The fact that there is a wind farm where we begin the ride to Delta probably should be the sign that I should not be surprised that it is always windy there. We began the day by climbing up Sacramento pass into a pretty strong wind but I pushed hard going up the hill because I wanted to get there fast. It is almost a bittersweet time that we spend at the top of that mountain. So many names written on the road represents so much pain and suffering and loss, so many lives impacted by cancer. But also there were names of those who have been victorious in their fight and each of us celebrated every name in our own way. To those people whose names I wrote, who are in the midst of their battle now, thank you! It is an honor to represent you on this ride and it is for you that we all will keep riding and keep raising funds. To those who have lost their battles, we have not forgotten you. You have left big empty spaces in our lives and we remember you.
After our time on Sacramento Pass we headed down the mountain and across a seemingly endless valley where the crosswinds were so strong that we stayed together in a tight bunch and not a word was said for 15 miles or more. Gradually we started riding toward the north where a swift tailwind brought us the last 50 miles into Delta. Apparently a tail wind coming into Delta has never happened and like the previous days, when the wind is at our backs at the end of the ride, we seem to forget fast how hard it was earlier.
After some time to rest and a shower we all met for dinner and after we ate we had some time where each of us shared some thought about what the ride meant to us. When I first contemplated doing the ride last year I wasn’t sure what I had to offer this group of big strong guys but having done the ride twice now it is clear that everyone in the group has something unique to give, whether it is a long pull to keep others out of the wind, or even just a little slow down to help pull someone back into the group, or help changing a tire or a water bottle with ice. I am so thankful that Jeff started this ride! What started as Jeff doing a solo bike ride across the desert has now become an event with massive momentum toward raising funds for Huntsman Cancer Institute to continue their mission and I am so thankful to be able to participate in this effort.
Today we will all enjoy a bit of much needed rest and relaxation before we ride to the doors of Huntsman tomorrow. And then begin again in preparation for Ride from Reno 2014!
Day 4 is in the bag – at least my legs think so, but my Garmin says “no history for today”, so I guess I just lounged around in a support car. It’s a bit frustrating because today I decided to push my limits and see what would happen. I worked hard on the two major climbs, spend a lot of time with my nose in the side wind and dropped off a couple of times to help someone who was a little slower. I did well on the first climb to catch Ravell just at the top but see Todd off in the distance. The second climb I summited all by myself. But losing a few stats is of little consequence – I have had several offers to take me back to the start of the day and do it again, think I will pass.
The ride is about fund raising for cancer, not bagging King of the Mountain points. This point is brought home on top of Sacramento pass. This pass is a hard 6 mile climb from where we started this morning and is a fitting place to stop and honor those who have lost their battle, in the middle of their battle or who have put cancer in its place and walk away free. Lots of chalk went on the road at the top giving long lists of people we honor. I did something a little different this year. I brought along a bottle and we put names in the bottle and placed in on the hill above the road cut under a pile of rocks. The spot catches early morning sun and has a commanding view of the mountain in the distance. We place the names of 96 people in the bottle. I pan to come back next year and add more names to the bottle. It would be great if someday I could come and not have new names to add. That would mean we are making real progress against cancer. With your help we can [translated that means donate now].
Two weeks ago tomorrow I was able to trash the crutches I had used for three months while my broken leg healed. I put on my biking kit, hobbled to the garage, put on my biking shoes, got on the bike and took off. As a lesson from my struggle with cancer I was determined to do what ever I could to get ready for the ride then see what the Lord would bring. The hard work and prayers (of many) have paid off and here I am in Delta 1040 miles later and 491 miles in the last 4 days and feeling far better than I expected. This is all good news for me, but others are not as fortunate. My good friend, Mark, called a bit ago with news about his last scan. His cancer has not been controlled and he needs to start another series of treatments. This sucks worse than a 40 MPH side wind coming out of Ely. Our prayers are with you Mark and hopes that the treatments will work this time and you find the wind at your back. One thing you can count on is that we all have your back!
Please, give someone with cancer a call, or take them some flowers or a ride or cookies. I remember some special friends bringing me cookies and home made candy – what a treat – what a memory. Go give someone good memories.
What a Day! What a fantastic group to share this experience with! We rode out of the chute today uphill to the top of Sacramento Pass. It is on this..now almost sacred…summit that we pause to remember specifically some of the many individuals we ride for…..present, fighting the Monster, and passed. There were nearly a hundred names chalked onto the road; names of loved ones, friends, family, wives, mothers, siblings, children. As i looked around i saw those riding this ride and giving support who themselves are survivors or still suffering from Cancer. They know only too well the dread of the diagnosis, the pain and emotional toll of the treatment, and the incredible importance of the RESEARCH needed to defeat the Monster.
The daughter in law of one of the riders is now battling Melanoma. Her stage is advanced. But already, since the time of my Son-in-law’s passing from Melanoma the treatments have improved to be able to give her time and hope unprecedented before.
Again, if Cancer hasn’t affected you yet, IT WILL.
What a tender after-dinner sharing of feelings was had this evening. Hearts were opened; tears were shed; bonds forged on the road were strengthened. We have become family.
To Kathy, Joyce, Bev, Alan, Kathy, Marene, Marci, Deanna, Julie, Patricia, Tracey, Marian….and SO many more…..and those that lost their battles: Bryce, Mike, Gene, and….. you were in my thoughts and heart today on that Summit. I carry your names with me on the ride.
Again, we are all in this together, and we must win the battle together. h140.kintera.org; enter Dan Sellers; contribute to the CAUSE as you are moved to do so. THANKS
Day four. Quite the emotional day is an understatement. Our special time at the top of Sacramento Pass can not be explained. All the names written in chaulk on the road of cancer suvivors and non survivors put this whole ride into perspective. We ride for all of them. As was said this evening at dinner it is not about the bike ride at all. It is about doing our part to give others hope who have this horrible disease. I was honored to be part of this event and to be able to meet, ride, suffer,share and work for a common goal to fight cancer. Lastly this continued effort to fight cancer is because of Jeff Warren and his persistent tenacity to rid the world of cancer. I admire him and proud to be associated with this group and Jeff.
For those that know me you realize that I am seldom without words. But I am unable to express the feelings of this ride. I am Rich’s support. Denise did an excellent job of sharing our job description. Filling water bottles may seem like a small job, but if it is not ready at the right time, it is frustrating for the rider. Today I put one of those construction flags on my bike rack. It was easier for Rich to pick out where I was parked and get his drink quickly. No one wants to take a very long break. Legs cramp up and body parts that you didn’t know were hurting start to scream at you. But this is what is so amazing to me. It is evident from the visible wounds of road rash, to stretching, to taking a cat nap on the ground in the shade of a vehicle that these riders are tired, and hurting. The wind has just about blown them off the road. And yet they come in to a stop all smiles. They are thankful for the support. The statements of hurting body parts are simply statements -not complaints. I am pretty sure that I would be whining and making sure everyone felt my pain. And for me this is how I see many who suffer from cancer. Like Jason, they don’t want any extra attention. They don’t want special priviledges. They smile when they are hurting. They lift others when they need to be lifted. Incredible riders, incredible cancer warriors. Thanks Jeff for allowing us to share this incredible journey. by Vicki Linton