This day started out like any other, wake up, pack, eat breakfast, ride. The difference was knowing it would be our last ride morning. Suddenly made rolling our thermarests, packing the tents, and loading the trailer a chore we wanted to do. We started counting off attendance for our last route meeting, and of course hit some bumps in the counting. People in the bathroom or finishing up filling their camelbacks did not seem annoying anymore. It was surreal. I would find myself smiling at something stupid because I came to the realization that I won’t experience it again, certain feelings or activities only Bike and Build can provide.
As for the ride itself, it was an extraordinary summary of our entire summer. We started out with a chilly morning (experienced in Montana and Wyoming) that led to a hilly, rainy stretch of road (experienced in Virginia and Kentucky), after the rain, the skies opened up to a sunny ride with punishing headwinds (experienced in Kansas and Colorado). Ask anyone on the team about me and they’ll be sure to mention the fact that hills are my least favorite part of riding my bike. I began to appreciate them riding to the Pacific. The wind felt like more of a punchline than a punishment as we crossed the Highway 101 bridge to inch closer to our final destination. As for the sun, well we were sure happy to have that as all 30 of us rode as a group in what I have dubbed our “Victory Lap” for the last 2 miles to the ocean.
As we all lined up in a single row, staring at what we had been thinking about all summer, we held hands and began to walk to the water. So much emotion running through my mind. All we as a team have experienced, the trials and tribulations we were put through, the laughs, the cries, the good times and the bad. All of it brought an emotional confusion to my mind, to be honest. Before I could begin to process all of it, we began to run. We made it.
Whatever confusion I was experiencing emotionally, quickly vanished as we began jumping for joy and hugging each other in the salty sea. Letting the cold water consume us as we had just finished biking 4,018 miles over 2 and a half months. Truly a euphoric feeling, one I will not soon forget.
That’s Bike and Build Baby.