Their real mission was to "address global health disparities by focusing on education, advocacy and fundraising." This year they raised money for Louie's Kids, a group based in South Carolina that fights childhood obesity, Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods (SOIL), an organization designed to transform wastes to resources in Haiti, and Mana, dedicated to improving agricultural practices in rural Africa.
One of the riders, age 24 and a med student, said it was most difficult thing he had ever done in his life. Another rider, 29, said, "Actually, it wasn't that hard." Her secret? The group stopped for a breather about every two hours. She kept her focus on nothing but getting to the next rest stop. One after another, until the trip was over.
One participant moaned that, after it was over he was never going to get on a bike again. I don't know if he was joking or not. But one of the women figured, more optimistically, that from now on she'll be commuting to work on her bike.
|Bethany Beach, Delaware, June 3, 2012|
There were some people who joined the group for part of the ride. The youngest participant rode from San Diego all the way to to Washington, DC -- and skipped the last leg of the trip. She had to. She needed to get back to Ohio for her high-school graduation. An older fellow joined the group in St. Louis, and rode over the Appalachians to the sea. He didn't have to climb the Rockies, but as it turns out, there are some road grades in West Virginia that are just as steep as the ones out west.
Twenty some people made the entire journey. Everyone agreed that Utah has the highest, most rugged, most difficult-to-climb mountains. And Kansas is the flattest state ... by far. And everyone agreed, however hard or easy it was for them, it was truly one of the most rewarding things they'd done in their lives.
As I said to one young man, "You'll be telling your grandchildren about this."
He looked at me and grimaced, and kind of pinched his rear end, and groaned, "Yeah . . . if I can have grandchildren."