Monday, June 30, 2014

RFAR 2014: breakin it down!

Ride for a Reason was a mere month ago, but as I'm sifting through the cobwebs in the deep dark recesses of my brain, it feels like it was a year ago. Or ten. Regardless, it was a fabulous time, we SURVIVED, and loads of moola was raised for a worthy cause! In total, over $75,000 was raised for Southern Alberta Bible Camp- a camp that my siblings and I attended as children, my sister (Shareen) worked at as a young adult, and we intend to send our own children to.

Thank you all for your support- whether it be prayer, financial, or even positive thoughts and encouraging messages. We rode for all of you generous supporters... and especially a few SUPER generous corporate sponsors. Zero Gravity Cranes & Rigging, Tradesman Manufacturing, and Beachcomber Hot Tubs... fantastic local businesses.

And now for some highlights (and/or the only memories I have in this limited brain space of mine) of each day. By the way, a bunch of the pictures are from our phones, but the really good ones were taken by the talented Shelley of Rochelle Coffey Photography. The ride is EXTREMELY lucky to have her (and her wonderful hubby) volunteer their time and skill.

Pre-ride notable note: I got my nose stud changed to a nose ring. Like, an actual ring. I was about to captain a tandem for 340km, I needed to up the rebellious look for goodness sakes.

Day 1
  • After spending the night at a hostel in Banff, we woke up ready to ride!
  • The nerves were building as we were getting closer to beginning this ride. For me, at least. Everyone else just seemed pumped. My stomach, however, was doing flip flops. I felt responsible for Lowell AND my livelihood which was quite a bit of pressure to put on oneself. It didn't help when we nearly biffed it in the parking lot before we even began (mental note: don't start with a tandem on an angle, up a hill, on a curb, in front of cars with people watching). It was a bit of a confidence shaker, but we still had 340km of road to increase our confidence.
  • The scenery was beautiful. Like, perfect. And the weather was ideal. Phew!

Lowell partook in a little on-the-bike photography...

More photo ops...

My powerhouse.
A little selfie to send to the childlets.
Many a flat tire for many a person (but not us, thankfully). Luckily there were also many people to help!

  • A highlight of day 1 was Crazy Larry (and he (very appropriately) called himself that, so I'm allowed to call him that too). He was riding a mountain bike that looked like it weighed 7,000 lbs plus he had a little trailer thingie and was HOPING for a headwind. Yes, crazy. Our new friend was training for Ride the Divide so he rode with us from Banff to Cochrane, then he rode back again. See? Still crazy. He bought one of our jerseys and was proud to support the cause. 
The lunch spot with Crazy Larry. The lunch crew, by the way, was stellar.
Lowell & Graham with our new crazy friend.
  • After a good long hot tub soak at the local leisure centre, we wolfed (and I do mean wolfed) down a delicious meal made by the good people at Bow Valley Baptist church, then made ourselves at home on their churchy floors. 
Day 2
  • Tough day. Tough, tough day. The first half of the day- while excellent, beautiful, and all around satisfying- was physically challenging (hills, hills, and more hills) while the second half of the day was more mentally difficult than anything! 

Please note that I am intensely focused while Lowell is goofing off in the back. Haha!
Meet JJ & Jody- our tandem twins. They rock.
  • We FLY down hills... not so much up hills. 
  • The second half of the day felt extraordinarily long because of the ridiculous wind. Also, we were riding on a single lane, undivided, busy highway with rumble strips and plenty of gravel. It was basically like 70km of me white knuckling it while I tried my darndest to keep the bike upright and on the road. And by 'on the road', I mean on the SHOULDER of the road, and not road kill. My hands, in particular, are still numb/sore from this experience, but we are alive and well, and even beat the rain storm, so woohoo for us!
  • Kevin broke his arm on the first day, and STILL COMPLETED THE RIDE! Brave nut, that one.
  •  Our friend, Dave, was also insane as he did the entire ride on a single speed. Nut. job. (But a very skilled/athletic nut job.)

Day 3
  • Mandy and I started the day off right with a little McCafe! 
  • There were so many amazing people on this ride, and it was a pleasure to strengthen old friendships as well as build new ones. The sense of community at the morning meetings was one of my favourite parts of the ride (you know, despite the rumbling, nervous, pending diarrhea tummy).
  •  Mike (our media guy) and Marielle (our nurse) were a couple of the amazing volunteers on the ride...
  • Lowell and I managed to stay near the front dudes each day. This is not surprising as Lowell was our motor and when he did this without me, he was right WITH the pack of speed demons. But seriously.... when the wind was favourable (i.e., behind us or non-existent) and we were headed downhill or on flat road (or just slightly up), we absolutely FLEW, and I loved that feeling. Except for when I started to feel unsafe. Then- against Lowell's wishes- I'd pull my position as captain and put on the brakes. We nearly reached 70km/hr at one point, and Lowell was sooooo disappointed that I pulled the plug just short of it. I just kind of felt that survival was more important, ya know?
Now we're just showing off.
  • Chamois Butt'r. It was a very necessary part of this ride, and an ESSENTIAL part of day 3.
  • My girls. We are in a small group together- just missing Chels & Steph.
  • Pete & Ron are part of the volunteer road crew on their motorbikes... every. year. I love seeing these two rip around, cheer us on, and make sure we're headed in the right direction!
  • Auntie Elvina (aka Pete's sis-in-law and one of our biggest blog fans), these two pictures were taken special for you...
  • Most of all, I absolutely loved doing this ride with Lowell.... attached to him 100% of the way. Whoever invented the tandem bicycle- THANK YOU. It allowed me to do this with my visually impaired husband. I was told that Lowell had a huge smile pasted on his face the entire time, and I don't doubt it. Makes my heart happy!
  • A lovely welcome to the camp...
Here's a link to the short highlight video of the ride that amazing media man Mike made. Right here.

Also, if you were interested in seeing the fancy gps data (which, by the way, I couldn't live without), here it is for day 1, day 2, and day 3.

We were thrilled with how the ride went, and we're already psyched for next year. And the next... and the next...

Thanks again for your generous support- kissy kissy smoochy smooch to you all!