Today I experienced something I have never faced on any day of any previous Ride from Reno: cold. Not just cool but very cold. When we left the hotel it was cool and breezy but as we drove out to Cold Springs the clouds got darker and when we got there I got out every piece of cold weather riding clothing I had and put it on. As we left the parking lot, all of us shivering, headed straight into a brisk headwind, I had to remind myself: riding in the cold rain is not on my list of favorite things to do, but it isn’t cancer. My friend Brian left me a bike in his will. Aside from being a pretty organized person in general, I’m sure he wrote the will in contemplation of what would happen if (maybe even when) cancer would take his life. So I thought about what kind of courage that must have taken and I kept pedaling. I also thought about a high school acquaintance who lost her battle with breast cancer earlier this year, leaving behind a husband and small children. I thought about a friend who had surgery today for cancer in her throat. I remembered a colleague at Zions, who also recently lost her battle with breast cancer. We found out about her passing away only a day or two before this ride. These are just some of the people who gave me courage today to keep going.
Fortunately the rain stopped as we headed up Austin summit but the wind was still bitter cold. Normally the picnics at the top are sunny and warm and social but this year we all huddled in our cars with the heat cranked up. I’m not sure about anyone else but I was giving myself a big pep talk about getting back out of the car.
Today it was clear that the intentions of those riding in this group are greater than just their own. Today it wasn’t about how fast anyone got up a hill or who got to the top first or what the average speeds were. Today it was about sticking together and making sure everyone made it up the climbs and then back down, and that everyone was doing ok on the road.
Today my ride is in honor of my friend Debbie. Debbie if you read this please know that I am hoping and praying that your surgery today was a success.