14 September 2009

ride like you mean it.



the LOTOJA bike race. in a word, insane amazing. i couldn't believe the hills dan accomplished in one day! thousands of riders together to complete an epic ride of 206 miles. it was an incredible sight to see. when the sun began to rise, they congregated toward the starting line, everyone had veins pumping with enthusiasm and motivation. i couldn't help but catch that contagious excitable feeling of an athletic event. there isn't anything else like it.

as the support crew, we were lucky enough to see the boys 4 times throughout the day (they pedaled from dawn to dusk). miles and miles of beauuutiful scenery. thankfully i never got lost and my sidekick was a champ in the backseat. we drove through charming tiny towns i never knew existed. most of them consisted of a short main street with ancient signs hanging in the windows, a post office, a burgers & shake shop and patio furniture that looked well-worn and happy. then the town would fade behind me in my rear view mirror.

i saw cowboy hats, big trucks and farm machinery that have probably been around for decades. i loved seeing the arching sprinklers, the patchwork stretches of fields, the rolled bales of hay and solitary farmers driving tractors under the noonday sun. i wondered what they think about all day. then i wondered about dan, (how can he possibly be biking all these miles that i'm driving?!) and what he was thinking about as he pedaled up the hills. what makes us do what we love? what is our motivation? what do we think about when we finally take the time to think? why is it that we push ourselves to do hard things? and how do we soak up the lessons in life? even in the hot sun? what keeps us going? i couldn't help but think about the dynamics of this bike race; the team vs. the solitary man. all together and yet still all alone in this endeavor. lets just say, i had the whole day to think. and drive. and take pictures. and push peanut butter sandwiches, apple wedges and cold yellow gatorade.

once we got to each Feed Station, we'd wait for the team to roll in, hand over their goodie bags and replenish their water bottles. there were plenty of salty kisses given that day. tons of sweet people cheering their loved ones on, offering smooches on sweaty cheeks. at each break we tried to give them a push of motivation. but yelling, Only 125 miles left! didn't seem like much of an incentive. instead i would tell dan he was awesome, that i was so proud of him, that i loved him and to keep it up. it didn't feel like enough but it was all i had.

at one point in the day, shortly before sun began to set, on our way to teton village in jackson hole, wyoming, the whole world around me lit up. as if king midas had taken his paintbrush of glimmer gold and brushed the tips of everything living with sunlight. out my windows, suddenly the world was in HD; the pine trees, the changing aspen leaves, the rippling river, the hillsides, the cyclists pedaling single file. everything in it's place. the light and shadows looked so fantastic, it felt like heaven. i figured snapshots through my windshield couldn't possibly translate the beauty, so i laid my camera to rest on the passenger seat and simply took a deep breath. i prayed dan and the rest of the riders were basking in this sunlit phenom that was playing out before us like a symphony concerto for an audience packed into a theater full of dangling crystal chandeliers.

the team members rode across the finish line at the end of a long day with unmistakeable grins. i couldn't be more happy that dan finished his feat. a true triumph. congrats, babe.

21 comments:

k a t y said...

Bravo! Bravo! For you, your words, and your sweetheart(s)!

I give you a standing ovation.

ALFIE said...

the journey looks fantastic, marta!
my congrats to dan!
thanks for sharing the victory with us!

amberlee said...

wow, congrats to your husband! and hooray for salty kisses and good country scenery. suddenly i want to be on a road trip.

Kristin said...

beautiful!! congrats to Dan!! sounds like you had an awesome adventure! this is probably one of my favorite posts on your blog!!!

Tiffany said...

Congratulations to your hub! I loved the way you described your part of the journey--lovely!

gab said...

Yay for Dan. Yay for you. Big accomplishment for the both of you!

anna jo said...

dan is truly my hero. can't wait to hear about the epicness that is the lotoja from the man himself.

Anneliese said...

this almost brings tears! my husband ran a marathon earlier this year & ran a 1/2 marathon. we are both sports people, but not runners. after i finished my race i hurried to cheer for him & when i saw him for the first time i just had to hold back the tears! i felt so bad that he had to go so far! you are a brave wife! i'm sure dan appreciated your cheers & snacks & kisses so much! :)

Travelin'Oma said...

How awesome that Dan could run through the part of the world he loves so much. Now it's really his. Congratulations on reaching a challenging goal!

hannah said...

What an accomplishment. People like your Dan amaze me...running/riding these races. Congrats to him on this great feat.

Melissa A. said...

Your wonderful descriptive words makes me wish I was there cheering them on and riding with you. Congratulations to Dan!

Miranda said...

Yay Dan! Here's to our motivation to do things that are tough! (Good to have you back Marta...what a lucky team that had such fantastic support)

KK said...

What an awesome accomplishment!

On a side note... I used to work for the sponsor VCBO. Its funny for me to see their logo all over the jerseys.

kgr said...

I've driven support for LOTOJA before and you captured all the feelings of a support driver so well. It is so exciting and the drive is so beautiful, although always tinged with a little bit of nervousness - what if I miss them at the feed zone! - but so well worth it. I couldn't do it this year for my friends who were on their tandem (and got second place in their category!) and I was really sad to miss it. Benji is apparently a much better car traveler than my 10 and 1/2 month old.

DAN said...

Thanks Marta. You and Benji are the best support crew ever. Next year you can ride the race and I'll pass out the Gatorade and Cliff Bars.

Amanda said...

How awesome! Sounds like something that took a lot of work...way to go Dan!

Sarah said...

Crazy! I can't believe humans can do that! What stunk? (Your little boy is plugging his nose?)

Willie said...

that's awesome dan did it. a guy from my ward did it and is trying to persuade me into doing it next year. i think i'll just watch and yell my congrats to dan and those other crazy folk. nice work dan!

summer said...

hooray! way to go, dan. and way to be the sweet little support system, mart. i love hearing about these awesome adventures you guys have. and i really felt like i was along with you for the ride- 'the world was in HD'- oh, i love it. such beautiful writing marta, as always.

ps. benji in the stroller.. what a killer smile.

kelly said...

so exciting! what a fun adventure! i love that dan does this every year & i love that you get to tag along & give us the play-by-play!

holtkamp said...

congrats to dan! i could never imagine riding that much; thank goodness he has you to support him!

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