On May 20th Team STOKED Ambassador Colin Stokes from Irvine, CA will begin an ultimate test of endurance and courage by riding his bike 700 miles in 3 days. He will start at Oceanside, CA and end at the Grand Canyon. Colin is taking on this ride to spread awareness of Parkinson's disease, and to raise money for Parkinson's research. Every cent that is donated to his cause will go to the National Parkinson's Foundation and Parkinsons Canada, two organizations dedicated to researching and treating this debilitating disease.
Colin illuminates his very personal and touching motivation for this ride in an excerpt below:
Coast to Canyon: Pedaling 700 miles because it’s in my DNA!
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.
A mission statement for life, but often a difficult path to navigate. Having recently passed 50 I still feel very much like an apprentice seeking that elusive wisdom to know the difference.
As an endurance junkie and ultra-distance cyclist I seldom do things the easy way. I regularly find myself signing up for 500 mile bike races – sober. I recently raced non-stop for 1,000 miles in Texas because let’s face it what middle-aged man wouldn’t want a tee-shirt from an event called ‘No Country for Old Men’!
I ride my bike more miles in a year than many drive their car; I climbed a million feet in 12 months, and on the summer solstice plan to ride 40,000’ in a day (and night). I do these things not so much because I choose to, it’s more a case of I have to. An addiction that must be satiated. Once the idea starts geminating in my head, there is only way to expunge it – give into the inevitable!
So on May 20th 2016 I will leave the pier at Oceanside CA and pedal eastwards – arriving at the Grand Canyon 3 days and some 700 miles later.
As a toddler, my late Mum transported me everywhere by bike, and later chaperoned me as I powered myself on two-wheels. I was 40 before I broke her cycling distance record for a day. It is her genes that power my passion for the bike; and to follow the bike on a never-ending geographical, physical and emotional journey.
Mum lived in the tightening grip of Parkinson’s disease for more than 15 years until she passed this last Christmas. She is the reason why I am making this epic little adventure—to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson Canada and the National Parkinson Foundation. It seems only fitting that I use a bicycle to raise money on her behalf.
In 2013 I competed in the solo division of the 860 mile Race Across the West (RAW) from Oceanside CA to Durango CO; following the same desert and mountain roads as the mother-of-all endurance races, the 3,000 mile Race Across America (RAAM). RAW was an epic struggle through 125 degree temperatures in the Sonoran desert, sand blasting in the Navajo Nation, and frigid night-time temperatures across the high desert.
I had so much fun, I am retracing my steps, but this time instead of continuing east from Flagstaff, I will branch north, to intersect the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Three years on from the original desert sojourn I am just a little wiser, and am bringing along some friends to share the wind. We will also be luxuriating in hotels for a few hours each night – instead of collapsed on the bed of my mini-van, in a fetal position as in 2013. That said this will not be a picnic either. At 700 miles with almost 40,000’ of climbing we plan on approximately 65 hours coast to canyon - riding 300 miles the first day, and then 200 the next two days.
A plan is just a plan: If ultra-racing has taught me anything over the years, it is to expect the unexpected, and to roll with the dice that Mother Nature and the road throws in your direction. It is reassuring to know on this particular adventure I will have a heavenly VIP watching my back.
Parkinson’s is a terrible disease that insidiously robs a person's mobility, confidence, and ultimately mind. I am proud to support the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) and their mission to focus on what people with Parkinson’s need today. To fund research, & help people live their best lives now until there is a tomorrow without Parkinson’s.
Donations can be made direct to the National Parkinson Foundation via http://www3.parkinson.org/goto/ColinStokesAnd for the old school folks who prefer snail mail: Checks can be made payable to the National Parkinson Foundation and mailed to:Sara Teeter, National Parkinson Foundation, 200 SE 1st Street, Suite 800, Miami FL 33131
(inc Joan Stokes in check memo section)
We are who we are. A product of nature and nurture. We cannot escape our genes, and why would I want to? Pedaling for a cause just makes the adventure that much sweeter!
STOKED Roasters is proud to sponsor such a talented and inspirational athlete. You can show your support by sharing this post, telling your friends of Colin's efforts, and donating to the National Parkinson's Foundation directly through this link: http://www3.parkinson.org/goto/ColinStokes. Anything helps in the battle against this awful disease! You can continue following Colin's journey on his blog: dragonvelo.wordpress.com.
Ride on, Colin!