We are down to less than a week before this year’s 80 Tour des Trees riders have to meet their minimum fundraising goals, and the team as a whole is within $10,000 of our total goal for the year, hooray! If you want to help somebody get ‘er done here at rug-cutting time (or if you want to help push me up the leader board), you can click on the image above and support any of our riders. We should definitely hit our $300,000 mark this week, so I am hoping that when all’s said and done, we can be above last year’s $327,000 mark before the week of actual riding ends. The more we raise, the more research we fund or endow in next year’s budget, so it’s win, win, win to raise more, more, more!
I have to be at our office in Naperville the week before the Tour, so next week is my final training window. I feel in good shape at this point. It’s easier to do training rides in Des Moines than it was in Chicago, for sure. I’ve ridden a couple of centuries already this summer, and did a five-day unsupported week of 305 miles, so being in the peloton with regular rest stops, support and meals that I don’t have to carry should make the actual week’s tally of about 450 miles with one century and less climbing than we had last year in Ohio more than attainable. I won’t be winning any time trials, but I’ll be back at the barn before dinner every day, and that’s what it’s all about.
While this will be my last Tour as CEO of TREE Fund, I do intend to keep riding it in the years ahead, so long as my ever-more-creaky body allows. I was thinking this week about the things that make the Tour des Trees special, and some valuable life lessons learned on the road over the past four years popped into my mind, so I thought I would share them with you here. I’d welcome any of your own lessons learned in the comments!
1. When life gives you free lunch, you eat it.
2. When everybody stinks, nobody stinks.
3. Love every single glorious descent, because you will be punished for each one later.
4. No matter how many gears you have, life will always throw something at you where none of them are quite right, and you just have to grit your teeth and grind it out.
5. There’s nothing wrong with being able to recognize your friends by their butts.
6. Knowing you have support in front of you, behind you, and alongside you makes everything achievable.
7. No matter how nice your bike is, somebody else always has a nicer one.
8. A ride with no trees makes it most clear why we ride for the trees.
9. You’ll never have nicer conversations than the ones you share on a journey with fellow travelers.
10. What happens on the Tour does not stay on the Tour: it ripples outward, over space and time, and makes the world a better place.
Ride on! See you soon in Tennessee and Kentucky!