Adventure, discovery, power naps

What a great adventure I've had!

My absence to my blog is due to my participation in an event I loved in the past and now have the pleasure of running one.

I've ridden in several charity rides in the last few years and made amazing friends. When the big AIDSRide did not return and it's predecessor was for only 2003, I was sad. But several riders and crew from the past events decided to continue on. So Hero of the Day phoenixed from this. 2005 was it's second year. The first year I had very little time or energy to continue working with the event, but this year, I let myself get sucked in.

Despite some egos and some selfishness - the event was great!
I saw the riders I've missed, the crew I've missed, the places I've missed.

My role was one of a shapeshifter - it changed week to week. First is was just Rider Support - plan a training schedule and answer questions, then i was writing welcome packets, fundraising packets, monitoring fundraising, transportation, managing the food and housing, managing camp and body count, arrange donated goods for the event, communication with riders and crew... I'm very tired at the moment. It was funny how a looooooooooot of stuff seem to fall under Rider Support, hmmmmm.

But I'm a sucker =) My goal was to make sure riders and crew were fed, rested and had fun. And they did =)

I rent my very first SUV and learn that Capital One are bastards. Knowing that I had no desire to get up at 5 am the next morning and pack the thing, I was up until about 1 AM. Pack it with what? You ask. The previous Sunday, Hi and I went grocery shopping for 3 days worth of nonparishables for 70 people. I love Sam's Club! I packed it up, then remembered, "Um Maggi pants - you need to pack some clothes and a bed for yourself, poodle" CRAP - well the passenger front seat is still open =)

I go to work with my refugee looking SUV and by 6 pm I was on my way to Warrenton NC ( about a 4 hour drive but with traffic and a need to succumb to nature - it was about 5.5). I called folks to a get some things done and be b/c I don't like driving by myself and this was a good remedy for that. I stopped in Richmond for a yummy sandwich a the 4th Street Cafe - yummy! I plugged in some music - Kelly Clarkson, you go girl!

I arrived at the home the two most gracious hosts in fabu restored antebellum home. LOVELY! and set off to bed.

The next morning - everyone had arrived and shared a lovely breckie with the home owners and we shuttled off to get things rolling.
I headed to the Warrenton Armory - to meet up with my one camp crew and work with the volunteers from Warrenton to get things ready for when the rest of the gang arrived. The Armory was decorated with a huge welcome sign - they put out a scrap book for everyone to sign. They fed us dinner and then shuttle us off to the Warren County Fair - CARNIES! RIDES! FUNNEL CAKE!
For those of you who have not partaken.... Your loss... It's a fried dough with powdered sugar - oh .... My.... GOD.... So tasty
HOOOOOOOowever - one should never eat 90% of a funnel cake, suck down a huge lemonade and then directly ride a carnie ride.

One rider - Terry, you are a strong woman - managed to hit almost all the rides with nary a revisit of dinner. She's my hero for that one!

9:30pm - time for bed, kids! Everyone tucks in for a restful sleep (i hope) final prep for breakfast, final review of who is here and not, review the plan for tomorrow. I headed for bed around 11 PM I think when I discovered "Margaret, you'll be MC ing the opening tomorrow" I am? I did not bring anything appropriate to wear and I don't like public speaking. So I was in bed by 1 AM.

5 AM - I'm up and coffee is brewing, the kitchen is jumpin
5:45 Am - Chow time - Warrenton has supplied us with OJ, bagels, yogurt, fresh fresh fruit from their Farmers market, everything we needed to get our folks out and ready to roll.
opening went with a minor hitch but that's life and the riders were off. My Crew (Julie and Wes) finished packing up and hit the road to the next camp.
Wes was the God of all things Gear Truck - he was a blessing, I think my guardian angels knew I'd need a someone like him and brought him in. Jules was my right hand. That is who we had to run camp and frankly - we kicked ass.

After a little grocery shopping and a need to pull off the road for me to power nap for 30 minutes, we arrived at Pocahontas State Park and Camp grounds. SOOOO PRETTY! The Kitchen - YUMMY! can i just tell you, I love those huge industrial ice makers, i just do. We set up the kitchen for din din and preset for breckie. Wes and Jules kept track (bless them) of riders coming in. Dinner was on it's way.

Two Big SNAFU's:
A. We were missing a rider - she was lost in the state park for 30 minutes, then called me, so i set out a Sweep (car that follows the riders and helps out if they have any problems) to find her.
B. Dinner arrived, but I miss calculated - I did a body count of riders(50), not riders and crew(69).

