Have you ever been to a big event like a wedding where you know a ton of people? That is how Ride Ataxia Portland felt to me. This was my second year attending and first time riding. The weather man had us down for rain, rain and more rain. I arrived at the event around 8am. The sun was peeking out and it was not raining. Yay!
There were friends, family, coworkers and many FA families as well. There were so many people to talk to and just a quarter of the people were there this early. The hour flew by. At 9am the 24 & 36 mile rides started. Everyone lined up and they were off! It then hit me that most of the members on my teams were doing the 12 mile route and we were doing a group photo afterwards. I am slow and needed more time so I left on my route at 9:10am rather than 10:00 like the rest doing the 12 mile route. My son, who is 10, rode with me all 12 miles right by my side.
It was very peaceful, beautiful scenery and nice and flat. We rode and rode and different groups of people would pass us at various times. I knew about 35% of the riders so they would slow down and visit with us. It was nice to see everyone and their energy helped to keep me going. Towards the end of the ride there was 1 uphill area. I prefer the downhill’s but I made it! The finish line was so close but so far away.
My goal was 12 miles in 2.5 hours and I made it, the farthest I have ever ridden. When I got to the finish line, there stood at least 40 people from my teams cheering me on and happy of my achievement. I "crawled" off my trike and took a few work group photos. I have a ton of support from my company and it is amazing!
I visited with a few people and decided it was time to get my lunch from the Outback. The line went fast and while standing there it started to sprinkle and soon after that it started pouring. Just in time for some of the riders but there were some still riding. I scarfed down my delicious lunch and visited with more people. Kyle and Sam did some announcements, talked about trials going on and we had a raffle on some Sam Adams loot. The day was flying by!
There were at least 5 new FA families, one of which is a very close new friend, Becky. I was so worried all morning about Becky as she has not been on her trike that much for a few years. She signed up for the 6 mile ride and her husband, mom, friends, sister and nephew rode with her. Before the ride she thought she could do just 1 mile. I finally found Becky shortly after 1pm. Becky did all 6 miles and this was during the pouring rain! Becky is one of my heroes and I am so proud of her and her achievement!
The day turned out to be amazing! The ride nearly raised $50,000 for FA research. I am appreciative and grateful for all the support and donations.
Want to see more? Please visit Jeff Kennel Photography to view more of the great pictures captured at Ride Ataxia Portland!