Climate Ride: A Never-Ending Highlight Reel
In the words of Trina, our Director of Development….
This past Thursday, May 23rd, I completed the California Climate Ride for 1% for the Planet 2013: 320+ miles, five days, and one Golden Gate Bridge pedaled with delight and gratitude for my super group of donors (100+!!) and for 1% for the Planet, on whose behalf I was riding.
This was the third year that 1% for the Planet has been a beneficiary organization of the Climate Ride. It was also the third time that a 1% staffer has taken up the considerable challenge to help raise awareness of issues around climate change, sustainable energy, and cycling advocacy, as well as funds for 1% for the Planet.
It was an AMAZING experience in so many ways: majestic, magical landscapes that wound through the Redwoods, over a coastal range, then for hundreds of miles along the California Coast; engaging, committed fellow riders each of whom was excited about the cause they were fundraising for and so many of whom had colorful, wonderful life stories; and superb group organization by the Climate Ride crew, who knew how to keep the 150+ riders happy and safe on the roads, well fed in camp, and entertained with really interesting evening programs.
While the trip was basically a never-ending highlight reel, here are a few things that I will never forget:
* Riding through the The Avenue of the Giants on the first day was a spiritual experience, spinning along through organisms hundreds, if not thousands of years old.
* On day two, climbing, and even better, descending 12 miles down Leggett Hill and its shorter, but steeper, follow-up hill to emerge on a coastline that was sparkling with blue skies, bluer waves, whitecaps, and rugged mountains rising from the waves – Wow! Topping off that day with a bracing dip into the Pacific was not to be forgotten and so cold that it is likely not to be repeated.
* The 105 mile third day from Fort Bragg area down to the Russian River with a tailwind at our backs, crystal clear skies, and the Pacific calling to the sailor in me. This coastline, with waves to the west and steep hills and bluffs to the east, was dotted with reminders of nature’s power: every time the road did a u-bend to go around a creek bend, there would be Tsunami Warning signs showing that a tsunami wave might cause water to reach high up on the coast.
* Swimming three out of the five days at ride’s end. First in the Eel River with little fish nibbling on the toes, then in the (frigid) Pacific, then in the delicious Russian River.
* Climbing the Marin headlands on yet another perfect fourth day, having just sunk my toes into the Stinson Beach sands.
* Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on the ultimate day and seeing San Francisco in all its stupendous glory – what a city!
* Making friendships sure to last with a very generous hearted riding posse from the Bay area and with two wonderful gals from the Boston area.
* Connecting with so many happy hearted and intrepid folks out for a cause and having fun doing it!
* Laughing with one amazing lady who came to do the ride from North Carolina and who was also riding to benefit 1% for the Planet: “Destroying my butt, while saving the planet!” Luckily for me, I had very kind chamois shorts and did not suffer her same fate. I did share her enthusiasm, however, as did all the riders, for combining a challenging physical event with a fabulous cause – especially because we got to experience magically beautiful natural settings that constantly reminded us of how lucky we are to still have such places around us.
1% for the Planet and Climate Ride – a fabulous combination!