The week of Bike Out Hunger – Texas is going well by all counts. Safety continues, camaraderie is being built and money and awareness for ending the cycle of hunger are being raised.
Tuesday evening we all got to meet Lance Armstrong as we invaded the bike shop Mellow Johnny’s to prepare for the next day’s weather. We all got to meet, talk with and have a few items signed by Lance who came to the shop just to meet us, wish us well and safe riding. It was great to meet him and it kept us all energized through our riding work.
Continuing the great pre- and post-ride happenings, Wednesday morning, we left from the Capitol steps in Austin with a sendoff from Commissioner Todd Staples (pictured speaking below), USDA Southwest Regional Administrator, Bill Ludwig (pictured behind Staples), Texas Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., Texas Senator Wendy Davis and Representative J.D. Sheffield. The riders were even presented with two flags that have flown over the Capitol by Jason Isaac. Each official talked about the great passion these riders have for helping the hungry as well as the work going on around the state toward ending hunger as well as how to get involved from weekend and summer feeding programs to the just-passed “Breakfast Bill” authored by Lucio to working with the USDA to provide food to those who need it.
And now about the ride itself. It was a cold start to the morning but well worth it as we were on the Capitol steps. It was incredibly powerful to be recognized in such a great way for doing things that we all love – cycling and helping end hunger. As we stood on the south steps we noticed we were shielded from the wind, which was great then, but we knew we were about to head north, dead into the wind. If you aren’t a cyclist, you may not know how intensely wind can impact a ride.
I ride thousands of miles a year and have for several years. Wednesday was one of my top 5 most difficult rides ever. As we pedaled north we were heading into the cold front that came through and in 25+ mph-sustained winds. The scheduled distance was 83 miles. I made it 55. It is the first ride I’ve not completed. Honestly I would have quit earlier in the day when I was struggling to go DOWN a 6% grade into this wind but what kept going through my mind was the fact that hungry children don’t have an option. Part of me is upset for not finishing. The part that isn’t upset is my legs. I’ll just go attack today’s ride even harder.
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