Day 4 – Denise

This is Darcie and I’s 5th year doing this ride and every year is different.  The road may be the same, but weather, people and emotions are different.

Let me be a bit personal for a moment.  In the past two months we have lost both of my parents and Darcie’s grandmother.  Darcie came into this ride with less preparation because of the multiple funerals we had over 6 weeks.  She was unsure if she would be able to make it the whole way, and didn’t want to hold back the team.

We have both felt my parents with us during this week…we know they were with us and helped Darcie along the way.  So let me fast forward to yesterday, I got to Sacramento Pass before Darcie and started writing names on the road.  Now Sacramento Pass is supposed to be a place to honor those who have or have had Cancer, which we did….but for me this time it was a different kind of honor.

What I’ve come to know is this….grief takes time, and if we didn’t love them it wouldn’t.  While my parents didn’t die of cancer, many who’s names were written on that road yesterday did….and their loved ones grieved them just as I do mine.  My parents lived long lives in relatively good health, and there was no suffering at the end.  Many who’s names were written on that road did not have that good fortune.  Even those who have won their battle with cancer did not do so easily, there is no easy battle against cancer.

So – for those of you grieving your loved ones who didn’t win the battle…I grieve with you.  I understand it differently now….IMG_0937

Now to Team Kai including you Dixie –  Your battle is just beginning – I can’t begin to imagine all that you are going to go through or feel….but I know this…we love you.  We will stand with you, cry with you, listen to you and be there when you need us.  The fight is real and you can do this!

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From the windmills to Delta – from Darcie

As we rode away from the windmills I had a bittersweet feeling.  As much as everyone is tired and has sore bums and sore legs and sore everything else, the ride into Delta is our last ride together as the 2016 Ride from Reno group.  The next time we ride together we will be part of a much larger group riding in the Huntsman 140 – an event that started a few years ago because of Jeff and his efforts.  As of this post, riders in the H140 have raised over $434,000 to support cancer research.  The energy and momentum created by such a big group of people, united in their purpose for riding, is a very powerful thing.  It’s just different than our little group of 10.

The writing of names in chalk on the road at the top of Sacramento Pass is a focal point of this ride.  This is our way of saying we remember you, we miss you, we love you, we are supporting you and doing everything we can do to stand with you in your fight with cancer.

From there we rolled down the hill to the Utah border.  For the next 90 miles I am both wanting to just hurry and get to Delta, and wanting to have every moment last. Usually along that last 60 miles into Delta I have to coach myself not to look at the green mile-marker signs.  Seeing the numbers tick down one by one seems to amplify everything that hurts.  That was not a problem this year at all however because we covered those miles so quickly that all I could really do was concentrate on not losing contact with the group (which translates to all I could really do was hang on for dear life!)

When we finally reach the outskirts of Delta, I am amazed at the distance we have covered and how far we have come.  Sunglasses make it so no one can see my tears.  So relieved to finally be to the hotel in Delta, yet so sad that this chapter has come to a close.

And now for a much needed day of rest in Delta!  Thank you so very much to Denise and all the other support families.  As riders we really could not do this ride without you.  We couldn’t make it without you being at the top of every hill with food and drinks, fixed with care so as to make the ride a tiny bit easier.  Denise also does a wonderful job of keeping our friends and family up to date on FB while I am riding, and that too makes a huge difference.  Your messages to me are big boosts of encouragement.

And so tomorrow we will join hundreds of other riders who are united in our cause.  Everyone who rides tomorrow will have names of friends and families and loved ones, just like we do.  Everyone who rides will have stories of how cancer has impacted their lives, and many will be survivors themselves.

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Jason Bleak – Day 4 ride into Delta

Ever had one of those days where you just: don’t want to go to work; can’t get motivated; everything hurts; want to quit???? It seems I am on day 4 of feeling that way.
I have been among the slowest on every climb, the group is always waiting for me, and they never complain or even start to mention that I am holding them up, so this is completely internal to me.
I have an abundance of internal pride and while this attribute has helped me to be reach goals it also can be very negative. It is very difficult for me to accept help, I would rather be the one doing which really can limit the growth of those around me. So I feel like this constant battle is ever raging and this ride has the ability to expose weakness. Today almost from the start my weakness was in plain view.

The ride up to Sacramento pass: the group escorted Jeff who is the only cancer survivor with us on the bike. I was dropped early. Rob was kind enough to come back and just ride along keeping me in quiet company (quiet by my choice as my conditioning is poor and my breathing heavy for the moderate exertion). Rob is a great guy and he just rode along in silence. I was not the least upset that I was dropped rather I was upset that I was not holding my own.
Sacramento pass is emotional. We wrote the names of the people we are riding for, personalizing this day to the fullest extent. It is exhausting emotionally and I spend the majority of this day on the verge of tears. So many names written in the road, so many which have passed away. It is impressive watching this group of cyclists and support personnel, walk among chalk written names on the asphalt like they are the most precious and fragile artifacts purposefully stepping to miss the names. Make no mistake, these names are precious and some are fragile and all of this is very personal.

