What the Future Holds

     5 hours and 24 minutes ago, the last official training ride of the 2008 spring season came to a close, and in less than one month we embark on 4000 mile journey across the country. With that in mind, I can’t help but speculate what the future has in store.
    For a large portion of the school year, my feelings towards completing a second Illini 4000 ride could be described as apprehensive at best. Was I ready for such a once in a lifetime experience…again? Would the same exhilarating uncertainty still be there, and would this new experience dampen my memories of the old?
    In truth, at times I do feel sort of like an anachronism, an observer displaced in time. As I watch my teammates growing, improving, and learning in their preparation for the summer ahead, I also see last year’s team, myself among them, asking the same questions, overcoming the same obstacles and riding the same roads. It’s an overwhelming feeling both unique and familiar, an emotional amalgamation that can only be described as new.
    However, after months of working with such an amazing new group of people, I came to an important realization. While certain things about the ride will always remain the same, it is the people that make this trip so amazing; the riders, the communities, the supporters, the Portraits Project participants, all brought together through the fight against cancer, and that is something that can never be replicated, never be duplicated, and never be equaled. I look forward to growing and learning with my new teammates, and using my experiences to help guide and improve our decision in the future. I look forward to interacting with communities, people, and cancer patients from all walks of American life. I look forward to the road ahead.

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