Written by: Connor Ciment
The FCBA 2015 family began their final day at the Kennebunkport Village Baptist Church. The night before we listened to some heartfelt testimonies of what this summer has meant to Monica, Clint, Mark and Jennifer. That shared gratitude for the experience, and the understanding of its impending closure lingered in the emotional tone of the morning circle. Fred delivered a devotion addressing the completion of our journey, and Everett serenaded us with a rendition of His Eye Is On The Sparrow.
Our roll was a bit tempered that day, our focus drifted from getting more out of our legs to getting the most out of the final ride. I saw the miles tick down with mixed emotions. On the one hand, elation built as the finish line I had motivating me across the country drew nearer. On the other hand there was the sobering realization that every pedal stroke brought me nearer to the end of a journey that has impacted me so strongly. We grouped up a few miles short of the lighthouse and partook in typical tomfoolery as we awaited the full group.
With everyone rounded up, Lydia and I took our place at the front of the pack and we took Shore Road by storm, forty orange riders deep. A contagious excitement built as the group neared the beach. Turning the corner into Fort Williams Park, home of the Portland Head Light, brought a culmination four thousand miles worth of pedaling. A right turn and a last little hill took us to the lighthouse we had been chasing down all summer, there we dropped our bikes to embrace the joy of success with one another. We shared hugs and tears containing the emotions of the whole journey. The congratulations simmered for a good while before Lydia brought us together to cap off the celebration.
After a champagne shower, we mounted up for the tiny trip over to the Ship Cove beach. There we quenched our front tire thirst for the Atlantic, and took plenty of photo ops with family and friends intermingled. During one last circle we shared closing thoughts with each other before trekking to Portland’s Woodford Congregational Church.
This summer has been so much more than I can describe in words. I have connected deeply with the best kind people life has to offer. I have been surrounded by role models of all sorts who have combined to elicit from me a better version of myself; I will miss them immensely.
FCBA 2015 has given me an impeccably timed reminder of what is important in my life, and I look forward to carrying those priorities with me as I step into the real world. While I am sad to see our time together fade, I relish in the opportunity to live out the mission in my work this year. A big thanks and much love to all the riders and supporters who made 2015 such an incredible adventure. I smile thinking about meeting all of you again soon as we bike, build, speak and love our way across the country again in 2016.