Tom Herron had the longest leg of the Bikes, Boards, Blind adventure, and I was sure glad he did. Tom was the hardcore cyclist of the group and the only one to wear a bike jersey. Although you wouldn't know it by the pictures because most of the time we were wearing our rain gear during Tom's leg! Tom loves to ride bicycles as much as I love to surf, so I knew he would be up for the 600 miles I slotted him for. The only real challenge was going to be the time apart from his awesome wife Verna. They are a great team , and sure enough, Verna found a way to meet up with us in Crescent City, CA, after six days away from Tom. She is also a great athlete and super bicyclist.
When I think back on Tom Herron's leg of the trip, I think of horrible weather at the start, and perfect weather and waves at the conclusion. We rode together for 12 days, 600 miles, 6 inches of rain (the equivalent to 6 ft of snow), 30 plus lattes, 30 plus greasy spoon meals, 3 flat tires and countless snide remarks about Democrats and Republicans. Who can forget the rain though! I lured Tom into the trip with promises of sunshine and 80 degree weather. The average rainfall for the month of Sept. in Southern OR is 0.3 inches, we got almost 10 times that while cycling through an eight day 100 year storm. Tom never lost his cool, kept his spirits up and always had room for a laugh!
I met the Herron's back in 2008 and I got to know Verna first. When I was just losing my vision she acted as running partner/guide for me, and we ran a 1/2 marathon together. She worked me over and made me earn every mile, and then when Tom learned I had a tandem road bike, he did the same. They are both amazing athletes, but more importantly they are super compassionate people. Tom and I have really built a friendship over the last 5 years, and he has become somewhat of an unspoken mentor to me. He is a great example of someone taking a passion like cycling, and using that passion to help another human being. He likes to cycle, I like to cycle…it's a win win for both of us.
Tom is also passionate about politics! He is a Democrat, and also a somewhat conservative Christian. This makes for interesting conversation. He is a also intelligent and knows a lot about the political system. I don't consider myself either a democrat or republican. However, I naturally tend to lean towards less government in general. I think the government tends to screw everything up. The writing on the wall tells us that much….Republicans in general drive Tom Herron crazy! And this is super good to know. I have learned that if you want Tom to pedal super hard, just praise the Republican effort and all who are a part of it! I'm concerned that Tom thinks I'm really into the political debate, really I just talked about Republicans all the time to make him go up hills faster.
Much thanks to Tom Herron for everything, and also to his wonderful wife Verna. There is no way to explain how much we needed the both of them on the trip. I could not have gotten the journey done without them. Tom's upbeat spirits really helped carry us through the 600 miles from Pacific City, OR to Bodega Bay, CA. We did finally get perfect 85 degree weather when we hit the Redwoods, and it felt like we earned it. I will never forget my ears filling up with water in Coos Bay, OR….so, so wet!
Thanks for everything Tom!