It’s 3 am and I wake up to rain drops on my face. I sit up and Emma and I exchange a few words about the rain in our tent and I go back to sleep. 7 am comes and we all wake up in puddles. Everything is wet and cold. The day is off to a less than great start.
We would be lying if we told you that every minute of this ride was fun. Bike maintenance is hard. Hills are hard. Communication is hard.
Yesterday morning felt like it would never end. Everything that wasn’t in our panniers was soaked from the rain the night before. Morale was low to start off with. I went to my bike and realized that my front tire was flat and Emma helped me change the tube. Lexie, Gabi and I took off for the day and about 2 miles in, Lexie’s back tire went flat and so did mine. The SAG came to the rescue and we changed Lexie’s tube but realized that not only was my tube flat but my tire had blew as well. We switched my tire with Isabel’s who was riding in the SAG and thought we were good to go. Turns out we forgot how to put a back tire on and it took us about 30 minutes and multiple phone calls to figure out the mechanics.
The three of us were off again and about 2 miles later, Gabi’s chain got jammed in her gears. We stopped and tried to fix it but no luck. The SAG again came to help us and took Gabi and her bike to our next stop.
Lexie and I raced to Rockaway Beach where a nice man was interviewing us and offering free coffee. All I could think about was warm coffee on the ride there. We made it to the team in time for pictures and conversation and Gabi’s bike was fixed by the SAG girls (woo Emma and Isabel.)
It felt like bad things were happening over and over again. I felt helpless in my limited knowledge about bikes and also sad because I thought I would miss the coffee (good news, I didn’t.) By the time we got to our interview spot, I was not in the mood to be chatty and pose for pictures but that is the whole dang point of this ride. It doesn’t matter that we were rained on all night or that everything was going wrong with our bikes. If we are too caught up in the cycling and the discomfort we’re in, we are unable to have important conversations with people we meet about The Refuge.
This ride is unique because it’s so much more than just getting to San Diego. San Diego symbolizes thousands of dollars raised for The Refuge and countless conversations had about sex trafficking in the U.S.
We’ve raised over $100,000 but we still have $135,000 to raise to reach our goal. We’ve seen that people are good and willing to join the fight if we let them in and allow them to.
We are tired and smelly and clueless at times, but we are capable. We now know that passion runs deeper than knowledge of a topic or so-called “ability.”
I’m so honored to be a part of this team and to represent The Refuge. Thank you to everyone who supports us at home and on the coast.