The feeling of getting on a bicycle seat after riding 140 miles is not a pleasant one. The last rest stop at the Scenic Shore 150 is about ten miles from the finish and about 100 miles from when you could last feel your legs (and your seat). But there are Jolly Ranchers, bananas, and Gatorade to get you through, not to mention your team. Seven of us conquered this fundraising ride to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of my dad, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 1997 when he was 40 years old. This year, in celebration of 20 years since his diagnosis and 60 years on this earth, we brought back the tradition we have continued off-and-on since 2001.
As we rode through Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon, it was fun to think about all of the things we experienced together over the last two days. Some were fun: riding along Lake Michigan, relaxing in camp chairs after the first day, eating a lot of good food and snacks. Some were less fun: riding into the wind for 15 miles surrounded by flat Wisconsin farmland, getting back on that bike seat after lunch, pedaling up the millionth hill. And some were just…experiences: getting soaked through our tent when we were trying to sleep on Saturday night, putting on wet clothes when you are already wet, walking with leg muscles that feel like they are on fire.
150 miles are a lot to spend on a bike seat. 60 years are a long time to be alive. 20 years are a long time since a cancer diagnosis. 7 people are a lot to corral after lunch. But the time we spent together and the money we raised will hopefully allow more 20-year survivors to ride 150 miles with their friends and family. I love you, Dad!