Saturday, August 4, 2012

San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

Rodrigo Garcia and I met at the Mill Valley Community Center parking lot. We rode to meet the 4K for Cancer group on the last day of their 70 day journey across the U.S. and were surprised when they went by us in the opposite direction. We turned, gave chase, and caught them - because we could.

Ever since saying goodbye to the 4K in Manassas, Va., two 1/2 months ago, I thought about finishing with them. I felt that I started with them, from Baltimore to Alexandria, and then to Manassas, and that I should finish with them.


Patrick Sheridan and Barry Sherry

On the bike path I rode first behind Kelly Schofield. Her rear tire was split and looked as though it would blow at any time. I was horrified, knowing the risks one takes on bad tires. But a number of the 4K cyclists rode on tires as bad or even worse than Kelly's. With pride.



Tire splitting


But one need not have bad tires to cause a crash. On an easy roll out to San Francisco, Michael Wray crashed hard in Sausalito. No one seems to know why - one second he was upright and the next second he was down on the road. He had some pretty nasty road rash on his legs and arms and a busted lip. Ouch.

Michael Wray - Sucks to crash on the last day
We rode with the 4K to their photo ops on a foggy Vista Point and into Crissy Beach in San Francisco. Briefly riding up to Vista Point I rode again with Jeff Graves, Chris Chitterling, and Lauren Schoener. It was a reunion from the first day. Along with Patrick Sheridan, the four of them had been my riding partners the first day.

4K Team San Fran

It was also a bittersweet day for me. I started and finished the 4K as a Pedal Pal. The most inspirational Pedal Pal, Jake "The Hero" Grecco, did not finish. His health took a turn for the worse around Memorial Day. While he had hoped to be in Baltimore to meet his Pedal Pal, Chey Hillsgrove, he was too weak and tired. And just three days before the 4K ended, Jake passed away.

While the riders were wearing their 4K jerseys, I wore my special one. Cyclists Combating Cancer, I have written on the back "In Loving Memory, Jacob Grecco, 2004-2012." I felt empowered riding with the 4K wearing Jake's name.


My Jersey for Jake

I also met a Pedal Pal from Sausalito. She told me she found out about the 4K from an article in RoadBikeRider.com. Yes! I had contacted John Marsh about running an article seeking Pedal Pals and was very happy that it paid off.


4K on Crissy Beach, San Francisco

The riders enjoyed a closing ceremony -- I said goodbye to my Pedal Pal, Patrick, and Rodrigo and I rolled back to Mill Valley.

Barry Sherry, Peter Bai, Rodrigo Garcia
Riding partners the day before

In Washington, D.C., I have to be mindful that many people on bikes are tourists and to be careful when riding near them. But Rodrigo and I both agreed that perhaps the single largest location for tourists to rent bikes is in San Francisco to ride over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Approaching the bridge I had a tourist stop in the bike path and turn his bike width-wise and block 3/4 of the lane. I put my foot down to avoid a crash. And on the bridge itself, Rodrigo had a tourist step back (taking a picture) into his path. When he swerved it was in my path and I hit him. How neither of us crashed hard on the bridge I'll never know. Somehow we stayed up.






It was good to see the 4K finish. While their bicycle journey across the U.S. ended today, it is my hope that their journeys as cancer fighters never end.




In Memory of Jake The Hero


2004-2012
Batman



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