Every year Gary hosts an Epiphany Ride. An epiphany is the crystalline moment when a thought…becomes more than just an idea. Such a thought by its very existence can alter the reality in which it occurs, forever cleaving the world into halves, one in which the world remains as it was and another in which the world will be dramatically changed.
Gary’s Epiphany Rides commemorate a ride he had taken with a friend years earlier. One hundred miles into that ride Gary decided that he could not, would not, should not take another bite out of a certain malt nut flavored energy bar he had been eating.
Gary and his wife Kit...
There had to be a better alternative. And with that thought, Clif Bar was born.
Recognizing that every rider and each ride is different, Gary organizes rides of 150, 100, 50 and 30 miles so that everyone has a chance to experience an epiphany during the day. Then the riders all gather for a huge dinner and bragging session. I’ve always wanted to go on one of Gary’s Epiphany Rides. But, usually there is a conflict with a film shoot, race, or a Red Bull event. One year I was all ready to ride, but had had a knee surgery a couple weeks earlier so I could do was roll from the start a little and come right back, straight to the beer tent and wait for all the other riders to tell me how great it was.
This year I had ambitious plans to do the 150 mile ride. Mark, my husband, and I drove our VW bus from San Luis Obispo up to Napa where Gary’s ranch sits among the hills above the small town of St. Helena. It was a six hour drive, so around midnight we pulled over to one of the narrow turnouts on the winding country road just a few miles from where the ride would begin in the morning.
At 4:00 am when we were supposed to wake up I hit the snooze button. And again at 4:15. And 4:30. (For the last few weeks I’ve been sick…over training I think)
In our sleeping bags I promised Mark that if he let me sleep until 6:00 I’d get up, get dressed and so we could do the 100 mile ride which was supposed to start at 8:00.
A little while later in the dark outside, I heard the clanking of gears. The whirr of rubber on asphalt. And the heavy breathing of bike riders. We were brushing our teeth.
Though I was embarrassed that I wasn’t among them myself, I scrambled out to stand on the side of the road and cheer them on.
“Allez! Allez!” Mark and I, still in our less than formal underthings, called out after the riders, Gary among them. Their lights all pointed our way and Gary screamed, “Hey, hurry and get dressed! You can catch up!”
I’ve got a cool boss. That’s my recurring epiphany.