5 days along and still smiling! (Thanks to Pete and his family at Valley of the Rogue Campground for the photo) The first segment of the School Food Tour has been eventful, enlightening, challenging & inspiring. From short days (30 miles) to long days (68 miles), thunderstorms to intense heat, raspberry sorbet to instant oatmeal; I have already ran a gamut of experiences. Each day makes me even more excited for the next.
The actual commencement of the SFT was oddly anticlimactic. After big hugs goodbye and promises of visits on the road, I turned my back on all things loved and familiar and set off on a mission to change the world (or at least a few small parts of it). I turned out of the gravel alley onto the open road with my emotions torn between smiles of elation and tears of anticipated homesickness. Thoughts of who I would meet and the lives I might affect raced through my head alongside more pressing concerns of when I could stop for my first snack break and where I was going to camp for the night. My mind was instantly quieted and all of my aspirations for the School Food Tour were affirmed by a chance encounter on mile 9.
As I pedaled out of Bend, I slowly gained ground on a cyclist in front of me. Eventually our paths intersected and I came upon a friendly older gentleman out for a Friday morning jaunt. He informed me that he was trying to be more health conscious and also rehab his knee so he now rides up to the top of the same hill every day. I told him about my project and that he had just happened to catch me on day 1 of a 10 month undertaking. After a few minutes of chatting I rode away from this man and thanked him for sharing mile 9 with me. I also encouraged him to look beyond himself and perhaps aim towards a more distant hill on his next ride. He assured me he would try.
That’s all I needed to remind myself that I am doing this for all the right reasons. The School Food Tour is ON. Let’s ride.