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Up Cowboy pass I was again the slowest. Jeff and Joe came back for me at the top of the first rise. Jeff has always had the ability to get me talking so we chatted while riding. Dan came back to join my caterpillar pace as we neared the summit of cowboy pass.
Next we rode down from Cowboy pass and across the valley I like to call the “blast furnace”. Every time we enter this valley the temperature goes up 10F, the group slowed several times to keep me intact. Again not a single whimper from anyone in the group and my pride was taking punishment and thoughts of my ability to contribute were negative. I finally asked Darcie if she would share some Advil (she immediately and willingly did) which I needed to diminish the constant, nagging, discomfort from my bike seat.

Then it was up the last real climb of the day. Short, just one long sweeping left turn for about a mile. Again I was off the back and Darcie and Jeff stayed with me. It was clear that the group was absolutely willing to suffer with me on this day.

Finally we start the long road to Delta. The entire group was helping maintain pace so I could stay with them. Still very disappointed in my absence of preparation and how I was holding up the group I rode to the front in an effort to start a pull. The group did not come. Only Jeff came for a couple minutes and told me we had a gap. Jeff slowed up to return to the main group but I pushed on, now my thoughts were just stay out front and they will try to catch you, which will speed up the trip into town, when I blow up I will either go out the back or get in the car. This started at about mile 88 for the day.
At 90 I thought they must be right behind me so just push on and amazingly the thoughts of quitting started to vanish, the focus on my physical pain was also gone (this could have been Darcie’s Advil finally kicking in), I had found new purpose in trying to be the rabbit for the group to chase. The group was not there so I thought I would try to get to 95 then 98 then 100 before they would catch me. I had Chandler and Chelsea giving me motorized handups so I did not have to stop for water. Every time I felt like slowing I would stand and push back to 30 mph. Mile 100 came and went and no group. The support cars were continually passing me so I figured the group was just behind me. I pushed more.
When you have a gap you never look back the only thing that matters is are you pushing yourself, you have made a decision and now you just have to stick with it. If you look back and there is no pursuit you will have a tendency to slow just to self-conserve. If you look back and the group is in pursuit there really is little you can do to hold them off so you have a tendency to again let up. So it was eyes forward and just push. Worst that could happen is the group would be chasing me, making better time into delta, and/or I might implode.
Through all of the final leg to Delta the conditions were perfect for riding on level ground, wind at our backs and blowing at least 25 mph.
If you are a cycling fan you well know that a single rider rarely stays away from a group so I knew they would be passing me at any minute. It never happened. I stopped at the west edge of Delta on Main Street and waited for a minute, then rode slowly through town to the motel where all of the support vehicles were waiting. I rode by as they cheered and I was feeling guilty. This is not a race there is no stage to be won, no crown of personal glory for being first. I circled back to Main Street and waited several more minutes and finally here came the group. Every one of them happy that I had been able to ride well despite having to pull me all morning. It is an incredible selfless group.
So the day is done, I did not give in to my weaker side and get in the car. It took knowing that anyone fighting cancer can’t just call a time out from their treatment combined with the peer pressure I feel being in this amazing group, to keep me from being a quitter today.
The important lessons for me today: we are always stronger as a unified group; quality people will help you improve especially when what they are asking you to do is difficult; trust that you can continue and that the pain is only temporary; self pity and sole focus on your own pains only magnifies them and finally; it helps to have a cause/purpose which is greater than you.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I think I can get through that one just fine.

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Day 4

Day 4 was tough but in many ways bittersweet. Watched as the agony and anger that cancer causes fuel this group who cares so deeply to ride in ways that are so hard to explain. Not that there should be any doubt about getting to Delta, but as the ride wore on I watched as several among our group got stronger and stronger. The focus of every aspect get sharper and sharper when the opposite would have been expected. I found myself reflecting on many of the lesson that my kids have been kind enough to try and teach me. I learn more when I listen, I love more when I give and I am often wrong, though I hate to ever admit it. I am blessed to have them care enough to tell me what I am too reckless to see. Today was a good day to see the truth in what they said. Better yet was to witness it.
Thanks for letting me a part of this. Hoping to heal up a bit and roll on in on Saturday.

