April 29, 2019

Mike Wesley

Meet Mike Wesley, his wife Cindra and his story about battling Multiple Sclerosis.

Why I ride a Recumbent Trike assisted!

If you read anything in this message, read the last line.

I cycle because I can.  You see, I have Multiple Sclerosis MS, and cycling is very difficult for me.  I was diagnosed with MS in 2004 and at that time I was not cycling. My wife Cindra and I started volunteering for MS150 Dats How we Roll in 2008 because we felt a need to give back to the MS Society since they do so much for people that has MS. We were Captains of rest stop #3 for years and each year we would see those cyclist come into our rest stop laughing, smiling and some crying.  All having a blast and I would say to myself, I can do that but I can’t, I have MS balance issues, MS pain, MS dizziness and more.  I want to feel the wind in my face again.  So the next year all the same feelings come over me like the year before and the next year the same feelings…… Need to act on those feelings

Now it’s 2011 and Cindra and I bought our first road bikes at Capitol (heavy steel road bikes) and decided to start riding around the block.  We high fived when we made a mile.  That was awesome and when we cycled 5 miles, well that was outstanding.  We were jumping up and down.  We were cycling a couple times a month and then laid off a while, too much exercise.

It’s 2013 and we decided to go downtown and ride the levee.  We were so excited and it felt like we rode 10 miles until we drove alongside levee in the jeep to get the accurate mileage.  We just laughed. Then we decided to get involved with other cyclist.  The Baton Rouge Bike Club was the answer so we went to City Park and waited for the BRBC to show up, wrong day oops.  So we rode around a bit and went home.  Showed up on the correct day and rode with them.  Like to have killed us, we never intended to go 20 miles and climbing up the levee was brutal.  We were exhausted.  We stuck with the BRBC rides for a while and that is where we met Tony Boudreau and John Stephens.

I have made up my mind that it’s 2015 and I need to ride the MS150. I had a nice Jamis aluminum DF road bicycle and a friend of mine, Joe Carpenter started a team called the OH SHIFT.  We trained hard all summer.  Liked to kill me because MS and heat are not friends.  Cindra had a recumbent bicycle, yet she still volunteered for rest stop #3.  I finished 150 miles, what an accomplishment with no sag (meaning I did not need support).  I cried like a baby crossing the finish line into Cindra’s arms because she had to help me off the bike.  We were both crying from happiness, exhaustion, surprise and whatever other emotions we had.

Now it’s 2016 and I have a recumbent trike (we both do).  Cindra got an assist on hers so that she could keep up with me.  I sold my road bike and cycled in the recumbent world now.  2016 was my biggest challenge because I decided that I was going to ride the MS150 on my recumbent trike.  I finished 150 miles, no sag.  Wow for me.  2017 MS event was canceled.

Also in 2016 Cindra and I rode the Texas BPMS150 alongside 13,500 other cyclist on our trikes.

Cycling gives me energy, makes me feel great and complete. Cycling on the road brings me back to when I was a kid; feeling the wind blowing in my face, jumping over stuff (bunny hopping) and going down the street feeling free.  I enjoyed riding my 2 wheel road bike (Diamond Frame (DF)) until I started falling off, running off the road and running into things because my brain did not communicate with my hands to apply breaks or my feet to unclip.  I still have the overwhelming feeling to cycle on a road bike however the part of my brain that still has sense stops me.

Recumbent trikes do NOT like hills.  They are totally different than climbing with a road bike.  You are pushing your weight and the trike (32#’s) up the hill instead and you can’t standup.  I would get so exhausted in the hills that the fun was not there anymore especially when Cindra would blow by me while I struggled. I can still ride in the hills un-assisted but slower and having that little extra help, puts me in the same playing field as with the road bikes.  I have a small assist which does about 10% of the work and gives me the help I need.  Some cyclist say that I am cheating and cannot compare my trike with a road bike…..

It’s true that I am cheating, I am cheating MS.

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