Energy Pedalers bike 300 miles in Alabama Dam Experience to beat MS
When he’s ridden 100 miles on his bicycle and seems like he can’t go one other 10 ft, Steve Cabeza reminds himself, “this can be a breeze.”
For inspiration, he remembers each individual he is aware of who has a number of sclerosis (MS). These of us are those for whom Cabeza and the Power Pedalers workforce summon their final ounce of energy to maintain on driving.
It’s all a part of the seventh-annual Dam Experience to lift cash for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. MS is a continual, generally debilitating illness that impacts the mind and spinal twine, inflicting issues with the nerves that talk between the mind and the remainder of the physique. Signs differ broadly – some individuals could lose the power to stroll and others could expertise lengthy remissions with out new signs. Common symptoms embody fatigue, weak spot, numbness or tingling, imaginative and prescient issues and cognitive adjustments. About 1 million individuals within the U.S. have the illness.
Longtime Energy Pedaler Jim Heilbron appears to be like ahead to participating within the journey and serving to help the Nationwide MS Society.
“By the Dam Experience we’re ready to make use of our private ardour of biking to lift consciousness and the monetary assets wanted to help these coping with MS,” mentioned Heilbron, senior vp and senior manufacturing officer of SPO West at Alabama Power. “Our hope is to finally assist discover a treatment for these battling this illness.”
Powering up for 2020 mission
The Energy Pedalers’ trek begins Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Lay Hydroelectric Dam in Clanton. After a campout and breakfast on the dam, the riders go away at 7:30 a.m. for Greenville, about 111 miles away. On Thursday, it’s on to Atmore. On Friday, the workforce will pedal 80-plus miles to complete the journey in Foley.
Whereas all of the riders go away the plant collectively, everybody has their very own cadence.
“The younger ones normally run off and go away me,” mentioned the gray-haired Cabeza, laughing. “Everybody does the complete route if they’ll make it. Typically individuals catch a cramp and would possibly have to take a break within the ‘SAG wagon.’” The total-size SAG van, pushed by Energy Technology Specialist John Morris of Alabama Energy, follows the bikers to make sure their security and supply water and refreshments.
Cabeza rides for 2 particular individuals: his childhood good friend, David Partitions, and Alabama Energy worker Scott Radney, who died of issues of MS in 2015 after a few 10-year combat with the illness. Partitions, who is sort of blind and has nerve harm, nonetheless battles MS.
“He’s such a very good man,” Cabeza mentioned of Partitions, who he’s identified because the Nineteen Seventies. As his next-door neighbor rising up, “David struggled strolling for a very long time,” Cabeza recalled. It took a number of years for Partitions to get a analysis.
Cabeza grew up driving bikes and, in his 30s, took to the game “like a duck takes to water.” Biking is low-impact train that’s good for somebody who has had knee surgical procedure, Cabeza mentioned. After his third knee operation, Cabeza took up bike driving significantly.
“The biking strengthens the muscle mass that help the knee,” mentioned Cabeza, a substation specialist in Transmission Substation Gear Testing at Alabama Energy’s Common Companies Complicated in Varnons. “It’s higher than working since you’re not placing that stress in your legs along with your foot hitting the concrete. Biking is only a enjoyable exercise. Whenever you apply it to one thing the place you’re giving again, it’s much more enjoyable.”
The Dam Experience to help the Nationwide MS Society is an fulfilling occasion for everybody concerned – the riders, volunteers and their households – Cabeza mentioned.
“It retains me coming again,” he mentioned. “The volunteers and help are so nice.”
Cabeza recalled a volunteer in 2017 who supplied to fill his water bottle at a relaxation cease. Exhausted after the grueling journey in excessive warmth, Cabeza wanted to rehydrate earlier than driving farther.
Handing him the water bottle, the volunteer informed Cabeza, ‘I’m so grateful for what you’re doing.’”
Grateful for the chilly water, Cabeza informed her, in flip, ‘Ma’am, has anybody informed you they cherished you in the present day? Properly, I like you. You crammed this water bottle after I wanted it.’”
She checked out Cabeza earnestly and mentioned, ‘I like you. And I’ve received to inform you one thing. Up till this 12 months, I needed to give myself a shot day-after-day to assist with my MS. However due to the donations and rides that folks like you’ve given, the Nationwide MS Society sponsored analysis to develop a brand new oral medication. Now I take a capsule day-after-day, and I don’t must get a shot.’”
Her story – and people of Radney and Partitions – is why Cabeza and the Energy Pedalers proceed to journey 12 months after 12 months for a treatment. The final day, when the riders are very drained, normally feels just like the longest day, he mentioned.
“So long as I’m ready, I’m going to maintain doing this yearly,” Cabeza mentioned. “There’s an actual perception they may provide you with a treatment. Remedies are getting higher and higher.
“It’s unhappy to see the devastating results of this illness,” he continued. “Scott Radney was a tough employee. At one level, the Transmission crew guys constructed a raise for him in his lavatory, to make it simpler for him to take a bathe. He was so appreciative that folks would fundraise and attempt to assist.
“He’d say, ‘It’s too late for me, however for youthful individuals, there could also be assist,’” Cabeza recalled. “In order that’s why, after I’m driving and I get drained, I do know I have to maintain going. It’s a really rewarding occasion to be concerned in.”