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Day 4 – East of Ely to Delta

Day 4 is emotional as we write names of loved ones who battle or have battled cancer on the road at Sacramento Pass. I’m glad to be a part of this experience.

We have some nice photos to show you

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

Ride From Reno day four, Thursday, June 16, 2016.

today from Chandler, Chelsea and me.

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Support – Day 4 – Vicki Linton

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A support person does lots of waiting. But today as two people crossing the United States on horses came by, I was extremely thankful for my “speedy” cyclists. These horsepeople will cover approximately 25 miles a day. That works out to be about 4 months. I support Rich for 4 days and I feel pretty proud of myself. I have one car and can get that car almost anywhere. The horsepeople support has a huge trailer (with living quarters in case they don’t make it to an actual town) hundreds of gallons of water, bales of hay, etc. You get the picture. My 5 gallon gott cooler filled with water was about the amount one horse drank at their rest stop. A horse walks about 4 miles an hour. Today our guys averaged about 25 miles per hour. Yes today I was grateful that Rich was on a bike instead of a horse.

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Round 4

Would somebody please ring the bell for me 4 times…I’m a little tuckered.  What a totally emotional and physically draining day.  For weeks, those who have ridden from Reno before, have warned me day 4 is the toughest.  Fatigue, heat, Highway 50 that drags on forever, and the emotional strain that comes from the events atop Sacramento Pass.  They were not kidding.  However, as I will explain, the day was one to remember for a lifetime.

Starting from our end point yesterday next to the windmill field, we were instantly into the climb up Sacramento Pass, knowing at the top we would break and take time to write names of loved ones and others who have, are currently battling , or did not survive this damnable disease.  Unfortunately, we all went through a ton of chalk as we wrote the names on Highway 50, dodging cars as they came by.  As soon as I arrived and dismounted my trusty steed, I was an emotional wreck.  Floods of emotion, wonderful memories, and pains that wrench my very soul, all hit at once.  We wrote Grandpa Smith, Wayne & Sherry Westergard, JaKell Westergard, and of course our sweet Navy Bishop on the Highway in chalk.  Then took photos with posters we created of these wonderful loved ones.  We also wrote the names of other dear loved ones and close friends who are survivors and those who have lost their battle on a poster and snapped forever photo’s.  For each Rider and Support Team members, this becomes sacred ground.  All my love to so many!!!!

Well, emotionally spent and wondering how in heavens name I’m going to make it to Delta, Utah today I could not fathom.  Legs exhausted, neck and shoulder pain that will not go away, even with miracle drugs, and a fanny that feels as if I’m sitting on shards of glass, we pressed on.  Descending into Snake Valley, dealing with the heat, some wind, and occasional climbs that never disappear.  Finally and hallelujah we crossed into Utah and changed time zones.  I just shake me head thinking we just rode across the entire state of Nevada.  Cool!!!  Now on to Delta where we will rest for a day and prepare to ride the final 140 miles to the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Finalizing our 667 mile journey.

A few side notes:  Thanks to an incredible RFR Team that rode today like a finally tuned racing machine.  Riding shoulder to shoulder and wheel to wheel, total trust and faith in those around you, we killed the final 40 miles.  Amazing when this finally tuned riding machine is firing on all cylinders, maintaining 30+ mph with no breaks for water….if you know anything of cycling you will understand this is pretty amazing.  Super Man kudos to Jason Bleak who, he suggests in a rage of anger for slowing down the team, burst out ahead, never slowing and arrived into Delta on his own will power ahead of the team.  We could not real him in.  Also, and this was so funny….sitting at the back of the pace line, it was like watching a game of “Whack a Mole” at Lagoon.  Every few seconds a rider would pop off their seat because of discomfort, sit back down and then the next would go.  It was awesome even though I felt their pain.  Navy, if this doesn’t make sense, it’s like watching popcorn pop!

There was serious relief when we finally arrived in Delta.  I will admit, I cried my eyes out with Karin and Devin patiently waiting for me to regain my composure.  Karin and Devin simply rocked it today as they rode support behind the team with the “Cyclist Ahead” sign on the rear of the truck.  A long day for them too.

Navy…we love you and all those who finally saw your sweet Princes picture now love and appreciate you and your battle as well.  We all send our love, thoughts and prayers to you and your awesome family…yes even your Mom and Dad.  In a world that tries so hard to not do good things, you help us to gain focus, overcome our own problems, and try to help others as you do.  Keep smiling you beautiful little girl.

Grandpa Smith…I miss you and I’m still trying to BE TRUE just like you always taught me.  Sorry it’s so long tonight.  I could have written forever.

Deepest love and respect!

Todd Smith

 

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Arrived in Delta!

Ely to Delta is done!!!!  Stories and pics to follow later!

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