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  September 19, 2014
Two Turn Tuesday...

 


"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference"
                                                ~ Robert Frost

 
This week is the week I patiently wait for each year...

Over an 8-day period, approximately 300 bicyclists and I will ride from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money and awareness for the Arthritis Foundation.

Each day we ride anywhere from 47 to 102 miles as we ride our way down the coast of California...

The fourth day of the ride is simply called "Two Turn Tuesday"... since the directions for that day’s ride are fairly simple... turn out of the camp driveway in Big Sur... follow the Coast Highway for 77 miles... and turn into the camp driveway in San Simeon... two turns and you’re there.

It is truly one of my favorite days of the ride... in more ways than one...

As we leave camp and make the first turn onto the highway, we are faced with the first challenge of the day... a thousand foot climb taking us to the high cliffs above the crashing waves below... enveloped in a thick morning fog that gives a certain eeriness to our ascent...

It is usually on these long climbs where you see other riders struggling (especially those who actually suffer from the debilitating disease of Arthritis... but who somehow find the courage and metal fortitude to attempt such a feat as riding the entire distance of 540 miles).  As the stronger riders go past these slower yet persistent riders... we yell out words of encouragement in an attempt to help them find their inner strength to continue up the hill.

Upon reaching the top, you’ll find a long gentle decent awaiting... followed by more ups and more downs...

Along the next 35 miles... there are plenty of turn-outs that will give you a moment to catch your breath... while the spectacular scenery takes it right away again...

While at these stops along the road, you can meet fellow travelers who’s lives you will intersect with... sharing some travel tips and a few precious moments of time... and then they’ll depart your life as quickly as they came into it...

After about 20 miles, as the fog lifted, we came to our first aid station... this is a place along the side of the road where ride volunteers offer the riders nourishment and fluid replacement... as you enter the rest stop... the volunteers loudly clang their cow bells signifying that you have completed the stage and then scream words of encouragement and give you last minute information about the road ahead as you once again make your way back onto the highway... Reaching the rest stop gives us a chance to relax for a moment, reflect on our accomplishments, and prepare ourselves for the next stage of our journey.

As the morning wore on, we notice that more and more motorized vehicles pass us on the hills and valleys... most drivers were courteous and kind giving us plenty of space on the narrow shoulders while others seemed truly annoyed and tried their best to intimidate the riders with their horns and swerves into the space that separates the traffic and the steep cliffs to the right... either way we wave to them as they pass us knowing that we are in no rush to complete this magnificent day...  

Finally we found ourselves at the travel oasis known simply as Gorda, a last-chance service station and convenience store.  As a ride veteran, I knew only too well that this was a final stop before the dreaded "twin sisters" that lay ahead of us within the next mile.  Time to get psyched up... or psyched out... about the grueling ascent that lay before us.

The "twin sisters" are a series of two hills that resemble two camel humps each with a climb reaching nearly 1000 feet in elevation.  By this time, the sun was beating down directly upon us as we scaled the two mountains... with each turn of the crank, we felt a bit of pain... but knowing that it brought us that much closer to our goal... upon reaching the summit of the first sister... most riders are spent... after a quick decent it only brings you to the foot of yet another test of fortitude...

(click HERE to see some incredible bonus footage of the decent of the first sister)  

Finally we reach the summit and with it an easy glide to our final rest stop to once again refuel and recuperate...

The final 15 miles that stretched in front of us was relatively flat with a brisk tail wind at our back whisking us to our final destination of the day...

A final turn into camp competed our "two turn Tuesday" odyssey... with a sense of accomplishment but with still a little remorse that our journey was now over...

As I rode my bike that day... I couldn’t help but think about the multiple parallels between our ride that day and the way many of us live our lives...

When we are born... we turn onto our highway of life...

For the first several years of our life we feel as though we are an immediate uphill climb... this is the time we spend learning and developing... it is slow and methodical... while some of us are slower or faster than others we all plod along at our own pace trying to scale the challenges laid in front of us...

Along our way... we have people to help and assist us... giving us nourishment and encouragement ... they teach us... motivate us... and often remind us that we can all work together for common goals...

Yet out there we find others, who for whatever reason, try to sabotage our efforts by forcing us off the road and crash us into the rocks... yet we persevere and go on...

Often we take time to detour off the road for periods of time to recharge our batteries and/or to prepare us for the road ahead.

In our lives, we find people who want to share a few moments with us... some for long periods and others for a brief moment of time.  Each of these people brings us memories and rich experiences if only for a fleeting moment.

Life brings us the challenges of uphill battles as well as opportunities for downhill coasts... still in the end we continue forward putting one foot in front of the other until we reach the top of whatever hill that we’re attempting to climb...

Sometimes you think that you’ve conquered one hill just to find another giant hill waiting for you on the other side (as in the twin sisters)... and so you take those challenges on as well...

As we grow older... it often seems like the wind is pushing us faster and faster toward our final destination... truth be told... faster than we’d really like to go.

At the end of our journey, we’ll make one final turn that removes us from the road... at that point there will be people who remember us not for the speed in which we crossed the finish line but rather for who we met, helped and encouraged along the way...

The memories that I am left with after this week will stay with me the rest of my life...

I will forever hold Tuesdays in reverence as I remember those afflicted with arthritis and how they continue their struggles to overcome the hills that are in front of them...  

Thank you very  much for your support of OptiFuse where we ride to help find a cure...



Jim Kalb
President

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse

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