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F.A.I.T.H. and Sky ping

This was a super packed weekend.

On Saturday morning I rode my bike down to Discovery park and went on a ride with some fellow disabled athletes, one of which was one of the fastest hand cyclists in the world Alejandro Albor who is currently training for the Paralympics in Beijing. We had a great ride and introduced many disabled athletes to the world of Cycling. This event was run by Disabled Sports USA Far West. Check out their Summer Programs.

That night part of the Ride Ataxia II Team (Me, Tess, John Lockwood, Sean, Mike M., Mike B.) traveled to Sunnyvale (South Bay Area) to support a teammate (Bart) and his family during their fund raiser, FAITH (FA In The Heart. This was truly a truly first class event. Dinner was courtesy of Outback Steakhouse. There was a great silent auction with some really impressive items. A live auction featuring a Bar-B-Q for 50 friends, a weekend condo in New York City, and a week in Hawaii (all separate items...). Matt Rupel (17, FA) gave a really nice speech. Phil Bennet (23,FA) presented a check for over $7,000. And I was given the opportunity to tell my story to the crowd. The evening's emcee was Sam Van Zandt of KBAY 94.5. Afterward there was an open bar and music by a truly talented cover band, Millenium Funk Party. We all had a great time meeting new friends and enjoying teammates. On top of all that, the event raised a lot of money, >$50K!

The next day (Sunday) I experienced one of the craziest things. I went Sky ping with my friends Phil (23, FA), Brianne (3?, FA (that's lame, I don't know how old Brianne is)) and Eric. My Dad, Mike, and Brianne's Dad, Paul, Jumped too which was quite amazing, I had no idea they even wanted to.

So as I was saying, this was a crazy ride. Yes, we were strapped to an experienced professional but we still jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet (2.5 miles).

The plane seemed to take forever to reach the right altitude. I was pretty mellow. Phil was sitting on the ground right by the plexiglass door so he got a closeup of what we were about to experience. Phil has now jumped 3 times and Brianne has jumped 18 times so they were cool and calm the whole time, I think Paul and Mike were the most freaked.

We finally reached 13,000 feet and they opened the door. Then it all went down. Loud wind and screams of terror and excitement as Phil took the plunge. That's when I finally started getting pretty excited (completely horrified). Brianne was right in front of me and she flew out into the chilly wind.

My heart is pounding just looking at this picture.

Then it was go time, before I had time to reconsider we did a somersault out of the plane and I watched as the plane got smaller above me, that was the most terrifying 3 seconds of my life.

Then we turned over and started falling at about 100mph. There was a guy in front of me filming and taking still photos, I looked at him and relaxed a bit (what the heck, falling to the earth, looking another human being in the eye, this is wierd). After a couple seconds I got a little more comfortable and truly enjoyed the next 20 seconds.

The chute finally opened and I realized how fast we were going as I saw the photographer fall away at 100mph.

haha, nice out of control chicken legs

I could see forever as we were still at 3,000 feet.

We did some spirals and made it to the ground quickly to help the others land.

Everyone got down safely and we walked away with an amazing experience. Our jump at Parachute Center in Lodi, CA was worth every penny.

As we were sitting around afterward we were already planning our next jump...








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