The day I survived 202 miles cycling - STP, 2014

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There are moments in life when you feel you have hit your physical limit, but there is something so strong in your mind pushing you to continue. At that moment, somewhere in your body there is a sudden spurt of energy to help you overcome the odds and continue with what you are doing. I had that particular moment when I biked last month on July 12th for 202 miles from Seattle to Portland.

There were moments of excitement and joy as I cruised at 16-17 miles an hour for the first 100 miles of the ride in just 6.5 hours froclip_image004m the start point at University of Washington to half way point at Centralia. I had big hopes at this moment that I would be finishing the ride in another 7-8 hours and probably driving back to Seattle on day 1. There came a point at 110 miles on the first day where the temperature shot up to 103 Fahrenheit, the hottest day in Washington, when we were passing rolling hills to Winlock and Lexington. This is where I was completely dehydrated, cramping and totally sapped. At 120 mile mark I fell flat on a stop point thinking I am almost done.
But there was somewhere in my mind I kept telling I am riding this event for a cause and not this is just not another ride for me today. I wanted to support Isha Vidhya initiative by Isha foundation for my first STP ride. Isha Vidhya has taken giant strides in the last few years in helping rural kids in India go to school and get best education. The goal was to raise $5 to support for every kilometer of the 328 KM (202 miles) ride, which would fund one year of education for 10 Kids at Isha Vidhya. With the support of my friends and family, we raised about 2300 USD before the event through direct and matching contributions.

clip_image006This definitely played a great role in pushing me to give my best shot on the ride. This mental strength gave me that additional energy to continue the ride. At the 150 mile mark there was a high elevation to bike, where you cross the Lewis & Clark Bridge, which is a 2722 feet long cantilever bridge. But the thought that the other side of the bridge is Oregon State and I am just 54 miles to end point gave me that sudden spurt of enthusiasm to bike harder now. I continue to bike till I reached 176 mile mark to St.Helens at 9 pm when it turned dark I had to stop for the day. Till this point I had biked for about 16 hours with a couple of hours at stop points to eat. My mother and a friend helped me at this point to get to the hotel to rest for the night.

clip_image010I started to ride again the next day on July 13th at 6.45am from St. Helens in the morning, when sitting on the saddle was excruciatingly painful. With just another 30 miles to go I rode for another 2 hours to reach the end point at Portland at 9 am when I was in tears and gratitude. My mother bought me the Isha Vidhya poster as I hugged it with a sense of satisfaction.
I was in the bike riding for about 18 hours in total till the finish line, and in that time span there were moments of excitement, joy, pain. As Sadhguru says, when you do things with absolute involvement not with hesitation and calculation things happen for you, and I felt this during this ride. Thanks to everyone who helped me in supporting Isha Vidhya for this year STP.
Special Thanks to Kaizad, who trained with me for the last 3.5 months riding more than 1000 miles for this ride. He did this STP for the second year and without him I would not have definitely not know what to train and what this ride was all about.  Also should not forget to thank Karishma , my friend and Kaizad’s significant other who was our SAG support along with my mother over the two days. They ensured we get the right food and nutrition all along the two days. 
You can see more photos from the event from my Facebook feed and link to the fundraising page.

Update : The story was published in Isha Foundation blog as well on August 15th. Here is the link to the Page  : A 200-mile Journey for Education - Cycling for Isha Vidhya from Seattle to Portland. 



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