operated by his right hand, he has found a way to enjoy the same aerobic endorphin rush he counted on when he ran regularly in his pre stroke life. Living with brain injury, every day is a challenge. But every day is also an opportunity.
Last October, on a brilliant fall day in seacoast New Hampshire, we all went on a ride together for the first time ever. Mom, Dad, Robbie (a former pro cyclist himself), and I rode the first Krempels King of the Road Challenge with 200 of our friends. This charity ride benefits the Krempels Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, an organization dedicated to helping adults who are living with brain injuries. My dad is not just one of the most intelligent people I've ever known, but also has fortitude and perseverance that is the stuff of legend. He has admitted that at times he feels like a prisoner in his body, but these days competes in national caliber disabled sailing regattas, is writing a memoir, can be found giving a game of tennis his all on a court, and will proudly tell you one of the best things to enter his life is the three wheeled recumbent bicycle he rides nearly every day in the summer. With a snowboard binding Nike Air Force Blue White
a child's Nike Air Force Red Low seat, in which I can vaguely remember cruising around my neighborhood. More vividly, I remember an uncooperative seatbelt I could never unbuckle probably for the better for an antsy three year old. That was the extent of our time spent on bikes together: My folks' bikes saw considerably less use actually, none that I can remember as I became an athlete. practices.
Then, on March 23, 2003, Dad, who was by then an energetic orthopedic surgeon, always a rocket right out of bed even after a night of surgery in the emergency room, woke up slurring his speech, unable to move his left side, and trapped in bed. He was having a stroke. In the decade since, both my parents redefined their lives. My dad immediately retired. His memory is untouched in some ways but shattered in others he perpetually asks where I am racing, for instance and he has no feeling on the left side of his body, leaving him virtually paralyzed. Mom grew to accept her role as caregiver to a brain injured man who is (as my father is the first to admit) no longer the person she married. Nothing I ever learned from cycling about endurance, willpower, or patience compares with the lessons and inspiration I've gained from watching my parents build a new life in the decade since then.
In 1971, my mom and dad bought a pair of bikes as wedding gifts to each other. Dad's sunflower yellow Schwinn Varsity suited his brief Cleveland, and Mom's Schwinn Suburban was a lustrous brown, with a conveniently low top tube and a wicker basket, suited equally for her commute to work where she performed research in a medical school lab. As athletic newlyweds, on weekends they cruised out of the city on rides. When they moved to a small New Hampshire town and the family grew to include my older brother, Robbie, and me, the Suburban took on Nike Air Force 1 Low Grey
Krempels King of the Road Challenge
securing his left foot, and all the braking and shifting controls Nike Air Force 1 Black Mens
Our family ride certainly didn't occur under circumstances any of us ever imagined or would have wished for. But it was also more than I ever could have wished for. The four of us rolled out from the start together, then gradually settled into pelotons going our respective distances. The wave of emotion was enormous for me. I race week in and week out, but little compares with getting a chance to pedal my favorite New Hampshire roads with my family while helping the Krempels Center and its amazing community, which has done so much for Dad, who has done so much for me.
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