100 miles without dying. That was the goal. Simple enough, right?
I know you’re asking yourself, “What could have possibly driven this asthmatic, unathletic artist-type to possibly do such a thing?!” Well see, last summer I decided to “get into” cycling. I picked out a nice, tame bicycle and began my biking journey. I biked and biked. And biked. But I needed a goal – something to keep me from giving up on it come winter. 100 miles seemed like a good idea.From that moment until August 19th was filled with many, many hours on both the paths that wind throughout the suburbs and on a bike trainer nestled in a corner of my apartment. Teaming up with Justin and Sarah Ahrens, of Rule29 fame, and Robert Ross from PowerShares, we decided to attack the 100 mile trek as a team. For me and Sarah, it would be our first century.
The day could not have been better.
Weather was perfect. We were prepped and ready to go.
The first twenty miles were quick. After the start, and quick roll through of the Wrigley concourse, we set sail north and kept pace with the lead pack. The first rest stop was buzzing from excitement. I was full of adrenaline and anxious to keep moving.
The next twenty miles were equally quick. At this point, the packs were beginning to break up. The lead group was well ahead – but it wasn’t a race. We kept a solid pacing going and reached the next stop with ease. This is probably the appropriate time to rain praise on each and every volunteer that helped out with the ride that day. Everyone was helpful and courteous – and always knew where the bathrooms were. And our motorcycle escorts saved us a lot of time (while in a pack). I’ve never been a part of a better organized event.
Miles forty through sixty got a little tougher. We were getting hungry and the mental fatigue of seeing riders turn around and head back was starting to get to me. But still, we pushed on to lunch at mile 60!
From there, it was a windy 13 miles to the next stop – which was brief and full of stretching. Then onto mile 90 for the final stop of the ride. At this point, it was a quick 10 miles or so to the promised land – the outfield of Wrigley. Except we failed to realize that the final 4-5 miles would be a pothole and red-light filled endeavor through Chicago. Nevertheless, it was a small trial to reach the end! A hair over 100 miles in all. Our team finished in an unofficial 6 hours and 39 minutes. Not too bad, if I do say so myself!
I will never forget the next three hours. After cleaning up in the visitors’ clubhouse, we took the long walk out onto the field. Wrigley is a historic place to watch baseball, but it’s something different entirely to walk out onto the field from the dugout. After eating some bison burgers, listening to Poi Dog Pondering, and playing a required game of catch in the outfield, the day was done. And what a day it was – I accomplished my goal!
It was also the culmination of fund-raising for two really, truly wonderful organizations.
With all of our work with LIA, we’ve seen firsthand the power that opportunity can have in the lives of those in Africa. Which is why it’s all the more amazing to see what F.K. Day and everyone at World Bicycle Relief is doing. Their mission statement says it better than I ever could: World Bicycle Relief provides access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles. Bicycles open up a world of opportunities for students, heathcare workers, and more by giving them the means to go further, and quicker, than they could possibly go on foot. It really is life-changing. I urge you to go learn more directly from their site.
Every year, Chicago Cubs Charities have been making an impact on the lives of Chicago’s youth through programs centered around sports (particularly baseball, naturally). One of the more notable projects that the Cubs Charities helped fund was Little Cubs Field in Humboldt Park.
Rule29’s desire to Give back to the community (both locally and globally) could not be better represented than by these two organizations. While the Wrigley Field Road Tour was a great personal accomplishment for each of us, it stood for a bigger goal. A goal of changing the world for the better.