The last day before the race is complete. I pray that Rob can sleep. It was a day full of last minute details. The 3000 Miles to a Cure team started the day all together—breakfast and some special moments of sharing our stories and lives.
Then everyone scattered for interviews, inspections, photo sessions, and mountains of paper work that needed completion.
The day culminated in the gathering for the RAAM final instructions and introduction of the solo racers. It was a festive international atmosphere. Riders from all over the world are gathered here for this premier ultra endurance bike race. We all wonder which riders will overcome the immense obstacles ahead—desert, mountains, plains, heat, altitude, sleep deprivation and exposure and actually cross the finish line in Annapolis, Maryland. About half of the riders will drop out due to injury, accident, or exhaustion.
Rob is ready to ride. The time has arrived—finally. All this preparation, fund raising, gathering his community has led to the big start. He is ready to test the limits of his endurance, rely on the sustaining power of God, and ride to support those who are facing an even harder obstacle—brain cancer. We talked about hope this morning. Rob is choosing to enter into suffering in order to stand with those who did not choose their suffering. When a person has a brain cancer diagnosis it is dire news. To know that someone is standing with you brings hope.
Rob is riding in memory of Christina Nevill and for all those who are in the midst of their struggle. Christina spoke of the importance of the community of support after her first brain surgery. She wrote,
“At one point while I was in the hospital trying to put facts and feelings together, knowing a lot of what I was hearing wasn’t ‘good news’, I suddenly saw this very clear picture that stopped me in my tracks. I saw myself all laid out, hospital gown, tubes, IV’s and all–but with no bed under me. Instead what was under me were all you wonderful people holding me up with your prayers – passing me hand over hand through the crowd as you prayed both silently and out loud. I saw distinct faces of college friends, missionary friends, childhood friends, family, even people I didn’t know, and a peace just washed over me. I realized that this is not a battle I fight alone in my heart. The battle is being fought for me. I felt such a relief at that moment I almost laughed. My burden was being carried…”
Thank you for standing with us as we start this epic journey. And may all of you who are fighting the battle you did not choose, know that you are not alone.
Jo Dee Ahmann