Thank You

by

I decided to do the Aids Life Cycle for purely selfish reasons, I wanted to lose weight.  I figured I would be terrified to do the long ride without having done a lot of training and subsequently a great loss of weight.

What began as a completely selfish endeavor has morphed into an experience that I could not have fathomed.  Nor, since I have yet to do the ride, understand.  But I feel compelled to say thank you to all the people that have supported me.

For listening to me talk about what ever bicycle drama I was currently undergoing when someone politely asked how I was doing.  For all the shoulders, and a few floors that I cried on.  For the lovely lady at the Cheese Factory who leaped out of line to get me ice from their machine when I told her I had been stung by a wasp riding.

For all the training ride leaders.  Volunteers,  I keep reminding myself, that they are volunteers, offering to lead us less experienced, naive, bicyclists down roads and over hills in Marin and beyond.  Who have helped me cheerfully change a flat tire or five.  Or helped me get up a hill, San Bruno Mountain, Mt Tam, Marshall Wall, Whites Hill, the first few times I did Camino Alto (which now qualifies as my favorite hill, it’s just so nice and easy).

To everyone who sponsored me in little ways and big.  Sometimes it was a haircut, sometimes it was a hug, or a cup of coffee or a word of encouragement.  Because sponsorship to me was not just about raising the money to do the ride, it was about encouraging me to find my “bike legs”.

Like when Andrew and Christine and Thomas conspired to actually get me in a bike outfit.  I had been riding in Converse tennis shoes, women’s cotton tights (black) and blue jean shorts.  They hauled me over to the Recyclery and got me a pair of shorts, a jersey, some socks, and Thomas loaned me a pair of SiDI biking shoes.  Then he and Andrew put clipless pedals on my bike and hung on a new water bottle carrier and Christine patted my hand while I nervously clipped in for the first time.

Or Robb loaning me his road bike for 8 months until I got the cash up to get my own bike.

For all the people who sent in contributions from all over the country–Madison, Wisconsin, New York, New York, Hallowell, Maine…the Mission.

My awesome employers who not only where some of my first sponsors but also went to their employers and got contributions.  And the kids I take care of for still taking naps!  Sometimes the legs got to rest.

Special thanks to all the guys at Pedal Revolution on Shotwell and 21st who consistently helped me.  Either by giving me steep discounts on bike repairs or by encouraging me in my bike endeavors, and to Clancy for making balloon animals for the monkeys when we came in on one of my frequent stops to pick up my bike.

This is becoming a long Oscar award winning speech and I had no intentions of that.  But every time I go to summarize, another person pops in my head that I need to thank.  There have been so many.  I may have had absolutely horrible intentions for this ride, completely selfish, and self-seeking.  I admit it.  I am abashed by this and awed every time I see a rider in a Poz Peds shirt and realize how blessed I am with my healthy, beautiful body.

It is paradoxical that I have been given so much more than I could have hoped to receive.  Yup, I have lost some pounds, and I am certainly more fit.  But what I really want to say is thank you for the helping of humility, every time I could not figure it out, some one stepped in to show me how to place that tire iron on the wheel, or where was a great place to stop just to breathe and appreciate the view.  And the point, the point of why we still ride.

I have gotten a glimpse into the heart of the event and am so pleased to be a part of, a small cog, a little wheel, another person putting one pedal stroke in front of the next.  Thank you for the journey and I do hope that there is an end.  Or perhaps, a continuation, we ride now to find a cure, to help a human to find care and compassion.  May those rides come to an end.  May we then ride only in remembrance and celebration.

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