My post-event feelings are much akin to the day after Christmas, a tinge of sadness that it is already over, but more predominant are the feelings of satisfaction of having accomplished a goal, amazement at our toughness, and joy for the opportunity to participate in such a meaningful cause so close to our hearts and to meet others who share the same passion. Most everyone who rode this year said that they are planning on riding next year, and Julia and I are saying the same thing. We found out that all of the funds we raised in order to participate go directly to support YSC, who then in turn spend it to help young women with breast cancer. All funds for the hotels/meals/support we received along the way were donated by various sponsors.
This year was especially poignant for riders on the west coast, as a Giant employee, Michelle Weiser recently passed away from breast cancer. On day one, we rode with her fiancé Dustin, for a good portion on the way, who later that night after dinner stood and told us all a little about her. It is one thing to talk about finding a cure, or raise funds for “the cause”…worthy euphemisms for what we are all really about...fighting for life; it is another to then see up close the impact of losing a loved one to cancer. I tried to imagine being in his shoes, and it is simply heartbreaking. As one rider said, often times fund-raising for an event tied to a cause is seen as more of a support for someone’s hobby rather than a support for the cause, and I suppose that there is some truth to that in some cases. But these events also personalize all one’s efforts; you see how beneficial both emotional and monetary support is to real people. Additionally, all of you who so generously contributed to my fund-raising efforts have forever changed the way I view donating to cause-events. I was astonished by your generosity; you have broadened my vision of the good that can come from supporting these types of events.
This morning I woke to thoughts of how wonderful it would be to have a whole slew of friends and family participating; I thought how much our weekend riding buddies would have enjoyed our route, how non-riding friends and family would have enjoyed volunteering, it was such a great experience in a most lovely part of the country. The fundraising is indeed daunting; all along I viewed it somewhat as a necessary evil in order for me to ride and have the experience. In the end though, I realized that the money is really the important part and the experience is really a side benefit. While not very touchy-feely, money is what will help save people’s lives, whether it be for research, or paying hospital expenses, or a ride on the bus home from treatment. This event was really a win in so many ways; you all supported the cause via your monetary donations. Julia and I had the great pleasure of getting involved in cycling with friends old and new....all to our great enjoyment and health. It turned out that this experience exceeded all of our expectations. Thank you all for your support, we couldn't have done it without you!