Kari is one of my oldest and dearest friends from high school. We were very close and spent a lot of fun times together at USY events. Her family was like an second family to me ... her grandfather always said "You will marry her over my dead body". We reconnected a few years back in preparation for a USY reunion. Our friendship picked right up where it left off. She is a special person. Kari is also a fighter. Tragically, she lost her son Jeremy after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Kari and her family and friends have used the bicycle to honor him and help others impacted by childhood cancer and blood disorders. We share a common bond and special friendship. Next weekend they will ride the 21st Annual Trek 100 Ride for Hope. The ride starts and finishes at the home of Trek Bicycle Corporation in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Jennifer Treger is another one of the more important women in my life. We work side-by-side at Northroup Grumman and help ensure nothing slips through the cracks in all the proposals that go out the door ... not an easy task. Jennifer has my back and has been instrumental at helping make my trip a reality at work. A big shout out to my neighbors, Forrest & Susan Mountford, as well.
Three silver donors in one week would be a great week by itself, but I also received 10 important bronze doations from the following generous supporters:
- Rob Polster - ex peer at Northrop Grumman. Now with TurningPoint Global Solutions
- Bill Kominers - RPI alum that joined my send off last month. He is an attorney with Holland & Knight
- Helen Steussy - Helen is riding cross country with me! We have spent the last several months sharing stories and helping each other prepare for the adventure of a lifetime. Check out Helen's blog Flight for the Land. Her blog is so much more artistic and reads like a story ... I look forward to dipping my wheels with Helen and her daughter Ali.
- Leslie Lehrman - Leslie Lehrman is a survivor ... she has never smoked, but has stage IV lung cancer. The bad news ... it is inoperable and incurable. The good news ... her latest sans are clear. Leslie is a huge inspiration for my ride. On top of that, she is also a donor! Her daughter Jennifer is also a big inspiration and runs Where's the Funding for Lung Cancer? Big thanks go out to Leslie and Jennifer for their efforts and support.
- Les Swartz - one my oldest childhood friends. We have stayed in touch since we were kids and shared so many great times. Les is my sports buddy and always has a great story to tell.
- Katie Speear - Katie is also riding almost 4,000 miles with me this summer. She is relatively new to cycling, but has a determination and drive that I already envy. Her Blog by Bike is another fun and interesting read. Safe travels Katie ... see you in Astoria.
- Jason Niemeyer - fraternity brother of my son Michael
- Scottt Stuart - three time donor and co-worker
- Helayne Sweet - another co-worker at Northrop. Her customer's latest proposal almost did me in. Her family has battled lung disease.
- Michelle & Jim Clark - three time donors and close friends we have lived across the street from for the last 13 years. Lots of good memories.
Wow ... that's a a big list. Thanks all. On the training front ... another 200 miles with a nice 70 mile ride on Saturday up and down the hills of Woodstock and Granite with a run out toward Reisterstown and Owings Mills. That ride came after a nice 50 miles on Friday to Glenwood and Sykesviile. Added in a few other 50k jaunts to Elkridge and another hilly adventure on the Dogwood, Davis, and Old Frederick climbs ... "feeling good Billy Ray". Alas, the muscle cream I put on early in the week decided to cause a nasty allergic reaction that had me itching and a scratching by the weekend. Rested up on Sunday with an easy spin on the trainer to secure my 200 miles for the week.
Since the beginning of the year I have ridden 100 miles more than I will travel this summer ... 3,629 + 100 = 3,729. Over 70% of that has been outside. While I did not get to go on as many 60+ mile rides as I had hoped, I am feeling very good about my training and base miles. Next week I plan to start tappering off and have planned a few sets of hill repeats. I expect the final week before departure to see little if any road time.