Wow. The 4K for Cancer has begun.
Wake-up call at 4:45 am. We arrive at the Ulman Cancer Fund For Young Adults parking lot around 5:45 and find our two support vans. Teammates and alumni trickle in and we prepare for our first day – applying sunscreen, sharpie-ing our dedications on our calves, and packing our vans. The energy was contagious with all four teams there getting ready to depart. And at last, the time came to cycle into the Inner Harbor. We rode through the streets of Baltimore, about 130 of us. And as we turned along the Key Highway, the harbor came into view, as did hundreds of family and friends gathering to send us off. Team San Francisco was full of pride and excitement as we entered the crowd.
After saying hello to our supporters, the ceremony began with speeches. Then, we did our first dedication circle, for whom our entire ride was dedicated to. For me, it’s my mother, who passed away from a 6-year battle with brain cancer in 2009.
And we did our team chant (admittedly, messing it up a bit). We’ll get it together. After, we said goodbye to our family and friends, and dipped our rear tires into the Atlantic Ocean (Baltimore Inner Harbor 😉 ).
Then it was time to ride. But first, let’s take a selfie.
We left the Inner Harbor to the sounds of cheers, applause, and Elliot’s bike speakers playing “Send Me on My Way.” Not far off, we split into groups – Julie, our alumni leader, and my best friend from Philadelphia, led Tyler, Carissa, Harshini, Michaela, and myself. There were many hills to start, but our team pulled through with chants and a couple motivational talks. This is the first time I truly realized what this trip was about: teamwork. If one person doesn’t make it, no one does.
We rode into Washington, DC, where we got to explore a little bit, visiting the Capitol Building, Washington Memorial, White House, and Lincoln Memorial.
And just about 8 miles later, we arrived at our first destination, St. Mary’s Parish in Alexandria, VA. Being the last team to get in, we were welcomed by the entire team’s applause and cheers. WE ARE 4K.
Now for settling in, team meetings, and hopefully a good night’s sleep.