Saturday, October 2, 2010

Final Push

The tickets are purchased.  The bikes are being shipped.  In only 11 days, Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley, CA will be burgeoning with cyclists, support staff, and a few JDRF representatives who are tasked with pulling off a safe, high-octane ride experience. 

Ride weekend is a four day affair (longer for the staff), and a ton of work goes into making everything successful.  There are meals, each prepared for a small army of REALLY hungry people.  There are activities, banquets, and classes, which cover everything from bike fit adjustment to cycling with diabetes.  There are hundreds of bikes, shipped in from every corner, to assemble.  Of course, all those bikes will have to be disassembled, padded, and boxed following the ride.  And, on ride day, SAG wagons will be mobilized, break stations will be readied, and medical staff will be on patrol.  That's just a sampling of the work to be done.

For the cyclists, it's pretty simple.  Catch a plane, show up for chow on time, put your shorts on the right way, and sweat a little in the good ole California sun. 

I am already getting reminiscent.  The buildup for me has been so long, and the anticipation has been so high.  And, I know the end comes pretty quickly.  This has been a great cycling season. I've been blessed with many safe miles and the opportunity to build a lot of friendships.  The donations and messages of encouragement have been humbling.  I'm soon going to say goodbye to my red bike, which I plan to sell upon my return.  (Since I've already shipped my new bike, I'm riding the red one on a sort of goodbye tour).  To top it off, the weather is changing, and the days are surrendering ever earlier to darkness, marking the close of the cycling season.  73 hours in the saddle seem to have flown by.  No kidding, really.

I do have two major goals left to achieve.  Reach $5,000 in donations.  Ride 105 miles in the desert.  If you can help me with the money, I'll do the rest. 

Thanks for helping me achieve and for making this great experience possible.  I can't thank you enough.


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