December 8, 2018
Every weekend, the Texas 4000 team has a custom of doing Saturday rides. In our preparation to to reach Anchorage, Alaska, 2000 miles is our number to reach. And so every Saturday morning, while the rest of the city sleeps, 86 of us get up to put on our gear and head out into the cold. With the sun just scratching our backs, we reflect on those we ride for and share the stories of the ones we love.
It’s beautiful, in a way; to chase the sunrise with our jerseys flapping in the wind; the message “Fighting Cancer Every Mile” serving as our emblem of purpose to others. With the breeze constantly in our hair and smiles etched on our faces, the line between reality and imagination can feel blurry.
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Every day we bike is a challenge. But sometimes there are days that are much more challenging than others. This was one of them.
The morning was cold, just about 40 degrees. It felt bearable in the parking lot where we began. But for some reason, as the day went on, it seemed like the temperature dropped even further. Our route was to Round Rock and back, a length totaling just over 40 miles; our longest distance yet.
It started raining a good amount, something our team was now accustomed to. But the mix of poor weather, rough terrain and long distance made the ride extremely difficult.
And when we usually see teammates on the side, a quick nod and a shout to make sure they’re ok will suffice. But when you see them run out underneath the highway bridge with a stricken look on their face, it only tell you one thing: something’s wrong.
It was fortunate to hear that no broke or sprained anything crossing the tracks underneath the bridge. But hearing others retell what happened was hard to digest. A few had bruises; some had to be taken to the hospital for concussions and stitches. Our group were already three hours into the ride, and the exhaustion felt was almost palpable.
But there was an air of resilience. Somehow, in the midst of all that was happening, we found the energy and to continue on with our ride. We found the strength to finish despite the cold, rain, and multiple flats sustained. And when we were done, we found the time to check up on each other to see how we were doing.
Seeing what happened today has given me so much faith in what our team can accomplish. In the worst conditions, all of us found the ability to find love in each other and in the little things.
Maybe that’s the key ingredient we need to get to Alaska.