Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On the flip side

Tuesday and Wednesday there were 7 of us working the Elks Lodge in Alturas. It was our stop on the Gold Rush Randonnee, a local 1200K modeled after Paris-Brest-Paris. The course is an out-and-back, like PBP. Alturas is the closest stop to the turnaround. Mile 367 on the way out, mile 407 on the way back.

That's a long way on a bike.

The rain I had been able to dodge fell heavily on our riders in the Feather River Canyon in the middle of the night. A tough start to a 4-day ride. Here is one report of how it went. And here is another.

We cooked, made coffee, cleaned up, and fixed bikes. Raided our own supplies of ibuprofen, butt cream, floor pumps, and in one case, a headlight. Signed the riders in and out, faxed progress reports back to Davis, set up cots and woke people up from naps. Most of us slept ~4 hours in two days.

Helping is the reward. Having been a rider at PBP, knowing how to help. Putting aside ego, just thinking of what the riders need. Things are not how they look or how you want them to be but how they are. It's a discipline; discipline is underrated.

On the outbound journey what we'd say is "see you on the flip side". As in, when we meet again it will be better. Things will be looking up.

Despite adverse conditions many riders were in good cheer. Unfailingly polite. Michelle Brougher, exhausted, grateful for a shoulder massage. She thought to lighten up and shed some things for the trip to the turnaround. Charlie Fournier, waffle fan from Tobin, rewarded at last with waffles at Alturas. Minutes later, quietly asking for Advil for a sore hip. Carl Anderson, leaving his motel room door open so a later rider might use it for a shower and nap. Drew Carlson, weary and discouraged, back on the bike anyway toward Davis (he made it). And many more examples...

On the darker days of this journey, I'll think of their courage.

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