Letters, Part 4: To Our Supporters
Earlier today I was sitting in the Pittsburgh international Airport, cappuccino in one hand, an envelope stuffed with letters from my husband sitting on my lap. The envelope had a prolific statement:
Time is not the great teacher, experience is. A man may live a full life, but if he never leaves his home to experience that life, he dies knowing nothing. On the ear child who has suffered and lived can be the wiser of the two.
I am told that there is one letter for each day of the race, each one penned by the love of my life. I have no doubt that some of these letters will bring me laughter, and others will bring me tears. Either way, the mere existence of this stuffed envelope brings me joy.
Not long before settling at my gate, I also received a text message from my sister, Danielle. She said things that made me proud of who I was and what I was doing. She wrote things that got my adrenaline pumping, like the locker room speech by a great coach. She made me feel more ready than ever to attack the task ahead, and I honestly believe that any victory I have is shared between us. Like Jeremy, Danielle is one of my greatest supporters and greatest inspirations. I often envision her and her beautiful children cheering me on during long races when I feel as though I’ve reached rock bottom. They always pull me through, even if only as a daydream.
Then, there are my parents. Proud, like Jeremy and Danielle. Incredible in their devotion even to this day, to helping see me through these big events. My dad always says we will always be his little girls. He and my mom prove their fandom in a big way, offering to follow the race from Arizona to Maryland and providing back-up support for the crew. All this despite my mom currently being able to walk because of a recent injury (And she is literally one of the toughest women I know).
The stories of our family and friends, fellow cyclists and coworkers coming out of the woodwork to offer us encouraging words, donate to our cause, send prayers and offer to track us along our journey are so numerous and inspiring. These are the people who often remind us how incredible this whole opportunity and adventure is when we get lost in the details and the daily struggle to balance life, work, family and training. The outpouring of love and support has been instrumental to the success of our charity, and critical to maintaining our emotional stability throughout the peaks and valleys faced before even hitting the starting line. Not to mention how sweet a victory may be when shared among so many friends.