A. Still no missing rider and oh yeah, it started to pour rain
B. I called the restaurant and asked if they could prepare more

A. I ended up out looking for the rider - I got to an intersection in the park and just prayed "Where is she" with out thinking I turned left and there she was about 100 yards down the road.
B. After bring her back, I hauled ASS to get more food

I felt completely responsible - How could I have lost her? How could I have screwed up the people math? This coupled with a few other things - I was not happy.
BUT - the riders were fed, and showered and going to bed - that was the point of all of this.

Saturday AM
5 Am - i love the smell of coffee and by this time - Two riders had joined us and one crew member to help in the kitchen HOORAY!
5:45 AM - CHOW TIME!
7:30 AM the riders were out on their merry way =)

Wes packs up the uber gear truck, Rosie and Jules and I figure to pack the kitchen needs in their cars and they would head out to camp, I would take the coolers and go grocery shopping so we'd hit the ground running.

we get to camp, stake out sleeping spots and start the ball rolling.
This particular day, there is a 20 miles stretch where the traffic has grown, so the Road folks created the Land Ferry - very cooL! Riders pile into cars and take a 15 car ride with AC to camp.
Just as camp was setting up for dinner, it started to pour rain (again!) Jay, the pres of Hero asked if we had any one who could go out and help with Land Ferry - I had the SUV, I know Jules had the kitchen in order with no worries - Off I went.

IT POURED for all of 35 minutes.

by the time I got back to camp with a few riders, camp was cool, and clean smelling.

My Moment to bitch: So I've worked tirefully hard on planning of all of this. On the event I've had no sleep. I've been in the kitchen, in the car, in the grocery store non stop since Thursday. It was implied to me by a crew member that I was not being helpful, b/c I left (to go help riders per the Pres of the event) and left during dinner the night before (to go find the lost rider). That I walked away from breakfast (to make important announcements about changes to riders). Normally, I don't care if I'm getting torn to pieces behind my back - that is their's to deal with, but to tell me that I've not done anything to help on the event... I was already feeling overwhelmed since june, and responsible for what little crew I had had so much on them. I choose that evening to sit back and keep my mouth shut - I had lost my spirit for the event. That was like a knife into me and I just stopped caring. This person, who'd had more opportunity to have fun and sleep choose to take charge but in a way that was mean. This person I know was taxed and tired, I don't blame them for losing it - it's a tough gig. But they totally squashed what little fire I had left

It was was hard to get back into things - I knew the riders were happy and fed and some of the crew. That was what was important. Just then - the cavalry - Lisa (who helped run this event last year but this year was unable to join us for the whole event) arrived! She and I took a minute to get her settled in and then hit the ground running. Back up to speed - but again - short of food - stupid potato salad!

That night was the INFIRMARY night - A place where crew congregate one last evening to enjoy beverages and profound jocularity! (party hut) that was fun!
No power nap on this day but I did go to bed before 1 AM so that was good

After the staff meeting on Saturday night, Rosie, Lisa and I finish the last of the breakie prep.
So at 5 AM - coffee's on, bacon's cooking, and I'm having left over lemon pound cake for breakfast.

This particular camp required much more cleaning for check out - so crew and some riders jumped in and lent a hand, some a little later then others, but the work was done. Lisa was a Godsend - she'd been through this last year and was the best guide.

holy poop! we're done and it's only 9:30 AM!
after a quick gas up, breakie at Hardee's, yuum!, - I had time to run home, shower and get to church to see my family, especially my squishies who i missed so much.

then off to the lunch pit - riders are arriving, eating a snack getting ready to ride into DC. I was so happy to have had the chance to relax a little, squish the nephews and get clean -I even had make up on! once everyone arrived and we mounted up and thanks to Arlingtong County and Washington DC Police - we have a police escorted motorcade! I was so excited - it was my first one =). There is nothing cooler than hearing "Oh, we've closed the White Hearst Freeway for you"

We were driving through red lights, intersections, busy streets - non stop - SO COOL!
I wish I had that every time i was in DC, i could get around so much faster!

Closing Ceremonies
Everyone was home, was safe - I got home from grabbing a bite with Lisa and pasted out
It was a nap like no other - i remember looking at the clock "It's 5 pm, I'll just close my eyes and then take the SUV back", then I remember looking at it again "7pm, huh"

It was a weekend of fun, adventure and discovery

man I'm pooped =)