I can’t speak for the rest of the team, but the usual thoughts I have the night before a race I hadn’t adequately trained for were circling around my mind. It’s simple and basically goes like this, “If I could just sleep through my alarm, I won’t have to do it.”
We had been planning—not necessarily physically prepping—for this August bike ride since winter: Chainbreaker’s inaugural ride for cancer research. A cause that hits so close to our family and sota clothing as a whole. Right when we learned of the ride, we wanted to sign up for the distance that would raise the most money and decided on the two-day 180-mile ride. Riding this distance meant we were required to raise $14,000.
I think our hearts were in the right place, but surely our legs and lungs were not.
Most of us bought new bikes. Lauren printed out a training plan that was supposed to prep us for the ride, and we verbally committed to group training sessions throughout the summer. Spencer even initiated some bike to work incentives to add to our training regimen.
As August came and we knew we were only a few weeks out from the ride, we scurried to get in a few more long training rides. On the morning of the race, we met before sunrise to carpool to the start line in Eagan. From Eagan, we would pedal 100 miles to St. Olaf College in Northfield. From there, we planned to spend the night in the dorms, and wake up for another early morning to finish the second leg of the race- the 80 mile cycle to Exclesior.
Throughout the duration of the weekend, we would learn that the ride would be as rich as it was challenging. We discovered that each person pedaling alongside of us had their own unique experiences with cancer, yet shared the familiar ache it leaves in the heart once affected. We learned that sore butts ebb and flow, and that while “drafting” behind a bike is a thing, “drifting” is not. Upon crossing the finish line after two hours of pedaling through the cold rain, we all recognized that no amount of lactic acid build up, sweat in our eyes, or sunburn on our shoulders would compare to the challenges our heroes living with cancer face everyday.
Chainbreaker served as sota clothing’s first candidate for our Minnesota Nice Project. This campaign is a philosophy that urges everyone to take whatever it is that they do best, and do it in a way that brings restoration to the brokenness around them. Even if it just means finding ways to support those who have already dedicated their lives to being on the front lines of issues like disaster relief, fixing broken school systems, or cancer research. With that in mind we looked to what we do best— designing t-shirts— to create the Minnesota Nice Project Tee. Though only a t-shirt, it is our way of standing behind a local charity, generating funds to strengthen their momentum while also exploring ways to work beside them. We believe that as their support grows, their effectiveness and impact will, too.
Day two start line: St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN
Sota Clothing Peloton approaching finish line in Excelsior, MN
Cousin Ryan Langlois (left) researcher at U of M was the one who informed us of Chainbreaker's Ride & bike courier Robbie Polinske (right) joined our peloton along the way, braving the whole ride on his fat bike!
*Though Chainbreaker’s ride is over, the Minnesota Nice Project Tee will continue to generate funds for cancer research at the U of M Masonic Cancer Research Center for the remainder of 2017. See below for links to purchase the Minnesota Nice Project Tee, contribute to our goal of $14,000, or learn about how you can get get involved with Chainbreaker!