#bikeschool: Inspiration

As part of our continuing series of inspirational guest writing we have a timely piece about the personal battles people face with parts of the Tour de France.  Having suffered a stroke, Kim battled with courage and strength to take on her personal challenge at the 2009 Tour de France.

“…the nastiest hill I ever climbed”

I cried today while riding the bike. Why? Cuz I made it to the top of Cole de Romme—a Cat 1 climb. It wasn’t pretty, I took a hike with my bike many times, don’t think I rode an entire km without stopping at least 2 times, but the point is, there are no mountains in Austin, so I rode like I had trained…up a hill, rest on the downhill repeat. Only this time it was ‘pedal up the mountain, stop and walk a bit, take a picture, repeat’. Back in Nov 15, 2007 I couldn’t walk and today I made it to the top of Cole de Romme! You do the math… 8.8 km from elevation of 502m  to an elevation of 1297 m! There’s about 3 feet to 1 meter!

I took my pic (below) at 5 km to the finish, then again at 1 km, by then I figured I would make it. I didn’t ride the entire last km, I stopped at least 3 times! The top was so crowded, I probably inched the bike across the line. I found someone to take my pic, then went over the line, then started crying. It was at this point that I realized I was going to be ok, I can survive a stroke & continue to live life.

I rode down about 3 km to a spot above a hairpin turn. I could see the riders coming up (a lot faster than moi) then, I would turn around and take pics. Haven’t looked at the pics yet, but I did get to see the Devil and the Norway chicken.

The race was incredible and in the words of Lance Butler, “…these guys are professional”

I think my overall time to reach the summit was about 2 hours.(I’ll let you do the math on the mph…remember I hiked with a bike quite a bit.) It didn’t take me that long to go downhill, rode the brakes the entire time down…the thought of road rash to match my 5” x 3” bruise on my butt will slow ya down! (the previous day I slipped on some stairs and landed on my right butt cheek..the blood thinners must have still been in my system, because the bruise is huge.

Mt. Ventoux is out of the question, it was amazing how long it took to go 5k and to do that 5 times on a steeper grade, not worth it.

I’m a very fortunate brain injury survivor. Thank you Alison and Mom! love ya!

Col de Romme, 8.8 kilometers, average grade nine percent. I think Lance Armstrong said, “Col de Romme, the nastiest hill I ever climbed.”

Thank you to Kim for sharing her story. I’m sure many people reading this will know someone who has been affected by a stroke and it’s a heartening story. Congratulations Kim, hopefully with some LovingTheBike and #bikeschool help we can get you scaling Mt Ventoux!


  • http://www.facebook.com/hutchins.eric Eric Hutchins

    Loved it.

  • YBFF

    Great quote by the often overlooked Lance Butler.

    • Kimstrong

      One day he’ll be the new Lance everyone is talking about! You are a mess!

  • http://lovingthebike.com Darryl is Loving the Bike

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, Kim. It may not have been Mt. Ventoux, but it was your Ventoux and you went after it. That’s what matters most. Keep up the great work.

    • Kimstrong

      Thanks Darryl!

  • Luv2bike

    Awesome story and very inspiring! I hope to one day climb mountains on my bike again. You give me hope!

    • Kimstrong

      Thanks! I took so many pictures on the way up (it’s amazing what you’ll find to take pics of when your lungs & heart are killing you!) Hope you can climb mountains again, too! One day I might try Ventoux.

  • Eric

    Way to go, Kim.

  • Dianne

    Congratulations, Kim on your committment and strong will.