As I get older (and maybe a touch wiser), I realize that what inspired me in my younger days is not the same as what inspires me today.  I remember the 1981 49ers having a phenomenal season and winning the game against the Cowboys where Dwight Clark caught the winning touchdown pass from Joe Montana.  The 49ers then went on to win the Super Bowl.  And, I remember the “Miracle on Ice” when the US team beat the USSR and go on to win the Gold Medal.
Today, I realize that overcoming life’s challenges is more inspirational than sporting accomplishments.  While I still enjoy my favorite teams doing well, I find those who take what life throws at them and then keep going to be truly inspirational.  Two members in our club are examples of inspirational character that stand out to me.

Debbie Vogel

Debbie Vogel – Debbie joined Cycle Folsom last year and has been a regular rider since.  She is outgoing and always has a smile and positive outlook.  What you may not know is Debbie was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in November 2013. While battling cancer, she also filed for divorce. She refers to this as “I got rid of two cancers in 2014”. Debbie joined Cycle Folsom in April 2015, starting with the Gruppetto training series.  I remember the Gruppetto ride where I first met Debbie and she was wearing sneakers while the bike had SPD pedals.  She is also a sponge for cycling knowledge to improve as quickly as possible.  That determination left an impression.  Debbie has since replaced her old bike and has pedals and shoes that match one another.  Debbie’s own words sum up why I think she is an inspiration – “the cycling club and its ride leaders, through their support and leadership, helped me to change my identity from cancer patient to an athlete.”

Chris Mumma

Chris Mumma – After suffering a serious head wound in Panama as a Navy corpsman, Chris had many obstacles to overcome including hearing loss, grand mal seizures, and temporary paralysis.  These challenges proved difficult and Chris became depressed and his weight went to 300 pounds.  However, Chris knew he had to make a change and he did, “knew that if I wanted to continue to live I needed to lose the weight.  I changed my diet and I joined a gym.”  After joining the gym, Chris took up cycling where he lost the weight.  He then encountered Cycle Folsom at a Ride2Recovery event and he joined soon after.  Chris has become one of the most prolific and fastest riders in the club.  Chris and I became friends shortly after he joined Cycle Folsom.  It turns out we have a lot of common interests such as our mutual enjoyment of Science Fiction and Blue Moon beer.

In 2014, Chris was diagnosed with cancer in his shoulder.  He has undergone two full rounds of chemo-therapy and is 75% done with the third round.  Shortly after completing his second round of chemo, Chris completed the 2015 Deathride.  For Chris, cycling has been a key to overcoming life’s challenges – “cycling has kept me going and I cycle when I would rather sit on the couch and be sick. Cycling has been the best part of my treatment to beat this disease and I plan on cycling until I can no longer do it.”  Q’APLA, my brother!

For me, Chris and Debbie are an inspiration for overcoming the obstacles life throws in your way.  I think we all can take their example as a guiding light for courage in facing those challenges.


On Tuesday evening (May 3rd), there is a fundraiser being held at Pete’s Restaurant & Brewhouse in Folsom from 5:00 – 8:30.  Free buffet from Pete’s Restaurant and silent auction.  Please join in helping to raise funds for Chris.

See the Facebook Event for more info.

I hope you can join us!