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Just Another Tuesday: A Gift to Davis Phinney

I share the same birthday with one of my favorite cyclists, Davis Phinney. Last year another one of my favorite cyclists, John Howard, got together with Davis and between the two of them, they made sure I received a very special gift - a signed copy of Davis' newly released book, Happiness of Pursuit. If you haven't read this book, make it a priority. The story is a gift in and of itself, and one you shouldn't miss.

The book was only the beginning of what I was about to experience in the way of gifts from those two. About a month later, John and I spent some time with Davis, Connie, and their daughter Kelsey. We were in Colorado for the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge stage race and to attend the reunion of the Red Zinger/Coors Classic races. I was a budding triathlete when the last of those races were going on, fresh out of high school and taking my cycling cues from Connie, Davis, John, and the rest that I had been reading about in magazines.

For those afflicted with Parkinson's Disease, writing can be a difficult and tedious task.

(Click photos to enlarge).

Celebrate Every Gift
As a health and wellness professional, I am frequently asked to teach a variety of topics, usually about using nutrition and exercise to prevent or improve certain health conditions. Parkinson's Disease is one of those conditions. Physical activity and key nutritional elements can enhance quality of life while living with this disease.

Davis Phinney was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2000 at the young age of 40. As athletes we value motion, to go out there and do whatever we want to do. We value the effect motion has on our psyche. With Parkinson's Disease, motion becomes difficult. Motion becomes involuntary. Motion becomes rigid. The psyche takes a hard hit and the fight becomes more mental in order to deal with the physical. As with many diseases, we don't know how long we'll wait to find a cure. Davis has taken the bull by the horns and is teaching people with PD to live well right now. No waiting, no jacking around. Live well now.

Last summer in Colorado, Davis discussed the work of his foundation and filled me in on some of their upcoming activities. I also chatted with Kelsey for a bit as she shared her perspective on living with this crazy and frustrating disease. She's a very bright young lady and quite talented as a cross-country skier, which many of you know is one of my favorite winter activities.  

Icing on the Cake
Another big treat came during the the Time Trial stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Vail. I had the honor of being introduced with a group of Red Zinger/Coors Classic greats which included the Phinneys and John Howard. I had no idea they were going to include me until we were on the start ramp, it was quite a surprise. A heartfelt "thank you" goes to Wayne Stetina for his kind words when I said I felt like I was crashing their party. The crowd was huge and welcomed me as warmly as they did the rest of these distinguished individuals, although I seriously doubt that very many knew who I was other than a few of my friends who were there at the race. That night I attended the Red Zinger/Coors Classic 35th anniversary reunion, soaked up the insanely intense energy of the ballroom that held a couple hundred cyclists who were (and are) the best of the best, reconnected with people, and made new friends. That energy has stayed with me and has made for a really great year.

Doug Dale in front; Jeannie Golay, Dale Stetina, Ron Kiefel, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, Davis Phinney,
Jock Boyer, John Howard, Michael Aisner, Wayne Stetina, and the very surprised author, Gina Poertner.
Photograph by John Pierce / USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Returning the Gift
This year I'd like to return the gift to Davis and John, a gift that has gone well beyond the pages of a book.

July 10th is one of our Tuesday Night Worlds crit races. Just another training race, just another Tuesday. But even in training, Every Victory Counts®, so I'm donating that night's entry fees to the Davis Phinney Foundation. This is my way of celebrating the gifts I have and to wish Davis well in his own fight and in his mission to help people living with Parkinson's. Please join me with a gift of your own by donating at: TNW Victory Party.
Davis and I sporting our reunion dinner neckwear.

Bring your party hats to Tuesday Night Worlds on July 10th and show me the biggest turnout of the season.

Happy birthday, Davis.

Live well.