Day 59: Dad’s Time to Shine

Today we rode for a friend of Michaeline’s ‘grammy’ who passed away from cancer two months ago.

Lewiston to Waitsburg today. We crossed another state border into Washington state, our only night here. Although I expected greenery, our views today were mostly pastures and yellowish hills. Picture the scenery in the movie The Hills Have Eyes. Although it was not the green trees and mountains one thinks about when they picture Washington, it was still nice to see a different terrain in my opinion. During the last 30 mile stretch today it got extremely hot out, which made the 3,000 feet of climbing that we had even harder. Luckily Tyler donated Powerades to all the riders today to make up for the tough stretch.

What’s your hometown like? Wheeling IL. Pretty suburban, not much happening. Occasionally you got some happenings, we got a couple famous people out of the town. But really, nah nothing happens.

How does this ride compare to your last? Oh Man. It’s different. It’s hard to pinpoint what’s different. I think a lot of it has to do with the role as a ride leader. A lot of the time I forget that I am the ride leader.  I’m used to being concerned with a lot of things, every rider, food, small things. For the most part after a couple weeks people got the hang of things and Zach and I really only have to step in when necessary. That’s my favorite type of leadership. Only having to jump in when things need to be changed. It might not be the most efficient, but I think it leads to the most satisfaction for the team.

How does being a ride leader compare to being a rider? Constantly thinking about everyone else. The smallest things like whether they’re feeling well, if they’re having knee pain, whatever. As a rider I did best when I only had to worry about myself, as a leader I do my best when I’m concerned about others.

What the most challenging part about being a ride leader? Getting to know all the riders. I wish that there was enough time and enough ease to get to know everyone on the team. Though I do get to talk to everyone, it’s hard to get to know 26 people. But part of the role as ride leader you are watching everyone, and that creates a degree of separation, its different than I expected. I’m always observing how things are going sometimes.

What is the most rewarding part for you? Seeing how much the ride means to everyone. In Daymon Runyon in New York when they asked us why we are riding I winged it. I said I was doing it for everyone else. It’s one thing to have a life changing experience, but if I can do that for others, at least to make people think more, and make people appreciate others more, that’s why I ride. If I can do that for 26 other people I think that’s really powerful.

What are habits you have picked up during the ride that you wouldn’t do normally? A dumb one is that I’m addicted to sugar now. I usually have control, but I’m at the point where I’m buying a liter of Dr Pepper every day. I hope I get rid of this habit later. Right now all my body craves is sugar sugar sugar. A more profound one: I’m more willing to express my feelings and being more proud to share who I am. It’s pretty easy to open up on this team. No one judges or assumes anything. The way I act now is how I want to be in the future.

What is something that you will always remember about this ride? Watching firsthand day by day, as you guys experience i4k. During the school year at the meetings we talk at you about what the actual ride is like and all the boring logistics stuff and what not. And everyone is like “yeah wow that’s cool”. But not until day 1 do you actually realize what it means. And watching that realization of what the ride actually is is pretty memorable for me.

How has i4k influenced your life and how do you think it will in the future? I plan on going into non-profit eventually. The first time around made me realize that I need some kind of work that is fulfilling, and directly related to helping others. I don’t really have a preference, but I know something will happen in my life that will make me realize what direction I want to go in. But also how nice people are. It’s crazy how little we expect, and how well we are treated by others who have no idea who we are. People who let us stay in their school, church, whatever, it’s pretty amazing thinking that people are willing to do that. It pushes me to be more like the people we meet on the ride. Giving to us even when they have no reason to.

What has been your favorite day so far? 96 mile day in South Dakota. Most i4k feeling day. 96 miles and pretty hilly, but it felt like the ride. At this point we were very familiar with everyone and very open. Of course tailwinds help. Everyone was in a good mood, everyone was having a good time. We had good conversation, good miles. Riding was fun, it was very open and you could see very far in the distance. I was just happy to be there at that time. My group, Tina Sua and Nick Su, stopped at some abandoned house and explored that. It felt like the experience that I was waiting for. I knew the feeling that I wanted, and that was the first day that I reached peak happiness, or the most enjoyable day. Definitely a turning point on the ride.

What has been the hardest day for you? Day 1. We were the mamma birds letting the baby birds fly for the first time. There were a lot of miles and we got in at like 7:00 PM. I was already nervous going into the day and everyone was out riding on their own, and there was nothing that I could do about it. I just had to be confident in everyone’s ability to ride safely so it was very stressful.

Describe i4k in one word: inspirational



Comments (2)
  • Mamma Benson says:

    What a wonderful profile of your ‘other Dad’.

    Thanks for keeping an eye out for my Maggie, Tyler

  • Monica Levy says:

    So proud of Tyler and it is so great to hear how great the trip is going! As a parent, it is so hard to explain in words how proud we are of him! We are so happy the trip is going well for everyone. Can’t believe that is coming to an end soon. Stay safe on the rest of your Journey!

    Thank you Maggie for all your posts!

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