First off, let me introduce myself. I'm wenat's husband...aka "DH", most know me as "Tony". I've been granted "guest blogger status" here, and I promise not to abuse it. At this point I could make some comment about having been rescued from a stash-alanche or JOMR delays (husband-speak for "coming...Just One More Row") for dinner, but I do know the audience for this blog. That and it would only provide my wife with amunition regarding my hobbies. What are my hobbies? Well, one of them is cycling. Cyclists will do crazy things that non-cyclists just don't understand. To the non-cyclist, a cyclist's motivation for riding somewhere is often just not understood.
Up until now, there's been very little to link knitting and cycling in our household; the stash and the bikes are actually (I'm only just realizing this as I type it) at opposite ends of the house. I have a pair of socks (STR Cougar - I think that's what you commonly call "Socks That Rock") my wife knit for me as a reminder of a ride I did last year. The ride was the 2008 edition of the Seattle to Portland (STP). She didn't quite know what she was in for when I was told to visit "this shop - here's a map" in Seattle and pick up a couple of skeins/balls of STR in colours I liked...one that would remind me of the ride and one I thought she would like. Cougar, by the way, is for the WSU Cougars, and it's basically red, grey and white. My favourite socks are these socks. Not simply because they remind me of the ride, but they're just really comfortable, really warm, and my wife made them...for me :) As it turns out the red, grey and white also remind me of the condition/colour of my knee, and forearm after falling off my bike while towing my luggage to the start line of a 205 mile ride over two days. White is the natural pasty colour of my arm with SPF 50 spread onto it; grey is the colour of gravel, and red...well...it ain't for the sunburn. Sorry to get graphic. As a side-note the other skein I bought for her was "Husky". It's white, yellow and purple; the latter being my wife's favourite colour. The Husky name comes from the UW Huskies. This yarn store is about 5 minutes by car from the UW campus in Seattle.
So, up until now, there hasn't been much to tie these two hobbies together, or us through them (we'll talk about the TdF knit-along later). My wife doesn't like to ride her bike very far, and I can sort of knit, can't get the purl thing down though, and when I do knit, I do it so tight the needles squeak...literally, the needles squeak. When your wife tries to come to your rescue and can't get the yarn over because it's on so tight she needs to use her fingernails to pry the stitch off the needle, it's clear you need to find a different hobby. Then, along came the Ride2Survive.
2009 is the fifth year of the R2S, so it's not really "new"...I've just never been moved to the committment required to complete this ride. I assure you, I'm not some former elite cyclist. This year, I'm committed. It's personal. My father is battling cancer and the list of people I know got too long for me to sit on the side lines any longer. I had to do something. Have you ever had that feeling? You can watch something wrong happen, then happen again, and eventually you have to do something to stop this wrong from continuing to happen.
That last question was rhetorical; I know many of you who don't know me, don't know my cycling club Team Coastal, and until last week didn't know about the Ride2Survive HAVE done something. The cycling community is known for doing charity rides - we'll raise funds in recognition of us riding from there to here. In the past week I've discovered that knitters are just as passionate about supporting causes too. I have seen projects volunteered for the raffle, several of you have generously donated part of your treasured stash to the cause, and many more have donated your money. The response has been fantastic. To those who have dontated, I thank you and I'm humbled by your generosity (you'll have to ask my wife just how significant that is). To those of you who were thinking about donating but haven't clicked on that link yet, please do it now before you forget. To those who can't donate but wish they could, thanks for the thoughts, and think of us on June 20th.
We start riding at 4AM and after about 45 minutes, we begin 33km/20miles of uphill riding on a 6% grade. We're at the top of that climb by 6:30 or 7AM...only 345km/215miles to go before we arrive at our destination at about 10PM.
Finally, I want to take this final moment to publically thank my wife for her support. Her support goes beyond setting up a raffle to aid this cause, and blogging about the ride. To complete this ride in June, I've had to commit to a training program what means I spend a lot of weekends and evenings on my bike. She's picking up the slack I leave at home with the kids and the chores, on top of her day-job. Without her, I couldn't be part of this amazing ride, so, "Thanks, I love you".