Sunday, July 25, 2010
ALS Double Day
Former TLF colleague Gary Guinn sent me a notice a few months ago about participation in the ALS Doubleday Ride and Fundraiser, and I took the bait. Like the Livestrong ride last year, this was an inspiring and emotional event. Unlike Livestrong, and pleasantly so, there was a refreshing absence of the macho Lance factor (Challenge those hills! Game on, Cancer!) among the participants and more of an emphasis on community and recreation, while supporting those who needed it.
About 400 riders moved out from Mt. Vernon High School at 10:15 and headed through downtown Mt. Vernon, along and across the Skagit River, and into the delta area and farmland, toward La Conner. Along the way we passed crops (wheat, spuds, carrots, beet seed, fallow tulip and daffodil fields, corn, pumpkins, even Christmas tree farms), farm animals (cows, sheep, goats, horses, chickens, ducks, geese, donkeys), and even some wild life (bald eagles, falcons, herons, hawks and a bunny!).
Rest stops were stocked with regular rider food, well-managed and plentiful, with lots of support and good cheer along the way. The route circled part of the Swinomish Reservation on Fidalgo Island, then headed back up through La Conner toward Padilla Bay. Most of the ride was over flat terrain, so the 54 miles seemed relatively easy, even though I haven't really been training and had no rides of that distance this year. The Bleriot performed well, though the chipseal roads seemed to loosen a few screws and bolts along the way.
Gary was a great teacher, loved by his students, and always one with a good story, frequently about roller coasters, which he visited whenever he traveled to conferences. I was grateful for the opportunity to ride in his honor.
More pictures here.