Obliteride #5 has come and gone. These 500 words are my way of saying Thank You to all my friends & family who donated to help fight cancer; to honor those who are fighting it themselves; and to remember too many who have lost the fight, but whose memories live on.
I struggle to sum up this event (it’s more than just a 2-day, 153.5 mile bike ride) in just a single theme. But there is one word that comes to mind: Grit. Not the gritty road dirt that builds up on your chain and in your pores, nor the gritty BC fire smoke that miraculously cleared the day before we set out. The grit I’m thinking of is the grit of determination to train, fundraise, and show up day after day, week after week; then push yourself for 18 hours up 10,000 feet of hills, through a crash, and all the way through to the finish line.
Why? Because by working this hard, we show just how hard we’re willing to work to make cancer go away.
Here are some favorite moments of the weekend:
- Josh, who trained a total of 100 miles (that’s being generous), pushing the Siri button on his phone and saying, “Crispr, make me faster.”
- Meeting a primatologist, turned real estate developer, who turned out to be an Issaquah neighbor.
- Riding Mark’s comfy bike (Josh rode my Madone).
- Giving Ellen, my favorite volunteer, a big hug in Gig Harbor.
- Arriving in Burien, after the amazing ride through Normandy Park, and stopping for espresso with some other “Random Nerds.”
- Sending pics and pleas from the ride to my last few donors to push my fundraising over the top.
- Ben, my teammate from Fred Hutch, taking a break from ice cream and blackberries, to explain how gene therapy works, as we pushed to be the last team to cross the Day 1 finish line in Tacoma.
- Feeling like a Rock Star: Free food, SWAG galore, massages, dudes who pump your tires and lube your chain (and watch your bike), and live music. Plus, not one, but two police escorts, to help us navigate Seattle and Tacoma.
- Fingerling potatoes (Winner, Best Snack, Alki). Still dreaming of them!
- Crossing the finish line with Gail, Eli, Jed and Sophia high-fiving me thru the chute (Josh, having finished 30 minutes before me, was also there :-0)
About the fundraising… This year was my best yet. Thanks to two amazing sponsors, Alex Kochis of FiveBy Solutions, and Larry Engel, who provided very generous matching donations, plus 30+ fantastic donors, I was able to clear $8,500, vs. Goal 1 of $1,000, Goal 2 of $3,000, and Goal 3 of $5,000. What a Team!
I know it’s meaningful, because Fred Hutch keeps thanking me, and sending me free stuff. Now I’m not just a “Pacesetter,” but also a member of the “High Five” club!
So thank you to everyone who helped, and sent their good wishes. Josh had just a minor, low-speed crash on some wet train tracks, and probably hurt the people he fell on more than he hurt himself!
I hope next year we can keep up the momentum, and G-d willing, we can Cure Cancer Faster. Next year will be all about growing the team, so make a plan to join the Nerds for Obliteride #6.
In Loving Memory of: Dad, Marty, Julie.