This last weekend was a challenge.  I’m trying to call it that – instead of a crapfest, because I think a good attitude is important and really, it was more challenging than anything and I really think it helps to frame it that way – and darn it, that’s what I’ll be doing. There were two rides this weekend, both in a kind of heat that makes everybody smart nervous about long exertion in the sun. (Now before anybody goes off and says that us Canadians don’t know from heat, with the humidity it was about 40 degrees, which is 104 in Fahrenheit. I think even the Texans will say that’s pretty hot.)  The training ride was 100km long, and it was hard.  It was mostly hard because of the heat and the distance, but it was also hard because I was riding with Ken and Pato.

Now, they’re both lovely men.  Wonderful men, in fact, as you can probably tell by the fact that they’re out in searing heat training for a ride for Charity… but they are probably not people I should be out riding with – although they are very kind to stay with me.  Ken is in the best shape he’s ever been, having recently trained the snot out of himself for the ALC ride, and Pato… Pato is a 24 year old man in the prime of his life. A semi-dumpy 47 year old woman shouldn’t be riding anywhere near them – which is what I did, and it only took a few hours before the horrific realization that I’m a terrible cyclist came over me like a wave.

Now, this idea, that I’m a terrible cyclist, is completely and totally inaccurate. As long as you compare apples to apples, then I’m actually a pretty good cyclist, and if you compare me to me… I’m getting better all the time. I’m a lot stronger and faster than I was when I started this a few years ago, and I haven’t fallen off my bike in a good long time.  When I ride with Jen, I feel like the wind. When I ride with Jen, and we head up a hill, at the top we practically leap off our bikes and high five each other for how amazing we are – or we would, if we were not gasping for the very air we need to live.  We high five in our hearts.

When I ride with the guys though, Ken is so patient, and so kind, and at the top of the hills I ride along, pouring sweat and waiting for my thighs to stop burning and my heart to stop pounding and I’ll look at Ken, and he won’t even be sweating. Not so much as a glisten. On Saturday he said something like “After the ALC ride I don’t really even register these as hills” and of course he’s earned feeling like that. He trained so hard, and he totally and completely deserves the shape he’s in, and I still wanted, for just one tiny second, to push him off his bike. Just give him a little nudge, and watch him land on the grass by the side of the road.

Pato? He’s 24. He’s so strong that it isn’t fair – he’s faster than me without even trying.  (I’ve been experimenting with the hashtag #downwithyouth) He ghosts up the hills like nothing, and sometimes is so far ahead of me that he’ll pull over and while he waits for me to catch up, he’ll text people, because, you know. He has time.

Riding with them is hard. Like I said, they are the very nicest men on the earth, and would never say or do anything to make me feel lessor, or like I’m not awesome, but it all happens in my head, where I have so little control.  I make myself feel bad with how amazing they are, and how I don’t measure up. This is always made worse by the heat, or the cold, or not feeling well, or something hurting, the little things that put a little layer of suffering on top, and weaken your resistance to the voices in your head that aren’t always on your side.  This is where I was this weekend, and it was made worse by knowing something before you knew it.

By this morning, everyone who sponsored Jen has gotten a letter from her explaining what all of Team Knit had sort of figured out, but didn’t want to face. Jen isn’t going to be able to do the Rally.   Jen’s gutted,  we all are. The loss of a riding and camping partner in crime has me feeling lonely and lost, and a little worried, but I’m proud of her too. I’m so proud. It takes a lot of guts to stand up, when you’re this committed to a cause, and in this deep,  and say that you’re sorry, but you’ve misjudged what your family needs and there’s something more important right now – and that’s what Jen’s done.  She’ll be spending the week of the rally with her children, and I know that’s where she really needs to be, or she’d be on her bike for sure. I trust her.

Me? All my thoughts this weekend were selfish. How would I manage? How would I cope? Who would I ride with? Who was going to help me set up the tent? I felt per-emptively lonely, before I had even been left.  For the most part, I kept it inside, watching Ken fly up hills while I trudged up after him, following Pato on the flats, and watching him make it look easy while my legs begged me for mercy and I tried to keep up.  I went to bed early both nights, wallowing in a little self-pity.  Today, I’m better.

