I was honored that Mary Natoli invited me on a training ride for the 4K for Cancer. I left the house and was 10 miles up I-95 when I remembered I forgot my Garmin. Too late to go back, I didn't know how I could ride without it. I don't use it to know where I'm going but to see where I've been.* But when I don't have it I feel empty.
|Katie Gundlach, Anthony Venida, Mary Natoli|
We met near Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland. We counted off to form four groups. And whatever group I was supposed to be in changed by the time we hit the open road.
The 4K for Cancer 2014 edition had three riders come out. Three. The level of support of was 7:1 which tells you how much the alumni love the organization.
Before we left, Mary had everyone form a circle and she went over rules of the road for the new cyclists. Then we had the dedication circle. I dedicated my ride to Joe Petrucelli.
|Team Seattle 2014|
Eric Tien, Jackie Weiss
Once on the road I formed up with Nick Lee, a friend of Mary's from Baltimore, and Jen King, a senior at University of Maryland who signed up to ride cross country with Bike and Build. We were the non-4K group.
|Yoshi Williams, Chelsea Robinson, Andrew Porter|
Photo Credit: Joanna Freeman
We had a pleasant ride to Annapolis. Some busy roads - very busy. And one beautiful country road. It was partly sunny going out. Lunch was 4K-style; donated food, this time from Chipotle and Subway.
|Burritos from Chipotle|
As we got underway to return from Annapolis the weather turned for the worse. Hoping to beat the weather, our group was designated as Group 1. We would not honor that title. We knew we left before the support van and there wouldn't be chalked turns but Nick was comfortable knowing the way. Until we missed a turn. It was raining and our focus was on staying upright.
|Waiting for lunch in Annapolis|
We pulled over and tried to determine whether we needed to backtrack or continue with a new route to intersect the original route. We found a new way through. Our delay cost us but we caught one or two groups and picked up Anthony Venida, my "Pedal Pal" from last year's 4K. We rolled ahead sure that we could see the now-first group ahead.
|Jen, Nick, Anthony|
And then we lost them. We had missed another turn.
Jen, Nick, and Anthony all went to their phones to check the directions vs. maps on the phone. We continued ahead adding four more miles. A check of the map after the ride showed we could have gone back 1/4 mile and been back on course.
|Barry and Anthony|
But this was an adventure as much as a ride. We found our way back on course although we finished last. In the last 16 miles we ran into more rain and wind. But we stuck together to bring everyone home safely. I think everyone had a good day. I did. I always do with the 4K.
|The Famous Anthony Selfie|
It was to be a training day for this year's for 4K. Only three new riders showed up but they got a taste of the 4K. It's an amazing organization that an alum, Mary, would organize such a ride and so many others willingly come out to help. Best of luck and safe travels to this year's 4K riders!
*The map was drawn after the fact and is not from my Garmin - which still sets on the fireplace.