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Friday, August 17, 2007

Sam Carmichael Posts From Seattle--Bike and Build

Friday, August 17, 2007

Narration


Our arrival in Seattle was the same as many other Bike and Build arrivals: late.

We left Everett, a sketchy little port town North of the city, at about 10:30 am, after dallying around the church eating pancakes and getting “Mocha Monday” coffees at the espresso shack across the street. Our crowd of 17 or so meandered down Route 99, the local business strip, blocking a lane of traffic and laughing and screaming and generally being ridiculous. Eventually the groups split for bathroom breaks, then split again, and all of a sudden we were down to seven people, at the very back of the pack. We (Derrick, Terra, Amelia, Terra, Emily, Whitney, and I) narrowly avoided missing the turn that everyone else overlooked and made it to the agreed-upon meeting point for our triumphant ride down to the park, and found out from Logan (who was waiting at the top of the hill, bum knee and all back on the bike) that everyone else had skipped the turn and would be arriving “momentarily.” Now, momentarily can mean anything from ten minutes to 2 hours, so we hunkered down to wait. Some time later—I’m not sure exactly how long, because my adrenaline was so absurd and I’d had a triple iced mocha—a group of stragglers showed up, and then a few more came in, and then a larger group, and eventually we were all there, together, finally.

The ride downhill to Golden Gardens park was exhilarating and gorgeous. The weather was warm, breezy, and as we wound through dappled forest we caught glimpses of Puget Sound laid out like a red (okay, blue…) carpet. Our screaming grew more pronounced as we reached sea level, and when we rounded a corner to see our family with banners and bunting and champagne and clapping we sped up, hearts and lumps in throats. My family was front right, beaming like a beacon, and we could all pick out other parents from their incredible resemblances to their progeny. It was a spectacular moment, on par with the first time I really kissed a girl and getting in to college and graduating from said college, but it was so much more. We’d accomplished an immense physical feat and this was our reward; a visible boundary, a tangible experience, the counterpart to our “wheel dipping” ceremony in Providence some 2 months and 3 days earlier.

So what did we do?

We ran screaming, fully clothed, shedding Camel Baks and helmets and shoes (some of us…) in our wake, into Puget Sound, like four-year-olds.

It was cold.

But we were full of adrenaline and love and joy. And that canceled all of the cold out, at least for about thirty minutes.

All of the shrieking and champagne-tossing and jumping and hugging portrayed below happened, and gradually the realization that we’d accomplished what we set out to do so long before sank in. And then we pulled our bikes out of the salt water (I’m terrified to think of the ramifications of that dunking) and rinsed ‘em off and pulled the kelp from the spokes and hugged families and hugged each other and ate too many hamburgers and drank more champagne and grinned like idiots at the world.

And it was cold. Like, hysterically cold, teeth-chattering like maracas and huddling together for warmth in the burger buffet line cold, seeking out sun and Dad’s jackets and little brother’s sweatshirts cold. But we got over that, too, because we’d gotten to Seattle on our bikes and nothing, not even the Pacific Northwest’s finicky, salty breezes and bone-chilling water temperatures, could quell the fiery pride that sang in our hearts that afternoon.

Biked and Built, baby.

More soon. Stay posted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

ARRIVAL

Golden Gardens, Seattle, an hour late but right on time in our books. Sorry 'bout the shaky camera work, I blame my brother (Joey "Blair Witch" Carmichael)...

WE MADE IT!!!!!


I mean, what, you didn't think we would?

Rode into Seattle on the 13th, an hour behind schedule.

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