Today I remembered what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and who it matters to that I get it done.  I’m pulling the tent out of the basement, and making sure I can set it up without Jen. I’m checking to make sure that all my stuff will fit in just my bins, and I am going to actively start seeking ways to be happy on my bike without Jen, which is going to be very, very hard, because frankly, she’s so awesome that over the years she’s become the number one thing that gets me through the ride.  I know she knows this, and I owe it to her not to let this get me down.  I told her I could cope, and I will. I’m going to figure it out, and make my own sunshine for this thing, along with Ken and Pato. Game on Bike Rally.  We’re rolling out of here on Sunday, and I can do this.

To that end, you know what really makes me feel better? Fundraising. It’s the whole reason that I’m in this thing, and I’m so grateful to the way that you make it amazing. (That’s idea number one, for starters- every time I get a little down about it, I’m going to think of the good that you guys are doing. Real people are going to have really better lives because of you, and all I have to do is ride my bike? Dudes. Okay.)  I’m going to do a lot of Karmic Balancing gifts this week, just to keep things moving, and to try and get them all done by Friday. (There is still, um… a lot. If you’re still in the queue, trust me, I see you there, and I’ll get to you.)

If you’re super late to the party, here’s how it works. Team Knit is going to ride their bikes from Toronto to Montreal  -more than 600kms, and anybody who helps make that worthwhile for the People with Aids Foundation is cool with us. There’s lots of ways to help. You can donate to one of the people on the team:




or you can tweet, instagram, tell a friend, send an email, talk to someone in the grocery store, anything you can think of to spread the word, that all counts as help.  Once you’ve helped, in your own way, you can send an email to me at StephanieATyarnharlotDOTca (note the .ca, not .com. It’s Canada, yo) with the subject line “I helped” and include your name and address, and if you’re a spinner, and that’s it. You’re in the pile for Karmic Balancing gifts.  I’ll pull names randomly until they’re all gone, which, I think I mentioned is going to take a while because knitters are ridiculously generous, which is something that should make us all feel like a million dollars.

First, Joyce would like to give away 5 copies of her beautiful shawl pattern, Fleur de Mariage.  It’s a really gorgeous thing that can be worked as either a half or full circle, which is frankly, pretty darned neat. I hope that Jess S,  Nicole H, Lynn J, Sierra B and Sherry R all enjoy it.

fleurdemariage 2015-07-20

Anne Blayney has been good enough to contribute five copies of her pattern Brightness and Contrast.  

Brightnessandcontrast 2015-07-20

(Love this one as a way to tame wilder yarns – and she’ll be sending those along to Maria V, Jennifer C, Samantha N, Barbara S and Michelle S.

Finally, last, but never least, good friend of the show, Teddy, is doing a little stash tidying to make sure her karma stays high (I don’t know how it could ever be low) and fourteen of you are going to be the lucky recipients of that.

1. Cat Bordhi New Pathways for Sock Knitters, 100 gm/448 m King Cole sock yarn from UK, color blue/purple variegated – for Jaclyn A.

teddygift1 2015-07-20

2. Ann Budd Getting Started Knitting Socks, 100 gm/420 m Serenity Sock Yarn, color chili for Jane N.

teddygift2 2015-07-20

3. Melissa Matthay Little Box of Scarves II, 100 gm/500 m Alize Angora Gold yarn from Turkey, color gold/orange/cream for Leslie C.

teddygift3 2015-07-20

4. Lizbeth Upitis Latvian Mittens, 100 gm/220 m Fortissima Sock yarn from Germany, color plum, 100 gm/260 yds Knit Picks Essential, color green/purple variegated for Christine R.

teddygift4 2015-07-20

5. Maggie Righetti Sweater Design in Plain English, 200 gm/500 m Magic Garden children’s yarn from NZ, color black with rainbow flecks for Cheryl B.

teddygift5 2015-07-20

6. Cat Bordhi Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters, autographed, 100 gm/425 m Opal sock yarn Herbstmelodie, color Roy G. Biv for Peg L.

teddygift6 2015-07-20

7. Lynn Vogel Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook, 4 oz/420 yds Cherry Tree Hill superwash merino, color Monet for Kate D.

teddygift7 2015-07-20

8. 140 gm/300 m Lion Brand Wool-Ease from Turkey, color variegated rust and brown, 100 gm/300 m Patons Kroy Jacquards from Canada, color lavender and gray for Julia C.

teddygift8 2015-07-20

9. Melanie Falick Weekend Knitting, 100 gm/250 m 100% linen Flax, color Turquoise for Amie P.

teddygift9 2015-07-20

10. Kris Percival Knitting Pretty 30 Fabulous Projects, 4 oz 450 yds Dream in color Smooshy, color Ruby River for Judy H.

