People have been asking me now that we are home, “how was bike ride?” The first thing that generally pops out of my mouth is, “Good. HOT! But good.”
And have no doubt, that is a true enough statement. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
Anyone who has been following the bike ride for more than this year knows that I am always a bit awestruck at what the boys are able to accomplish. This year is no different. The image at the top of this post was taken with a GoPro strapped to Deven’s chest on the final ride back onto the campus. His triumphant and celebratory gesture was perfectly cast in shadow by the sun on his shoulders. It was an expression of pride at what he had accomplished and gratitude that it was finished.
I think the accomplishment of bike ride creates a similar mark across the lives of the young men who achieve it. Wherever they go, whatever they do, no matter what, they will always have bike ride. They will also have these moments when they were, for that time, at their absolute best and bravest. With a horizon stretching out before them with possibilities they only dream of.
You can see this on the faces of alumni riders when you talk about bike ride. They remember it, no matter how long ago it was. They are part of a brotherhood that links them together with others very much like themselves who saw a challenge and said, “Yes. I can do this.” And then, because they could and did do it, they knew they could say the same thing when other challenges presented themselves in life.
This year, I believe I saw more heart in the riders than I’ve seen in a while. Whether it was Deven pushing himself every single day to stay at the front of the pack, being spurred on by an unspoken promise made to Fritz and an inner drive to excel, or Perry and Trevor bringing up the rear, neither being athletes but both finishing a challenge and exceeding their own expectations… these boys have heart. You could see it in Sam’s smile and Josh’s sweat. These boys are heroes.
And it wasn’t just on the road. Their attitudes reflected their dedication to the ride. They were always ready. And that, my friends, the attitude when off the bikes, reveals just how deep their heroism goes. Today is a good day for Sam, Josh, Trevor, Perry and Deven. But I have a feeling their best and bravest is still to come.
Now for the crew. Fritz, you should wear a cape. Cause you’re a superhero. And I don’t mean on a bike, though that would apply as well. You push us- all of us, not just the boys riding- and we get better.
Victoria, you are the mom of the trip. You keep us clean and presentable. You also keep us safe. Nothing can take the place of what you do. For every mile the bikers bike, Victoria rides triplet ( at least) in the car making sure the way is ready.
And then we have the Trailer Wizard… There will never be another Sam. You do so much more than drive the van.
Matthew and Stephen, only you guys know everything you were doing to hold things together for the ride.
And as always, we have a thank you so huge it can’t fit in this blog post for Mac, who got this whole thing started. You start and end every leg smiling. Our boys noticed. They notice a lot about who you are and what you do. Thank you for inspiring them.
There was someone missing this year, someone who has carried this thing around like his very own baby for the past ten years. Drew, this is as much your legacy as anyones. We missed you. Very much. But, I believe, we also did you proud.
To everyone who supported us, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And until next year, be safe and share the road.
Witness the 2016 #payhbike from start to finish in seven minutes. Thanks so much to everyone who made this event possible! You can still support the ride. Go topayhbikeride.com to give.