Yesterday I was privileged to take part in Rochester’s annual 100 mile bike ride to raise money for The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children. I normally don’t do this type of thing – not because I don’t think it’s great, but I tend to gravitate to undertakings that stretch my capacity as an athlete. 100 miles? Done it already. Off road, solo and on a single-speed mountain bike to boot. A (slowish) paced ride with lots of stops? Where’s the challenge in that?
And that line of thinking really embodies how selfish I can be at times. Endurance athletics kind of are a selfish pursuit in some ways… So yesterday’s ride was just what I needed to keep things in perspective and (hopefully) keep my ego in check.
I did the ride (on my vintage, stripped down single-speed (above) to make things more challenging) – along with 300 other awesome people – some racing veterans, some just beginners, but all inspiring in their own individual ways. I witnessed 1,000+ (literally) kids screaming and cheering – totally pumped to see all the cyclists ride by or stop at their school! Seriously, you’d think we were all rock stars! And got to meet families who are still looking for their missing kids… sobering to say the least.
The whole day was powerful for me in ways I could never have anticipated. It really drove home just how powerful sport can be. What it can mean to people. How it can inspire. And it helped me understand a bit more that it matters when we do great things, because others are watching. If we as athletes do what we do in a selfish manner than it’s just a static accomplishment and nothing more. But if we do what we do in a spirit of humility and gratitude -sharing and inspiring – than what we do gains meaning. And in some crazy way it helps others find meaning and inspiration to face their own challenges.
Thanks for letting me ramble, and thanks so much to everyone who has supported and inspired me on my own journey – I hope I’m returning the favor to others through what I do.