teddygift10 2015-07-20

11. Laura Irwin Boutique Knits Must Have Accessories, Yarn from our wonderful Northwest local dyer, Myra Hanson: 4 oz/250 yds Fancy Image Hand Dyed Merino, color orange/cream painted, 4 oz/250 yds Fancy Image Hand Dyed Merino color tan/brown/cream painted for Hester S.

teddygift11 2015-07-20

12. Handmade small note book, 100 gm/350 yds Claudia hand painted yarn from Italy, color purple/green for Diana C.

teddygift12 2015-07-20

13. 50 gm/114 m Patons classic wool DK superwash from Turkey, color seagreen heather, 50 gm/114 m Patons classic wool DK superwash from Turkey, color claret, 141 gm/233 m Red heart worsted acrylic, color artist print for Ann M.

teddygift13 2015-07-20

14. 200 gm/240 m Lana 100% wool from Greece, color teal, Yarn from our wonderful Northwest local dyer, Myra Hanson: 4 oz/250 yds Fancy Image Hand Dyed Merino, color Seahawks for Lorraine M.

teddygift14 2015-07-20

Whew! See you tomorrow with more.  Also, I knit a hat, and some socks. I’ll show you that tomorrow too.

77 thoughts on “Challenged

  1. We do these things with our lives, things we never thought in a million years we could possibly do. We agonize, we stress, we over plan. It happens and it’s wonderful and awful in equal measure, only the best things are. When it’s done and you take a moment alone your brain and your heart high five each other. Then you get ready to do it all over again.
    In my sweet family the code for “harrumph, kids today” is #goddamnitcarl. Explanations are long and drawn out, but it never fails to make us giggle.

      • I didn’t know I could reply to you!!!
        You rock, Tia Effie. I am a 50 year old, soon to be published, knitter-bike rider wineuse in Bend Oregon. I say, enjoy the ride. There will always be somebody faster and somebody slower that you. When I am having a tough time on the bike (and in life!!) I just try to make it to the next see, as in, just got to how far you can see from where you are right now. It really helps to keep me going.

        Also, every time I pull on my extra large lycra shorts I am so thankful I am allowed to do so. A couple of years ago, I read the book “10,000 Splendid Suns” about women in Afghanistan. We would be stoned for biking in those countries. Harlot on, and where is that pattern for the baby blanket? I have no finger nails left watching you finish it with five feet of wool left

  2. Seriously, hot is hot. It doesn’t matter where you are! Keep going, you’ve got this Steph. I know you do. And as a woman in her early 40s who sometimes struggles with basic exercise, let me tell you, you are a rock star.

  3. Family comes first. The Blog loves you, Jen. Take care of them and of yourself.
    Since I hadn’t yet sent Jen a donation, there’ll be another little amount in your account, in her honor.

  4. First, you get a gold star for such a long well-written blog during interesting times. Okay so you get to hang out with the guys more this time instead of Jen. You are already finding strength that you did not know you had. You keep riding up hills each day and making progress. Last year Ken was good at putting up tents, I am sure he still is. If you need a roomie, how about that wonderful woman who was so inspired by your work for the rally that she signed up too. Another knitter I believe.

    Great karma prizes too. I like the pairing of yarn with books. Fum interesting books that we cheer the winner even when it wasn’t us. Thanks for those who are sharing with others.

    Go forth and ride. We have your back.

  5. I feel bad for Jen that she cannot do the Ride, but Family Is Always First (FIAF). For whatever reason she cannot ride, it is an honorable one.

    Ride on Steph! Ride well, ride hard, ride safely, and ride with love, Steph!

  6. While this may shoot down my own team’s attempts to overtake Steph’s team in fundraising (though really, PwA wins either way!), I’d like to let you all know that Steph told me what her private goal was. I won’t spill the beans, but I will say that it’s challenging but I think do-able before the rally.

  7. Steph, you are doing such a good job with this and the fact that you’re biking 600km is nothing short of amazing.

    On a completely seperate note, how much yarn was left when you finished Frankie’s blanket? Meters? Inches? I’ve been dying to know.

  8. Best wishes Jenn. I so know how you feel. I have bitten off a bit more than I can chew, and my little family is feeling it. Ride on Steph! I am amazed by you every day!

  9. This is when you go to the well. Lo and behold, the strength is there. You’ve trained well, your motivation is off the charts and your cheering section is huge and multiplying by the day. Go, Steph! The blog is with you.

