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Do You Hear the People Sing?

It’s Friday evening.

I’m always hesitant to post on Friday. It reveals the fact that I’m not out at a hip bar drinking appletini’s but instead sitting in my study contemplating the meaning of life.

Alas, I am a tad nerdy.

But also tonight mind and body demand a little downtime. A little time to think about how amazing the last week has been and everything we have accomplished.

Last weekend our Summit for Samantha team of 61 riders rode over 130 miles and raised almost $130,000 for mitochondrial research here in Colorado. In our ten years as a tenacious team, we have raised a cumulative $893,000 for our mito clinic.

Next year I’m calling a million. A million dollars for mitochondrial disease.

I would be lying if I said this week doesn’t knock me on my hiney. I have gone radio silent on my team. It took me three days to unload my car. I am now staring at a pile of stinky rider gear in my study.

Stinky.

But my goodness, its awesome. And my goodness, I am so proud of what every, single, person has done to raise this team up into the ten year success it is. We are number 5 in overall fundraising for the ride; number five with teams raising awareness for cancer research, heart defects and overall hospital support. These are known, important causes that are easy to rally behind because the general population knows about them. Here we are, number five for mitochondrial disease. Mito-what-drial?

This is not an easy ride. Vail Pass after 60 miles of riding is brutal; your head plays games and your legs plead for you to stop. I turned on my Pandora about two miles from the top. The station queue’d was Hamilton but a song from Les Miserables was playing…..

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

I pushed along to the cadence but thinking to myself, I’m not angry.

But then my other self called bullshit on that and declared I clearly had too many shot blocks.

Of course there are times when I’m angry. When we should not have to raise money for mitochondrial disease. When I should not know so many who have lost their Littles.

And when I realized that, climbing up Vail Pass, the beating of my heart echoed the beating of the drums…..

And I started to cry.

Two miles from the top of Vail Pass on your bike is a really awful place to cry. I told myself this but myself does not listen and started to cry harder; snot, sweat and tears.

This year we arranged for a beer stop at the top of Vail Pass because, well, beer. My friend Paula coordinated the stop, rallied volunteers and dressed as a giant banana to keep us going.

No really. A banana.

As I got to the top, I was greeted by my team chanting “Heather! Heather! Heather!” I was handed a cold Summer Shandy, a Kleenex and felt the relief that all I had to do was ride down into Copper.

How can I possibly be angry?

You all make it IMPOSSIBLE for me to be angry.

And not that it does not well up at times. And not that I don’t ugly cry at times. But I’ll tell ya, 61 riders, $130,000, a Summer Shandy and a dancing banana…..ya’ll are good people.

Thank you for another amazing year.

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