Riding with (and for) Best Buddies

September 14th, 2009

At the 2009 Audi sponsored BestBuddies ride Monterey to Hearst Castle

This weekend by chance I happened to cross path with an organized ride from Monterey down to Hearst Castle. It was Audi’s BestBuddies challenge, with 1000 riders tackling a variety of distances between 35km and 160km (!) along the hilly Coast line. BestBuddies.org is a 501(c) registered charitable organization seeking to support disabled children and youths. Audi is the main sponsor of this particular event.

My campground had been about 50km before the finish line, so I (and some of the other riders at our hiker/biker campsite) rode an intermediate distance. As the morning progressed, there were more and more riders who caught me on the uphills. I was one of the slowest riders going up the hills with my 60kg heavyweight rig. Downhill however, I could hang with the fastest of them 🙂

After the last big hill the last 25km or so the terrain levels out and it’s mostly flat. This was probably the first time on my entire trip that I felt a little bit in “racing mode”. It was just fun to try to keep up with some other riders – must have been a fun picture for those other riders to see a heavily loaded touring biker on a recumbent cruise along among them!

Nearing the finish line of the BestBuddies challenge ride

Near the Hearst Castle area I hesitated at first to cross the finish line, but got sort of swept up in the moment and the group of riders arriving simultaneously. The ride commentator called me out as not being part of the ride, but guessed that I was “riding from Canada to Mexico” and as such deserved a medal as well. I was also invited to join the others for drinks and food – something no touring biker will turn down.

Getting a Medal and invitation for food and drinks!

After eating and cooling down I walked up to the commentator, explained to him the nature of my Panamerican Peaks project and gave him one of my prospectus. I asked whether he could make a brief announcement about my project. He immediatedly introduced the project to the several hundred riders in the finish area; then he handed me the microphone to talk about the project in my own words! So I gave a brief rundown of the task, the timeline and the fundraising purpose. It was a great way to get exposure and some publicity for my project. A few individuals contacted me afterwards and I gave them a card.

To return the favor of the free food and publicity I went online at BestBuddies.org the next day and gave a small online contribution. Thanks for a great ride and for supporting a good cause!

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