The last day of the ride:
Day one you wondered how you were going to do it; day 52 you wondered where did the time go.
Every one wore their America By Bicycle jerseys today, all16 riders looked like a team. We stayed together for most of the 62 miles, each rider taking their turn leading the peloton to our final destination Portsmouth, N.H.. As you can imagine lots of chatter going on about the different rides that we had done over the last 52 days. Around mile 57 the excitement started to build with the riders; every one was about to finish up an incredible adventure.
The group from day one seemed to really form a great team spirit, and this spirit became stronger as the days passed by. About a mile and a half outside of Portsmouth we held up at a high school waiting for our escort in to town; and on to the beach for the wheel dipping ceremony. We were there for around thirty minutes and two police cars showed up, and we started our final 3 mile journey to the beach. The police cars had their lights flashing one car at the front of the pack, and one at the back of the pack. People would clap as we rode by, and as we approached the beach you could feel the excitement from the riders. When we did arrive at the beach it was packed with people; as we carried our bikes on to the sand and started walking towards the water to dip our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean; people would get up and start clapping for us. It was an awesome feeling; (overwhelming); WE MADE IT.
Prospective of the Ride Across America for Alzheimer's:
When this journey started on May 31st. I knew that I was about to embark on a very special journey. What I didn't realize at the time is that this has turned out to be the journey of my life time.
The first day was orientation a day when all of the riders and staff were introduced to one another; and the rules of the road were explained to us.
There were a total of 17 riders from all over the world at the start of this ride. I was the only rider from California; and the only rider riding for Alzheimer's. In the fifty two days of living and riding together; these riders have become good friends that I will have for the rest of my life. At the start of the ride not one person knew one another; we did have one thing in common cycling.
As we rode out that first day it was great to have Bob and Christine Paterson, Christine's daughter Heidi and her husband, Doug and Donna Roberts, my sister, and the folks from the Alzheimer's assoc. present to send me off. In addition the Alameda Velo bicycle members showed up in force to escort us across the Golden Gate Bridge; and bid me a farewell on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Day fifty two and Portsmouth, N.H. sure looked to be a long way off; but before you knew it we were 11 days in to the ride setting in Salt Lake City. It was so nice to have Doug and Donna Roberts (these are my life long friends that I grew up with); drive all of the way from Pacifica just to spend a day in Salt Lake City with me on my first rest day.
To be able to cycle over the Sierras in California; and then cycle over the Rockies in Colorado is the best.
Each state that we cycled through had something to look at and see; the miles and miles of corn fields, and soy bean fields, the farms and friendly people. All of those little towns that we cycled through; each town had it's own little story.
While riding through Kansas I had a great reunion with my brother Denny; even though it was a short visit it was so nice to spend a little time with him. Denny rode with us for part of the day even though it rained like hell; we still had a great ride together.
The surprise visit while we were riding through Ohio from two of my shipmates off of the USS Oriskany; I had not seen these boys in fifty years.
The TV interviews, Radio interviews, and passing out my letters on the ride every time I had an opportunity. The visits to the different Sterling Homes, giving talks to Alzheimer's patients, caregivers, and staff. I was able to bring up the awareness about this horrible disease more that I could have ever imagined when I started out on this journey of my life time.
All of the kind people who donated so generously to the Ride Across America for Alzheimer's and gave this rider so much support. It overwhelms me to think about this; thank you is not enough to say
After 52 days on the road, riding a total of 3,971 miles, cycling through 13 states, staying in 52 different cities, climbing a total of 139,217 vertical feet, going through three tires, 10 tubes, 1 spoke, one rear light, one jar of Queen Helens (lube for my bottom). I am ready to come home and very proud of what I have accomplished.
The riders who were strangers at the start of the ride; are all good friends that I will have for the rest of my life. There were certainly a lot of highlights, each and every day while I was on the road. I guess that I can say with experience that I know what it is like staying in a different town every night.
The folks from America By Bicycle were fantastic in their support; and making sure that the riders were safe and nourished during the entire ride. I could go on and on; but I would like to sum it up this way.
My challenge riding Across America to raise $$$$$ to go to Alzheimer's Research is small in comparison to the challenge the family members of Alzheimer's patients face day in and out. I did not only do this ride for my good friend Bob Paterson who is battling the disease and his wife Christine who is an incredible caregiver. I did this ride for every one who is reading this blog and every one who I had the pleasure of talking to a long the way; because every one knows some one who has this horrible disease. Please never forget that together we can make a difference, helping to get closer to creating a future without Alzheimer's.
I hope that you have enjoyed reading about each days rides, and adventures on the blogs. I have sure enjoyed sharing this this 52 day adventure with you. One last word would be to thank every one for your kindness, generosity, and support. It is not to late to get a friend involved and make a donation to this worthy cause.
I MADE IT.