|Harder to pedal than any spin class... but far more rewarding|
|Getting Lance all set to go. I'm terrified at this point.|
|Chris Self (L) and Don English giving Lance and I a push|
Hard to describe the hand cycle, much less the special rig that Lance has that allows him to hand cycle, while another person uses their legs to help propel, and steer him over very long distances. Lance has been making his way down the coast with us with a dedicated crew of guys who have many hours in this specially made tandem saddle, errr, back rest. By now, their bodies have adapted a bit to the unusual pedal style required to ride this hot rod.
|Where are the brakes? How do you steer?|
|(l to r) Me, Lance, Don English and Brian Brillo|
So Lance get's strapped in. And I mean really strapped in. He's taped to special handles so his hands can connect with the hand cycle portion, and the rest of his body is strapped down. I, however, will not be so lucky. If something is to happen, clearly the rider in front (me) is the sacrificial bumper to this enterprise. Perfect! Lance then mentions that his top speed was in the 50's. as in MPH. oh boy, this is gonna be good!
Off we went. Toward San Onofre camp grounds and then onto the Camp Pendleton base. The guards at the gate were not expecting the circus to arrive, but we showed our ID's and proceeded through.
I was counting on my riding mates to help push the sled. I mean, I'm not one to actually ask for help and will do everything I can on my own before asking, but in this case. Helping to push the sled, no matter how slight, was a huge relief... even if temporary. There in lies a huge lesson. It's because this community cares so much to come together to ride down the coast, raise $1.4M and physically help push people in need that I think it's so unique and why I support CAF.
Mt. Camp Pendleton. I'm sure you've heard of it. It's the bump I take in my big chainring on the Wed Swami's Pendleton ride. The small knoll that might slow us down to 23mph or so before accelerating to warp speed. Today, it loomed large. As large as Mt. Ventoux or the 21 hairpins of Alpe D'Huez. I was happy with 10mph... with pushers. I can't thank Don, Jim, Brillo and Bando and Chris Self (which deserves an entire book to describe what a stud this guy is) for giving me a boost. I know there were others, but another interesting aspect of this sled design is that you can't see anything behind you. So I couldn't thank the endless pushers who helped my small part of Lance's far longer and larger journey.
I made it about 15 miles. From the San Onofre exit on I-5 to the Oceanside harbor. Not sure exactly since I was laying on top of my Garmin (no wonder the seat was so uncomfortable). Chris Self got on Lance's wild ride next and took a long pull along the coast, and I pushed a few times as they made their way up some of the bumps along the way.
|Chris Self gets on after me... Yes, he has a prosthetic. I have nothing to complain about.|
I was expecting to feel tired legs and body fatigue. I was expecting to want a huge meal, lots of beer, a long bath, a hot tub, and another bath but what I feel more than anything is a camaraderie and sense that my fundraising, riding and friendship stands for something good. I feel more alive and more energized than I should have any right to feel. I'm truly stoked and ready for more.
Thanks CAF for producing such a quality event. Thanks Lance for being so gracious, patient, and most importantly... Alive!