  10. Is there a clydesdale you can draft behind? My husband served that function on a couple of rides across Nebraska.

  11. Stephanie, when you falter, remember that you did your first couple of Rallys without Jen. And you’re much better prepared now than you were then. Jen, my hat is off to you for coming this far, for having done it before, and for having the courage to say, “I can’t.”

    I’ve been watching the Tour De France. THOSE guys are nuts. You all are just a little crazy. Best of Luck (and cooler weather!)!

  12. Just want you to know that if this 46 year old novice knitter not-at-all cyclist could find a way to ride with you and set up the tent and just generally give you a hand – I would! We’ll all be there with you in spirit – you got this!

  13. Um.

    I would ride with you?

    Do you need or want a middle aged woman with a nice bike and decades old touring experience? I am guessing there are a hundred reasons like registering and fulfilling the training rides part and fund raising and etc. that won’t work, but know that if it would, I could be there Saturday to ride. And will if you tell me to.

  14. Just won a cool karmic balancing gift; went on break; got a Coke Zero from the machine, and now I’m sharing it with STEPHANIE – way cool!

  15. Steph, as you ride along, remember that no matter how much you feel alone on your bicycle, The Blog is riding with you every.sweaty.rotation.of.the.pedals.
    We have followed you from when you didn’t even get out of your driveway before tumbling off the bicycle to this position of leadership on this ride. Look at the donations that pour in for Team Knit (what other team has that kind of support?).
    How many other individuals on the ride have groupies show up to cheer them on?
    And please don’t take it out on Ken or Pato! It really hurts to fall off a bike that is moving at a high speed!

  16. Just got the letter from Jen. It was one of those moments where I knew what it was going to say before I opened it. I am sad she can not ride, but understand and will keep her and her family in prayer and send positive energy her way.
    40/104 degrees? You have my admiration for being outside at all, let alone the kind of riding you did. Okay you have my admiration for riding a bike period. You can do this!
    p.s. I just discovered The Knitting Mystery Series by Maggie Sefton.
    So now I knit, read a blog about knitting, and mysteries around knitting. Hat’s off to you Yarn Harlot!

  17. I am a lot older than you, and my advice to you is to stop pretending that you are a teenager. I am concerned that you are only going to stop this when you really hurt yourself in a permanent and severe way.

    As we age, our bodies start to literally wear out. When you are in pain, your body is telling you that it can’t handle what you are doing. LIsten to your body.

    You are at a great age: You have your health, and some spirit to take on life. But somewhere in the ’40’s, it can change and it can go sour. You are also old enough that you don’t have to prove anything to anybody.

    I am not suggesting that you retire from biking and spend your hours in a rocking chair on the porch. But you just want to be careful that you are not injuring yourself in a permanent way that keeps you from enjoying the rest of your life.

    I am saying this out of love, so please don’t be offended. I want the best for you.

    And yes, I am probably about your mother’s age.

  18. I just got off the phone with the lovely people of PWA. I couldn’t make my donation work over the internet so I had to get it in. It’s 4 am here and I should be asleep but I’m rooting for you, Stephanie. Ride for all of us! For all of us knitters, be our wheels.

    Jen, we love you and are hurting with you. It will get better and you will move on. There is a time and a place for everything, do the thing that is right for right now.

  19. My hat goes off to both you and Jen for taking on the challenge of the Bike Rally, in the past, present and surely, the future. I read Jen’s email to her donors today; it is honest and heartfelt, and I have only the most respect for someone who listens to the world around her and is flexible enough to change plans when the need arises.
    And your tent WILL go up, Stephanie. Somehow.

  20. We are high fiving you, and the team, and Jen, in OUR hearts. That was a wicked heat you rode through, and you are all making SUCH a difference. Thank you.

  21. Nothing but respect for Jen and sending best wishes to her and her family for doing what she believes is right for her and her family at this time. Nothing but respect and admiration to you, and Ken, and Pato, (and all riders) for doing what you do – no explanations required. Sending virtual cheers from the sidelines until everyone is safely across the finish line –

  22. One thing to remember when you are cycling with younger and/or stronger people is that not only are they needing to use less effort than you to get to the top of the hills (hence no sweat), but they also get a good long recovery period whilst waiting for you to catch up. Which I bet you don’t get!

    So you are working harder, with less rest. Don’t beat yourself up!

