As I told Katy, I’m not much for writing blog posts, but I couldn’t resist after biking with Steph Tuesday. Just felt lucky to have been a part of it.
Day started with showers...
Steph’s good friends from home Don Miller and Greg Van Schaak were with John Bailey and I, preparing to join Steph’s A Team — Katy, Lincoln, Alex and Maria (Steph’s support system) for the day. Steph had had a hard day prior, cycling 10 hours in driving rain, remnants of tropical storm Debbie. Bails and I were a bit nervous, but prepared for another round from Debbie today. Ready to grit our teeth and pedal for 10 hours or so. We figured if Steph can ride 2800 miles+ miles across 90% of the country then we could suck it up and handle 50 in the rain. We started a bit late, and as we headed out the rain began to soften and slow.
We had some tough riding early along some pretty busy highways and up some tough hills. Steph wasn’t fazed by any of it. He just kept pedaling and pedaling. His determination and guts are incredible.By lunch time, the sky had cleared and the sun was starting to peak out from the clouds. For lunch we had a fantastic fruit and sandwich buffet and joked that with the sun coming out, it was clear that even Debbie was no match for Steph–he had taken her best punches and driven her off.
Got a fast start after lunch. Did 10 miles quickly and then came upon a great bike trail created from an old railroad line. The trail was beautiful, shaded and really serene–smooth sailing, except for a brief moment when a water moccasin popped out right in front of Katy. With the road noise now pretty much gone, we could really alk as we biked. As we trucked along with Steph, it was great to get to know his good buddies Don, Greg and Ed Chesterton, who had joined us late morning, as well as more about Katy, the SC documentary filmmaker, and Lincoln, the expedition coordinator. Lincoln and Katy are old, good friends from Missoula, Montana and just great people. They both have jobs most of us can only dream about traveling the world creating stories for and about people’s lives. We all shared some of our favorite stories as well, of our times with Steph. Stories from college days 30+ years ago all the way to now.
At the end of this trail, and with Steph’s foot abscess acting up, we called it a day and headed to the Hampton Inn. Once we checked in, we headed out to the parking lot and RV for a post ride tailgate. Spent the next 2 hours sharing beers and even more stories of Steph, our families and friends. A couple more of Steph’s friends, Tom Gorman and Tim Shanahan arrived and joined us. Alex, the “Solution”, from Chicago and Brazil, a vital part of Steph’s team, joined us as well.
Great fun with great people. A bit later, after his post ride shower and massage, Steph showed up and we headed across the lot for dinner. Can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but we had the entire place to ourselves, which made us all a bit nervous. The food turned out fine and the wine and beers were even better. More stories, more laughs. Amazing how by the end of the nite, all these people who were strangers 12-14 hours ago, felt a bit like family. Steph had brought us all together.
Tough saying good bye to everyone Wednesday morning, but it was a sunny, beautiful day and Steph was ready to ride.