**This was originally posted on the Oilers Rig website earlier today (by me). I felt that I should post it here too, since not everyone who reads this site would have seen it at the Oilers Rig**
While most of us weren’t fortunate enough to be blessed with the life of a professional athlete, there are moments in time for us regular folk that are just as powerful as lifting the Stanley Cup. I had a front row seat for one of those moments this past weekend.
Dave Gordon (@RustyKnuckler), who is one of the main contributors to this site* (*to the Oilers Rig website, though he has contributed here as well) and the guy who keeps the whole thing running, rode in his first ever MS Bike Tour. For those of you who don’t know, Dave was diagnosed with MS around two years ago. The reason why Dave and I met was a result of the disease. He was searching around online and found my multiple sclerosis blog, ownmultiplesclerosis.com. Through searching around on the site, he also noticed that I too blogged about the Oilers on the far fringes of the oilogosphere at oilersaddict.com. He sent me an email, we followed each other on Twitter, and a budding friendship was born.
Through our communications via Twitter, email, and text I invited Dave to join my MS Bike team, “The Battered Piles.” I also invited him to run with me for a bit while I completed the Really Long Run to End MS. He jumped at the chance to join the bike team, however work scheduling prevented him from participating in the Really Long Run. The first time we met in person was just under two months ago at an MS Bike Tour pub night; the same night he presented me with a $1000 donation from the Oilers Rig to the Really Long Run. We sat, chatted with other MSers and of course talked some hockey.
The next time we met in person was this past Saturday morning around 7am at the Ritchie Brothers Auction in Nisku, which is the start venue for the Bike Tour. We spent the next three and a half hours peddling, talking hockey, and catching up. Luckily, we were fast enough that we didn’t get rained on. Sadly, for the people who arrived at the Camrose exhibition grounds after 1:00pm, that wasn’t the case. The afternoon was filled with burgers, beers, and more hockey talk (I diet cheated big time last weekend).
While I could tell Dave was feeling good about getting to Camrose and the experience thus far, the mood shifted Saturday evening. There is a huge dinner (almost 2,000 cyclists) inside at the Camrose exhibition grounds and during dinner there are speeches (of course). The final one is always the MS Bike spokesperson and Patricia (@Jahoofka on Twitter) gave an amazing speech. She is an MSer herself and she invited all the other MSers who rode in the tour up on stage to join her while she spoke. When we left the stage I could tell Dave was visibly moved and he sent this tweet later that evening:
On top of being a relatively new MSer, Dave has also been going through a terribly emotional time as many of you would have read about last week.
The first few months and years after being diagnosed are the worst. You feel like you are on a barren island by your self in the middle of a vast ocean. You can’t see how anyone could possibly understand what you are going through. Events like the Bike Tour show you that you are not alone and that you have a huge community of fellow MSers and supporters. It is a very empowering event and the cycling only adds to the feeling. You get the sense you are part of a team and working towards a common goal. Much like the Chicago Blackhawks marching towards the Stanley Cup.
Sunday was brutal. We road into a head wind the entire time. I would love to have audio of Dave and I pissing and moaning about are backsides and the wind. There were times Dave wanted to give up, but he fed off the motivation of teammates and finished. He kept saying, “I have to cross that finish line for my kids.” He crossed the finish line.
There were a few teary eyes amongst his teammates as we watched the above picture happen. While this is a moment you’ll never see on Sports Centre, never read about in the local paper, or hear about on talk radio, it is no less momentous as winning a professional championship. Chalk up one Stanley Cup win for Dave!
Great job buddy, can’t wait for the “repeat” next year.
I didn’t add this above as I didn’t feel it fit the narrative, however, I should note that Dave raised $4,755 for the MS Bike Tour which is absolutely phenomenal for a first time rider! Most have trouble hitting the $1,000 mark. His total puts him as the top fundraiser on our team! (I don’t include myself as I had to run from Leduc to Camrose and almost kill myself to raise money).
Our team raised $44,755 and we were the 7th highest fundraising team!
We had 18 members on our team this year. Dave and I would like to increase that number to 30 teammates (or more) for next year as we want to up our game and raise $50,000. If you would be interested in joining the Battered Piles MS Bike Team, or running for a bit in the Really Long Run to End MS, or both, send me a Tweet @OwnMsDotCom1 or an email at seanATownmultiplesclerosisDOTcom. (replaced the “AT” with an @ and the “DOT” with an .) We’d love to have you on board!