Next Time

I promised myself that I would post on my blog once the trip was over after failing to do so for the previous year’s ride, but I’ve been apprehensive until now. Not only is it impossible to summarize the trip in words, but also having to follow Max’s last post which has been listed first on our web site since the trip ended makes it even harder. Max’s post, along with the few other ending posts by other riders, were all very touching with powerful content. They are all tough acts to follow, but I did make a promise.

Months after the ride is over, it just feels like a dream. The fact that we accomplished something so great and substantial can’t be true, it can’t be reality. But of course we have all of our memories still, of the best days, the worst days, the heat in Washington, the freezing cold of Yellowstone, the empty roads of South Dakota, and the traffic of New York City. Such contrasts that we experienced will stay with us forever.

Even still, the greatest parts of the trip for me had nothing to do with weather or geography. It was all of the times that I saw a rider break down, mentally on the brink of destruction, worn out from extreme physical exhaustion. You don’t have the choice to stop going, you must continue and once you do something changes within you. At some point I stopped believing that there are things out there that are impossible. Last night someone asked me why I thought we haven’t found a cure for cancer yet, and to be honest I’ll probably never know why, but I know that just means we need to work even harder. One day we will cure cancer, but it’s going to take a lot of people doing everything they can.

Within a few weeks after our arrival in San Francisco the Illini 4000 kicked back in to action getting ready for an even more successful year ahead of us. The new board of directors has already put in countless hours of work to be an even better organization than before. I am very proud of the steps we have taken to improve how we work and to ensure our own success for years to come. We have many challenges to overcome being a completely student run organization, but its worth every minute of it. As our fiscal year ends tomorrow, we are prepared to break all Illini 4000 fundraising records, with our highest efficiency rate yet. And numerical figures are only one indicator of our success over the last year. Our portraits project has shown incredible growth and we are getting ready to do some great things with it over the next year. And one of our greatest accomplishments is one that we won’t see the benefits directly. Our goal has always been to move people to help in the fight against cancer, something we can’t measure but will make all the difference in the end. It’s going to take a lot of people doing everything they can.

With that said, we have our next team picked already and getting ready for the experience of a lifetime. It looks to be our largest team yet, all very dedicated and motivated individuals ready for a challenge. I feel old when I see them, and when I think of the time I was in their shoes two years ago.

So in some ways this blog post is about the end, but in even more ways its just the beginning.

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