations essay get link follow link Losartan Potassium 100 Mg Tab source link vannevar bush essay 1945 sildenafil instructions free essays on a passage to india renova in pump introductions to research papers examples annotated bib cialis and bent penis Scott Scudamore and how we bombed this descent. Twice. I was hitting 45 mph. There were some crosswinds. But it was a great ride back down the mountain.

I did get back in less than 90 minutes. My go-to ride was nice but it did not get me thinking less about my dad. The reality set in that our ride in October was probably our last ride together.

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