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7/09/15 Reflections On The Ride

Submitted by Jacob on Thu, 07/09/2015 - 22:09

Only ten days remaining and I’ll have my front wheel in the Atlantic. The end is so near that I can smell it. I wrote about this feeling in Missouri, but again, the closer I get to the coast, the more familiar a lot of things look.

I want to take a moment to write about Erik Richenberger, whose Ride ended early this week. He came up short of finishing the Ride the Divide tour, but he made it further than most could imagine. He began on the Canadian border and made his way down the spine of the continental divide, and finished in southern Colorado; more than 2/3 through. I do not think he crunched any numbers yet, but I’m sure that he completed more climbing in those 2,000+ miles than I have done in my 3,300. His total ride would have put him at 220,000 feet of climbing, so 2/3 of that is roughly 146,000 feet of climbing…

it’s hard to put those numbers in perspective to non-cyclists. Most of the roads he was on was unpaved, and he had much less support than I receive on this ride. What Erik did took tremendous courage and fortitude. I don’t think I would ever attempt a ride like that. The seven individuals implanted at the end of the Home Run for Hearing Ride are paramount, but the fact that it helped someone else become inspired to give the gift of hearing is right up there.The cause is still under-served, but that is slowly changing.

Today we got into Ohio, so we only have 3 more states: Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. I’m starting to reflect more about things I’ve heard during the ride. I hear birds in the morning, and I hear a lot of passing cars, the rising and falling frequencies as they pass. I hear the streams and the rivers. The rainy Poudre Canyon descent was marked by probably the loudest raging river I’ve ever heard and seen.

The amazing thing about it is that I don’t really think about it. I’ve been hearing for sixteen years, and even I take it for granted. It’s so normal for me at this point, which is crazy the more I think about it. I am naturally deaf, but a device that I wear gives me hearing that I describe as “normal.” As I explore a bi-lateral implant when I return to Maryland, I’ll have a lot more interesting experiences to write about in that regard.

Lots of rain today, especially early. So two days of rain. Got the weather for tomorrow which says no rain, so I decided to give the bike frame a shower tonight rather than just doing the necessary drive-train degrease and relube. So the frame is cleaner than it has been since Fort Collins, Colorado. To look good is to already go fast. I always start the day with fresh white socks, even if I know they’ll be gray and wet by the day’s end.