Day 69: Napa, CA to Mill Valley, CA
Total Mileage: 64 miles
Two days left of riding, less than 100 miles till San Francisco, last long ride of the trip, second to last dedication circle; it’s all coming to an end and we gotta make these last two days count. Live in the moment, seize the day, carpe diem. Knowing the end is near can bring up a lot of emotions, so there were a couple puddles cried during our dedication circle. Can’t imagine how tomorrow is going to be, so we just gotta brace ourselves for the water works and be prepared for the making of new ponds. What better way to break the tears than to listen to Donna Lewis?
Today’s team name, team numbers with Nick, Casey, and Amy. The way it worked is that you pick a number out of the hat, find the other team member that drew the same number, and pair with another group. Nick and I chose number 1 and we paired up with Amy and Casey. I’ve been wanting to ride with Casey since she got back on her bike, and when I found out we were riding to Mill Valley together, I got real excited. She’s one of my favorite team members to ride with and a great climbing partner. Plus, she’s a secret badass that drives jeeps off road (in stick shift) and flings people off jet skis.
You could tell we were biking out of wine country, especially through Sonoma where the vineyards were plenty. Sonoma in a nutshell: lines and lines of grapevines scattered across the landscape with an occasional mansion that served as a vineyard. 24 miles out of the host, we made it to our first water stop and about 42 miles in, we made it to lunch… rather, we set up lunch cause the first group biked passed a great lunch stop. Great lunch thanks to Danny Cicada and Caroline! On top of the subway and side dishes from Applebee’s, they even got Jamba Juice donated to the team.
We had to wait over an hour at the lunch stop for the water van cause they had to pickup some Camelbak gear that was donated to the team in Petaluma. While the last group was biking toward the first water stop, the head of design from the Camelbak headquarters was taking a lunch break and ran into some 4Kers during his lunchtime bicycle ride. I’d instantly work for Camelbak if their lunch break consisted of taking a bike ride and grabbing grub for the day. Anyway, the head of design invited the team to the Camelbak headquarters, gave them a brief tour, and donated hydration packs and water bottles to the team. Spreading awareness is one the 4K components, and it’s great to know that Camelbak now knows about the 4K for Cancer. Maybe one day, we’ll even be sponsored by them!
The rest of the ride, we biked through a lot of cities and passed quite a few bike shops. We stopped in for a potty break and got to talking to one of the bike shop employees about our 4K experience. “Favorite city? Hardest day? Best memory? Were you all cyclists before the trip started? What route did you take? How many people on your team? Was it for a cause?” were all questions he asked us. You have so many memories to choose from to answer those questions and it got us reminiscing about all the wonderful adventures we’ve gone through the past 69 days. The trip really is almost about to end and it feels just like yesterday we were in Kansas. Stopping into the bike shop was a good segue way into our final team pow-wow/meeting, cause it got us reflecting about our experiences. The last summit we climbed, I caught glimpse of Alcatraz and San Fran. It really is almost the end and it’s a bittersweet feeling that we all are experiencing.
We got to Scout Hall in Mill Valley around 4, which has been a traditional host for team San Fran the last couple of years. We started throwing our jerseys on the ground to have the entire team sign the front. And when I say entire team, I mean all 26 of us including Gloria cause she flies in tonight from med school!
Right before the final team meeting, Rachael and Zac hosted the first annual “4K” Olympics. Events included the wheelbarrow race, pass the “baton,” pop the balloon, strike a pose, and “pie” eating contest. Let’s just say, Dany and Will swept the entire Olympics and won first hands down. Dany went bananas!
After all the fun and games, it was time for team pow-wow. Lamie and MJ reminded us a couple days ago to think back before the 4K started and remember what our expectations were and how it’s changed since. Think back to when we were all strangers and how difficult we thought it would be to form relationships with the rest of the team. Think back to how inexperienced we were as touring cyclists at the beginning of the 4K. Think back and reflect how all the experiences we’ve made taught us more about others and ourselves. Think back and remember who we ride for, who we fight for, and who we support. Every team member had their own story to tell and the team reflection only made our bond to each other that much stronger. The power of words and the stillness of silence can fill the room with so much energy, especially when we all have such a close connection to each other and the cancer community.
We came on this trip not knowing how the summer would shape up, living life spontaneously and taking life as it is. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend the summer with and I am so blessed to have them in my life. We made the summer our own, and I wouldn’t change a thing.