We (two Angel buddies [photo below] and I) and other volunteers woke up early last Saturday morning to help with the kick-off of the 110-mile, 2-day Face of America Bike Ride from Bethesda, MD to Gettysburg, PA.
The riders were up early too, though I hope they slept as late as they could!
General Robert Magnus, Assistant Commandant, United States Marine Corps was on hand to provide opening remarks in Bethesda and closing thoughts in Gettysburg. Oh yeah, and he rode, too (you might not have recognized him in his cyclist gear!).
I'd given you a heads up about this event HERE. This banner made it back from Texas signed by Mom's 5th graders to join all the rest hung at the start...
and finish lines each day...
This red barn was just short of the finish, and provided a perfect spot for hanging banners -- which was fortunate as we had to resort to stringing banners between parked cars :-)
I asked for prayers for "cooperative weather", and we were gifted with TWO - count them - TWO terrific sunny days. After a week of predictions for rain the entire weekend, this was fabulous.
It was fun to hang out with old friends and new and to be inspired by the efforts of those who rode, especially our recovering wounded. Can you imagine? 110 miles. The finish was spectacular: a last push along a straight stretch of road between two open fields midst the battlefields of Gettysburg on a gloriously sunny day. We lined one side of the road to cheer, holler, and take pictures, while riders zipped by grinning and waving and taking a few pictures of their own.
In front of Seamus' house (an awesome retired Marine who hosted the grand finale), riders posed for a group photo beneath a huge American flag held aloft by a ladder truck from the local firehouse.
And if that wasn't cool enough, one of these flew in to say hi and salute the riders' efforts:
We'll see, but I'd seriously consider riding next year, though volunteers are always needed, too. Mark, Dawn, and Lynette were the event leaders that I worked with most, and they did a awesome job!
I wish I had better and a more complete set of pictures to share, but check out my Angel buddy Kathi's pictures HERE and here's hoping that Laughing Wolf finds some decent pictures among all those I took with his fancy digital camera while he rode in the race. Hopefully that "point and shoot" thing made up for my rusty photography skills!
Carren was wielding Laughing Wolf's video camera, so look for mid and post-race interviews with Major Chuck Z and Laughing Wolf at Chuck and Carren's site or at Blackfive in the days to come.
See you there next year?