Dear family and friends,
It felt different as I prepared for Death Valley this year. Last year, I felt unbridled, nervous excitement. This year was much more of a desire to be there already and a feeling of comfort; I knew much more what to expect of the ride and the experience. I can’t articulate the feeling of being in Death Valley for this ride very well. There’s a peace, a quiet joy, almost a “coming home”. The raw beauty of the surroundings, the focus on a single cause, and the connection with others is unbelievable, and makes this ride so special to me. We did it! and I hope to do it again next year!
We left for Nevada on Wednesday, and the trip started off with a bit of unplanned “excitement”. My bike was still in transit, and I had been following up with UPS. Wednesday morning, on the way to the airport, UPS informed me the package was “lost”; my bike was lost. I was incredibly disappointed - I wouldn’t be able to ride! I decided I would volunteer instead, cheer on my team members, and enjoy the experience. Then, Thursday morning I walked past the outdoor bike shop after breakfast, and there IT WAS! My bike was simply sitting there, set up and ready to go. Back to plan A: ride my ride. Whoo hoo!
Thursday Gary and Kevin rode up to Dante’s View. A 25- mile, 5500- foot climb from our hotel (the ranch). I was their SAG support for a very tough ride! I was a bit nervous; I wanted it to go really well. We had breakfast, packed up the car, and off they went with me following in the SUV. There was lots of water, Gatorade, pickles and chips along the way. It was a great experience! They did it, and it was difficult! The wind was crazy strong, and the ride was directly into the wind for the toughest part of the climb.
We had lunch at the top with a gorgeous view. I really enjoyed being SAG support, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Friday we went site seeing, though I’m not sure it was relaxing ☺. We logged more than 22,000 steps. We took in some of the sites closer to the ranch this year. We visited Badwater Basin’s salt flats, the natural bridge, Golden Canyon, Devil’s Golf Course, and Artists Pallette. It was amazing. Some places looked like I imagined another planet might. There were gorgeous views and lots of walking!
Ride day dawned early.
We started off together near the front and stayed that way for a while. It was a beautiful day with temps in the mid 80s, and only a slight wind to start. I joined a group from Southwest Ohio, shortly after my first rest stop. We stayed together in a pace line for a while, which was so helpful when the wind really picked up after Mormon Point. I rode much of the ride alone after that – lots of reflection time ☺, and opportunity to challenge myself. Jubilee Pass was just as hard for me this year I think, in some ways more so, because I knew what a tough climb it would be and how much patience it would require. Those of you who know me, know that patience can be a struggle for me! And I did it!
The ride back was so much better than last year. I had saved some energy and planned better mentally and with nutrition. It also helped that it wasn’t as hot this year; I so appreciated the cooler weather.
It was a great ride! I achieved my goal to improve my time over last year – YAY! More importantly, we raised more than $1.2 million for diabetes research on this ride alone.
I also achieved another “bucket list” item this year – sleeping in an airport! With bad weather in Chicago, our flight was diverted to Denver allowing us to “nap” in the Denver airport before catching a later flight home.
And yet, I wouldn’t have missed this ride or this trip. Like last year, it was wonderful and special.
Thank you! I couldn’t have done this without the support and encouragement of my teammates. The training rides, the laughter, the coaching, and the friendly challenges throughout the season kept me going and reminds me that family comes in many forms. And I couldn’t have done this without your generosity and support. You were with me every pedal stroke, for every mile.
Together we did this; Together we’re making a difference!
Please visit my ride site to see previous summaries and how I did with my fundraising! https://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR?fr_id=7373&pg=personal&px=11310645
With warmest regards,