September 22, 2012
This is overwhelming! We have arrived at the final ride of Velo the Lake 2012 – Ride Against Hunger. The past 9 ½ days have been everything I could have imagined, and more. The scenery was incredible. There were great people (especially Diane) there for me when I needed them. There have been sights, and sounds, and moments for which my words can’t begin to do justice, but I have tried.
Just the sound of geese honking as they fly overhead (everyday, almost hourly) as I ride through their wild domain has gotten me thinking about their journey, and the huge challenge that they face with every migration. Do their wings ache after days of long travel? Are their necks sore from holding their heads up into the wind hour after hour, day after day? Do they run low on carbohydrates and “bonk?” Do they lose some mental sharpness when they have overextended themselves?
Tonight, resting comfortably at a campground in Ironwood, Diane and I are pretty tired. She has driven the trailer, waited for and met me along the route with food and encouragement, found campgrounds, set up the campsite, cooked meals, cared for the dog, and cared for me. I could not have asked her to do all these things for me, but she has seen what needs to be done, and done it lovingly.
My personal challenge, though of a much smaller order of magnitude than that faced by migratory birds, has been almost completely overwhelming, which I think makes for the best kind of personal challenge. And, it’s not over yet, as I have left myself with a fair piece of work for tomorrow – 114 miles to Duluth into a forecasted 10 mph headwind. That’s a few more miles than I planned to leave on the table for the final day, but that’s just the way it has worked out. I can’t begin to tell you how difficult this has been for me at times, particularly the last 3 or 4 days. As Diane points out in her ever-pragmatic way, “you chose this.” Yes, the difficulty of the challenge is, in part, why I wanted to do this. If all goes well, at about 4 pm on Sunday I will roll my bicycle to a stop on Duluth’s Lakewalk near Endion Station in Canal Park, just where I started this adventure almost ten days ago.
Thank you, friends, for your many kind words of support and encouragement. They have kept me going in the most difficult moments. While I will fill in many details of the ride, post more photos, and be thrilled to answer your questions soon, tomorrow evening I hope to simply be able to tell you that I have completed this Ride Against Hunger. I will then ask you a final time to consider the needs of those who may not know where their next meal will come from, and to lend them a helping hand with a donation to Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank. Until then, be well, friends.