Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Revolution -- from Lisa's Point of View


Thanks to the support of all our friends and family, our BORP Revolution ride was a huge success.  Every year, I wish that every one of you could have joined us. And every year, I feel like I fail to adequately express the magic of this event.

Every year, I take some version of this photo, and every year it just looks like chaos.  I'm trying to convey the size of our part of the ride, the crazy variety of human-powered vehicles, and the rambunctious spirit.  All those things conspire to make a particularly crappy photo, so you'll have to take my word for it:  being part of this slightly crazed armada of adaptive cyclers and their friends is a blast!  The machines -- while incredible -- are nowhere near as impressive as their riders.  Talk about spirited!  These people ROCK.

And then there's the landscape. It's a huge part of what makes this ride so special.  Sonoma County is simply beautiful.

The vineyards are lovely.  I never tire of looking at the rows of vines, spread across the soft hills. Something about this kind of agriculture really speaks to me.

It is interesting to return year after year, and observe different stages of the harvest.  We've ridden past this particular vineyard many times, but I don't recall seeing the grape clusters hanging down like this before.  This particular field always makes me smile, because the variety of grape and the rootstock that it's grafted to are both neatly labeled. The rootstock -- Teleki -- is the family name of one of my father's best friends.  Seeing these grapes reminds me of my father's circle of buddies.  They had been childhood friends in Hungary, and each fled their homes as political refugees.  Decades later, they were still fast friends, getting together regularly to play cards and crack jokes.  I'm a bit wistful about all that, as I cannot begin to imagine having that kind of life-long friendship.

Robb and I cycle at different rates. He climbs up hills very slowly.  If I were to try to match his pace, my bike would fall over.  And because his trike is so stable, he descends like a freaking maniac.  I still remember opening the door to my sister after she had flown over her handlebars and cracked her jaw open on the street.  That sort of thing burn itself onto one's brain, and thus, I am not inclined to go flying down the hills.  I'm a bit too aware of how badly I could get hurt if I hit a patch of gravel or a pothole.

As a result of our uneven pacing, Robb and I spend quite a bit of our rides waiting for each other.  I try to find a shady spot, that's safe from traffic and potentially photogenic.  I ride with an SLR camera strapped across my chest.  About two thirds of the way through this ride, there's a long climb. I take my camera off and stash it in my bike basket.  And with all that weight off my chest, I ride a lot stronger.

Everyone finds their own pace on this ride.  So many riders.  So many different levels of ability.  It does tend to spread us all out.  And that's fine.  It's nice to ride on uncrowded country roads.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky today, so all of my photos are terribly contrasty.  That's Robb. Really it is.

And here's a rare photograph of the two of us together.  I have almost no photos of myself since Robb's accident.  Considering how long ago that was at this point, I find that fact very strange.

I should probably point out the hand-cyclist who is sprouting out of our heads. We sat with her for part of the post-ride festivities.  She's a total badass.

Did every single person who passed this barn make barnyard animal noises, as they read this sign aloud?  Do you have any doubt that Robb and I bleated the name of our president?

OHH BAA MAA.  (You said it, didn't you?)

It is entirely delightful to cycle through this beautiful agricultural region.  Vineyards, olive groves, orchards.  All beautiful.

Did we sample some of the wild grapes, growing in the ditches?  Of course we did.  Likewise the windfall fruit.  I won't steal fruit off anyone's plants, but I'm not ashamed to pick food up off the ground.

This was the part of the ride I was dreading the most. The long climb to the graveyard.  Nothing metaphoric about that, huh?

I've been sick for weeks with a lingering sinus thing, and before that I was working insane hours.  I thought I was in no shape to do this ride, and fully expected to find myself plodding up this hill, pushing my bike as I trudged along side it.

As it turned out, we surprised ourselves.  The hill was not as difficult as we had remembered it being.  We had a good laugh about how we expected to suck, and failed to live up to our own expectations.  And then Robb rode down that hill at thirty-six miles an hour.


The Revolution ride begins and ends at a winery.  There's food and drinks and glorious massages and speeches.  This may be the first year that I didn't shamelessly cry during the speeches.

And just as we were leaving we noticed this unexpected rainbow.

Oh, how I wish you all could have joined us for this wonderful day!  You would have loved it.

(And if you wanted to donate, but hadn't.  There's still time.  Click here!)

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