What a great ride, 80.5 miles of cycling fun with my JDRF team mates. The goal of the day was to boost our endurance and to spend a few more hours preparing ourselves for riding in Death Valley in October.
More importantly, it was an exercise in team building and cooperation. We spent a good portion of the ride practicing strategies like pace line riding and echelon formations. These are ways of working together which allow any one rider to be stronger because of his reliance on his team mates to give him a rest, and in turn be the strength they need when they rest. Like geese flying south, we position ourselves in ways so that we can block the wind for each other or draft in a sweet spot behind someone's wheel. By taking turns, we can go faster, stronger, and longer than any one of us could individually.
It occurred to me as I rode today that my pace line didn't just consist of the cyclists who were there with me. It also consists of all of the many friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers who support me in my training every day, whether it's by donating money, praying for my well-being while I'm on the road, or just by encouraging me every step of the way. A great many people are part of the Indiana Cure Chasers, whether they are an official or unofficial part of my team.
The day was a perfect one, with incredible weather to cheer us. My favorite part was Tony's mad dash sprint away from the very scary barking (wagging) labrador. It was extremely thoughtful of him to offer himself up for the sake of the group and try to get the dog to chase him instead of us....wink wink. There was a bit of grumbling about a few unexpected miles of gravel road. It wasn't pleasant, but as Coach Alex says, it's good training for the rough roads in Death Valley.
All in all, today I am thankful for Mike's stellar leadership, Kate's navigational skills, Danny's cheerful good humor, Tony's competitive edge, Sam's well-stocked med kit, and Kelly's enthusiasm. What a great ride today, the Indiana Cure Chasers rock!