More Than Just a Bike Ride - Day One to Five Recap
Greetings from Fallon, Nevada. Let's call it a place with nice people, but not alot going on. I have never seen a Walmart out of business until here! We just completed days 1-5 covering 348 miles and 17,567 feet of climbing! We are now are relaxing at the lovely Best Western hotel getting some much needed R&R. As a reflect on my thoughts from the first five days, the picture above sums it up best. While Matt and I are enjoying being able to pedal and see the country on bikes in lieu of working for a living, we find ourselves reminding each other that this is not about a bike ride, it's about the mission. My vision for The Team Jesse Foundation is to help as many families of the fallen as possible by raising money during this event that will go directly to this greater cause. We will do this by working with quality organizations like the Travis Manion Foundation (www.travismanion.com) who will help ensure our vision becomes a reality.
The picture above was taken by our Field Director, Brett Bowker, from our video team. It is a picture of the tags that will be worn around my neck this summer to remind me to stay focused. These tags are on loan from Sonya Williams, Jesse's wife, and they are the actual tags worn by Jesse during his journey home to rest in peace as a hero of OUR country. What better way to remind me of this being more than just a bike ride. I am sure everyone has been enjoying Matt's blogging. I certainly have appreciated having someone recap the day in such a heartfelt and genuine manner.
I hope my status postings have been fun to get throughout the day as well. Please get in touch with me if you have suggestions about how we can improve keeping everyone informed and increasing our following. Since we have been providing the daily recap, I won't bore you all with material already used. I think it would be best to give more general information about what has been going on and how things have been executed for the first five days. We don't plan to change a thing as of now since things have been going so smoothly. That understood, I learned in the military that a good battle plan sometimes only lasts 1 minute into the first battle, so we are prepared to adjust fire if/when needed.
We have a SAG vehicle beging driven by my wife Heather for the first month, with co-pilots Java and Moka, the famous coffee whippets from Mercer Island, WA. This is a critical element to our battle plan as the SAG vehicle links up with us 1-2 times a day to provide food, water, sunscreen and much needed support. So far things are going well with the SAG, with the exception of Heather not liking the 'wildlife' and Java being a bit homesick. I realize it sounds silly that a dog would be homesick, but if you saw Java and Moka's room (yes, their own room) and yard on Mercer Island, you may understand!
We also have a top notch video crew following us in a separate vehicle thanks to the generosity of Tom Wright and the Wright Education Fund. They are in a van which has now been named the 'Minnow' and they follow us diligently throughout the day capturing candid quality footage as both still and video imagery. We will be sharing more of this digital media with everyone as The Ride continues. Here is a short video of Matt and me leaving Santa Rosa Memorial on Jesse's 30th birthday. The 3rd gentlemen is Navy vet Don Winkle who gave us a personal escort of of town to avoid traffic and start us off safely. We are calling this one "First Pedals":
"Top 5" actually means something to me and Jesse as we use to say that you only met 5 people in your life that you could really trust with your life and with your family. Maybe the number isn't 5 per se, but the bar is high to consider someone in your "Top 5". Jesse was for me and I am living that duty of what this means for the rest of my life. Nevertheless, I will be using "Top 5" every once in a while as I write, so with that understood, here are the "Top 5" moments of the first 5 days:
5 - Meeting Ian Sims and Justin Sparks on the road to NY the hard way - carrying all their kit on their bikes
4 - The beauty of America (our 3rd character in this story), particularly from Kirkwood, CA to Carson City, NV. Also nice that it was downhill!
3 - The impromptu stops - most notably the foot massage in Folsom, CA and the trip to the dog park in Davis, CA where we met fellow whippets Comet and Orbit. 12 year old Orbit just got a good report from the doc after undergoing cancer treatment. Way to go Orbit!
2 - Day 3 in the books - clapping Matt in after 8,409 ft of climbing this day. Did you know Matt starting riding seriously just 3 months ago - this is a MAJOR accomplishment for any rider regardless of experience.
1 - Happy 30th birthday Jesse! The Ride starts at Jesse's gravesite with a personal visit from me, family and friends. With Amaya in my lap, I feel my friend watching over me as I embark on the journey in his honor. If you like what you are reading - please invite others to join The Team. And you can always donate too at www.teamjesse.org/donate.html
To the limit,