Our passion will take us far

after such our first century ride yesterday, today’s 70 mile ride felt so short! the weather was great – sunny and not too hot. but one thing i still cannot get over is how flat the midwest is compared to out east, especially pennsylvania. even though i grew up in illinois, i guess i just had never really noticed it!

the route itself was very similar to yesterday, spending most of the day on the same road for long periods of time. the relatively uneventful route was spiced up a bit, however, when we encountered a fellow cyclist. we were stopped for a snack and some water when we saw him rolling by. his name was ken, and, as it turned out, he was also cycling across the country for cancer research.

the more we talked to him, the more blown away we were. ken’s current ride began in alaska on march first of this year and will end in about a week in his home state of rhode island. this isn’t his first major bike ride, however. it’s actually his seventh time across america! and he is even planning a trip from maine to key west, florida next spring. in addition, ken spent 27 months riding 52,000 miles across the world, getting off his bike only to fly from continent to continent.

what’s even more inspiring about ken is that he himself is a survivor of cancer. at the age of 50 he was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer. after undergoing months of treatment, ken was cancer free and ready to spread the word about the fight against cancer. at this point, he was already an avid cyclist and had been across the country a few times before. in addition to his own fight against cancer, ken has also lost several family members to cancer, including his mother, his uncles, his cousins, and his 3 year old grandson. ken told us that his biggest passions in life are cycling and showing appreciation for what we have. he decided to turn his bike rides into fundraising opportunities, combining his love of riding with his desire to spread the word to others and save lives.

i think everyone in the group can agree that meeting ken will be a highlight of this trip. he is so inspirational, and he knows exactly what it feels like to be in our shoes. but whatever difficulties we encounter, we can remind ourselves that ken, a cancer survivor, may have encountered something worse during his own fight against cancer or on his own ride to fundraise money.

meeting ken today was just the inspiration we needed to push through the next few days until chicago. even though our knees and legs may be sore or it may be rainy and cold, we are making a difference, just like ken! ken has taught me to keep on fighting because our passion will take us farther than we ever imagined.

on a side note, only two more days until we reach champaign, where we spent so many hours training for this amazing ride!

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