I know this is coming more than a little late, and that everyone has probably been waiting on this post more than any of the others, but I have made it home now to a stable internet connection and an empty space to collect my thoughts. I suppose I have been putting this off simply because this confirms the end of the 2008 Believe in the Cure Cycling Tour. Nevertheless, this needs to be said.
The days leading up to the final ride passed in a blur. The excitement built with every revolution of our wheels. The hills that had been such a problem, only a minor obstacle to our goal that we had been working so hard towards for the past three weeks. We pedaled fast and it was fine because Philadelphia, our final destination, was so close.
Our last full day of riding, from Lancaster to Conshohocken, Jamaal and I both agreed to finish strong. Regardless of the heat, soreness, hills, or anything else that we've complained about thus far, nothing would keep us from finishing this day without feeling as if we had put everything of ourselves into the ride. We owed it to ourselves, to the cause, and to everyone who has ever had a dream and has striven to achieve it.
This tour has been the biggest blessing in my life because it has shown me that there is little in the way of one's dreams. It just seemed as if everything came through for the success of this ride. As if circumstance approved by having everything fall into place. I truly believe this event brought together some of the most beautiful people in the world. I don't mean beautiful in the physical sense, I mean beautiful in the emotional sense. I have met some of the most passionate, caring individuals because of this ride, and without them I would never have realized my dream. This being said, it is those who we encounter along our life's journey that will allow us to overcome the obstacles in our path. As I have mentioned before, I believe mine has allowed me to meet some of the most beautiful souls on the planet. I could never begin to repay them in thanks, but here is an attempt to thank those who have helped Jamaal and I. (Sorry if I leave anyone out.)
Our Sponsors- Without your financial support, this ride would have never been possible. Thank you for contributing to the hope of so many people with hepatitis B, and not just searching for an opportunity to increase profits. Thank you for being human beings, and not just a corporate business facade. You have done more good than you can ever know.
The Hepatitis B Foundation- I can not thank you enough. Everyone there, the researchers, the staff, thank you. You are the refuge of hope for those of us who are infected with hepatitis B. You're efforts do not go unnoticed, and you are appreciated.
Our Family- Jamaal and I couldn't have done this without our family's support. The approval and encouragement from them were greatly comforting to us on the road, and we are glad to be back home with our families. Thank you both, my family and Jamaal's.
Matt Gorman and the fellow riders- Thank you for riding with Jamaal and I into Philadelphia. You have no idea how much it meant to Jamaal and I to have other riders along with us for the final stretch. I wouldn't mind riding bikes for another three weeks if I had you all along with me. Thank you so much. It meant a lot to Jamaal and I.
The BBB girls- Suzie, Allison, and Cara. THANK YOU! It was nice to unwind at the party that you had planned for us after arriving in Philly. It's too bad though because now, when I am craving Rita's Ice, I'll have no where to turn. Thank you.
The Blocks and the Wittes- Thank you for believing in me. You very easily could have turned me away, but instead you gave me the opportunity to fight for myself and others through the Believe in the Cure Cycling Tour. I am truly grateful, and I am blessed to have met you all. Thank you so very much for this opportunity you have given me.
Melanie Groft- It will be odd not talking logistics with you over the phone or via email. I have truly enjoyed working with you while planning this, and I can't help but think that this was a little more than coincidence. Coming into the new position of Director of Development at the Hepatitis B Foundation, you took me up on my idea, and look what it has become. Thank you very much, Melanie. It has been a great ride. (Pun totally intended.)
Everyone that has followed Jamaal and I along our journey, thank you. Your support through your thoughts and prayers has been tremendous in helping Jamaal and I complete our journey that has now come to a close. All in all, it has been the greatest experience of my life. Thank you for allowing me to share it with you.
In closing, thank you everyone. Without you, who knows how the world would be. We have come far and endured much, and we have persevered to accomplish our goal with the help of others. Successfully have we completed the plight of mankind embodied in a 1,287 mile journey undertaken by two teenage boys. Rest assured, however, that this is not the last of my journeys.
Pedal on everyone, and take care.
-The beauty of mankind lies not in his greatness, but in his limitations.-
P.S. I am really going to miss the slurpees from 7 Eleven. Just saying.