I can’t give you a good reason as to why it has taken me six months to write another post about our unbelievable adventure. Was it extraordinary? Yes, Was it everything we hoped for? Yes. Was it beyond – like really beyond? Yes. Would we do it again? In a heartbeat. I cannot describe what it is like to see the country unfold before your very eyes while in the saddle of a bike, with 14 of your closest, and I mean that in a literal sense, friends. Seeing the footage that Jim shot last summer brought it all back to me in a very real, gut touching, heart rendering way. Although, to be honest, there are some parts I don’t have a completely unobstructed memory of, I am putting it all together piece by piece, pedal stroke by pedal stroke, day by day, night by night, moment by moment, hope by hope. I have done many, many challenging things in my life, not the least of which was raising a couple of pretty spectacular women in conjunction with the hunk, but never something as all-encompassing as RAAM. The amount of planning and strategizing that went into a nearly flawless execution was in and of itself a Mt. Everest. The riding was almost easy in comparison. Rallying together a crew who, heaven bless them, were as committed to our goal as we were, dotting all the “i’s”, crossing the “t’s”, learning not to worry when worry might as well be my middle name was, well, was.
So, what do you do with this type of experience so that it will become a foundation for something learned, something used, something to take into the future? I think that is one reason for the delayed post. I could write about how many reps we did, what our studly training looked like, how many miles we rode, what fabulous athletes we all are to conquer wind, heat, rain, equipment malfunction, personality collapses, and a myriad of other stuff that I read on blogs ad nauseum. Or how about a race recap? Day one we did this, day two we did more of this, day three, yep, we did it again . . . yawn. Or how about posting pictures of all the meals we had and the load of training fuel we sipped . . . gag. No, the reality is, and I want to make certain everybody knows this, we are not all that amazing. We did what most could do if their minds were set. And that is the point. Find a goal, find a dream, go for it. Simple as that. The work that goes into meeting a goal will be huge and should be expected, so why talk about that? How many times have I said to the aforementioned spectacular women in my life (who, coincidentally share the same last name as me and my hunk) “Of course it is hard. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it”? You’d have to ask them but I think it is bordering in the millions. You know your mother always told you that there would come a time that your words come back to haunt. There it is. The haunting phrase – “Of course it is hard”. That was one mantra rolling through that vast open space between my ears on many, many occasions during RAAM. That, and “WHO GETS TO DO THIS? MEEEEEEEEEEE!” and, of course “What, another dead frog (or toad, was never really certain which was which) in the road?” Pretty simple, actually.
In the end, Ann and I took our experience, both cognitive and physical, and have started our own non-profit. Love, Sweat & Gears is now an official non-profit corporation with the mission to involve and educate the universe (ok, maybe not the space aliens) to the joy and health benefits of endurance cycling. That is a bit of an embellishment but is the general idea. We intend to provide training and structure for anyone interested in any sort of endurance experience from bicycle touring to racing an endurance event. Our goal is to field a RAAM team annually. Will we be riding ourselves? Just wait and see . . . . . .