A return to old US 40
A cycling challenge I first partook in some 10 years ago has a special place in my heart. It’s the RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) ride; a one day – 160 mile trek from Terre Haute to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana.
The fist time competing, dad was there driving along the route offering support and encouragement. He was so proud of me and impressed that anyone could accomplish such a feat. I had heard him repeat the story countless times to friends and family over the years. I would sometimes be embarrassed by the praise and adulation. It did, however, make me so happy to make him proud. So much so, that I did the ride again the following year, with him again driving along. The “crew” T-shirts I had purchased for him became his favorites and he wore them often. Little did I know that he would be stricken with Parkinson’s the following year and and unable to make our annual pilgrimage to the Hoosier State.
Parkinson’s took its toll over the years and without Dad offering SAG support and the kind of encouragement only a dad can, I had little interest in this ride. Until today, when I again participated in RAIN. This time with dad only following along in spirit, the miles slowly counted down from 160 to 0. I missed looking ahead knowing he would be on the side of the road to cheer me on. While there is plenty to see and be aware of, one is left with much time to reflect, remember and give thanks.
It was a bit bittersweet to be reminded of what is no longer there, while accomplishing something of merit. I am very lucky and grateful to have had the love and support of a great man, father and friend. If that weren’t enough, I can find even more to be thankful for, as today I also celebrate 4 years of sobriety.