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Racing Time

By Tony Nelson
June 3, 2023

Being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis was a life-altering moment for me, filled with fear and uncertainty. I found myself hiding from others and keeping my condition a secret. I often wondered how long I could continue this silent struggle with MS. Despite it all, I managed to maintain my passion for cycling. Remembering the words someone once told me, “Go hard or go home,” I refused to give up or lose my way.

I continued participating in challenging events, like 12-hour mountain bike races and local rides, proving to myself that I still have what it takes. Even with MS always hanging over me, I experienced both good and bad days. But MS doesn’t stop, and I refused to let it dictate my life. I pushed myself as if the condition didn’t exist, seldom discussing it with others.

However, I felt the need for more in my cycling journey. I joined a gym close by and became part of the CrossFit community. It allowed me to compete in several competitions, which served as a form of therapy for me. The motto “Go hard or go home” continued to resonate. It seems to be working, as I achieved first place in Miami and now have advanced to the Semi-Finals at the WheelWod Games 2023.

What’s next? Well, I’ll wait eagerly for the go-ahead email, which will provide information about the next steps and upcoming events. For now, I focus on maintaining the other what I call self-help therapies—cycling intensely two days a week, shorter rides throughout the week, and CrossFit workouts four to five days a week. Additionally, I prioritize mobility work and extra practice to support my therapies. Living with MS and following a medication regimen alone isn’t enough for me. Staying healthy requires dedication from all angles. If you think you’re healthy, it’s worth doing systems check. For me, I know as long as I keep moving, I’m on the right track.

staying fit with MS

Cycling has been a significant part of my life for years, and I’ve even dabbled in racing. As Bike MS: Colorado approaches, I must stay focused and motivated to achieve the goal of completing 150 miles in two days. Waking up at 5 am and heading to the gym by 6ish is tough but I know the class workouts, mobility work, and fitting in a 30-mile bike ride, if possible, are crucial. I remind myself of those struggling with their health and find motivation, to go the extra mile, beyond medication alone. These efforts not only contribute to my physical achievements but also serve as mental therapy. Because sometimes, my brain feels overloaded or on the verge of a meltdown.

After placing 7th in the WheelWod qualifiers, I eagerly wait for an email update on the official standings for the semi-finals. The suspense inside me is both agonizing and exciting.

Recently, I’ve noticed issues with my balance, a sense that something isn’t quite right. I understand that I need to incorporate additional therapies to address this concern and gain strength to my right side. I found a balance block which will help strengthen and gain the mobility I need. Sometime the pain is too much and adding it in, and over time, things should improve. I continue to make small gains in anticipation of making the semi-finals.

Medicine or no medicine, self-help therapy is a big help.

Tony Nelson

Tony works in professional sales in action sports. He is currently competing in CrossFit and racing road bikes in the Colorado area. Tony was diagnosed with MS in 2003. He is passionate about helping others become better with exercise as therapy. Follow him on Instagram @Tonbike74.

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