2015 Team Volunteers at Mamma Jamma Ride
by Tess Ortega
It’s 6:15 am on September 27th. I’m dressed in a Batman onesie sitting next to Super Woman and once again headed to a volunteer event on a Saturday morning. Pre-Texas 4000 I would definitely not be happy to be awake at such an hour, but after meeting the crazy awesome people that are my teammates, waking up early to volunteer with them is well worth it. It also helps that events we volunteer at are usually pretty fun and today is no different. We’re volunteering for the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride, an annual bike ride that raises money for breast cancer organizations that provide resources and support for Central Texans facing breast cancer. This ride is different from the other rides we’ve volunteered for in the past. It’s quirky, it’s themed, and I love it.
The people at Mamma Jamma make the ride more fun for its participants by really encouraging volunteers to dress up in crazy costumes, be loud, and be positive. This year’s theme was “super heroes” and my teammates and I definitely rose to the occasion – from Captain America to Super Woman to made-up super hero creations! Most of us were positioned on route support and our job was to cheer on riders and point them in the right direction based on how many miles they were riding that day. We were on point when it came to the cheering aspect and I even brought a cowbell, but the direction aspect… not so much. We may not have helped with some directional confusion, but with all the craziness of the costumes and the air of positivity, the riders seemed to really enjoy themselves despite not always knowing exactly where to go.
The finish line at the ranch made the experience worth every moment with awesome volunteers cheering people on at the end, live music, beer, and food (barbeque!) for the riders. Even the volunteers were given access to the food. In case you didn’t realize it, free food for a college student always counts as a win! All in all, the event was a success and my teammates and I left feeling good, but not before the request for a little more cowbell – to which I happily obliged.
Below is a note written by Mamma Jamma rider Marion Martin to our Executive Director, Jen Garza, the day after the ride. Marion is a two-time breast cancer survivor and a supporter of Mamma Jamma and Texas 4000.
“Thank you for being mindful of me yesterday as I biked my 2nd Mamma Jamma. It was a great ride — and I am thrilled that I achieved my goal of 47 miles, which is a new personal best. I approached it as three 15 mile rides, which helped me focus on each segment instead of the whole. I stopped at each rest stop, refueled and hydrated and didn’t stress. The weather was perfect and the scenery along the country roads was Texas spectacular. I am really happy about the experiences — and look forward to many more on my bike.
But no bike today — I am a bit sore and am going to indulge in a day of sitting in my favorite chair and thanking friends, like you, who supported my ride. Several times yesterday when I was riding alone on quiet country roads I reflected on two years ago when I was starting chemo and the contrast to today. It makes the 47 miles even more sweet.
There were lots of reminders of you yesterday, especially the awesome Texas 4000 volunteers, who added such enthusiasm and inspiration to the whole event. I was thrilled to see the postcard about the Texas 4000 ATLAS Ride in my packet — and have already marked the date on my calendar. I am so happy that our two organizations are connected and look forward to building upon what we have started together. Riding in honor of your loved ones was the wind at my back and made the ride all the more significant.”