Monday, January 19, 2009


Who are my cycling Heroes? Who inspires me? Our 2008 Olympic athletes: Georgia, Mary, Todd, and Adam as well as other top pros. These are the people who have "made-it". Now that I know what pro cycling is and how much effort it takes, I really look up to those who have made it to the US podium and have had success in international racing. Mary and Georgia placed 7th and 8th at the Olympics, wow! Other heroes are those who are training to compete, have an additional handicap and don't let that get in the way. A prime example is a friend I met while doing a MTB clinic in Alabama. She raced in the Sport 40+ class in 2008, placed 2nd in the National championship race, won the Tennessee State series and the GA Snake Gap Creek Series. Grace was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis as a teenager. She doesn't have a blog yet (you can find her on Facebook), but here is a bit of her story: "The type of MS that I have is RRMS (relapsing readmitting multiple sclerosis). This disease has not stopped me from living my dream - in fact it has helped me live my dream. Yes I have issues that I have to deal with on a daily basis, such as numb fingers, my right leg dragging, a weak right arm, slight nastagmus, and fatigue. Since I have lived with MS for over half of my life, I don’t really know any differently. I feel as though things could be a lot worse with my MS or most any other disease. I have continued to ride bicycles on a daily basis and have actually become stronger through a lot of hard work and positive attitude. I’m very competitive and will not let MS get in the way of accomplishing my goals. In a way it is like I challenge my MS to catch me. I am living my dream of being a competitive mountain biker with a bonus of getting to share my story of life with Multiple Sclerosis. For me this is the perfect dream. The message I would like people to learn from me is first and for most, don't roll over and die, don't give up, fight like you have never fought before. The outcome is amazing. You will be amazed at what you can overcome in life in general. When I have a flare-up, I keep pushing on in my everyday life. If one sits down and feels sorry for themselves, MS as well as any other disease, will consume you. Surround yourself with a great support system of friends and loved ones. Keep them informed and get them fired up with your passion to be healthy as well as positive. Watch what happens to your friends when they see what you can overcome. It is also very important to learn to manage everyday stresses and eliminate the unnecessary ones. Be as positive as possible!! “Your glass is half FULL,” not “Your glass is half EMPTY”. It would thrill me to make a difference in as many people’s lives as possible by showing them that I’m not just living, I’m thriving with MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS." Grace Ragland


  1. Grace is truly inspiring! What an amazing woman!

  2. Thanks for sharing, Krista. Inspiring post. Go Grace!

  3. Hey Krista- I am currently working with a pharmaceutical company (genzyme) that is developing a drug for Relapse Remitting MS, the type that Grace has. You may want to direct her to the patient information website. We are conducting two trials, one for patients who have not taken any meds for their MS other than steroids and the other is for patients who continue to relapse although taking an approved MS therapy. The website is

    I also know some great neurologists in the area if she needs to see someone who is conducting the trial.

    Best wishes to you Grace! It is quite a hurdle to overcome and it seems that you have jumped it with flying colors. God speed

  4. right on showin' off Gracie!

    We're gunna need to have a big MTB party next time you are within 100 miles of Nashy and get everyone to come out.

  5. From Grace:


    I'm not quite sure I would consider myself a hero but I do appreciate the more than kind words.

    Fortunately the face of MS has changed from when I was diagnosed. With my daily injection of COPAXONE, diet and exercise I am able to manage my MS. In fact I have just been selected to be on an elite team of athletes with MS all of which are on COPAXONE. The team is called oddly enough "TEAM COPAXONE' You will see me at all of the races sporting the uniform. I will be thrilled to talk about the RIDE of my life with MS. I would not change a thing of my life with MS.

    Thank you,