We're Linda and Andy Johnson, from Cazenovia, New York. What began as a blog about a bike ride has become a story about our ride through life, trying to overcome a disease that has had a huge impact on us and on many of our friends.

Our journey began in 2007, when Kyle Bryant originated the idea of Ride Ataxia - riding his three-wheeled cycle from San Diego to the annual National Ataxia Foundation meeting in Memphis. It took two months to get there, and in the process he raised $40,000 to fund Ataxia research and he raised awareness of the disease like no one has before. Well he rode to the annual meeting again in 2008 and we joined him! We left from Sacramento and arrived in Las Vegas two weeks and 650 miles later.

You see Linda also has Friedreich's Ataxia. This inherited disease causes the nerves of the body to deteriorate. Linda (and Kyle) can still walk at this point, but it's getting much more difficult. In addition, speech gets slurred, finger dexterity suffers, and other serious complications can develop as time goes on.

The good thing is that research is more promising than ever! Several drugs are going through trials at this time, with other significant research taking place as you read this. There has never been a better time to contribute to this research! Let's cure this disease - for Linda, for the rest of the Ride Ataxia team, and for all of the others afflicted with this disease!

Enjoy our blog! Feel free to write to us any time. Check out the links in the right column below to read more about the disease and our adventures. And if nothing else, be sure to take the seven minutes to watch FARA's video - we couldn't say it better ourselves.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Day 13 - Primm to Las Vegas, NV

Andy writes:

We did it! We almost can't believe it, but we did it! We're now in Las Vegas! We rode 39.2 miles today, and the whole team rode right down the Las Vegas strip and pulled in together at around noon. A huge group was there to greet us, champagne and all! And a TV crew. Check this out!

Here we are as we approached Las Vegas (you can actually see it in the background if you look hard):


Here we are at the end, celebrating (by the way, Kyle had instructed all of us to stop shaving until we got to Vegas, in case you're wondering what that stuff is on my face):



And here's the whole team (actually just the ones that rode the last day - there are a few others that did just earlier parts of the ride):


After riding all morning and arriving for the celebration at noon, we then attended a Leaders' Meeting from 1:00 to 5:00 (Linda's the leader of the Central New York support group) followed by a relaxing dinner.

My replaced tube rode fine today. So over the entire 649 miles, Linda had no flats and I had one. The team had around 40 to 50 flat tires - we feel very lucky!

Here are a few final trip stats:
  • Total distance: 649 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,083 feet
  • Minimum elevation: 1.2 feet
  • Maximum elevation: 4,738 feet
  • Climbing distance: 230 miles
  • Climbing elevation: 16,259 feet
  • Descending distance: 234 miles
  • Descending elevation: 14,176 feet
Thanks to everyone for all the support and encouragement! We feel so blessed to have so many loving people behind us on this journey! Stay tuned for more updates about the whole team, the NAF conference, and other reflective thoughts. Thank you ALL!

10 comments:

  1. Congratulations! You did it. Enjoy all the pats on the back! You deserve it. We are so proud of all of you. Have a safe trip home. Love, Mom and Dad S

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  2. Congrats, that's a tremendous accomplishment! Enjoy the conference, and a quick and safe journey home.

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  3. We are so happy for you and send our congratulations and our love. we are very proud of you both and new you would make it. Have a great conference and get some rest and have some fun.
    We had 3-4 inches of wet snow last night and it is still snowing. We are on generator and school is at least two hours late. For some reason I need your password to re-start your computor in the office. I did not need it when I re-booted before???
    Much love,
    Mom and Dad J.

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  4. Congratulations! This is a great accomplishment for all of you and for Ataxia research. Best wishes for a good conference.

    Al M

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  5. Way to go ! ! ! Woo hoo ! ! !

    Can't express the joy and pride heading your way from here. Outstanding effort.

    Maggie's brother has offered to get you hooked up with live, real-time GPS updates next year. :) I'm sure you are thinking about next year already, right ?

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  6. YEAH! You made it! Looks like you are all getting a lot of attention out there. You deserve it.

    Angela

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  7. awesome! We knew you guys could do it. Can't wait to hear all the details.

    Molly & Woody

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  8. You guys are simply amazing!!
    Can't wait to hear more of the details. Hope you are getting some much needed rest and relaxation.

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  9. We knew you could do it! Great job, now enjoy some R&R - see ya when you get home - the Perriello's

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  10. You (Linda & Andy) don't look like it was that hard of a ride - you good for next years effort (whatever it maybe)? Kyle is so camera shy - NOT!
    Spinner

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