Open Letter to all my supporters,
I thank you for your generous contributions this year. It has been about 10 years since I first rode the charity ride, Fat Tire Ride, from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, and every time is a special time for me. ‘Special’ in that the ride itself was started by accident by friends inviting friends riding and donating extra proceeds from ride to local charity. Then the ride was built into a partnership with local Marines. Over the years the event grew with volunteers gathering, riders fundraising, and organizers creating a one-of-kind event.
I have so many positive memories from participating in this event. Memories like collecting donations for all the worthy causes, riding to complete fatigue, and the anticipation of riding with friends again the next year. This year was no different, and the challenges were large and persistent.
We started early, under overcast skies and heavy anticipation of eventual rain. It wasn’t more than 20 minutes into the ride when the first drops fell. They gathered in strength and we were soon in a downpour. At time the rains seem to lighten, but would quickly return to a solid drenching, until everyone was completely wet, through and through. Distant rumbles, turned to alarming crackles and I witnessed a lightening strike 100 ft from the trail. We followed lightening safety protocol, but soon decided that getting off the high ridge was more prudent. As we passed the struck tree, the smoke and smell from the burned pine filled the air.
Having survived that, it seemed like nothing else would challenge us more that day than Mother Nature, herself. The rain continued and puddles formed, and grew to overtake most of the trail. Meadering paths became treacherous and slippery as mud became the feature du jour, to be overcome. Mud seemed to add a curious element as control on downhills was limited, and progress across flat area dulled, and uphill riding near impossible.
The rain continued and we continued through the trials and tribulations of the muddy forest to finally reach the first pit stop at 26 miles. The marathon had taken it toll with broken bicycles, and near broken riders, many shivering from being cold and wet for hours. Event organizers stopped the riders as the rescue and warm up commenced and it was deemed too risky to attempt the remainder of the ride as conditions continued to deteriorate.
In essence the ride had completed. The donations had been raised, the adventure had played out in dramatic fashion, and the volunteers did their part to make it happen. We only missed the party that normally follows the ride when survival stories are recounted and embellished. The greater good was achieved and we all look forward to making a difference in the years to come.
Your support is what makes this a great event, you have my sincere gratitude and thanks.