It's been a few weeks now since the Pelotonia and life still hasn't slowed down enough for me to take a break and recap this great ride, so I'm stealing a few minutes at work. It is fresh in my mind because I just wrote the thank you letter we will be sending to our donors and I want to blog just a bit while it's in my head.
The ride was much more fun for me than last year. I know where I'm going now and had trained more properly for the long ride. Hills weren't something I trained for, but at least I'd racked up a few 50 mile rides prior to the big day. Knowing where you're going is not overrated in the slightest. I knew every big hill, dangerous intersection and even when to save water between fill-ups. I guess that's what you'd call a veteran, and at 2 out of the 3 years the ride has existed, I did feel a bit like a pro at it.
Amanda and I were separated the day of the ride. Luckily, she and Mom could ride together, but the 43 milers were released in a different time than the 102 and we couldn't afford to wait the extra hour to go. The early morning hours are so critical when you're riding as far as we were. By the time we got into mile 70, the heat was terrible and an air quality alert was out. If weren't out of the hills by then, the girl riding with us might not have made it. She was already strapped for lung and energy capacity as it was.
I think this year's ride had a lot more gravity to it than last year. Becky, a family friend of Amanda's, died the week of the Pelotonia despite the best treatment available and heartfelt prayers for a miracle until the very end. She left behind a young husband and younger children, one of which is too young to even ever have a memory of her mother. It is for the future of people like this that we rode and I know Becky weighed heavily on both Amanda's and my minds as we rode towards the finish line, only to leave from there to a wake.
The people on this day are so amazing. I know I said this last year too, but as you ride through towns, up hills, past farms, and even at the random hilltop stop in the Hocking Hills, there were people out ringing cowbells, cheering, honking and waving at us. They were so supportive of our efforts and I felt very appreciated. For those of you who supported us during the ride or before it in some way or another, I just want to pass along these peoples' appreciation to you. To quote the great Red Green, "Remember, we're all in this together, and I'm pulling for you."
Pelotonia has already raised $9.5 million and it's still about 40 days from the fundraising ending. We're sending out thank yous now, and in about 2 months this all starts again. It feels like this Pelotonia adventure never ends, especially now that Amanda and I are captaining a group which is ever-expanding (hopefully 10+ riders in 2012). With such a large group, we're going to need bigger corporate sponsors (Thanks this year to Champion Feed & Pet Supply, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and Amanda Hills Spring Water) totaling close to $10,000. If you know of anyone or want to join our cause, keep an eye out for a link to a Facebook group for 2012. It's the next step after our thank yous.
Our day ended with a country concert by a group called Bomshel. I was pretty content to just sit there and eat big, drink a beer and listen to them. But even though the day was over, our work is far from done. Patients still need treatments, children need to know about preventions, and families need hope for a cure.