Getting up before my alarm went off Thursday morning
Hurrying through O'Hare with a bunch of other blue shirts
Seeing all the Wisconsin folks in Las Vegas
Driving across The Strip to get to the bus yard for our lunches
The nice old lady at Smiths in Pahrump who swiped her discount card for me
Y'know, I'm trying like the dickens to come up with a list like I did before we left, but I just can't. Nothing comes to me - because it all comes to me, all at once, in a huge rush. I mean, the worst part of this trip was probably the unavoidable fact that hotel beds aren't all that comfortable, and, really, who cares? I wasn't there to sleep (and lord knows I did as little of that as possible anyway). I would have been just as happy (maybe even happier) sleeping under the stars out on the driving range, with the coyotes.
Folks, that was a ludicrously, deliriously, magnificently good event. What else could make you and me and us want to go out and repeat such suffering? I've never felt as completely cashed out as I did on that last climb before rolling down to the ranch. Ross called this the hardest ride he's ever done - that's saying something, coming from Ross. I'd be back there doing it again right now if I could.
Well, let me qualify that. I'd be there if I could, IF you were there with me again. Cruising along with Brad and Rick and Ross was awesome, the best I've ever felt on a JDRF ride. We were, as they say, haulin' the mail, all the way down to Ashford Mills. But behind the joy and satisfaction of that was being a bit sad that I wasn't with other people on our team, too. You're the best people in the world, and I wanted to ride all the way with all of you. Such is life, I guess, and more, such is the true measure of a team.
We, West Michigan, are an incredible team, not only because we're so good within our group, but because we're so good for those who aren't with us at the airport. Once the ride day jerseys are on, we manage to embrace every rider out there. The concept of "us" grows so quickly - from, what 25 people in 2005 to 65 or so this year, to hundreds of riders and volunteers on ride day!
Somehow, every year with this team gets better - somehow, whatever we do next year will exceed what this year was. The thought of it stops me in my tracks.
You'll be there on November 22nd, right?