While we follow maps of paths we’ve taken before, no two days of the Ride are the same, and no two years are the same.
Days begin early, often with breakfast at or near the hotel, accompanied by a morning route briefing, including any route-specific safety concerns and weather forecast. Two or three participants will have the chance to share stories about their Honorees – some of whom they have known personally, some of whom they have never met. At the conclusion of breakfast, Riders will have a very brief opportunity to prepare their bicycles for the day – making sure tires are properly inflated, brakes are functioning, and water bottles are full. Support personnel will finish loading trucks and set out before the riders with assignments designated by the Logistics Coordinator.
With a cheer, the Ride sets off! Sometimes it’s parading under a police escort, sometimes open touring at the Rider’s pace. A support (SAG) vehicle will follow the last Rider and sweep the route for those who may be fatigued, have mechanical issues that can’t be resolved on the course, or just need a break. If this is your first ride, don’t worry! There’s no shame in sagging if you need a break from climbing hills, fighting weather, or need a moment to reflect on the physical and emotional challenge of the ride. Support personnel and your fellow bicyclists will be there to cheer you on and support you.
Throughout the day, we will make rest stops. Some are optional, some are mandatory (i.e. lunch) and require you to check in with a designated Support person. At some of these rest stops are the family members of our Honorees. Please show them your utmost respect and support. After rehydrating, refueling, and finding relief, it’s back out on the road. Throughout the day, participants will pleased to share the story of his or her Honoree – just ask! At designated stops, typically lunch, we will have a Reading of the Names followed by a moment of silence. Our readers are predetermined at random. If you have been chosen and are not comfortable reading, let the Route Coordinator or the Logistics Coordinator know in the morning, and an alternate will be chosen to read.
By the end of the day, you’re going to be tired. Riders – you’ve been pedaling for sometimes as long as a full work day. Support – you’ve been working really hard to keep the day flowing smoothly, assignments sometimes changing at the last minute as the needs of the event dictate. Most days, we will be checking into our destination hotel with a sponsored dinner to follow. Please remember to thank our ride and rest stop sponsors, as they often go above and beyond to help make this event what it is. As you wait to check into your hotel room for the night, ready to shower off the mud and sweat, consider helping Support unload luggage and (if needed) load bikes into our trucks.
Once things are packed up and dinner is over, the time is yours to socialize with your fellow participants, make some repairs to your bike, and catch up on some much-needed sleep for another long day in the saddle.