October 12, 2011 – Slice of Life – Prologue
It has been 2 days since the “ride” has ended and a satisfied glow still shines on my face. My posterior glows from sores, I wish it felt as well. I just made an appointment to get that whole body 1- hour massage at First Express.
For the readers following this blog and future ones who might trip over it who want to read up on The Great Allegheny Passage Trail and C&O Canal, know this PLAN ahead. Know where you are going and arrange for your accommodations.
The Ride Allegheny team does this primarily for a purpose – connected to Operation Second Chance. Ride Allegheny is not a tour group – though if you asked our “Sherpa’s” – in reality it was. Those volunteers were Great.
From this point on – I am “considered” alum – initiated in the rite of the passage and now and forever when I refer to Ride Allegheny group it will be in the possessive pronoun “we”.
So the ending chapter of this Slice goes like this – – we have collected $130,000 towards a yearend goal of $150,000 for Operation Second Chance. That $20K part of the ride carries forward.
For the planners, XO’s, it was a smashing success. They took the fun part of their ride that they started shortly after 9/11 – matched it with a charitable organization (OSC) and made it enjoyable adventure with a purpose. Along they way we garnered the attention of a beautiful region of Western PA and MD who gave of their time to support the ride.
Nothing breeds success, like success. There in lies the challenge.
How can we make this adventure more inclusive to draw more riders/volunteers to the purpose and ultimately more donations? I asked this of the XO’s as I rode along the trail.
Indirectly they all told me that they were first and foremost focused on the now – this years first real expansion of the ride. I also detected a sense of what do we do now to top this. It’s sort of like a dog chasing a car (or bike/runner) down the street – once the dog has stopped the moving object – what does the dog do next? Bite the tire/leg? Stand there and bark? This of course is all before the day’s of electronic dog fences that now keeps the beast within a defined area.
Then consider World T.E.A.M. Sports whom previewed/rode the ride – now that they have considered some stretches of the ride too remote to provide adequate emergency support – it provides a new wrinkle to future operations.
The pinch points influencing growth are first, Ohiopyle and the limited number of overnight accommodations. Second, making this ride truly like the original first years – a multi-day adventure, with a small test of endurance. Lastly, is the persistent void to fill for helping wounded soldiers.
I finish this Slice with part of the article I wrote for my editor (and readers) at the Town Courier – and include more pics that we took.
It goes like this —-
“I joined the ride because I had broken my foot at the start of a marathon-training program. The doctor gave me the green light to cycle but forbade me from running for 8 weeks this summer. Coincidentally, I had recently attended the recruitment event at O’Donnell’s and the rest is history. Little, did I know that I would have my epiphany, day 2 on a mountainside in Rockwood, PA – the reason Ride Allegheny does this became crystal clear at the American Legion Post 279 support stop as I chatted with a twice-wounded Iraq vet named Dirk T–. It was by wheeled power that brought us all here to listen to him, as well as others like Dirk at numerous American Legion rest stops along the way. That reason is to give thanks. To bring the spirit of gratitude and perseverance to those who face pain seen and unseen – transmitted by 50 riders human power showing we care.”
Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.
Stay tuned for 2 more blogs 1) Phil’s 10 Ten – Keys to a Great GAP Ride and 2) a Slice of Life Thank you list with links.
The photos below are but a few of the scenic views along the trails. Dave Parrish contributed photos.