As the warm water streamed over my face I could taste the salt. I could see the grit flowing off my body and down the drain. I was elated. The general consensus of the ladies in the communal locker room was that this shower was a life-changing experience. The second one today.
Participating in Pelotonia 2018 has changed our lifestyle. Doug and I would head out after work to ride the bike trails around Montgomery County until dusk, then find some food and settle in to watch an episode, rather than binge-watch all evening. Ten miles, then twenty, then thirty miles. We are stronger.
We have learned. Who knew a bike fitting makes a huge difference? What is Chamois Butt’r exactly and what will it do for me? And never, ever go cheap on bike shorts. It matters.
I write this on my phone, sitting in a lawn chair, as I wait at the finish line for my team members. Last year Doug and I waited together at this same finish line for many of these same folks. We committed to Pelotonia 2018 right then and there. Living in Dayton we were unexposed to the phenomenon of Pelotonia. The excitement is infectious. Let the party begin.
We and the Pelotonia 2018 riders left this morning from downtown Columbus at 7 am. IThe stories are shared about the experience but you can't imagine until you are ou there. On the entire route, people turned out to cheer us on. They have kept the cowbells ringing all day. And they thanked us. Thanked us for doing this. Thanked us for raising funds to change the course of people’s lives. Because each family has been touched by cancer in some way.
The entire City of Granville came out or at least it seemed that way. They lined the streets as we rode through town. There was the leather-clad motorcycle club revving their engines in support. The crowd had their cowbells and their appreciation. They had the children and lawn chairs. And a few even offered Bud Light. Or at least their sign said they did. A sense of humor is important when you have body parts going numb.
The Granville rest stop was at 63.6 miles. By that time we had climbed almost 1590 ft in elevation. The rolling hills were to turn into serious climbs over the next 35 miles. After 4 hours and 45 minutes on the bike, I waved goodbye to the rest of the team, kissed Doug for luck, and made Granville the end of my journey. I will train to go the distance next year.
Now, in my lawn chair at the finish line, I sit next to Jessica as we wait for Team Jessica to roll in. One by one they crossed the finish line and told tales of the hills and those last miles.
If Jessica, or Janice (who is at The James recovering from yesterday’s lung cancer surgery), or Joyce, in her final weeks of life (her daughter was married last night, a year ahead of schedule, so Joyce could attend) ever questioned how many people support them as they travel their cancer journey the answer is clear.
- 8470 riders
- thousands of spectators and volunteers
- hundreds of police officers who keep the traffic at bay
- unknown numbers of donors who have at this moment given almost 17 million dollars
- and one incredibly dedicated and tired Peloton.
We all walk, or as the case may be, ride, by your side.
One Goal. End cancer.