Last Sunday, I participated in the 8th Annual Lymphoma Research Ride through the rolling terrain of northern Montgomery County, Maryland.
Pictured above is the team I rode with, the Remission Riders. Our team was composed of cyclists, volunteers and our cheerleaders. We rode to bring awareness and raise funds for Lymphoma research. Lymphoma is a cancer which affects the lymphatic system, part of our immune system.
The organizer of our team was my friend and neighbor, Valerie Sever Kappler, a Northern Virginia Realtor, a fellow graduate of Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland, and a survivor of lymphoma. Valerie has been in remission as a result of the research that has been accomplished to cure this disease. She is a remarkable, vibrant mother of four children, a force to be reckoned with and admired.
Weather and scenery were perfect for cycling
Sunday was a picturesque, gorgeous fall day. It had Indian summer written all over it. It was warm in the sun but cool in the shade.
To the right is a scene from the back 25 miles of the course. I would soon find myself at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain looming in the distance. Sugarloaf is a small (1,282 foot; 391 m) mountain and park designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1969.
You meet great people biking on charity rides
When you ride these distances you have an opportunity to chat with different cyclists along the way. What Great People! There was a young girl riding with her father. She became an inspiration as she remarked early on that she was pacing herself thinking of the distance as a marathon, not a sprint. Her strategy paid off: she finished the fifty miles before me. Her father insisted that I get the support staff to lubricate my chain and derailleur. At the second rest stop, he took my bike over to the technician himself as he thought it would ultimately make my effort easier. He was right as I was most grateful.
Then there was Daniel. During the last five miles or so we took turns passing each other depending on the topography. When we were close to the finish Daniel suggested we cross the line together. We did so with a flourish and nod of accomplishment to each other.
Did I mention the outstanding logistics support?
In a word, the ride support was outstanding! From the initial sign-in when given our official ride jersey to the excellent lunch that was served as we finished, everything and everyone was top notch. Technicians were tuning bikes and filling tires. Breakfast was a most pleasant surprise. The police presence and attention to safety was palpable with squad cars all along the ride. The course was well marked and easy to follow. And the one thing that every rider looks forward to along the way, the always friendly and helpful rest stops were well stocked with liquids and snacks.
The picture on the left is the starting line with those of us who would attempt the fifty mile route. I heard someone refer to us as the rabbits. I was pleasantly surprised at the number and variety of folks who attempted and completed the longer course. There were visible emotions from many in the crowd as thoughts of those who had gone before us resonated. Many riders were participating on behalf of the memory of a loved one.
Working your plan and hitting the goals
Cycling 50 miles was the goal I set for myself. I am proud to say I accomplished the task, the first time this year I have had the opportunity to ride that distance. There’s a great sense of satisfaction in setting your sights on a task and then making it happen.