Thursday, August 16, 2007

Day11. Bodega Bay to San Francisco

Our last day of riding... I woke up with one thought - coffee! This motel in Bodega Bay doesn't have coffee in the rooms and so we needed to go out to get some. Last night we checked out a small expresso place about 2 miles down the road so we packed up and, as usual, Mike and I started out riding while Jim drove. Somehow Jim and I managed to arrive at the coffee place without Mike, who never showed up. Jim went back towards the motel, thinking he may have had a flat but he wasn't to be found. After about 30 minutes we decided to go on, figuring we would eventually catch him. As it turned out he missed the turn and stopped to wait about 7 or 8 miles up the road. (Bodega Bay, the internet-challenged area, also is in the cell phone dead zone, so we couldn't contact one another that way.)

It was very foggy and there was quite a bit of traffic. I wore my brightest clothing and a blinking light on my helmet for safety purposes. We climbed a hill out and around Bodega Bay and then descended to the small town of Tomales. From there we started riding along Tomales Bay. This was a fun road, with lots of rollers to power down and cruise over. By 11 AM we entered Pt. Reyes Station and stopped at Jim's and my favorite bakery-The Bovine Bakery-renowned by local cyclists for it's delicious and calorically-sinful goods. Here we rendezvoused with Mike's friend, Rich, who drove up from the Silicon Valley to see the finish of the ride.

From this point Jim and Mike rode while Rich and I drove. We left Pt. Reyes Station and Hwy 1 and made our way to St. Francis Drake Blvd for the trip into west Marin county. A quick stop in Lagunitias, then on to Fairfax where Mike's wife Vicky met up with us. From there we traveled on surface streets to Mill Valley, where I parked our car and saddled up for the rest of the ride into San Francisco.

The weather couldn't have been better; light winds, clear skies, 70's. Mike, Jim and I rode along a bike path to Sausalito where we met another of Mike's friends, Larry, who rode his bike from San Francisco to meet us and ride us in. Along this path, Mike's trip odometer turned 900 miles, a major triumph for him!

The four of us climbed a fairly steep hill to the Golden Gate Bridge, pausing for some photo ops along the way. We crossed the bridge and Vicky and Rich were waiting for us on the other side. From here we had only a few more miles, after so many... We descended off the bridge and then climbed back up one last hill to finish the ride at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, which we all agreed was a fitting ending for such a huge endeavor. Everyone finished strongly and proudly.

Many emotions went through my mind as we made the final push to the finish. I was both happy to be finishing but also a little sorry the ride was ending. I was very happy for Mike since he rode farther than he ever had - over 900 miles! Jim and I collectively rode over 500 miles and completed our first multi-day ride. We raised money that will used directly for GIST research and expanded awareness of the disease to many people who had never heard of it. Mike and I helped to demonstrate that people on Gleevec can perform pretty extreme physical accomplishments, if they are so inclined.

I think all of us who participated in the PTMR hope that other folks affected by GIST will be inspired to become involved in physical activities to improve the quality of their lives, and also be moved to advocate for more funds being dedicated to research into a cure for this and other cancers. We probably cannot completely rely on Big Pharm or the federal government to pay attention to us and so sometimes we must call attention to ourselves however we can. And perhaps the PRMR can become an annual event, in some form, maybe one that is more accessible to many levels of cyclists. Something to think about for next summer...
Thank you everyone for reading and for being supportive of our efforts.