Day 5, Suddenly it came to an abrupt END–THE ENTIRE RIDE! So close yet so far…

The ride started out well enough, after all the excitement from the previous day we shoved off around 1AM.  We stopped to gas up the cars as well as get water and supplies for the ride.  It’s getting exciting, after tonight we would be two days out from Tampa Bay, finally getting it there.  Today we were riding 138 miles, easy enough–NO SWEAT.  Bill started out on his ride and he finished in about 2 hours 15 mins.  We switched and I jumped on the road, we were supposed to be riding basically on two main roads, but along the way the route was changed and we were making all kinds of twists and turns on the road.  The ride was getting easier on long rides like this we basically ride ourselves into shape, by the end of the ride we would be in better shape than the start of the ride.  Evidenced by my blazing 19mph pace, we were both riding better–the terrain was flat for the most part.

I was just following my lead car, so I didn’t really know what was happening; I am like  male model–I DO WHAT I AM TOLD!  I do my miles and then we switch.  Now we switched and I am DEAD TIRED the schedule that we are keeping is brutal and the double duty (driving and riding) is just making things all that much harder.  I put my head back on the headrest for a second and fell asleep.  When I woke up no one is anywhere, I don’t know where they went.  I immediately floor it to try and find the–I catch up with them 8 miles down the road.  I must have slept for a while as they were a significant way down the road.

As I catch up I am looking at the GPS, I see that we are suppose to be going south but were traveling east, I asked why, but was given no response.  So we kept going.  No when I switched we had about 58 miles to go, but at this point the GPS shows 70 miles to go, obviously we are getting farther away.  I finally stop everyone and tell them we are gong the wrong way, we have to make a right turn somewhere to continue going south.  It is at this point Bill has a MAJOR meltdown, he starts to yell and just plain old acting like an asshole!  He said he’s done, he told us we can do whatever we want to do.  I told him to get in the car and ‘calm down and shut the fuck up.’  Anyone who has ever uttered the words ‘calm down’ to someone knows that that is the last thing they do after saying the words–LOL.  It only seemed to enrage him even more.  He tries to haphazardly load his bike into the car, I told him I would do it, but he HAD to do it.  He was not being careful not to damage MY bike, I was getting a little annoyed as he may damage MY BIKE–WTF!

He manages to get the bike into the car, myself and Maddie are sitting there and laughing our asses off, we can’t believe what a scene he just made and what an asshole he was being.  As we’re laughing, I ask her if she has the address to the hotel, she did and I said well, let’s go, doesn’t look like we are riding anymore.  We start to drive and as we are driving we get this message:

This “fools errand” has come to an end. I will absolutely make good on getting both of you home, the bike shipped and the $$ I agreed to with Maddie. Beyond that I cannot invest more of my time, effort and energy into something that no one cares about. I thought the premise was sound and trying to do something good seemed like a good idea 4 weeks ago. Alas, I was completely delusional, wasted time, money and friendships in the process. No good deed…… I am sorry that I wasted your time as well. Thank you for trying with me, I know I do not make it easy sometimes and for that I am truly sorry. I checked into the hotel and you both can whenever you arrive. Let me know how you want to sort out the flights. I can purchase them for you or write you a check to cover the cost if you prefer to get them on your own. Maddie, I will give you a check for the remainder, or will get the cash. Up to you. I will sort everything else out on my own. I am still going to put in the miles, just cannot logistically do it from here b/c of my car. Anyway, let me know how you want to get all your flights and bike shipment handled and we will get it done. The rooms are paid for so by all means stay the night and fly tomorrow. However you want to do it.

Maddie and I looked at each other, I said, ‘WTF dude, did he just break up with us thru a text message?’  Then we laughed hysterically because it was just so absurd!  We have travelled this far only to give out a few hundred miles out–NOT COOL!  I was resigned to ok, I was pissed off and angry from the scene he made and then this!  FUCKING AYE!  I called Kathy to talk to her and and just give her the lowdown on the absurdity of this, the first thing she said is ‘you have to complete the mission.’  She said it several times and the more she said it the more I started to believe it.  At this point I was calmer and thinking more rationally and in my head I was saying ‘yeah, she’s right we have to finish this thing.’  I spoke to Maddie and she was also on board and we attempted to speak to Bill, problem is this idiot wasn’t answering the phone.  He knew we were calling as I had to have called at least a dozen times if not more.  Ironically he was in the room right next door to me–the front desk wouldn’t tell us what room he’s in citing privacy concerns.

I finally heard back from him.  Bill is passionate about raising the funds for the charities.  He gave me a wrap that ‘no one cares,’ the amount of money raised was significantly low and he was dejected.  He just thought it was a waste of time.  He was bummed out and really despondent.  I explained for the amount of time it took to put this together I think we have fared very well all things considered.  We have made it almost 700 miles and we’re less than three hundred miles from our end point.  He was adamant about not continuing.  I kept pushing, I said let’s just sleep the night rest and instead of leaving at midnight as we have been doing, let’s leave around 6AM or 7AM.  He wasn’t the least bid interested in doing that.  Finally he said ‘look I am going to do the miles just not with you two.’  It was at this point it finally sunk in that we WILL NOT be able to complete this ‘fools errand’ as he put it.  I spoke to Marjorie and she said the same thing, ‘you have to finish you’re too close.’  I agreed, but as I said he just wasn’t having it.  I thought about just taking the van and grabbing Maddie and just rolling out, BUT with the ‘unstable’ mental state Bill was in, I wouldn’t put it past him to report the car stolen and open up an entire different set of problems.  Also, part of the agreement for the ride was that we’d get a ticket back home as well as have the bike shipped back–a significant amount of money, hey a deal is a deal why should I come out of pocket to get home.

