NYC – Pittsburgh

***I also posted some pictures from our first couple days in NYC on the Illini 4000 website.  If you go to “Our Riders” and click on my pic (Lauren Winters)- there should be a link that says “View Rider Photos” right above the Donate button.  The album is titled “I4K  NYC- PA.”  I will add more pics later.


I have officially made it through my first week! And there has been many ups and downs- literally. Our team has pedaled our first 500 miles all the way from NYC to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania!

This trip has already been the ride of my life. There has been crashes and falls, sun burns, bike problems, pains and sore muscles, wrong turns, torturous uphill climbs, and really long days. We have finished our days covered in layers of sun screen, chain grease, sweat, chamois butter, jelly from our PB&J sandwiches, dirt, and more sweat. We have conquered not only mountains but tornados. And we have done this all with an average of 6 hours of sleep a night (which I believe is my biggest weakness.)

But we did it! And we did it together. Gabrielle says if we made it past these past couple days in the Appalachians – we can all make it to San Francisco. And I have no doubt in my mind that I and the rest of the team can do it. There are going to be rough days just like there were during the week. And there are going to be challenges. But just like the mountains- whenever there is a tough uphill- there is always an awesome downhill to follow. And even though 5:45 mornings and hills like Mountain House Rd might not be my cup of tea- there has been ten times more positive things that came out of this week. We have got to see cities like NY and Philly and everything in between including the Amish Country. We have belted out NSYNC and Disney songs on our way uphill. We have sang karaoke and played “Sally Walker.” And we have witnessed so much hospitality and generosity along the way already. Just tonight- Chipotle donated a free dinner and drink to all of us. And Pastors have stayed up late to drive us to local YMCAs to assure that we get showers. People have opened up their homes and showers to us and have cooked homemade meals so we can eat.

There has been so many positive things out of this trip already. Today during our team meeting we each went around saying our favorite moment or most positive experience so far about the trip. It was hard to pick but I definitely had to say that for me it was the team. We have already all became so close and everyone is so supportive of each other. They literally got me up the mountain or through really tough days. My favorite “Mosher” so far has been our very first one. Connor Ramsey sited a poem for us before leaving New Jersey. The poem went like this,

“Now is the Law of the Jungle, as old and true as the sky;
And the wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die.
As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back—
For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

With the Appalachians behind us, we are ready to move on into the Midwest!

Comments (8)
  • Jill McKenna says:

    Lauren- so enjoyed your blog! You are doing an amazing thing – so proud of you! Sounds like your spirits are very high – that’s awesome! Have been thinking of you often and hope to see you in Wisconsin!

  • jschlesinger Jonathan Schlesinger says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write this entry. I really enjoyed how you were able to capture so many different aspects of the experience and capture the emotion of the ride. Be strong!

  • Paula Spitz says:

    Thank you for your blog. Looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago. Have fun and pedal safely.

  • Lauren,
    Thank you for such a wonderful posting. You covered so much in such a short writing. You have taken some great pictures so far. Continue to have fun, embrace all the great landscape and happy pedaling!

  • Gayle winters says:

    Thanks for sharing Connor’s quote, such a great one and so true! Sounds like you are making friendships that will last a lifetime. Keep smiling and enjoy this amazing experience. Besos

  • Karen Lavazza says:

    What an amazing blog entry. Thank you for every bit of it. It is inspirational, insightful and wonderful. Thanks also for sharing “Connor’s” poem. And the picture, so sweet to able to pick our child out.
    Dory’s mom

  • Bev Carr says:

    Hey Lauren! We will see you Friday night in Richmond, IN. We plan to stay over night in the area and come home on Saturday. It’ll be about a 3 hour drive for us. Enjoy the flatlands for the next week or so – you haven’t seen anything until you get past S. Dakota. Cody, Wyoming will be a challenge! Don’t get discouraged our whole church is prayer for your group – I keep them updated on where you are and what’s going on. Our Relay for Life is this weekend and they usually raise thousands for cancer research. See ya Friday. Love, Aunt Bev and Uncle Bob

  • Bev Carr says:

    Tell everyone HI! We made it home in fine shape. Sorry to hear that your day was so hot. I’ll bet those peaches tasted good. Hope the weather in Indy settles down for you all. Thanks to Kelsey and the group for the kind words about my story. It doesn’t pay to get mad at God or the world when something like cancer happens to you. Your best defense is living your life the best that you can and adding as much humor and positive things as you can – that’s what gets you through. Hange together and be safe. Love ya, Aunt Bev

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