In honor of the ten years to this month since my time on the Ride Across California (280 miles, one week, rain, sun, hot springs, corn fields, and uncountable amounts of fun), this will be a short story accounting the very first day.
We started at the Colorado River. It took all morning to drive there, and much earlier in the morning for my dad and I to bike up to the parking lot where the drivers were waiting. I was pretty annoyed at him for making me bike before I had to. But we still did it, and it was actually a good warm-up, a way to get our blood flowing before sitting for hours. I remember the nervous energy from my spot in the backseat of the van.
Once we arrived, we were supposed to dip our bikes' back tires into the Colorado River for an inaugural photo. At the end of the week, we'd finally dip our front tires into the Pacific Ocean.
Photo of the photo collage my mom framed at home
I've never visited the Colorado River since that day. I can't even remember it that well. I just remember the feeling: excitment, anxiousness, heat, laughter, the knowledge that we were ready after training all year.
That day of riding was a short one, only 20 miles or so. But it was hot, and our path led right down the side of the main road, so we had to bike completely single file. Pedalling on, I didn't know what experiences this trip would lead me on.
I only knew to push forward.