  23. Can we perhaps make multiple small donations during your ride to be pinging you with encouragement? Or does it cost them a lot to process them?

    I might also add as another middle aged woman, you have grit and determination to spare which will help carry you through to the end. Plus, the weather can’t possibly be as bad as last year, eh?

    • What a great idea! Even $1.00 per day of the ride, from many of us, will drive the total upwards. I hear you though on the processing cost, although I hope that waiving that fee is one of the ways Scotiabank is sponsoring the event. YH has a secret goal that she’s not revealing, so let’s blow it out of the water!

      • ETA: is the bank a sponsor? I thought I had seen it on the page, but I checked back and it seems I’m wrong.

        • Yes, they are. I don’t know about the processing fees, though I know PWA hasn’t been too concerned about credit cards vs other payment methods when I’ve asked.

  24. Courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is knowing full well what you are afraid of, and doing it anyway, because it has to be done. The thing strong young men don’t have is the knowledge of what they have to be afraid of. But eventually they will learn, and then they will understand your courage. Ride like the wind. (*even if it is a gentle zephyr.)

  25. How do I go about donating some beauteous yarn to this cause? I have been seriously destashing (I mean seriously) and have some nice stuff I would not mind sending to a donation-provider!

    • Take a photo and send it to Steph at her email address….listed on the blog sidebar.
      Type Karmic Balancing Gifts in the subject line. Eventually when she reaches your post she will pull someone’s name out of a hat and send them your email address, or you theirs, or both and between you and the recipient you will arrange to get the gift to them.

    • I sent some of my yarn out into the world this year to another wonderful person who also donated to this cause. I was walking on clouds for days because of the good deed. The person who won really loved the yarn, and a day is always great when you get a personal email from the Harlot.

  26. Oh how well I know this feeling. It is sometimes easier to ride with people you don’t like – you can just hate them without the need to feel miserable for your ride and exhaustion induced feelings towards them. Also – draft is your friend!! Close the gap!!!

  27. I’ve been watching Tour de France for the scenery, and they have been talking extensively about how the riders are suffering in the heat. It’s been high 90’s even on the summits, and the valleys have just been awful. The riders have been pouring as many water bottles over their heads as they have been drinking them!

  28. Hang in there, Steph! You can and will do the ride and we will all cheer you on. Sorry that you will be minus your teammate, Jen. Take care and all the best.

  29. Hugs to all of Team Knit! Hang in there Steph! You may not be as fast or strong as Ken and Pato but you’re stubborn and sometimes that matters more in endurance events.

  30. You are amazing Stephanie with or without Jen. She is with you in spirit and I’m sure the guys will do everything to help you along, if you need it. Stay safe and I look forward to your triamphant smile at the finish.

  31. I’m going through my own challenging time and I just have to remind myself that it isn’t important that I get knocked down on my rear, but it IS important that I get back up, dust myself off, and keep on going. I may have to get that tattoo’d on me, since I seem to need to learn that lesson time and again. :/

  32. I live in Texas and, yes, 104 is hot. #official
    I don’t climateShame people. Being from Texas, I am not used to a cold winter. When it gets below freezing for several days in a row, things happen that Texans had no idea nature was diabolical enough to conceive of. Like, the DIRT freezes and the car doesn’t want to start. And you’re probably laughing, but in Texas, we are just NOT prepared for that mess.

  33. My admiration for all of you is boundless! That you push year after year amazes me, as I sit here in my comfortable chair, air conditioning on…
    Your will is much stronger than your won’t!

  34. I think Jen will be there with you in spirit and you will do your best and that is what counts. Ken and Pato are your support too and keeping in mind why you are doing this in the first place will help get you through.
    I was so happy to find out I am a winner of one of the Karmic Balancing gifts.

  35. You and Jenn rock! I know how hard it is to go on after something like this happens. I also know the nasty voice in your head that tries to pull you down. Over the years, with a lot of practice, I can finally tell it to shut up and go away! You can too. Thanks for sharing such a hard subject so honestly. Hang in there and try to have a good time. You can do this!

  36. I have a quote that hangs above my desk, and has gotten me through the last few years that reads, “Be Brave. Do not pray for the hard thing to go away, but pray for a bravery to come that’s bigger than the hard thing.”

    Steph, you and Jenn are the bravest people I know (but not really). Jenn gets all my love and prayers, and my admiration for making the hard and difficult choice to do the right thing at this time. As a type-A, stubborn Italian, I often stick to the thing, even when it’s not what’s best.

