The following is a Team LIVESTRONG story from RAGBRAI participant Gil Webb. There are many events you can take part in with Team LIVESTRONG. Go to our website to learn more about the run, walk, ride and tri events.
My name is Gil Webb and I am from Melbourne, FL. I am currently in Iowa participating in the RAGBRAI, which stands for Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa with Team LIVESTRONG. How to describe RAGBRAI is like trying to explain your weird Uncle….you don’t. It’s a ten thousand person carnival traveling across a beautiful and certainly not flat state on bikes. I can however try to explain my journey with my dad, Jeff, who is fighting stage 4 thyroid cancer and the ability to talk about this disease openly with my family and anyone else who will listen thanks to LIVESTRONG.
My journey with RAGBRAI started when my dad called and said,”Hey! I signed us up for RAGBRAI with Team LIVESTRONG.” Ok..i said…What’s that? So after getting the background about the ride and what we needed to do, it was on! We gladly raised money to be on this team. We sent put a few emails to friends explaining what we were doing and how this would benefit my father and I on a personal level and have a chance to donate to something BIG, and to something we all have been affected by, Cancer.
I truly expected to show up, drop my bags and kind of just ride in a LIVESTRONG jersey. I turned up here and it is an experience on so many levels. Physically for having to push with everything you have to get over that hill or just simply set up a tent in 100 degree weather (not always that hot) and rely that your early arrivers have scouted the good showers, food and bathrooms! Mentally for the people you meet and the stories they tell at our nightly get-togethers…these meetings have made the most impact on me. I have a hard time telling my story because is so fresh in my mind and I know my dad has the same problem. At the nightly get-togethers anyone can share their story of why they LIVESTRONG. These stories are real. I hang on every word spoken because I can relate to these things, these people. The once stranger a few days ago is now telling us his or her story holding back tears with assistance of others if needed and pulling at emotions inside me because I know, I have experienced those feelings. I look around camp as people tell these stories and see their reactions, its real. We all wear our LIVESTRONG bracelets with a purpose. These bracelets don’t represent a cyclist..these bracelets represent an idea of a cyclist. An idea to make Cancer a household word and 28 million people should be having these conversations. No one can hide from it. I hear out at the campsite “Knowledge is Power and Attitude is Everything.” These supporters have Attitude and sure have Strength.
I you are considering an event like this with LIVESTRONG, do it! You will be lifted and inspired about what people fight and who they fight for. You will challenge yourself to new levels and best of all find a friend, a friend that has something deep in common with you and understands what you or your loved one is going through. My dad and I sat out a day and rode the LIVESTRONG bus with Tiger the bus driver/comedian. We got to rest up and experience a different part of the ride and see peoples reaction to the brightly painted bus. People wave and honk, riders always point. The message is powerful and popular and I cant wait to hand out more LIVESTRONG bands on my ride tomorrow and share why we ride. We are a team of young, old, big and small. Hop on your bike and start riding. This is something you wont regret. The staff is amazing and help you every step of the way. You cant miss the fact that each one is working for LIVESTRONG proudly.
Oh, and we got to meet and ride with Lance too! Took an awesome group photo and got to ride out with him for as long as anyone could keep up, and that wasn’t long.
We have a team of 88 this year, hope to see hundreds more next year.
See you at RAGBRAI 2012