Endurance athlete and MJFF staffer, Sam Fox, has spent the first month of Tour de Fox riding more than 2,000 miles on his bike and climbing 24 peaks in 24 states. Most impressively, Tour de Fox is halfway to its $1 million dollar goal, where 100% of every dollar raised will go straight to Parkinsonís research.
As Sam continues with his July leg of the Tour, he provides us with some insight into the physical and mental challenges he meets along the way, and what gets him to the top of the next peak.
ďOn trips like this, itís not necessarily the exhaustion you feel from one particularly difficult day, itís the mounting stress and ever-present knowledge that what you do today only matters if you also do it tomorrow, and the next day (and for me right now, the next 80 days) that can bog you down. My solution has always been to think about the reason Iím out here in the first place. As I think you know by now, thatís my mom Lucy, who has been living with Parkinsonís for the last 15 years.
I love challenging myself physically. I always have, and as long as I can move Iím sure I always will. However, as the miles, sun burns, bruises and sleep deficit pile up, it gets more difficult and indeed physically painful just to keep going. Thatís when I turn to my mom for inspiration. And not just because she has Parkinsonís and is fighting it, but because sheís always been tough, sheís taught me to be tough in my way, and I feel a healthy pressure to make her proud out here.
My first real Ďdig deepí moment of this trip came a few days ago on a 100-mile ride. I pedaled more than 13,000 vertical feet as we traveled from South Carolinaís highest peak, through North Carolina, to Tennesseeís highest peak. In short, this ride was a beast. It was on the final incline up the highest part of the Great Smoky Mountains that I hit one of those walls that is part mental, part physical. But then, like itís done a hundred times before in similar situations, my mind drifted to my mother. I realized there will be an incredible view when I reach the top. There will be a bath tub to soak in at the motel tonight. I can get a massage to feel human again. That is not the case for my mom or for the millions of other people that are affected by Parkinsonís ó and I think itís the utter injustice of that fact that pushes me.
I have no illusions about the direct impact of a bike ride on the health of my mom or anyone else with Parkinsonís. Iím not a researcher or a scientist. But I can do this. And, because Iíve been blessed with a collection of people who so inspire me, including so many living with PD and their loved ones, I can do it well. I am convinced that the harder I push and the more I struggle, the more attention we can bring to this cause. So, while I may not be specifically looking forward to the next body-crushing day on the bike, I know it matters, I know Iíll get through it, and I know that Iíll never regret it.Ē -Sam
To read more about Samís journey this summer and how you can help him reach his million dollar goal for Parkinsonís research, go to www.tourdefox.org .†