The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

June 2, 2014

Biking for a cure

— The fifth annual Bike MS returns to Athens Saturday and, with it, a local ultra endurance world champion.

Athens native and current East Limestone resident David Kyle has won competitions all over the world. He has competed in more than 50 multi-sport events, including triathlons, duathlons and XTERRA off-road triathlons. In 2013 alone, Kyle placed first in triathlon or duathlon events in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Canada.

He has done all of this while battling relapsing multiple sclerosis.

“I had done some riding and stuff before, but that was pretty much why,” said Kyle about getting involved in the competitions. “After I was diagnosed, I decided to do triathlons. My family and I struggled with my diagnoses. My daughter had just been born. I wanted to reclaim my health. I had no intentions of becoming a endurance athlete.”

Kyle was diagnosed with a relapsing form of multiple sclerosis (RMS) in 2002 after experiencing numbness in his toes, followed by partial paralysis from the chest down.

Like many people newly-diagnosed with RMS, Kyle began losing hope for his future but soon realized his attitude was negatively affecting his life and his family’s as well. The Athens native was determined to manage his disease, pursuing lifelong goals while spreading awareness of MS throughout the state he loves.

“Working out was hard. It took several years to get used to it,” said Kyle. “It’s all about goal-setting and having a long-term approach. I knew I had to give myself time. A little goes a long way. It’s about being consistent year in,year out. You have to be smart about it. With MS, fatigue is a huge symptom. You have to be careful not to overdo it. The ultimate goal is to be healthy.”

In addition to winning events across the United State, Kyle has competed in Spain, France and England. This year, however, he has decided to take a step back from international events to tour his home state by participating in events all over Alabama, reinforcing his commitment to health, especially since his diagnosis with RMS.

For the next leg of the tour, Kyle will participate in the June 7 Bike MS event in Athens. In addition to biking in the event, Kyle has assisted in mapping out the course, as he serves on his local Bike MS committee.

“I grew up in Athens,” said Kyle. “I’ve done a lot of riding in Limestone County. We’ve been pushing to get (a bike ride) in Athens for a while. A lot of things came together the last couple of years.”

The event will begin at Fitness Park, adjacent to the Athens-Limestone Hospital Health and Wellness Center. The park will serve as start and finish lines for the 25-, 45-, 75- and 100-mile routes.

The course will take riders along the cyclist-friendly and well-marked Noah Bike Trail, winding through Athens, Elkmont, Salem and southern Tennessee. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m.

To donate to the cause or register, visit bikealc.nationalmssociety.org.

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