The day begins literally with no warm-up before beginning the ascent of Sacramento Pass. Those who are familiar with the Ride From Reno know- this is where we pay respect to those who have battled cancer- whether they've lost, won, or are still battling. I've told myself all week that if I could take the KOM (King of the Mountain for you non-cyclists) on any summit, THIS was the one I wanted (given my own current battle and my desire to show cancer who's in charge!). Gratefully my legs were strong, and I think Ravell and Larry may have backed off a bit for me (huh, guys?). Regardless, I had the blessing of being able to summit first and take the KOM- only to immediately be hit with the spirit of the summit, and the tears flowed freely.
We took quite a bit of time to write names on the road- sidewalk chalk, spray chalk, spray paint, etc. We do this to memorialize all those who are or have battled, and to remind ourselves that there are TOO MANY names there. We have to find a cure. And, while we search for that, we have to find better treatment to prolong lives and make living better. Here's a shot of all my names:
Note all the OTHER names above and to the left of mine. Then there are those to the right of mine off camera. Then all the names on the other side of the road. This has got to end!
So, once we finished at Sacramento Pass, we bombed down the back side (10-11 miles of sheer bliss @ 30-40 MPH). Then we got his with reality- a lot of it! Side wind. Head wind. Heat. Lots and lots and lots. It was tough. At one point B flatted, and four of us stayed with him, and the five of us were struggling so hard that dear Denise motorpaced us back to the group, a good five miles. Thank you lovely Denise!
After lunch, though, our luck changed, and we got a tailwind (like Monday). After the final climb, the road into Delta is pretty flat overall. And, the tailwind for the most part carried us at 20-26 MPH with little work on our part. Hallelujah. Which reminded me of an Irish Blessing, a part of which is the title of my post today. Given that I have Irish blood in me, I think I'm safe to steal this. It meant a lot in the wind, but as I read it, it means a lot to me regarding the 11 brothers and sister who rode with me, or let me ride with them, from Reno to here. I hope we'll all stick together and ride all the way in tomorrow, but even then we'll have to go our separate ways until we do this again. So, to them I dedicate this Irish Blessing.
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
Jeff Warren, Brian Van Uitert, Jason Bleak, Ravell Call, Larry Peterson, Darcie Strong, Dan Sellers, Mike MacDonald, Joe Plater, Scotty Medine and Rich Linton- much love to all of you. No finer group of cyclists, or people has ever been assembled. I'm a better person for knowing each of you, and I hope you'll know I'm there for you any time and any place.
One more day. 140 miles. But not the end of the journey, just a pause until next year.