Lowell, MA: The Sun’s “Local News” Covers the Finish Line
The end of the beginning.
Today was supposed to be an easy finish. Only 60 some-odd miles of riding, just a few hills, beautiful scenery, and so close to home and family and friends! We all slept in (a bit), grabbed a quick breakfast and coffee at the Dunkin Donuts across the street, and set off with this image in our hearts and minds as what there was to look forward too upon our rival:
Thank you Carol!
And then there was a turn, a complicated juggling of watching the cyclist in front of him, and trying to stick some trash in his back jersey pouch. Matt fell again. This time it was a full flip over the handle bars. The mood of the final day’s ride changed a bit after that, as everyone worked to help Matt get off his legs, hydrate, and carefully treat his injuries. Jeremy’s boy scout training seemed to come out of nowhere as he helped Adam. Matt rode the majority of the rest of the way to the Schades’ home in the car.
We all stopped for lunch in Fichtburg, made some calls, and re-planned the ride across the finish line. Matt decided to spend as much time as possible resting in the car, hydrating, and icing his shoulder, all so that he’d be best able to hop back on his bike just for the final turn onto Michigan Rd. and the cheers and cowbells and arms of loved ones that awaited him.
Everyone’s now exhausted and spent. Not just because of the ride, no, but because of the dunk tank in the Schades’ backyard, and because of the baseball, and the campfire and s’mores, and the music by Aaron and Adam Austin, and the tons of delicious food, and the huge house full of photographers and videographers that are grabbing moments and making them and the bonds of the people in them that much stronger because of their now permanence, and because of the many little voices, laughing, screaming, giggling, singing, that seem to be coming from every direction all at once and all the time, and because of the entire setting put together by the “grown-ups” of the family, who are just the same full-hearted, prank-loving, out-loud-laughing youngsters as their smaller counterparts.
This family is just as much the story we’re following and telling as it is Matt’s, because the family is very much Matt, what has played a large role in determining who he is now, and also who he will become.