Day 30

We made it!!!! Finally, after 113 miles into a steadily increasing headwind, we have arrived in Valentine, Nebraska. Today’s ride was the longest distance ever accomplished by an Illini 4000 team in one day! Fortunately, the solstice was two days ago and tomorrow we cross time zones, so the sunset was at 9:25 today. We needed every minute of daylight we could get!

From the top, though… we ate cereal for breakfast. Then we dedicated the ride to Anne’s cancer-fighting cousin who encouraged her to do the ride. At our 20-mile rest stop, we happened to encounter Andy, who is the father of Jack Hoffman. Jack is now 8 years old and is a survivor of brain cancer! For those of you who don’t remember, he became famous, scoring a touchdown last year with the Nebraska football team. Watch the VIDEO; you’ll be automatically inspired. Andy told us his story for the Portraits Project. He is such a motivated father and is adamant that the best way to handle childhood cancer is for the parents to advocate for research funding where there is very little! That’s why he started Team Jack, a foundation raising money for pediatric cancer research. Then he led us to his house where we got to meet the whole family! It was a wonderful coincidence that we were in the town of Atkinson at the same time as Andy was on his way to work. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have met them!

Also in Atkinson, a reporter from a newspaper called The Graphic asked about our organization and interviewed and photographed some members of our team! We also told her about our meeting with Team Jack. Today another article was published about the team: the Storm Lake Pilot Tribune, as mentioned in the blog for day 25. Here’s a LINK to the wonderfully written article!

After 7-9 hours rolling time in the saddle (also known as arrival up to 14 hours after leaving),we made it to the United Methodist Church where we were provided a delicious meal of lasagna, oodles of fruit, and a world-famous banana cake. We got in so late that most of us headed straight for bed rather than bothering with a shower, although they were available outside of town at a park. Camping tomorrow!

Jack and his family are huge Nebraska fans, and we are too! His sister Ava gave us all beautiful red wristbands to remember today! <3

Comments (5)
  • Sue Baehr says:

    Thanks for the stories! You all are amazing, and as a parent of one of you, I’m incredibly proud…of all of you! Be well, stay safe, and ride on!

  • Roll On! Thank you, Grace, for keeping us posted. We are so for the team. Grandma Jan

  • Eileen Rock says:

    Loved this post. the video link, as well as the article! You guys had a really spectacular day!

  • John Knicker says:

    So cool you got to meet Jack’s family. Thanks for that video link – seen it before, but who doesn’t tear up at that sort of support for someone so innocent? Keep rotating those 2 wheels – we are all here cheering for you guys. Seems that your message/efforts are truly being realized as you meet so many nice people who can’t help but appreciate your efforts. Thank You All.

  • Donna Butler says:

    Hi! I’m Ellen’s Grandma. Grandpa wanted me to thank you for dedicating part of your ride to him. We just spent about a 1/2 hour reading your “co-riders” comments, and found them very interesting. I think I better retract some of my reluctance to Ellen doing this. My only concern was her safety (still is). I think what you all are doing is commendable,and it is great that you are enjoying doing something for such a good cause. Our prayers for the rest of your trip.

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