xmlns:og>='http://ogp.me/ns#'> Pedals & Pencils: March 2010

March 21, 2010

WIN, Gramma Betty!

Dear family and friends,

The trees are revealing buds they’ve secreted away all winter and the sun is showing its face a little longer each day.  It’s perfect cycling weather.  On the heels of a difficult few months with my heart, I intended to enjoy leisurely rides and take a break from cycling for a cause.  Last year I was proud to raise funds for cancer research via LiveStrong as a member of Team Fat Cyclist: Fighting For Susan.  Often I was asked about my connection to cancer.  I was grateful to reply that I had no immediate connection to cancer and my reason for riding for LiveStrong was that I wanted to keep it that way.

I hope you’ve never received the news that a loved one has cancer.  It’s a moment that turns everything upside down.  This month I received the call that my Gramma Betty was diagnosed with cancer.  Since I was a kid, I’ve marveled at the postcards emblazoned with photos of her riding a camel at the pyramids or parasailing over the ocean.  In her office hangs a world map covered in pins marking all the countries she’s visited.  Gramma Betty is an explorer at heart with a passion for seeing all the beauty this world holds.

My grandmother’s cancer is advanced and she will soon leave me with only memories of our time together. The realization that I cannot save her is one that jolts me from sleep in the quiet hours of the night.  The only thought that quells my sadness is the fact that I can raise money for researching a cure.  And so this season, I’m pulling on my Fat Cyclist gear to ride for LiveStrong, to ride for my grandmother.

When people ask me about my connection to cancer, I will swallow the lump in my throat, brush aside my tears and tell them about Gramma Betty who used to ride camels and who has made a mark on my life so lasting and deep that it cannot be marked with a pin.

On July 17th-18th, I’ll ride 204 miles from Seattle to Portland.  It’s fitting that I’m riding a double century this year because I’m twice as hurt that cancer has made this battle personal.  Please join me in my fight against cancer by making a tax-deductible donation online at http://sanjose2010.livestrong.org/aliciamccauley. I can’t thank you enough for your generosity and support.



March 20, 2010


The powder blue heavens are streaked with white brushstrokes.

The skywriters are marking the sky from the cockpits of their enormous pens.

They are curt editors, slashing the horizon in front of me,

Crossing out erroneous clouds.


I press my forehead to the window, craning my neck to see how their story ends.

The mountains are tucked under green blankets and sun shushes them to sleep.

The skywriters turn back home for the night,

Their crisp lines relax, wisps loosening into the wind.


The motion of the car lulls me, rocking me into a dream.

It is a memory returning to me in the darkening sky.

I am jumping waves, my legs kicking up sand and saltwater

My chubby hands holding fast to the fingers of my grandfather.


I wake too quickly, my fisted hands gripping nothing tight.

I lift my face up, peering through the windshield.

The moon lifts it's milky face to meet mine.

It pulls the tides, erasing today's page for tomorrow's story.