Goodbye Pennsylvania!

Well, we’ve made it through the toughest days of the trip–riding through the Appalachain Mountains. I really enjoyed the mountains and I’ve had so much fun riding with everyone. Now we are in Ohio, which makes our singing of “I was carried. To Ohio in a swarm of bees,” more appropriate. But as we departed Pennsylvania, we had to say goodbye to I4K President Conor Canaday. Conor helped the 2011 team make the transition to this amazing experience by driving the van and also by being a great bike mechanic. I can not imagine starting this ride without his help. Thank you, Conor, for everything you’ve done for this team and for this organization. I4K is not going to be the same without you.

Riding out of Pittsburgh, I had the pleasure of riding with “Team Craycray.” Our group had a special guest, Jonny, from the Church of Ascenscion. Unfortunately Jonny didn’t get too far with our group because the first 7 miles were extremely steep. But it was really fun riding with you! And I hope you can still send our team the recipe for that pasta salad!!

Tonight we are in Zanesville, Ohio. Our stayover has given us showers, dinner, cots, and a cook-to-order breakfast! We interviewed a woman named Pat for the Portraits Project and she may be the kindest person I have ever met. Having lost both her parents to cancer and being a cancer survivor herself, one could assume that Pat would have a pessimistic attitude towards life. But instead, Pat is such a happy and loving person–constantly giving to people who are in need, even if they are complete strangers. When talking about being a caretaker, Pat said, “It’s a sacrifice that you make. You know the end is near, so it’s a sacrifice that you just make.” As soon as she said those words, I instantly thought about what my family did for our loved ones fighting cancer. For my grandpa, we changed our daily routines for 2 years because he was so sick from treatment. We literally visited him every single day, whether it was at the hospital or at his home. I think that it took a toll on my family, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Spending the final days with your loved ones is something that not a lot of people are able to do and I am forever grateful that my family was able to.

It’s crazy that we will be in Champaign soon. I can’t decide where I should eat in Champaign. Mas Amigos? Cravings? Bombay? Chipotle? Subway? Oh the choices.

P.S. Today I tried a new Gatorade flavor (it was purple) and I liked it! I usually only drink the fruit punch flavor. And my Surly is holding up really well.

Comments (6)
  • Gayle Winters says:

    Hi Garielle, Conor sounded like a lifesaver! How nice of him to come along the first week. Wish he was still there to fix Lauren’s bike. lol Sounds like the team is meeting so much generosity along the way. It is very heartwarming to hear all the stories. Ask Lauren about a restaurant she worked at in Champaign called Timpone’s. You would love it! Ride safe and keep up the great leadership! Sleep well tonight on your cot! :)

  • Lauren Mazurski Lauren Mazurski says:

    Showers? Dinner? COTS? COOK TO ORDER BREAKFAST? Very niceee.

  • Karen Lavazza says:

    Hey Gabrielle,
    You have reminded me of our vigil when Dory’s grandmother died of breast cancer. Dory was very young at the time, so I know she doesn’t remember all of it. It was quite a descent, slowly, painfully,to the point that when it was over the predominant feeling was relief. Relief not to see your loved one get thinner, sicker day by day. But also, the lessons about life and love were never more brilliant. And those left behind so loving and close.
    Dory’s mom

  • Hi Gabrielle, I often wondered how our family fights with cancer would affect you and your sister. I lost many a nights sleep worried about whether it was the right thing to have both of you so involved with cancer at such an early age. The sad part is that this is reality. I am so proud of you and the rest of the group for continuing the fight. There are cures out there. It will be the fundraising efforts from people involved with groups such as The Illini 4000 that will help fund the research for the cures. Thank you. Love you mom

  • Sister, I get to see you and the team tomorrow! :) I have been catching up with all of the team’s blog posts that have made me laugh, cry, and smile all at the same time! I am so proud of you Gabby (Gabrielle)!

    What about Dos??? I know you like the chips at Mas, but I think you should consider Dos! Tell me what you/others want for breakfast???

  • mlarsen Megan Larsen says:

    Wow! What an amazing stayover! That was super nice of them!

    P.S. The blue Gatorades are super yummy also! :)

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