Don’t Cry Because it’s Over; Smile Because it Happened.

Greetings I4K supporters!

Today, the team left Pastor Matt’s house in San Rafael, CA to bike a short (but confusing!) 17 miles to the Golden Gate Bridge. After a delicious breakfast, we sat in our last morning circle of the trip, with everyone obviously experiencing bittersweet emotions about the trip ending. We decided to do a group ride dedication today, dedicating our ride to the friends and families of the riders who have been touched by cancer.

 

After taking an incredibly high number of photos right before crossing the bridge, we rode as the whole team for the last time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge together. We were graciously welcomed into the Crissy Field by the San Francisco Alumni Club. Most of us had families and friends waiting for us at the park, meaning we were greeted by an uncountable number of hugs, both from our families and from the other members of the team. As our last time as a whole team, we enjoyed spewing out just about every inside joke we have (nailed it!), laughing hysterically while our families watched us in complete confusion. We chowed down on a wonderful Chicago-style meal provided by the alumni club, which was magnificent!

We took our final team photo together in front of the Golden Gate, filling the air with screams and cheers. Mass hugging ensued, providing some of us with the final opportunity to hug for a very long time (congrats to our graduates, as well as those going back to their home countries!). All of those hugs were made with the promise that more would come as soon as possible. Soon, we started to disperse to head our separate ways, which included more hugs, some tears, and a whole lot of love.

As the ride has gone by, it’s become extremely evident to all of us as a team that this ride wouldn’t be possible without all the support we receive along the way. From the very beginning, we’ve been blessed with all the support from our families, beginning with allowing us to partake in this crazy adventure and continuing all the way until today, providing help and love for the entire journey. Thanks to so many of our friends for everything they did for us, from fundraisers to spreading the word about the cause to the moral support. HUGE thanks to the churches, schools, and other stayovers who showed us so much hospitality, between providing us a place to sleep to sometimes providing food to all the prayers that we were blessed to have. The number of times that we said “Best stayover ever!” was extremely high, and we can’t show enough appreciation for that. Thanks to the alumni and the board for preparing us to make it across the country, as well as providing us with assistance in every way they could.
Special thanks goes out to the people we’ve met along the way: the ones who donated from car windows, in gas stations, and walking down the street. Thanks to those people who shared their stories of love, pain, and inspiration with us, trying to help us with document the American cancer experience. Thanks to the people who cheered us on from their homes and the other cyclists who helped us out along the way.

 

Our team has a lot of people to be grateful for, and we appreciate everything that’s been done for us to make this absolutely incredible summer possible. Mostly, thanks to everyone who believed in us.

 

Love forever and always,

The 2012 Illini 4000 Team

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