Do That One Thing – Derrick Rides For James Ragan
March 28, 2017
"Do that 1 thing"
The title of this article is a quote from my friend James Ragan. With his sister Mecklin, James headed up the Triumph Over Kid Cancer Origination and encouraged folks to go out and find that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer. I love the concept of going out there and doing your 1 Thing. Mecklin and the team of TOKC have been working hard to make sure everyone knows that one thing they can do to help end childhood cancer is there and ready to be discovered. Seriously, look for it… it is there waiting to be put into motion and help squash out childhood cancer.
Broken Bones - Not Spirits
Shortly after James passed from cancer I was diagnosed with a cancer by the name of Diffused Large B-Cell Lymphoma. Cancer has a way of changing the way you see the world, and it does it in the blink of an eye. The oncologist found a tumor in my right hip that happened to fracture. To remedy this problem I spent 4 months coming and going to MD Anderson in Houston Texas. I tested into a potent new chemo cocktail by the acronym ePOCH-R.
While at MD Anderson I thought about James a lot. I was walking in the halls he walked in. I was meeting doctors like Valerae O. Lewis who cared for James for so many years.
I do a lot of video editing for the Triumph Over Kids Cancer organization. During my 2nd round of chemotherapy, I edited video for the TOKC Big Easy event. Emotionally it was rough editing because I was sitting there looking at a very live young man talking about doing that one thing, knowing he had passed and this was going to be the first New Orleans event without him. I was lame and didn’t have my one thing yet.
Finding my ONE THING
After chemotherapy, the bone in my hip slowly mended and I rode my bicycle to strengthen my joint. It is still at a deficit, but I’m working hard riding and strength training so I can fix it. As I continued to train and get better I remember a speech from James Ragan. In his speech, James mentions his passion for playing tennis. He was really good and put in a lot of time making himself better. When cancer took away his ability to kick butt in tennis he switched to golf. He didn’t sit down and quit, he found something to believe in and went all in.
That “all in” attitude is contagious. It defiantly got to me. 10 years ago I was a runner, today I’m a rider. James had to hang up one sport he was really good and then shift to something his body would allow him to do. His positive outlook on switching sports gave me the confidence to drop running and start riding.
Last year I started to ride competitively. The type of race I like are ultra endurance self-supported mountain bike events. Training for these events is long and give you a chance to reflect on things happening around you. I keep thinking about James and his fight when I’m out there training. I soon figured out this is my one thing. I can get out and spread the word for TOKC. I jumped on the awareness train and rode it to Arizona.
April 2016 was my first time to race, and my first time to ride in the memory of Jame Ragan.
It was an honor to be out there on the trail sporting the TOKC orange.
Last Race - San Angelo State Park
My last race was in October. I rode the 6-hour dinosaur race held at the San Angelo State Park.
Races like these give you the opportunity to ride with your competitors. Sure, you want to beat them, but then again you also want to finish in one piece. During the first 3 hours of racing, I was blessed to meet my new riding friend, Mat Day. The once Marine turned into a Buddhist bike rider now knows all about James, TOKC, and how devastating childhood cancer can be. Every 9 miles you make a lap. You talk, sweat and endure together. I love having the captive audience an endurance race provides.
You really had to meet and spent time with James to know how big a heart he had. I hope my discussions with Mat conveyed a fraction of what James had to offer.
Overall I placed 6th in the male solo class. Since this was my first race to finish I was really happy. Next October I will be training and be participating in the 6 hours of the dinosaur race.
Next Race- AZT 300
My first race was April 2016. I made an attempt at the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. This is a multi-day event where all riders must support them-self from start to the finish. During ultra-endurance race many riders will pair up and ride together. This is a great opportunity to talk and let folks know about why I ride and who I ride for. That would be James Ragan.
You can read about my last AZT300 ride with a click of the button below.
April 7th 2017 will be the next start of the Arizona Trail 300 mile mountain bike race. I plan to be there on my bike ready to take the abuse. I still have some sponsorship items coming in that will enable my family to make the trip with me.
Sure, I’m still trying to figure out why I like this race so much.
If you supported my 2016 AZT efforts, thank you. Please know your efforts didn’t go away. This year I will be running with all my bike and gear from last years ride. Add that with the knowledge I picked up on the trail and things are looking really positive for a finish in 2017.
I’m looking forward to going out there and doing my one thing to spread awareness on ways people can help TOKC end childhood cancer.
Would you like one thing to do? You can jump on over to http://triumphoverkidcancer.org/donate/ and make something happen today. They are accepting donations 24 hours a day. Just slap my name in the box so they know where the donation is coming from.
The AZT-300 starts in 9 days. There is a lot of moving parts that need to be put into motion before I get to Arizona. Yesterday I was able to cross off one big item from the to-do list. That would be my bike bags. One is pictured to the right. It was custom built for my bicycle by a seamstress here in Corpus Christi. My other bags were a sponsorship item that I can’t wait to load up and test ride. There are a few more sponsorship items coming in before my family hits the road for Arizona.
Here are a few things on the to-do list:
- Activate SPOT GPS tracking device
- Pay yearly dues to the Arizona Trail Association
- Clear race registration
- Load the Garmin GPS with the new trail map
- Rebuild bicycle medical kit.
- Convert to tubeless using my Orange Seal sponsored supplies.
- Mount new GoPro mount on the new bicycle helmet
- Send thank you cards to my 2016 sponsors
- Send thank you to new 2017 sponsors
- Secure hotel stays along the way
- Clean hydration packs
- Pick trail food
- Learn how to best pack the new bicycle bags
- Print paper maps
- Study on trail water locations
- And many more
Thanks for taking the time to hear about my one thing. I hope you can find a way to do your one thing to help out. If you need help give TOKC a call and they can point you in the right direction.
Thanks again, and I will keep you posted on how things went after the race is over.