So when does pain = joy? In my life....finishing the last 300 hundred test the beginning of your senior year, getting a deep tissue massage, brain freezes from sno cones, getting a tattoo and exerting your body for a good cause, just to name a few. Although, I didn't really feel the pain of the last one, I know some pretty sweet people that did. Last weekend I attended, and some of my best friends rode, in the 85 mile Double Day Bike Ride for ALS. I really didn't know what to think when I first arrived Saturday morning at the crack of dawn. Jessica, Enji, Kimmie, Cori, Carly and I road tripped an hour north to the Skagit Valley to embark on this adventure. We reached Conway School, set up our little tent city on the soccer field and started to get registered for the ride. Soon to follow were Heather, Jennie and Takiyah. As over 200 riders showed up, I was amazed to see so many people gathered for one cause. I mean, I guess I wasn't surprised but it was a little overwhelming to know that all of these people were affected in one way or another by the same thing, that damn 3 letter acronym.
As the crew took off into the morning I was greeted by a long lost friend, Miss PB herself. I was so overjoyed to see my good friend from high school, Anna Peters. To be honest, it has been so long since I was connected to my high school years. Once I left Littleton I guess unintentionally I became disconnected from that world. Anyways, Anna and I caught up on old times, places and faces and waited for my parents to show up. Once they did, the four of us took off to catch up with the biker beauties. After a few wrong turns and some much needed gas we caught them in the town of La Conner. The bikers were about halfway finished with the ride and most of my team was in good spirits and ready to get going. Jessica seemed a little pooped and by the look of her smile, probably wanted to stick around with us and eat lunch. But I know her well and I know there was no giving up. She continued on and my parents, Anna and I went to lunch. The food was good, the wine better....you can even ask my shoes, right mom :) We walked around a little more and then set off to catch the bikers.
After passing a few we finally made it to the finish line to welcome everyone home. Well except Heather, she is an iron woman and beat us all. She quickly packed up and headed back to Seattle so she could make it to church the next morning. After some R&R and a couple of beers, courtesy of Alex, we all headed to the school where a huge pasta dinner was awaiting us. I was wishing that I had burned enough calories to actually gorge myself with pasta but obviously not. I decided to splurge anyways....I figured the calories wouldn't count this weekend. The food was great as well as the banquet and presentations. There were prizes, like the Almond Roca that Kimmie won and the prizes that Boline and Alex missed because they were not there to claim them...next year guys. And there was also tears. To hear the stories of the brave people that ALS has overcome and their unstoppable family members that ride to keep their memories alive, were enough to fill the room with tears and tissues. There was obviously not a dry eye in the place and it didn't help when Jessica stood up and spoke for me. Every time I know that my story is going to be told, by me or others, I think this is going to be the time that my emotions do not spill over. Welp, it wasn't this one....I was boohooing just like everyone else. The night ended with dessert and laughter but emotions definitely ran wild throughout the weekend.
We finished off the night with a campfire, smores, big booty and a couple safety meetings had by the pres, vice pres and secretary ;) The next morning was wet and cold but the pancakes and rubber eggs filled Enj, Cori, Carly and Kimmie's stomachs and prepared them for day 2 of the ride. 45 more miles through rain, hills all on top of already aching butts. The crew made it, a couple of them with police escorts. Despite the rain and cold, the second day's scenery was beautiful. I found a couple of vacation homes on the lake that I will be buying once I nab the winning lotto ticket.
The ALS double day was incredible. My friends and everyone that I met there are AMAZING! The acceptance I gained over my disability and illness are unparalleled. Thank you to everyone that attended, donated, prayed and supported myself, the riders and the families. Can't wait to see everyone at the next event...whether it be next year or in the near future. HUGE THANKS!!!
So a few days after the ride, I talked with my friends who sacrificed their butts and asked how they felt. A few of them said that their legs or rears were sore. A couple had a little bit of a sun burn. And all of them said that they had a lot of joy. Joy that wasn't found artificially in front of a TV or by the greatness of retail therapy. Joy that was found when people sacrificed their body for someone who is no longer able to do if for themselves. Joy that definitely derived from pain.