We left Seattle about a week ago and after surviving a terrible fever I have had time to reflect on our Journey. I spoke with a few teammates and the general feeling is that the time spent on the bike was wet, cold and extremely difficult. However everyone came away with a positive experience. Each person challenged him/herself every day and in the end we came together as a team to encourage each other to the finish each day.
I think everyone agrees that this is not something that any of us would have done if we did not have a reason to ride out on a limb for a deserving cause. In fact, at times the travel was quite treacherous:
But despite the horrendous riding conditions we managed to have fun:
And we kept moving toward our goal with purpose. Our purpose was to improve ourselves personally in hopes that we would benefit others at the same time. I am confident that we accomplished these goals as I hear positive feedback from teammates and as I see the research dollars continuing to trickle in. We have already doubled our fundraising goal and the total keeps rising as we passed $220,000.
There were a number of defining moments during this ride, but a particularly significant one came 2 miles before the end on a 21% grade incline. Without a feasible alternate route, cyclists were left with no other choice but to climb this wall of a hill. In a striking parallel to facing the challenges of life with FA, the nearly 70 cyclists dug in and approached the uphill battle with determination and perseverance. Many of the recumbent trikes were unable to gain traction on such a steep incline; so their teammates abandoned their bikes and helped push them up. Other teammates picked up the abandoned bikes and cyclists reported that very few words were exchanged- just recognition of need followed by action.