Day 1: Meeting Damon Runyon and New York City

It has been a busy day. We got into New York last night around 11:20 PM…By the time that we got some food, unpacked our bikes and got to where we were staying, it was certainly passed 1 AM. There was a slight change in our stay over location due to security concerns, but we are so thankful for the generosity of others in letting us stay in hotel rooms with lots of people and bikes. It was crazy, but I think we all slept pretty well in general.

The morning was a later than usual start with an 8:45 AM wake up. We got our bikes adjusted and then made our way to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. This was just a fantastic visit. This organization that we donate to annually is just incredible. The organization has been around since the 1920′s/1930′s and has always had a similar mission, which is incredible because cancer was not a term thrown around that often. Anyways, this organization is funded through an endowment which covers the overhead costs, like office space, lights, etc. Other than that, 100% of the donations go to research. They have different fellowship options for funding researchers, including new post-doc students who have great, innovative ideas. We were fortunate to meet two of those fellows today. One specialized in the chemistry aspect of treating cancer from a drug-resistant standpoint, while the other approached cancer from a background in immunology in treating skin cancers by learning about immune system environments. Fascinating. These researchers were so excited to tell us about their work. It was clear that they were incredibly passionate about their work, not to mention, brilliant. We would like to thank the foundation so much for allowing us to keep our bikes at their office and for providing a wonderful breakfast. I greatly encourage you to check out the foundation more about their work.

After the foundation, we had free time to explore. Hearing from the team, many of us saw the 9/11 memorial, but other places visited included: the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, SoHo and probably many more places. We came to our stay over and are very excited to start our ride tomorrow! Some are sleeping now, others journaling, some learning how to more tightly pack their backpacks.

Tomorrow will be a much earlier start. For anyone in the area who did not catch the memo, we will be starting from Battery Park in Manhattan, instead of Central Park, so hopefully we will see some folks bright and early as we start off on the first leg of the route. Wish us well and happy trails! And a peaceful night’s sleep.

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