Dear team FARA (and the FA community) - you are amazing.
I joined Team FARA because I am terribly vulnerable to Kyle's sales pitches. Upon arriving in Oceanside, I will now admit, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. Other than what the title implies, the Race Across America was a mystery to me; turns out, this was a good thing. As the race rules, crew rotations & required equipment were revealed, I found myself questioning the sanity of the riders and the crew I was about to join on this journey (especially that of Sheriff Gore).
Along the course of this ride, we traveled 3,000 miles through 12 states in just over 200 hours. We hoisted the bikes/trikes on to their respective racks over 500 times. We consumed hundreds of sandwiches & wraps (although surprisingly only one PBJ wrap) and drank enough caffeine to at least accommodate the morning rush at your local Starbucks (perhaps Tracy can back me up on this one). We experienced rural America at the comfortable speed of 15.1 MPH, although we would have liked to pick this pace up a bit in Kansas (only joking Kansas - your sunsets and Buffalo meat alone were worth the journey). We encountered an assortment of weather: hot, cold, humid, rain, lightning and wind to name a few.
(see what I'm talking about - Kansas is what's happening)
The crew was unphased by sleep deprivation, hilarious comments from navigators or annoyingly late camera guys - keeping the riders safe at all times and only seldom leading them off course (sorry Sean Baum). The RV, despite its overstuffed nature (both human and let's just say "crap") was at all times a sanctuary - all the credit in the world to Diane, Tracy & Paul. The riders were an inspiration, waking up only four hours after their last shift to go do it again, almost always (exception, Sean Baum) with a smile on their face.
Unlike most teams, Team FARA gained momentum throughout the race. The supporters that drove for hours to cheer us on, gave us inspiration. The letters provided by Mary lifted us up. And the bonds that we developed with our fellow crew members gave us even more reason to be there. While I signed up for this trip to support my friend Kyle, by the third day I realized all that I was fighting for: Mary and her daughters, Mike & Diane, Felicia, Sean, Bob, Steve & Erin, Paul, Mike A, Sheriff Gore & Sam, Phil, Aaron, Deputy Lockwood, Mike M & Tracy; for supporters along the way and those awaiting our arrival at the finish; for those checking the blog on a daily basis; for hope. I wasn't the only one subject to this infectious force. We were joined by a camera crew, which through countless hours of driving behind four inspirational riders, saw their passion for a film grow into passion for a cause. It is only through their commitment (and repeated acts of God), that their beater RV (Rainbow Fox) made it across the country...now I wonder if it will make it back.
To my friend Kyle: you are amazing. After every pull as I would help lift you out of the trike - I pondered how many people you were helping to lift up in some way (myself included). I know you are inspired by those supporting you; but you will never know how much inspiration you provide. Suffice to say, you are the world's smallest Barney (but a Barney nevertheless). I will follow you, wherever you may go (just steer clear of Kansas in the future). I love you, man.
Lastly (yes, this should indicate I'm almost done here), I must comment on Team FARA's #1 finish. Because the other team in our pision did not finish, we took first place and were quite literally the only team in our pision. I find this fitting because there really was no other team like us in the Race Across America. A group of rookies, most of whom have little to no cycling experience (riders excepted), decide to join one borderline lunatic on a journey that even he would admit was crazy...Team FARA for short. Looking at what we accomplished, with a supporting cast of hundreds of amazing people - is it really that crazy to think that we could cure FA?