We made it to Pittsburgh!

Sitting here in Pittsburgh, it is hard for me to reflect on these past 12 days and share every detail. It has truly been a whirlwind experience. I have encountered some serious challenges, braved steep uphills and headwinds, while taking on rain and scorching heat. I’ve made my way from New City and down to our nation’s beautiful capital, and now to Pittsburgh. I am upwards to 500 miles into the trip, and I have the whole summer, and the whole country, for that matter, at my feet. If the next 9 weeks are anything like the last two, I am absolutely ecstatic to see what this summer has in store for us.

I want to thank everyone who has gotten me to where I am today. Thank you to my friends, family, and even people I do not know who so believe in the cause enough to invest in my journey. A special thanks to Lisa Mueller who has devoted much of the last few months to training me. Most especially, thank you to my parents and sister, who have believed in this crazy trip from day one. I could never be where I am today (Pittsburgh, PA) without you guys. You are all the force behind my pedal strokes.

In this past two weeks, time and time again, I have been simply in awe of random people’s kindness and generosity.  From New York to Pittsburgh, we have encountered people with some of the biggest hearts. On our stay over in New Jersey, we were greeted, after a rainy and cold first day of riding by the family of the Illini 4000’s founder. They opened up their home, as well as their nice, warm showers. They cooked us an incredible meal and showered us with the support we needed to wake up and ride again the following day – taking us to Philadelphia, PA.  Upon arrival in Philadelphia, we reached Calvary Methodist Church. An awesome meal of spaghetti and brownies awaited us. The woman who cooked us dinner thanked us so graciously for what we are doing with a meaningful speech of gratitude.

This carried us onward to Delaware. The entire team was in great spirits rolling into Newark, Delaware after a quick 40-mile ride, after two days of 70 mile rides. We arrived, unpacked the van, and quickly packed into a small bus that would eventually take us to the local YMCA for showers. This was no ordinary YMCA as it came well equipped with a pool and water park. The pool attendants welcomed us and invited us to dip our dirty feet in the pool. At the YMCA, we met a woman who was brought to tears when she heard of what we are doing, more specifically, whom we are riding for. Her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia a few years back, and because of treatments, she is a year cancer-free. It is truly incredible to see, firsthand, the impact we have while riding across this country. We returned to our stay over, Salem United Methodist Church, where a fine Italian dinner awaited us.

We woke up to some serious rain, packed our bags, and got on the road to make our way to Baltimore, MD. It was raining, and Maryland does not mess around when it come to some serious hill climbs, but 70 miles later, we found ourselves at our stay over.

We woke up, ready to ride another hilly day. This 70-mile day led us down winding trails and of course, more hills. It was really hot outside and so tiring, but knowing we’d be rolling into one of my favorite cities, kept me pedaling. The best part about arriving in D.C. was knowing that the following day, we had an event day, which means … no riding. Knowing this, after 5 days of road, made everything a little bit better.

Onward we moved, and we found ourselves at the feet of the Appalachian Mountains. Knowing this was both exhilarating and terrifying. The day presented us with winding uphill roads and steep climbs. Often, it was hard to even keep pedals, but every time, I made it to the top, feeling even more accomplished than before and being spoiled with beautiful views of the Pennsylvania countryside. I do not think it was any coincidence that the day we hit the mountains was also what the day that would have been my grandma’s 77th birthday, and the following day, the one year anniversary of her death. The mountains I hit we’re easy to climb because they paled in comparison to the mountains she climbed during her 5 year battle with lung cancer.

The faces and places are slowly blending together, and I am not quite sure exactly what day it is, but I do know that it is going to be an incredible summer, and I could not be more excited to see  where the road will lead me this summer.

 

 

 

 

Comments (4)
  • Sue Dziedzic says:

    Sarah — what a remarkable person you are to be participating in this very worthwhile cause. I don’t know if I would have it in me to ride all those miles and wish I would have had a chance like this when I was younger! God bless you as you continue your journey – for this is something that you will never forget. I look forward to hearing more about it!

    Take care, stay healthy — and keep on rolling!!!

    XXOO

    Sue (and family!)

  • Mike Sullivan says:

    Go Sarah!!! Thanks so much for keeping me in the loop on your ride. I sit in my office and am jealous of your adventure. I am doing a 45 mile ride on Sunday for breast cancer. A small ride compared to yours but I will be with you in spirit! Keep the updates coming.

    Sully

  • Caron Wirth says:

    Jackie was kind enough to share your info with me!! I am sorry we missed you through Philly and Newark, both in our backyard. We are thrilled that you are enjoying your experience and look forward to hearing about the rest of this remarkable journey! Loved the senior year video!!!

  • Julie Martin says:

    Sarah,
    Just getting around to catching up on your journey. It has been a busy summer so far…..though I do find myself wondering how your ride is each day! I’m so proud of you and can’t wait for your arrival home to hear all about this great adventure!

    Julie

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