Much to his credit, Bill was a man of his word!  We went to UPS and had the bike packed and shipped to Chicago (for RAGBRAI) $280).  He then went and purchased and airline ticket back to DC ($500 x 2 for myself and Maddie).  I wanted to get the hell out of there as I would probably kill him the more I thought about it.  I was having dinner with Kathy in Arlington before heading back home–a win in itself!  😉  He then paid Maddie the remainder of the money owed her and bought her a ticket back to DC–we were going to be on the same flight.  As I said he was a total mensch about getting us and our stuff back home for that I do thank him.

 

EPILOGUE:

I was not a fool to participate in this folly, I knew what I was getting in to all along.  I thought the planning was very haphazard and wanted to bail several times during the planning stages, but I am not one to miss an adventure, besides the stories I can tell from it will be priceless.  I was not forced to do the ride, I went into it fully well knowing what to expect and for the most part I thought everything went as good as can be expected considering the planning.

Interesting events I may or may not have told you about:

  • We lost a driver from the FIRST day, a second driver was supposed to drive the second car, Bill and I would have been on the road together while these two would be our support along the trip.  Both drivers were paid a significant amount of money, well Maddie was I don’t know about the the other driver.  This was probably the most significant event of the trip as we would only have ONE rider on the road and would be pulling double duty riding and driving.
  • We stayed at all four or five star hotels, Marriott Courtyard for several nights and The W in Atlanta on night, we DID NOT have to share a room, we all had our own rooms and all meals were paid for by Bill.  Bill said he had a private sponsor for the actual ride costs, in my opinion, BILL was the sponsor.  I believe all the money came out of his pocket.  KUDOS to him.
  • Bill had several meltdowns along the way, I’ve done a lot of these long distance rides, you can tell when someone just doesn’t have the goods to ride.  I felt Bill was ill prepared for the ride.  Indeed leaving up to the start of the ride he was doing 30 and 40 mile rides, as I did several centuries.  I think the stress took a toll on him hence leading to the eventual demise of the ride.
  • Bill delayed the ride on day three from The W because he met a woman at the bar, we were packed and ready to leave at 1AM as discussed; at the last minute he changed the ride time to 5 or 6AM.  This is significant because this was the day of the accident.  One can argue if we had left on time perhaps the accident wouldn’t have occurred?  Hindsight is always 20/20.
  • We traveled at night, which I was adverse to from the beginning driving at night is very dangerous, Bill was unwilling to relent on this.  In retrospect it wasn’t too bad an idea, but I say that as we did have an accident.  For the most part the roads were clear and the weather was cooler.
  • Bill claims to be completing the ride BY HIMSELF, he posted this on the Team RWB Cycling group:  It has been rumored by some that A Ride For Reclamation has ended. This is completely false. It is true that without any remaining logistical support, the ride cannot continue exactly as planned, but it is by no means done. The next two days were to be from Valdosta to Crystal River, then to Tampa. It is 238 miles total and I will be doing those miles. I cannot do them alone safely over the course of 238 miles, but will be driving to Tampa and doing the 238 miles through Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater. I have a GoPro and will be using it you capture the beauty of those 3 cities as I complete the ride.  This smacks of being ridiculous–why didn’t we just finish the mission?  He is the one who pulled the logistical support!  Does he think that anyone cares at this point?  He looks like a clown planning this and then not completing it.
  • I sincerely believe that all funds will make it to the charity, he has been a stand up guy all along and even to the bitter end.  If he doesn’t get the money to the charities I will contact law enforcement myself.  I wasn’t crazy about him using a GO FUND ME site for the fundraising.  It is easy enough to link directly to the charities to donate.
  • Being that this ‘fools folly’ using Bill’s own words was put together in just about three weeks, I still think it was amazing what we accomplished.  I full believe had we had more time and planning we would have been able to entice more riders to come along, raise more awareness, and there may have been a better plan, in the end they way we were abandoned leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
  • I was not forced or obligated to do this ride.  I joke around that Marjorie ‘volunteered’ me do the ride, hence I did.  In reality ‘no one tells baby what to do.’  I am a big boy and make my own decisions.  As half cocked the ride was I committed to doing it regardless.  HEY IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ADVENTURE!
  • That all being said I would NEVER do another ride with Bill, I would participate in one that he may organize, but he needs to be more on the management side NOT the riding side.
  • Maddie and I have gotten a lot of crap about not finishing the mission.  Unfortunately there was no way to for us to complete the mission without investing a significant amount of our own money.  Had we taken the rental that we had and went on our way, I wouldn’t put it past him to report the car stolen.  Also we had gear in the car to lug, clothing, bags, etc.

 

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