Last week, I had the opportunity to work with Cycling Camp San Diego as part of the SAG (support and gear) team for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Million Dollar Challenge. The Million Dollar Challenge (MDC) is a 7 day, 620 mile bike ride that starts in San Francisco and finishes in San Diego to raise funds for the charity.
This year, there was about 140 riders, 100 of which had raised $10,000 or more for the charity – hence the name “Million Dollar Challenge”. And in fact, this year, they broke a record by raising $1.5 million! In the group of riders there were CEO’s of large corporations, friends and parents of physically challenged men, women and children, nine physically challenged athletes and experienced ride leaders.
My responsibilities were easy - set up lunch every day for the riders. This meant driving a box truck, loading and unloading tables, chairs, boxes of food and beverages, setting everything up and having lunch ready when they arrived. It was tiring, even though my partner, Jason Schutz, did most of the hard labor. But let me say this – I’m ashamed, really ashamed to even utter those words when you consider what the riders put themselves through. Especially considering that I put this sign up at lunch:
Their strength, courage and dedication were unbelievable! I was in awe.
Now, I’ve been involved with many charities and organizations over the years, but few have moved me like CAF and the athletes they support. During the ride, I fell in love – in love with the dedication of every person working to make this a successful event and moreover of the athletes themselves. I might as well have yanked my heart out, cut it into 100+ pieces and just dished them out.