Training for a 300 mile bike ride means keeping count of many things such as days left until the ride (27), mileage logged (1870 since last year) and of course funds raised (more than $450,000 for Chefs Cycle 2016 as of this morning. But during one of my 44 mile training rides last week out to Mount Vernon and back I’ve realized there are also many things I avoid counting. These are the top ten:
- The number of riders who pass me (too many too keep track)
- The number of gnats swallowed riding through Rock Creek Park at dusk (enough protein to skip dinner)
- The number of times I’ve ended a ride at Ben and Jerry’s
- The combined age of my knees
- The number of hills between Carmel and Santa Barbara as displayed on this year’s route map
- The staggering number of miles that Jen Jinks. Lucy Melcher and Courtney Smith are logging each week.
- The number of orthopedic surgeons available in the DC area.
- The number of well-meaning people who ask “YOU are doing the ride?”
- The number of tattoo’s I would need to match ride leader Jason Roberts
- The number of dollars we will raise next year with 300 riders!
On the other hand, the most important thing to be sure to count is the number of new supporters – either riders or donors – who are learning what it means to share their strength and are getting behind our No Kid Hungry campaign. If last year is any guide that will number in the thousands. Our intellectual design challenge has always been to create new ways in which others can share their strength. We usually use “strength” to refer to the skills, talents, and gifts one has to share. But in this context it refers to a physical strength that our supporters work first to build and then to share. Such commitment will bond them to our cause for a long time.