When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.
~Arthur Conan Doyle
The first day jitters are done! Dave is now a veteran rider with a full day under his belt. And so far, no Butt’r has been necessary… just in case you were wondering. And I’m sure you were!
After making it to camp in the early afternoon on Saturday – Dave set up his tent and luxurious sleeping arrangements:
Despite being in a bag on the ground, Dave said he slept great and was up around 5am on Sunday looking for some coffee. Luckily – he caught the crew about to empty the hot pots from the night before and grabbed a quick cup to jump-start the day while breakfast was being prepped. Breakfast was wonderful, with made to order omelets (lots of protein!) – and it’s clear that these riders are being well nurtured! In fact, he’s been told by some of the veterans that despite all the calories burned each day, he should probably expect to gain a few pounds 🙂
After breakfast, Dave was eager to hit the road. He’s found a well matched riding partner in Bob, from Maryland. Apparently, Bob has the early bird disease as well, so they were the first two on the road.
It was a gorgeous day, not too hot – nice breeze. Now that he’s got a feel for the pace of things, I think Dave was better able to stop and enjoy some of the sights. They made a coffee stop here:
And stopped again here as they entered Monterey.
They made it to camp early, and had time to shower and head to town. Alexa’s dad Sean was there to greet the riders, and he showed Dave a great place for lunch on Cannery Row. One of the perks that riders got in their welcome kit was a ticket to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, good for the day the riders got to town. I’m not sure how many of them took advantage, but I know that Sean’s wife Stephanie and daughter Alexa were enjoying the place after welcoming riders to Monterey with cheers and smiles. Having never done this ride before, we didn’t know what a great celebration it is all along the way. Sunday night, we were sorely missing Dave and he was missing us. Next year (and it appears that there definitely will be a next year) we’re going to bite the bullet, miss some school, and catch the riders on their first few stops.
Now, I must pause for a mission moment.
On Saturday morning, as the riders were leaving, I was stopped in my reverie by the site of Team Also Touch. They were paused in the street, holding hands in a circle, saying a prayer before they began. After the Amen, they looked up smiling – climbed on their bikes and pedaled off. I was in tears. And as much as I would like to have shown you that moment, it felt like an intrusion to try to take a photo… an intrusion into a moment of grace, strength and inspiration that I can only marvel at.
Team Also Touch is led by Dwight and Maria. They do so in honor of their daughter Christiana, who passed away at the age of ten due to complications of a form of arthritis called Dermatomyositis. Let me say that again – They lost their daughter to this disease. The team is named after the last two words in Christiana’s journal, as she was praying for God to Also Touch (heal) other people she was worried about. But she never got to finish that entry. And still they are trying to conquer this disease. And they are smiling while they are doing it. And they are still married and still in love and still full of the beauty of life while they are doing it. They made a video this year, to help raise money. When I watched the video, I was floored when they said that Christiana would have been 16 this year. I could not believe that almost six years have gone by since Christiana left this earth. I felt a pang of guilt when I considered all of the wonderful time I have had to enjoy with my sweet girl, even the time she has been in pain….. and they have lived those days without the touch of their youngest daughter. (They have a truly remarkable older daughter, who is actually a veteran of the ride, I think). I get angry thinking about their loss, just as I sometimes do when I think of Maggie… and they just continue to show grace and strength.
I didn’t get to meet their family at the kick-off, but I asked Dave to keep an eye out for them at camp. He did get to chat with Dwight, and they talked about the necessity of blow up mattresses for this type of camping. I asked Dave if they talked about Christiana… he just said that he told them I know of them, know their story, have donated to their ride. What more is there to say really between two men? It’s not likely to have dissolved into tears and hugging – but it would have if I’d been there! Dave just said, “He knew that I knew…. and we didn’t have to say anything.” I think there was an unposoken bond between Dave and Dwight… among the riders, they are two of the few JA parents riding. With one very painful, very unfair, very irreversible difference that Dave, understandably, did not want to voice out loud.
A very powerful reminder for the riders. Since they are not allowed to have headphones on during the ride (safety and the law) – they have plenty of time to think as they pedal all of those miles! I bet some of them are thinking about Christiana- I know I am, and am following her team’s ride on their blog.- I know she is bringing a sweet breeze in the sunshine that greets them today and every day.
But – to the ride! Monday’s ride will be a mere 40 miles into Big Sur. I’m excited for the riders, as this will surely be one of the prettiest legs of the journey. Bob from Maryland has never seen Redwoods before… he’s in for a treat!