The three-day bike ride, the sun, wind and the occasional near miss with another cyclist, car or obstacle were nothing as compared to the experience after the ride. Many people were riding for someone, perhaps in honor of someone who is still alive or in many cases, someone who had passed.
Some of these women did the ride a year ago and now people were riding in their memory. Standing around a pickup truck after the first day drinking cold beverages, I heard about the sisters, sister-in-laws, mothers and daughters who people made sure to remember on their bikes, their jerseys and in their hearts.
Dinner as a group was filled with more stories from caregivers, families and friends. Honestly, this was harder than peddling a bike, even into a headwind, with sore legs and bottom. It made riding a bike seem pedestrian compared to what some people face with the toll it takes on their families and ultimately their life. It makes you appreciate the health you have, the ability you have to ride for others who cannot. Those 50, 60 or 100 miles are quickly forgotten when you hear about journeys that aren’t solved by shifting gears or conveniently pulling over for some carbohydrates and hydration.
As a tissue pathologist, these experiences remind me that “every slide is a life” in a way you cannot see in a laboratory alone. And something I would not have experienced had I simply mailed a check and “called it even”.
Our team “Why We Ride” raised over $100,000 for YSC! See you all next September!