Sunday, October 19, 2008

Death Valley Wrap Up

I wish you could see what I see if I lift my head up. I'm sitting in this little courtyard deal just inside the entrance to the ranch, the sun will be up in about 15-20 minutes so right now the hillside in front of me is backlit and glowing. It feels like it's about 75 degrees This is such a beautiful place in so many weird and different ways! to tell you about yesterday? Where to begin? Basically - it was incredible. We rolled out in cool (for here anyway) temps and calm air. The Team was awesome........SO many rode SO well and I think everyone went to bed last night feeling good about their day. (I sureashell hope they did anyway - they deserved to!) I rode out to the Pass w/ Maggie and Peggy, we were towards the back and saw many of our teammates in the course of the first 45 miles. The climb was long and hot and there was a significant W.M. presence as we spun up to the top. I spent some time "yo-yo-ing" up near the top until everyone was up, then we started the 7 mile 35-40mph descent. (Yep, that was as fun as it sounds like it'd be!) We hit a moderate headwind for a bit, but if that was the reason for the occasional cloud cover - fair enough! My group bid fairwell and Great Job to Peggy @ about mile 85 and it was Cindy, Maggie, Mary, JD and I 'til the end. As per usual we were greeted @ the Finish Line by pretty much hthe whole Team - 'cuz that's just how West Michigan rolls! Tears, hugs, pictures, laughs, salt-stains, cramps....we pretty much had it all!

Deborah had our only spill and it wasn't a bad one. Scott suffered our only flat and to make sure that he got the award - had another one just to make sure. EVERYONE rode so well and represented our chapter SO WELL and once again I received about a bazillion complements from other coaches and other JDRF staff about what a great bunch of folks we have on our Team.

(Okay - just in case you harbor the suspicion that I'm blowin' smoke at you I am 100% SERIOUS about this! Everywhere I'v gone in the JDRF universe this season I've had people gush to me about you guys. Truth!)

Dinner in the Palm Grove was great.......another beautiful post-ride party and due to what will no doubt revealed later as a miscount I was honored to receive the Most Motivational Coach Award which I think again is a reflection on our Team and how damn special we are.

Afterwards about 20 of us had a "hallway party" in our dorm and perhaps some of the details of that are best left unspecified. At least for now!

So. The 2008 Ride to Cure season is in the books. It was an incredible success in every way. After the first Ride back in Sonoma Trish, Aly, Tim St. Clair and I sat there in the hotel lobby late Saturday night and marveled at the great vibe and spirit of the weekend and wondered if we'd sen the high point of the season already. We wondered if we could keep it up and use that Ride's spirit as a starting point for the best year ever. Thanks to everyone involved, from the JDRF staff to the volunteers to the riders...........mission accomplished! The Program is in better shape than ever. We raised more $ for research, we touched more lives, we grew in numbers and thank you for everything you've done and thank you for allowing me to come along for the ride!

It's nearly sunrise time. Some folks are already enroute for Vegas and the airport on 6:00 shuttle. (I've been on that one - it's a quiet ride!) and the rest of us are heading to Sin City for a night or 2 of more being together. Then it's home, then the big end-o-the-season party next month and then...................on to 2009!

Thanks for reading, thanks for caring, you rock, have I mentioned that?

1 comment:

Nicole said...

I now sit in that very same courtyard thingamajig, it's a bit warmer now with the sun up. I'm surrounded by a handful of these stellar teammates... somehow, even after three days together, we never really want to be that far away from each other. Even after three years in Death Valley, I can't even begin to come close to having the same eloquence Mike does when describing our team and what this experience means. Imagine the most stunning scenery, inspiring people, emotional tears, and gut-busting laughs...all in one place. That is Death Valley. The other day, Tom asked me for the documentary how DV experiences change from year to year--and I wasn't really prepared to answer him. Now I am. It gets better. Each and every year in Death Valley is better. This experience isn't diluted by showing up for several years--it is amplified. Tim St. Clair said it perfectly last night...this experience makes your life bigger.