‘And I Did’
This summer I had the immense joy of riding my bicycle from Baltimore to San Francisco with 28 wonderful people and the Ulman Foundation. I have only been home for a couple weeks, but memories of this summer are still whizzing through my head like a movie reel. Rider spotlight
I can still see every star in the Utah sky, smell the fresh pine of Yosemite National Park, and hear the unmistakable roar of my teammate (and now dear friend) Becky’s laugh. In a way this summer went exceptionally fast, but in another way, it seemed long. It was long in the way that allowed for a full lifetime of memories to be made. Memories that often beg the questions, did that really happen or did I really do that?
A year before departure, I was encouraged to sign up for 4K by a friend and alumni. Recently, I recovered from open-heart surgery, and I was enjoying a new founded surge of Hulk-like energy. I had never before taken on such an immense physical challenge. When it came to sports, I had always been told no. But that had all changed. Something deep down in my gut said, do it.
And, I did.
Every morning, my team gathered in a dedication circle. At dedi-circ, as we humbly referred to it, we each devoted our day to a person who had been affected by cancer. In the process, we listened and shared stories. We wrote the names of each others’ loved ones on our arms and legs. So when the mountains became steep and the air became hot, we would take motivation from looking down at these names before continuing onward. rider spotlight
‘Say Yes and Do It’
After arrival, I spent some time in San Francisco with my family. One night we were filling up our car at a gas station and the attendant asked, “What brings you to San Francisco?” I told her our story and about how the Ulman Foundation improves the lives of young adults with cancer. With tears in her eyes, she came around the counter and gave me a big hug. She told me her mom is an AYA cancer survivor. In that moment, I was struck by the power of 4K and its ability to create community to change lives and inspire others.
As I rewind this summer’s movie reel, I see a tangency between adventure and purpose. With each push of the pedal, we were grounded in a mission, and over the course of 70-days our bicycles carried us to the most spectacular places.
Since returning home so many people have wished me, ‘Congratulations’ followed by, ‘I could never do anything like that!’ While I am so grateful for these kind words, the truth is anyone who is healthy, inspired, and motivated can ride their bicycle across the country! They just have to say yes and do it. rider spotlight