The Stomp Ride is a good ride paved with good intentions, but it's poorly organized. Ride organizers lost Jim's and my registration two years in a row, though someone had no trouble cashing our $60 check written August 9, 2012 to the Stomp Ride. Back home, I looked at our bank account to make sure the check had been cashed.
At first ride organizers wanted me to pay another $60, but I told my husband we weren't paying $120 for one bike ride no matter how good the cause is. So we were allowed to register (again) without paying twice.
I talked to a fellow bicyclist whose registration was also lost. She paid for the ride with PayPal. She ordered a small woman's T-shirt but couldn't get one at the event. Yet another woman wanted a woman's medium T-shirt and got a men's medium gray T-shirt instead. She said she has three boys and has lots of men's T-shirts already. She wanted something more feminine than another grey T-shirt.
By the end of the day, I managed to get a grey men's medium T-shirt, which I bequeathed to my son as soon as I got home. I would have preferred a women's T-shirt.
Compare this ride to the RASH Ride, the best organized ride in eastern Iowa, which starts and ends at Bill's Pizza in Independence. If Bill, who owns Bill's Pizza and organizes the ride, has lost anyone's registration or handed the wrong size T-shirt to someone, I have yet to hear of it happening; nor have I experienced it myself.
The Stomp Ride had some 230 riders this year, the most ever.
I started the ride feeling mighty frustrated and irritated, though not another $60 lighter, but I got over it.
First, the weather was sunny and dry. After the soggy RAGBRAI Reunion Ride the day before, the sun alone was enough to cheer me up. So were the stories from others of how others also had their registration and T-shirts either lost or screwed up.
Obviously, the stories at the end of the ride of people who had lived or not lived after bouts of leukemia needing bone marrow transplants or stem cell transplants helped put our minor irritation in perspective.
Lynn Kooker, the woman I harassed repeatedly for a T-shirt that fit me or at least, my son, told her story at the end of the ride about how she donated her stem cells to save the life of her sister, Lisa Carney, who had acute hypoplastic leukemia. Her sister died anyway.
The man who received a bone marrow transplant for his leukemia and lived to tell the story was there again, motivating people to sign up at a table at the back of the event to donate their bone marrow to help cancer victims' chances to survive.
A new prospective recipient, a little boy named Caleb, skipped happily down the sidewalk with a mask over his mouth after recently being diagnosed with leukemia.
If those stories don't put minor upsets and problems in perspective, nothing will.
I remember the time when I allowed neighbors to take my son swimming and the boys in the family threw Jesse's $300 glasses into deep water for fun.
Later, on a quest to find my son's glasses, I angrily strode into the water at Lake MacBride with my tiny daughter holding my hand when I suddenly realized that she was silently doggy-paddling to keep her head above water.
Not only had I nearly drowned my daughter, but my son could have drowned as well with such an irresponsible neighbor in charge. Not only that, but I wasn't doing a particularly good job of noticing what was going on with my dutiful little daughter, who clung to my chest when I, absolutely horrified, swung her into my arms and hugged her.
It's important to count your blessings and notice who's drowning at your side.