I can’t believe a few days ago the PTP 2023 team members and leadership were all flying into Seattle, WA for our weekend of preparation before our launch day. Our team of girls has been counting down the days before we could see each other in person again. From the training rides to the zoom meetings we all couldn't wait to actually see and hug each other again.
Even though it somewhat felt like a blur, I couldn't have asked for more support and encouragement. Our team talked through logistics and double checked our equipment. We visited the flagship REI, got our bikes fixed up at The Polka Dot Jersey bike shop and ate our launch dinner at the local Rapha bike shop. Our dinner was made better by our friends and family sounding us as we got to speak with our Washington beneficiary, REST (The Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lisa from REST did a wonderful job breaking down what trafficking looks like in Washington and what work REST is currently doing to help survivors. Speaking for the team, we all felt incredibly motivated leaving that dinner and were ready to take on our day one with passion.
The day had finally come! Launch day was here and it was time to finally show what we know. With the support of leadership, we packed up and biked down to the ferry to start our first day. It was a little rainy but everyone had a smile on their face as we left our Airbnb. We hugged our friends and family, spread the word about Pedal to those passing us by on the street and made a few tiktoks. It was a great way to shake out the nerves and soak it all in. Next thing you know we were crossing the water on the ferry together.
And on the ferry we couldn’t have asked for a better start than our new friends - two women who engaged in conversation with us the whole way. We got off on a great start by them asking us questions about our ride and purpose. I immediately connected with one of the women when she shared she was a teacher here in Washington. Similarly to me, she teaches at a school where many students come from a background that would classify them as a vulnerable population. She shared that she wished more people looked at human trafficking situations with more empathy. She also agreed that so many people in our communities are misinformed about what trafficking might look like. I am so glad we got to chat with her and her friend right before we left.
Then we split into ride groups and made our way on the road! We had our first SAG stop, learned how to set up the tent and the many different elements of caring for one another on the ride. I just know, there is no way I could have learned all these things without these wonderful girls by my side. I wouldn’t want to do these tough hills and crazy moments with anyone else. Thank you to everyone back home who is supporting us, the kindest people on the west coast, the PTP Alumni and my 2023 gals.
With joy and gratitude,