By FREDDY JIMENEZ
Special to the NEWS
For some, it’s about the thrill; for others, it’s about surpassing a goal. But for La Feria’s Jaime Jesus Flores, participating in San Benito’s 4th Resaca City Bike Tour this past Saturday, this was about purpose and gratitude. “I ride for those who can’t,” said Flores, minutes after getting off his bike at the event organized by the San Benito Chamber of Commerce.
The bike tour, for the fourth year now, brought in folks from around the region, state, and nation. According to Chamber of Commerce executive director Megan Treviño, the event proved successful. “We had a total of 198 riders this year, the most we have had participate so far,” she said.
The tour consisted of three routes: 20 miles, 40 miles, and 60 miles, with the first going from San Benito through Rio Hondo and back down through Sam Houston Blvd., while the second through the Resaca City, Rio Hondo, and close to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, as well as crossing through the Rio Hondo Bridge.
For Flores, a band director in La Feria ISD, who was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (damage to the nervous system) back in Dec. 2013, riding his bike through the tour was merely another step in his journey.
Speaking about his condition, Flores said he weighed 380 lbs. at his heaviest. “When I was first diagnosed, I Googled the condition, and what came up were people who were bedridden, couldn’t walk, couldn’t run,” he said. “I was crying all night long.” He was 31 at the time and had just started his career in La Feria.
As he researched the condition further, Flores learned that diet and exercise could help control the symptoms. “That night, I said, ‘You know what, I’m going to fight this. There’s no way I can just give up and let it take over.’” That initial sentiment has translated into Flores being physically fit and keeping his diet on a schedule. Little by little, enrolling at a gym, Flores said he began walking and running on the treadmill. “I remember being so happy about being able to jog two minutes on the treadmill!”
Almost seven years later, Flores has participated in and completed three half-marathons, one full marathon, numerous 5ks, 10ks, a bike ride benefitting the multiple sclerosis foundation, and this bike tour.
Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Feb. 14 – Feb. 20, 2020 issue of the NEWS.