Day 36 – Monday,
July 23, 2001
- Santa Cruz, CA
15.03 Average Speed
6:27:42 Ride Time
6:00 am Departure
Total Trek Miles-2184.95 miles
The header is correct in identifying the beginning and end
points of our trek today; however, the hardest part of the journey
was not spent on a bicycle todayit was during the few hours
we were able to meet with the children and family of those with
EB. Three hours into our trip, after two flat tires and two broken
spokes, down the city streets of South San Francisco along El Camino
Real, we arrived at Stanford University where several families awaited
to greet us with a loud cheer.
Words cannot describe
the feeling one gets while being among those whom have been affected
by this terrible disease. The feelings are those of disbelief that
an individual can bear such pain, as well as gratitude for one's
own well being, while at the same time complete amazement at the
strength displayed by the family and friends of each of the children
who were in attendance that had some form of EB.
The part I liked best was when these kids, pained and somewhat crippled
from EB, walked to the front and held signs that said, "We
Love the EB Bikers," "Pedaling for Pennies" and "Thank You Biker Boys." It was
also neat watching the bikers interact with the children. They took
pictures with the kids, showed them their bikes, raced with them
in their wheelchairs, and carried them ever so carefully around
the picnic area.
I sat in amazement as I listened to some of the daily
tasks these children face--daily gauze changes, frequent treatments,
and even operations. They are in pain and do not have the freedom
to run and play like they deserve. But, not one child wore a scowl
or had a bitter attitude. They were as cute and as friendly and
as childlike as could be. I want to be more like them. I also want
to appreciate the health that I enjoy, and especially the health
of my baby boy.
Dr. Layne speaks about the current state of research in the Stanford
Now for the more boring tidbits about the trip. We started
out this morning by taking BART from Lafayette to Daly city by barely
making the 6:35 train, which was the last one before the conductor
announces over the loudspeaker that "bikes are not allowed
on the train during commute hours."
Once we disembarked in Daly
City all ten of us stood around waiting for the leader to take charge.
Several of us made a necessary pit stop before we mounted our bikes
and headed to Stanford. This motley crew included Craig Stevens,
the inspiration for the bike trip in the first place, Daryl Rains,
Bob Garff, Sean Garff and me, Steve Hoopes, as well as the original
"Leader, where shall we go?" Rocky and Jake each
had a map but neither one made commands, or insisted we "hurry
up", or got mad, or anything. It was like they had been biking
together for over 2,000 miles and had long since realized that such
nonsense was fruitless and decided it was just easier to read each
other's minds. I believe they can, and were. The five of them were
communicating via neurological brain waves only obtainable by being
together for over 5 weeks pumping 60-70 pound bikes up and down
the Western half of the United States.
Then without loud words or stilty demands the five of them saddled
up and headed towards the road. The other five, me included, pompously
got on our light racing bikes, and motioned at drivers to "look
out" because we had been biking for a whole two minutes, and
we owned the road! It seemed that because we had been reading the
daily updates we felt we could take ownership of the miles racked
up by the original five, who had been on the road for what must
seem like to them, forever.
At the first stop light an original, I think it was Jake, assured us that however
sad they looked on a bike, that in fact they had ridden all the
miles the daily updates claim they had. We joked back that we were
going to make sure none of them grabbed a taxi to the next stop.
Maybe one or two of the "extras" should have. Keep reading...
Yes, Dan is MacGyver. After just a few miles Bob got a flat, then
another one, both of which Dan repaired in record time. Next, the
bumpy city roads claimed two spokes, one of which Dan replaced on
the spot. At Stanford, one of the spouses of an EB researcher, Ranch Kimball, let us
in on a little secret how to get to Highway 1 in one piece.
Instead of the busy, shoulder-deficit Highway 17, Ranch, an experienced
tri-althelte, led the remainder of us (the original five, Bob Garff,
and myself) up Sand Hill Road to Old La Honda Road, a 3 mile incline.
Next, we crossed Skyline Blvd, and then sped downhill spitting ourselves
out on Highway 1. Although the route added about 40 miles to the
mapped trip for this day, I think we were all glad that we had taken
a path with very few cars to run us over.
Once we could see the ocean, our spirits were lifted and the next 40 or so
miles to Santa Cruz did not seem so daunting. As someone mentioned
in an earlier update, there is truly something about the ocean that
makes you pedal harder. It is either that, or the thought that once
you finish the alotted miles, a warm bed awaits-- at least that
was the case for the group tonight. We stopped for snacks and sandwiches at a local beach-side shack with the
goal "EAT TO FUEL." Dan's oldest brother, Jon, looked for me along Highway 1, and just outside
of Santa Cruz he found me. I left the determined group to conquer
the last few miles to Santa Cruz as a group of six.