Ride for Refuge: A Wrap Up

So I did it.  Yep, I rode for miles and miles.  I rode up hills and flew down them.  I talked to a few dappled horses on the way.  It was in the country and what are you supposed to do when a horse looks at you chewing.  You say,”I know, crazy right?” and you keep riding.  I rode mostly alone because I am slow. A fact that I knew and brought me only a little shame on Saturday.

I kept riding.  My thighs burned and begged.  I seriously dropped the F-Bomb like it could literally flatten hills before me.  I would have shaken my fist at the wind but I still can’t ride with less than both hands on the handle bars.  I nearly fell of my bike trying to change my playlist.  

Oh! I never fell off! Not once!

The day started with this sign as I pulled into the Byron Center Christian Middle School.
Ride for Refuge – Every Mile Matters – May God Use You Mightily

How could you not be pumped after reading that?  I registered and gave them the cash I had been given by my wonderfully generous friends.  I raised, let’s see….my calculator says……$415.00.  

Lovely Volunteers

I had to give them a phone number for emergencies too.  I did notify them that I was not planning on having one.  If you raised over $75 (which I so totally did) you got a voucher for a t-shirt.

The energy was palpable but for me, it was surreal.  I still wasn’t sure if this was a good idea.  Sanity has always been questionable for me. My nut was cracked long ago.

Anywhoo, after registration was done it was time to go.  At the beginning of the ride, a woman mentioned my friend Chuck and his energy last year.  We all teared up and my heart ached for something he would’ve been doing.  His mother was there.  She was just inside with a board that read,

In Memory of…

She is so strong and amazing.  She matches the picture of Chuck.  Our entire team felt like a secret society that was no longer accepting new members.  We were all so grateful for the opportunity to be his friend and to be riding in his memory.  

And then we were all off! I never took any pictures.  The very thought seems very ridiculous.  I only got off my bike to walk up one hill.  It was a very big hill that after a few F-Bombs did not dissipate.  So I walked up it.  During the ride their were pit stops with granola bars, hot chocolate, fruit, cookies, cheese and crackers, coffee…you name it and it was there.  


I ate a little at every spot.  At about 1:30, the Red Cross vehicle that had been circling all of us stopped in front of me and said I had about 13 miles left and only a half an hour to do it in before the signs for the route were coming down.  We discussed how much farther I could go, which was about 5 miles and decided on the route.  If you remember from earlier posts, I can ride about 10 miles in an hour.  

The most embarrassing moment was riding in with that car on my ass.  I wasn’t the last rider.  I was just the last one not willing to go the route without signs.  Do you have to make me look last?! Okay, I might have been last.  Seriously! Couldn’t that have been just between the two of us Red Cross guy?
When the ride was over lunch was provided by a sponsor and I ate like food had just been created.  That was it.  It was over.  I came, I rode and now it was time to go home.  About a half an hour into my ride home my body began to crash.  I can’t remember ever being so very tired.

When I got home, I took a hot bath in Epsom Salt, put on my PJ’s and got under my down comforter in my bed.  I didn’t get up again, no joke, until the next morning at 9am.  When I woke up, I wasn’t really that sore.  Strangely.  I even went for a jog at 7pm.  

I told you.  My nut cracked long ago.

So all in all, our Ride for Refuge raised about $75,000 of our $100,000 goal.  The international event has raised about $665,000 of the $1.5 million they aspire to. My team was awesome.  We raised $3,893.00 which far exceeded the $2,000 we aspired to… and that doesn’t include any cash donations.  Chuck was very much with us.  I didn’t give up.  

All I keep thinking is…

Refugees don’t get pit stops.  There is no fancy t-shirt.  No one asks them who to call in an emergency.  Their life is an emergency.  There is no well heated bathroom with a tub full of hot water.  They don’t sleep until they are rested or eat like food was just created.  I am proud of myself for completeing the ride.  I am also very, very humbled.  50 miles is nothing.