As the most senior of the riders I choose not to blog about the scenery, the road conditions, the inconveniences or the various incidents that generate so much laughter. I’ll leave that to the younger “electronic generation”. They do a great job. As we ride in our van for 6-8 hours a day, I constantly marvel at my teammates (most of whom are younger than my own children) playing with their Blackberrys, Ipods, Ipads, Droids, etc. I remind them regularly that I did my college physics calculations on a slide-rule. Nevertheless, I REALLY did stay in a Holiday Inn last night.
Thus far we’ve had three safe rides. Yesterday our ride covered 80 miles and included the end of the Natchez trace and an exhilirating ride across the Mississippi River, from Mississippi to Louisiana.
I was fortunate to have both Buddy and Bob, our two mechanics, that decided to ride with us, coaching me throught the ride.
To me the ride remains about the journey and those we honor and memorialize. I personally remain firmly entrenched in this mission and objective.
I ride for the many relativers, friends and neighbors that have contributed to my efforts and for the 87 people whom I honor and memorialze. Their names appear on my bike tag and on the back of a special T-shirt I wear.
The purpose of why I ride was never more apparent than an experience I had yesterday morning. As Buddy and I were riding down the Natchez Trace, with his voice cracking from emotion. He told me about his wife Penny, one of our warriors and a cancer survivor. Although it was still dark I could not see the tears in his eyes but I could hear the emotion in is voice. Buddy was very candid in his praise for her friendship, strength, spirit and resolve in her battle. This is the reason that we ride, for Penny and the others that we honor and memorialize.
Father time will certainly affect how much longer I can continue to be a rider. Let us NEVER lose sight of the “REASON WE RIDE”. The ride represents a CHALLENGE to each and every one of us for many different, then again the same reasons. I firmly believe “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass it is about learning to dance in the rain”.
Today we’re off at noon for the Conquistadors last six-hour ride One of the teams will be riding into Austin this evening. Today, in riding with my teammates, throughout the route I will remind myself of those I honor and memorialize. I will continually reflect on the fact that the challenge the rides present to me are pale in comparison to the pain and suffering endured by those affilcted by this dreaded disease. AUSTIN HERE WE COME.