In a previous post, Dedicating Our Rides, we mentioned that we will be dedicating particularly challenging portions of our ride across the United States to friends and family who have been struck down prematurely or suffered a debilitating health issue while still in the prime of their lives. It is our way of sending positive energy to those who are continuing their battles or to those friends and family who will forever grieve for a life cut short.
On Friday, May 20, Joy and I will tackle our single most challenging ride – a ride that has had us filled with trepidation for months. Early in our trip we were obviously focused on whether we could ride all the way to the top of the Sierras. But almost before the Sierra climb turned into a happy accomplishment we began fretting about this Friday’s ride. At roughly 6am that day Joy and I will load as much water and Gatorade as we can possibly carry and attempt the longest ride we’ve ever done and do it without a safety net. Our goal is to ride 83 miles from Baker, Nevada to Milford, Utah. With almost 4,000 feet of climbing. There are no services: no gas stations, no mini marts, no creeks from which to filter water, no cell reception. Nothing. And because this is an rarely traveled section of highway, almost no cars.
A young man cycling from Provo, Utah back to Portland passed us a few days ago. He told us it was, by far, the hardest stretch he’d done and that he didn’t see more than one car per hour. I find my heart racing just writing about this ride.
In case you’re interested: Google map showing cycling route (note that the 7 hours of cycling that Google suggests assumes you are on a road bike and not hauling 80 pounds of gear, including extra water). We are assuming, with rests stops, that it will likely take us as much as 12 hours to do this ride.
We will be dedicating Friday’s ride to Pamela Bay Marostica.
Joy and I never had the opportunity to meet Pamela. I worked with her husband, Matt, at Stanford University. In our 1:1 meetings, our conversations would sometimes drift to personal and family topics. Based on quite chats Matt and I had about Pamela, it’s clear that never having met her is a great shame.
15 months after she was diagnosed, Pamela succumbed to Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), the same aggressive brain tumor that took our friend Warren.
To quote Matt:
Pamela was a mother of three daughters (Sara, Laura, and Julia) whom she considered to be perfect and grand-mother to Flavia whom she embraced with all her heart. Pamela was an employment lawyer who practiced in both large firms and state agencies. She loved her flower gardens and she loved her Mormon congregation in Berkeley where she served others with kindness and great distinction.
And although he didn’t write it, Pamela clearly loved Matt. Seeing the anguish her absence creates, it is very clear that everyone who knew her loved her for the special person that she was, but that love paled in comparison to what she meant to Matt and their daughters.
As we strain and pedal, and our legs burn and our bums ache, and we begin fantasizing about how wonderful a milkshake would be, we’ll keep Pamela, Matt and their family in mind and hope that our efforts and energy somehow help with their healing process.
If you’d like to help us raise research funds to fight GBM, please visit Help Us Cure Brain Cancer.