Living The Dream is what it says on the sign on the back of Ward's bike. They've spent the last 2 years riding around the world and will finish next spring (2010). Ward says, "Yeah, gotta go back to work". Ward and Jackie are a smart, warm couple that somehow, seem to have the important things in life, in focus. "Living the dream" may be their motto, but the operative word here is 'living'. They're do-ers. Interested in exploring the world and learning from other cultures.
I've been doing some homework of my own this summer. In early August we took a family trip to London and was swept up by the excitement of being in a cosmopolitan city (like NY) and all the culture it has to offer. Then we went to the countryside and I couldn't figure out why I was drawn to just sit or walk, and spend time in a small, out of the way town. I now have a better idea about why I was so effected by both.
Prior to that I've been accessing my own 'life deferment plan (LDF)'. You're familiar with LDF - we all have one. Sometimes better known as - 'I'll get to that project when..." or "if I just had some extra time I could ..." We all do it. And here I was speaking with Ward and Jackie and realizing I was seeing an honest, truthful, non-LDF right before my eyes.
Doing this ride, or any other event or milestone for that matter, is a 'part' of the dream. But living, and experiencing, every day is what I think it's all about. This became the overwhelming theme for me every day of this ride. And I hope, every day from here on. Why not now?
I need to thank our great crew for this ride. Not only were they always there with a bottle of water, but they are inspirational too. Sergio, now a runners coach, has won the San Francisco Marathon as well as other races. His PR is 2:11. World class!! Guillermo has made great strides in his running career most recently setting a personal best at the London Marathon. He aspires to times under 2:30 and a shot at the Mexican Olympic team. Sandra, Bernd's wife, not only offered feminine balance to the trip, but is an accomplished lawyer and runner as well. Her next marathon will be the 2010 Boston Marathon, which she has run before. Bernd posses just about everything you would want in a riding partner - experience, preparedness and a smart, steady pace. His friendship and support on the ride was invaluable. Lastly, thanks to my family and colleagues for giving me the confidence to be away and know that all will be well when I return.
You may have noticed a website at the bottom of my custom jersey for this ride - www.helpnedfightals.org. Ned Mann is a 20+ year friend and brilliant musician who was diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrigs Disease) about 9 years ago. The courage it takes to get on the bike pales by comparison to the courage Ned musters every day. It was nice to have him along in spirit on this ride. I encourage you to visit his website. You'll hear great music, read some funny stories and see some cool pics and videos. He'd love to hear from you too.
For those of you into the technical specs of the ride:
652 miles (108 miles/day avg.)
36,000 ft. elevation gain (6,000 ft./day avg.)
According to Bernd's computer, we burned about 43,000 calories.
I lost no weight on this ride. And had no flats. I was surprised how much of the route I have memorized. We always met interesting people. I was never bored or wished for the riding to end. I laughed the hardest when Mark joined us.
I did this same 6 day ride 2 years ago. Last year, I rode cross country (North to South, 2000 miles in 19 days). I remember, very well, how I felt 2 years ago after each days ride. This was entirely different for me. I felt good & strong the entire time. Something must be working right.
Thanks so much for tuning in. I wish you all the best -
Ward and Jackie - http://fromthebenchesoftheworld.com/
Ned Mann - www.helpnedfightals.org
Bernd - http://www.tourofcalifornia.org
Joel - http://www.joelgoodman.com