Today I rode the 5th Annual Wheels to Meals ride that benefits St LEO Food Connection (one of my three reasons to ride this summer). Thanks to the generosity of others, I raised $225 for this great organization.
The ride started on the edge of Puyallup, WA at the WSU campus. It was raining lightly when I started on the 56 mile course a little before 8am. I chatted with the only two other riders I encountered, a couple that lived nearby and who had ridden Wheels to Meals before. We sauntered together along the Foothills Trail for a while, until I decided I needed a faster pace.
Mt. Rainier is hiding here somewhere
The trail roughly follows the Carbon River through Orting and South Prairie. There were rest stops every 12 miles or so, and I found myself stopping to grab a little something at each one and to thank the volunteers for supporting the event. Although over 200 riders pre-registered for the event, I saw very few of them on the course.
The descent into Sumner
The director of Food Connection, Kevin Glacken-Coley, said a few words of thanks to the riders and volunteers. Kevin explained how Food Connections Backpack Program feeds nearly 350 students during the school year and that during the summer they will be operating over 20 food distribution locations throughout Pierce County so that many of those same children will have access to the food they otherwise wouldn't have.
Kevin also likes to point out that you shouldn't have a ride against hunger and be hungry yourself! So there was a very tasty taco bar at the finish, complimentary Harmon Ale and Washington wine, and root beer floats. This was after the five (six?) rest-stops that were well stocked with fruit, home-made granola bars, chocolate-covered rice crispie treats...I was stuffed.
According to my records, this was my longest ride for me since last year's Courage Classic, and I was feeling it. Between the lack of training and a lingering cough, every mile after about 30 was a struggle. Hopefully I'll have a chance to get a few more long rides under my belt before the Seattle LIVESTRONG ride on June 20. I'm really looking forward to it.
Now go find your own reason to ride!