This year’s Cycle for the Cause, my fifth, was different than any other for me. I didn’t do it on a bike. I was part of the 50-member crew team. Crew drives sweep vans, sets up the rest stations and lunch, gets the hotels ready for the riders to check into, and anything else that needs doing.
I drove PV5, more popularly known as the Princess Party Van. The theme came courtesy of my navigator, Jesse. He decked out the van with all sorts of princess parafenalia, pink swags, tiaras, clip on earrings, rings, feather boas, and makeover supplies. It proved to be a big hit with the riders. Below are some pictures of the van and some of our visitors.
It was difficult for me to not ride this year. Make no mistake, I had a great time crewing, but it is a different experience riding and to be the caboose (which I’d done the previous two years). Seeing all the bikes racked Thursday morning tugged at my heart, and then hearing many people ask why wasn’t I in the caboose slot made it worse (albeit in a good way). I seriously considered for a few moments asking to borrow the bike of someone who’d shipped their bike, but then didn’t make the ride because they’d gotten sick. I’m going to do everything I can to come back to ride in 2015.
Some notes from the ride:
- It was perfect, awesome and sad all at the same time that Barry Ort was the top fundraiser this year. Barry, a long time member of Team Eagle, passed away unexpectedly in December. That he still raised over $35,000 demonstrates the type of person he was as so many people donated to him even after he passed.
Barry was among the most amazing people I’ve met doing this ride and there was an size able emptiness for me since he wasn’t around to talk with and ride with. He was one of the first to welcome me into the ride family. He often joked how crazy eclectic the music I played as caboose was.
I last saw Barry last fall during the 2014 C4C reunion party. We had a plan to train together in the spring and I was going to try to help him feel safer riding on the streets of Manhattan. I know Barry was with us on the ride, and will be every year, watching over us all.
- I’m so glad I got to know Jesse, my navigator, better. He’s been on the ride along with his husband, Marcus, for a couple years. We’ve talked a little, but this time we really got to know each other. He and Marcus are such an inspiration for many reasons. Jesse was great at keeping me mostly calm when we were trying to go backwards through the course. We dealt with conflicting GPS info once (his phone said we should go north while mine said south). We survived way too much traffic in Manhattan (2 hours to go from the Bronx to the Center was ridiculous and I hate the climate change march for causing that). We shared tons of stories too. Good times!
- The guys caboosing were great. Rather than one person doing it all three days as I do,my here was one for each day. Sloan, Evan and Paul did the job perfectly, making sure no rider was left behind. I have to give a special shout out to Sloan, the day one caboose. Even though light was fading, and he’d been given the opportunity to break away to ensure he got to ride in, he stayed with another rider that wanted to complete the day. It was a perfect way to end day one watching Sloan and David cross the finish line.
- I roomed with Daniel, one of the medical team. We practically had a slumber party because on day two we were tired, but not sleepy so we ended up talking until after 11pm. He was fun to get to know.
- Out of the 140 riders this year, I’d say somewhere between 40 and 50 percent were new riders. Many in this group didn’t know what they’d gotten themselves into and Jesse and I hosted some of them in our van. The ones I met, and I don’t know many names, were great and have even signed up for next year with the promise of training better.
- I loved seeing Team Kyle back for a second year! They are such wonderful people. I’m psyched that I’ll be part of Team Kyle for 2015.
The most important part of the ride is the cash raised. Check out this number:
That’s around $100k more than last year and I’m proud I raised $4300 of that. I didn’t quite make my goal of $4500, but I’m pleased with my amount and look forward to raising more next year. Thanks to all my donors who contributed to my final total.
Now I just need to find the right place to train in Humboldt…