Sharon's Ride Around The World

Janurary 1,2000

Pasadena Ca. USA - Rose Parade


I'm trying to wave...really I am...but it's so cold. This is the first day of an adventure I've been planning for years and I can barely manage a grimace--a grimace that's frozen in place--that makes me wonder if my mother is right--and the longer I keep making this face-- the more likely my expression " will stay that way."

I'm among more than 240 cyclists with Odyssey 2000 who are starting their year around the world trek freezing in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. We are in the parade but at this moment I think the cold is keeping a lot of people from caring.

We are an interesting bunch. Very few--if any--are professional least two riders are amputees, some are old enough to have grandchildren and a few probably wish they were in better shape. The average age is in the mid 40�s...but at least one is barely out of his teens. A lot of us have taken leaves of absences, some--like myself--have just flat out quit their jobs.

As we wait in line to start the parade, most of us are probably wondering how many who start will finish. How many riders will give up from fatigue, health problems or boredom? My goal is to ride every part of a group..the summer camp I never got to visit as a child. But as we wait for the parade to begin, when the feeling starts to leave my arms...and I can�t keep my teeth from chattering, I wonder if my plan for the year isn�t a bit unrealistic.

I know I wanted to do this ride when I realized most of the 1990's started blending from one year to the next. If living is made up of days that matter--I was just surviving. So, here I am grimacing--but I know this day matters.

When my skin turns an unnatural shade of grey and the headache starts, I wonder if my yearlong, around the world trip is going to end at a Burbank, California hospital. Then the parade begins...and people start waving along the route. I�m still so cold my feet feel like bricks and I�m sure if I looked in the mirror my lips would be blue, but it�s great to hear people cheering us on. I know I'll remember every detail of the parade...the people waving to me--hoping I would wave back.

I'll remember overhearing parade-goers saying with a bit of awe that THESE people are taking a whole year off to go around the world. I get to do something other folks can only dream about. And I know eventually I'll get warm.

We're heading south...toward Mexico. We're riding in no particular order...two, three or four at a time depending on how strong or weak we feel. The early conversation on the road has to do with names, careers we left behind or put on hold. Whether we're married or single or looking to get married on this trip and some wonder out loud if everyone who starts will finish. Everyone I have talked with all agree our lives will change in some exactly?

Postscript: Due to a �Timing error�� we learned our portion of the parade was never on television. Some of us may spend the next year wondering if that wasn�t a harbinger of things to come.


DATE: 1/1/2000

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