There seems to be a line that we as a culture draw in the sand as being too far. There seems to be a group that any community can agree to come together to support, to build, and to protect. There seems to be one group that no matter the circumstances, I get so angry when I hear of pain or suffering being inflicted upon them. That group is children.
Maybe it’s because I am a dad of 2, maybe it’s because I’m a teacher, or maybe its because kids deserve to go through life without anyone causing them pain, but in my eyes, to abuse a child is to forfeit your humanity.
Behind this whole event are the Rotary Clubs of Pierce County. Rotary clubs come together to benefit their communities, but about 23 years ago, these Rotary Clubs stepped up to help, not only abused children wherever they may be. To say that the Courage Classic helps a noble cause is to understate what it does not only for the children, but for all who participate. Many riders agreed that the Courage Classic was one of the few cycling events that coupled a challenging course with a cause worth being a part of. In addition, the Courage Classic is known for giving 100% of the money raised to the charity it supports.
The Courage Classic Facebook Page explains it like this:
The Child Abuse Intervention Department (CAID) provides medical treatment, psychosocial support, legal advocacy and crisis intervention services for victims or child abuse and their families. CAID also offers strategies for the prevention of child abuse for parents and community groups through our various programs.
100% of the revenues generated by Courage Classic goes back to the CAID, accounting for approximately 30% of the annual operating budget.
An Event Full Of Stories
I was fortunate enough to just be able to hang around and watch the interactions of the riders and the Rotarians, and it was more like walking into that small diner where they know you’re coming and what kind of day you’re having, and they have your favorite pie waiting for you. Yeah, it feels that comfortable after riding up a mountain pass. People were greeted with warm welcomes and smiling faces. The Rotary Lunch at the Summit of Snoqualmie Pass has been going since the beginning of the Courage Classic.
Mel was one of the first Rotarians (which they refer to themselves as) I chatted with, and he is my source for much of the history of how the Courage Classic came to be. He’s the perfect source since he has been volunteering at this Lunch Stop since the beginning. Mel was a very warm person to chat with, as were many Rotarians, and he helped me feel quite welcome and at ease since i was just roaming around out-of-place trying to chat with riders and volunteers while explaining what a blogger even is. I have a strong feeling that Mel, having been at the Courage Classic for the last 21 years, while continue to be around by the time a get around to making the trip myself… hopefully soon.
Meet Lori and Bryan
Lori’s Story is one that grabbed me. Bryan and Lori (she’s the one in the tutu and the veil) were just married 6 weeks ago Lori and Bryan were married 6 weeks ago. Normally, she had a very compelling story to help he do the fundraising for the Courage Classic. However, this year, she used her wedding to raise the funds. About 5 or 6 years ago (my fact-checker is a potty training 2-year-old) Lori was juror on child abuse case of a 5 month old. To say the least, it effected her. In order to get the imaged from the trial out of her head, Lori said she had to go fast, and expel some energy. So she started biking. It only worked for so long, until she heard about the Courage Classic while looking to upgrade her bike about 5 months later. She is still in contact with the girl from the trial, and she is a beautiful person whose heart brought her to the Courage Classic and won’t let her leave.
I met these two ladies as they were walking to pick up their bikes and head back on the course. It was the picture on the back of their jerseys that caught my attention. They ride for one’s mom who passed away five years ago from ovarian cancer. Team Joy rides to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, which happens to be the one kind of cancer my mom is a survivor of. If you go to their website, they have a quote on the front page that I think does a great job of illustrating why many of the riders ride for the Courage Classic as many of the other cycling events. The quote reads, “Only by seeking challenges can we hope to find the best in ourselves.” I want to say a thank you to Team Joy for sharing their story.
I may be mistaken, but I think Craig is the team leader to the Alaska Air Team. Alaska Airlines also has been the new corporate sponsor for the Courage Classic for the last few years. What does that mean? That means they get their name on the title, and they pay for a lot of the resources needed to make it such an incredible event. However, talking with Craig, I learned that he is a large reason why Alaska Air is involved in the first place. The willingness of a company like Alaska Airlines to jump on board a cause like this makes me glad that I have flown them a lot. Craig is pictured with his son, who was a patient at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. They ride a tandem bike during the Courage Classic, which (so I’ve been told) is much harder. Craig took the time to talk to me about Alaska, about how he helped get his company involved, and his story begs the question, How can you get your company involved in something you’re passionate about?
These were just a few of the people I met.
There was the Super Heroines
The Mallard-Hat (and shark-hat) Greeters
There was Pete, who attempted to summit Rainier a couple times, and still wants to give it a go!
And there was the “Strategy Meeting” I saw happening in the background in the shade.
I have never experienced anything like this, and I want to thank the Pierce County Rotary Cubs for allowing me to crash their party and share it with you all.
And I hope to experience it again.