I have to share the experience that I participated in yesterday. An experience of sharing, victory, joy, triumph, camaraderie, motivation and inspiration. I recently took up road biking as an addition to my workout routine. It gives me a chance to relive a childhood of bicycling and some excellent exercise as well. Last month on my 50th birthday, I decided to ride a mile for each year of my life. What an accomplishment I felt I had achieved. Little did I know where it would lead me. My wife brought home a flyer for a fund raising ride to battle Multiple Sclerosis. (MS). It gave an option of a 30, 50, or 95 mile ride. I thought the chance to raise funds to help others would be a great opportunity for me to give as well. The Central Ohio Challenge had a $150 dollar fund raising minimum and a participation fee. I raised $240 from friends and family and was thrilled to ride in the event. I paid my registration fee and signed up for the 50 mile ride thinking it was something I could achieve without a problem. The day of the ride came early, waking at 4:45 to prepare for a 6 am registration. I had loaded up on carbohydrates the night before and made sure that I stretched and was hydrated before the ride began. Riders were to be on the course no later than 8 am. My wife was to fly back into Columbus at about the same time as I would cross the finish line. Both of us upset that I could not pick her up, or her see me finish my first ride. About twenty minutes into the ride, I pedaled up alongside a young woman who was enjoying the ride as I was. I noticed her rear tire was pretty low and mentioned that I had a pump. At about that time her father had circled back to check on her progress. They had both lost a loved one to MS. While I was airing up her tire, dad was expressing his concern towards his daughters mileage goal in the ride. She told him that it didn’t matter when she finished, only that she did. I asked her how far she was riding and she said that she was going for the 95 miles. I told her I had planned on riding the 50 but would ride the full 95 with her. We stuck by each other throughout the day as it grew warmer and the hills grew larger. There were a few times that my new friend had to push her bike up the steep climbs. I stayed by her side and could tell she was struggling. As we hit the 50 mile point, a support van came by and asked how we were doing. My friend admitted that she could not continue and apologized to me for quitting. I told her how proud I was that she made the 50 miles and gave it her all. I told her to go on up to the next stop, as her dad would probably be waiting for her. He was waiting and happy to see her. Her father and I were now the last riders to continue the race. He and I would now cross the finish line together, and his daughter would wait for us there. At this point, my wife would be able to watch me finish as well. This was a brutal ride, with the increasing heat, headwinds, and hills. My new partner was considering a van ride in as well. He and I left our last pit stop, fed, hydrated, and somewhat rested enough to continue. Thankfully, the last leg of the journey got easier and we kept pedaling. We had caught up to three other riders and I believe it gave us both an extra boost of determination. We stuck it out and approached the finish. We had done it. His family greeting him, and my wife greeting me, as we crossed the finish line. What a memorable day. The inspiration and motivation to drive on to achieve whatever our own goals are in life. Seeing riders that suffered from the effects of MS, support of the riders, and the friendships that developed. Sometimes our goals come to us at a moments notice, at other times we prepare for them. Whatever your goal, pursue it to your utmost. Continue to achieve what you want to pursue. Don’t let negativity deter you. Beginning your ride, journey, or task at hand begins with you. Push yourself as my two new friends and I pushed ourselves. It doesn’t have to be a bike ride, it is whatever your goals in life are. What would you do today if you knew you could not fail?