In the Heart of the Midwest

Today was a welcome relief for the team. After most of us completed our first centuries yesterday (100+ miles), the 73 miles we did today were a cakewalk. After an expansive and delicious dinner, we all went to bed early and woke up in good spirits. One of our hosts, Kent, rode with us for part of the ride and told us about his experience riding across the country. The weather was great all day and we met a very interesting man named Ken Bettencourt. He is currently biking across the country for the 7th time and has even biked all the way around the world.  He, like us, spreads awareness about cancer and raises money for cancer research. During this ride, he is raising funds for a pediatric cancer center in Providence, RI.

Ken was also willing to participate in a Portrait for us. Ken lost his mother to brain cancer and his grandson to leukemia before he was diagnosed with cerebral brain cancer. He had brain surgery and underwent four months of intense chemotherapy. Ken explained to us, “Cycling is my passion, but human nature is really my passion. I don’t want to see children, people with [cancer]. We need to do more in this world for it.” When asked about his support system during treatment, he emphasized the need for a normal friend. “You have psychologists, nurses, and doctors in a hospital, but what you want is just somebody to come to talk to you about a hockey game or bring you a milkshake…don’t mention cancer at all. You just need a friend.” It was wonderful to meet someone with similar passion and goals. We really enjoyed speaking with Ken.

Overall, the ride went very well today and our team made it into Indianapolis early in the afternoon. The Indianapolis Illini Club provided us with a delicious dinner from Fazoli’s and brought us coffee cakes and other food for breakfast in the morning. After talking with the members of the Illini Club and eating dinner, several members of the team enjoyed the outdoors some more and played soccer. The team is excited to see what tomorrow brings!

 

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