    You, continue to do the hard thing, despite the challenges, and the voice that tells you that you aren’t good enough. Well you know what, there are loads of us here, to tell you that you ARE good enough. When that voice starts to get you down, remember that you have the BLOG riding with you. Let us be your co-riders this year. We may not be able to help pitch your tent (though I’m sure we could meet you at the campsite if they allowed it, some of us), or carry your gear, but we can be the voices that tell you that you can make it up those hard hills, and that it doesn’t matter how fast Ken is, or how strong Pato is. It only matters how good YOU are. The only person you need to compete with is the version of yourself that you were yesterday. You can do it. Go Team Knit! <3

  37. The problem with heat in the places where we live is that we never get acclimated to it. Last week one morning I ran in long sleeves at 47 degrees. This week it is in the 90’s with the heat index. Craziness. I can sympathize with your feelings of inadequacy as I am not a fast runner and always compare myself to other faster “better” runners, but at the end of the day a mile is a mile regardless of how long it takes you to get there and how hard you huff and puff (or like me nearly pass out) at the tops of the hills. Bravo for you getting out there and getting it done! You are amazing!

  38. I totally LOL-ed at “On Saturday he said something like “After the ALC ride I don’t really even register these as hills” ” because before you even said it, I envisioned pushing him right off his bike! HAHA. And so very sorry to hear you’ll be heading out without Jen this year. That takes an extra level of determination and commitment, so just know you’ve got both.

  39. Okay, don’t know if this helps or not, but it might give you a little mental edge.
    1. You don’t have to bike 600 kilometers. You only have to ride 373 miles. That’s not even 375 – piece of cake!
    2. OTOH, if you’re keeping track and clicking each one off, the km’s click off a lot more frequently than the miles do.
    3.The bicycle is one of the most efficient forms of transportation ever invented. Be glad you’re not out there on a skateboard!

    Will this rally be on roads that are closed off as you ride through, or will there still be other traffic? If there is, maybe a few members of the Blog literally COULD rode with you

    • Ack -premature button hit!

      Anyway, unless the rules prohibit it, maybe a few of the Blog could keep you company for a few miles as you ride through their towns. If not, just try to feel us all as the wind at your back. And stay hydrated!

      And Steph, it’s true that many other riders are younger, stronger, and faster than you. But none of them – NONE – has a braver or bigger heart than yours. We all admire you so much.

  40. Steph, listen to the voice of the blog that tells you you’re awesome, and not to the voice in your head that tries to compare you to 24yr old super-fit Pato, and super-fit Ken! As you said, compare apples to apples and you’re a great rider! You’ll make it through without Jen, you have before. And Jen, good on you for making the decision to put your family first, you can only be in one place at a time, and if they need you, that’s where you need to be! You’re both awesome 🙂

  41. Take Lee up on her offer! Or I’ll come! I’m more of a mountain biker, but also in my mid 40’s a knitter and very good a suffering! (Rats I can’t come, the kids and I are flying 3000 miles on Wed to see other family.) Lee wanna sign up for next year on our own team and be the Harlot’s Harlots?

  42. Hugs to Jen.
    And I think you just inspired me to get to the gym. If you can bike godawful distances in beastly heat and humidity, I suppose I can make it to the gym.
    Good luck, I’m sure you’ll be great and hopefully find much practical and psychical support for the ride, but I’m really sorry you won’t get to ride with your friend.

  43. When we judge others as being ‘”xxxxer” than me’ (insert fitt, bett, fast, young, strong.., etc.), then we are judging our own selves by the standards that others set for themselves. When we ALLOW and ACCEPT others to BE themselves, be who they truly are, perhaps we can allow and accept ourselves to be who we truly are, and be our own best self. Can this somehow cancel some of the self-criticism? Allow yourself to be awesome, which you are, as is everyone working hard to achieve their goals. Believe.

  44. I just looked at Steph’s current donation total: more than
    $48,535! Let’s *all* ping her all 6 days, and see how high we can push that total. She may not be as young or as strong, but she can inspire her supporters like nobody’s business!

  45. I know this is late but I don’t spend ALL of my time online (only about 75%) and I was late reading this. When I was young and healthy, I rode my bicycle cross-country twice with two different groups of young adults. And I remember plenty of times the strong young men had to push me up the hills and one, in particular, who would ride to the top of the hill and then ride back just to push someone else up! Keep up the good work and keep on riding! Wish I could.

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