Guest Post by Erin Stephans
My name is Erin Stephens and I am the AmeriCorps member for Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii.
Moving from Boston, I arrived on the island for my year of national service last September, and of course jumped to volunteer at the Ironman the following month. A day of helping the triathletes was all it took for me to sign up for Honu the following June. No triathlon experience? No problem. I’ll figure it out. But no bike? Well…that was a bigger problem.
I found myself at Cycle Station, the beautiful beginning to my road to Honu. After two weeks of drooling over bicycles, I picked out a used bike that had come back into the store. It was a perfect fit, and I felt a little like Cinderella when I tried on the bike shoes that were just my size.
The next eight months were complete with mileage, flats, new tubes, emptying Cycle Station of their GUs, and cursing the Hawi winds. I was a newbie on the bike, and I had a ways to go. But I kept at it, as I decided to use my Honu race as a way to raise money for Habitat for Humanity West Hawaii.
In September 2012, Habitat West Hawaii has decided to take on the challenge of building five houses in ten days! We will be building right in Kona, near Kealakehe High School on the lands of La’I Opua (Hawaiian Home Lands). We estimated we would need 300 volunteers a day, donated supplies, oh…and a BIG chunk of change. So, my race was a good opportunity to raise a little extra dough.
The Blitz Build was certainly motivation enough, and Cycle Station certainly gave me all the support I needed. Before I knew it, June 2nd had come screaming out of nowhere. That morning, as we all know by know, decided to give us a little extra challenge. The night before, somebody moved the entire racecourse into a wind tunnel. The buoys in the water were sailing across the water during the swim. I hopped on my bike and proceeded to ride no further than five miles when I heard it coming. The Big Gust. I had a split second to brace myself before SMACK! The wind shoved me into another biker and we both went down. He got back on and scurried away while I was staring bewildered at my bike chain, which was making all kinds of new shapes. Luckily, a fellow competitor named Kyle Watson with no hesitation stopped his own race, hopped off his bike, and fixed mine in a flash. (Thanks Kyle!) I resumed my bike race, facing the rest of the wind. After one more minor spill in Hawi, I was ready to get off the bike and run.
The run, as it turned out, wasn’t any less windy. Racers around me looked like they were in slow-motion, as their stride stayed in one place. But I kept trucking, and eventually hit the finish line.
Even after all of that, I am waiting impatiently for the next one! I was so thrilled to raise roughly $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity and was so proud to be sporting Cycle Station during my race. Thanks Cycle Station for all of your support, I couldn’t have done it without you! It was such a honor to be part of the CS Team!
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