” What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists… and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want… and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.”
Alexander Graham Bell
Dave was up early this morning, as usual. But because it was so nice and dry in camp, he didn’t feel compelled to hop out of the tent to try to warm up and dry out. Being up so early can be rough when you are surrounded in close proximity by so many people who clearly value their sleep. You really don’t want to be the guy who wakes up somebody who’s trying to get 6 or 7 hours of sleep after riding over 60 miles. Even wandering through the camp, dodging tents in your size 12 flip-flops might be enough to disturb someone’s precious slumber. (I understand snoring can also be an issue… the rider handbook recommends ear plugs, and I’m sure if you snore like a bear, they probably have a nice spot saved for you on the edge of camp!)
Many of the campgrounds have actually been park or beach environments – places where there was limited power available. The caterers have had to fire up a generator most days in order to brew some coffee and start cooking the fabulous breakfasts. I’m sure that just as Dave was there in the dark asking for last night’s coffee, he was hovering as those first drops of liquid caffeine and heat were ready to steal.
This morning though, was a beautiful start – which is a fortunate way to begin the longest ride of the tour.
Today’s 89 miles took the riders back to the coast, through Santa Barbara and all the way to Ventura. At some points of the day, they were actually riding on the freeway. Dave got some great clips of video…. Naturally, they are a bit shaky as they are taken with a handheld camera as he is riding. But I think they give you a great idea of the scenery, how scenic and quiet some of the route was, and how lively some of it was!
It looked like it might rain early in the morning, and there were some lovely clouds throughout the day… some sprinkles…. but no real problem with rain.
In Santa Barbara, Dave got to meet Lily, another JA warrior friend of ours. Lily and her mom traveled to several of the stops for the day so they could cheer on the riders. Lily’s enthusiasm was a big boost to all those weary pedalers… her energy was boundless, and so were her smiles!
Camp tonight was at San Buenaventura beach. It’s sort of hard knowing that Dave is so close, and we are not there with him. But my oldest son had a football game tonight, and without him, they would have had to forfeit. So, we had to settle for a phone call just before bed. I asked Dave, somewhat jokingly, if I drove to get him would he come home? He said, “Only if you drive me back tomorrow morning at 6am so I can finish the ride!” Sorry honey…. love you and miss you, but we’ll have to settle for seeing you tomorrow:)
Today’s mission moment comes courtesy of Zach Payer, today’s honoree. Zach has Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis that causes many problems particularly in the joints between the spinal bones, and in between the spinal bones and pelvis. It often can lead the growth of painful bone spurs and to the fusing of those joints. It’s one of the lesser known from of arthritis, and one that causes severe pain and limitations, and can also cause inflammation in the shoulders, hips, ribs (arthritis of the ribs?!!!), and small bones of the hands and feet. Seriously nasty stuff. Like with most arthritis, AS causes extreme fatigue… during Zach’s flares, he says he can hardly walk.
I’ve never met Zach – but I got to read his story because of his connection to the ride. I love the fact that he has such high aspirations – and seems so mature and focused for his 18 years. He’s another one that just gives me hope
Tomorrow is the last day of the ride! I can’t wait to greet the riders and welcome Dave home. I’m sure after so long on the road, he’ll be happy to get a night in his own bed, and a shower at home, and hugs and kisses from me and the kids…. but I’m equally sure that this has been an adventure that will be hard to leave behind.
To the ride! A mere 60 miles and I’ll get to hug my Princess and rub my cheek against his stubbly cheek:)