Day 19: Zach in the Spotlight

Zach had the ride dedication today.

A sunny, breezy 77 miles from Champaign to Kankakee. We were joined by some I4k alumni and one brave mom (you go Mrs. Behyl) on today’s ride. Looking around at the network of previous riders was really cool and gives me hope that we will stay connected as a team even after this summer ends. Although the sun was very hot beating down on us, Dylan’s parents were generous to ride along the whole way with us and provided the team with snacks during rest stops.

In the third edition of team member Tuesday Thursday, ride leader Zach is in the spotlight. This is his second year completing the ride. He responds to “Zach” “Dad” or “Mom”, take your pick.

Why did you first join I4K? I first joined my sophomore year (2015) because many people in my life had been affected by cancer.  I also wanted to be a part of an organization that seemed meaningful, and I liked how I4k involved traveling for a cause.

How long have you been a board member? This last year I was director of the Portraits Project. I was also on the Portraits board the year before.

Has being involved with I4K shaped you in any way? Definitely. Being in I4k has made me more patient and I have developed a respect for the generosity of random people. My faith in humanity has been restored (laughs). It made me grow up a little bit. It has forced me to get things done on a deadline.

Do you see yourself cycling after this summer? Yeah I’ve always wanted to do bike racing. Or a criterium (race consisting of several laps around a closed circuit, the length of each lap or circuit ranging from about 500 m to 1000 (thanks Wikipedia)). I want to push myself to do shorter races that involves more speed.

How does this ride compare to your last? This one has give me more appreciation for I4k and more appreciation for the ride leaders. Right now I am always “on”. It is kind of difficult sometimes but also nice. When the team works together it all comes full circle and gives Tyler and I more satisfaction.

How has this organization evolved since you first joined? Every year everything gets smoothlined. The training gets harder, but that way we know what we can expect from people during the ride. Team meetings are planned to a T. As an organization we are becoming more serious- social media and they way we present ourselves has come a long way. I am still impressed that we are run by students without outside help.

How do you like being a ride leader so far? I really like it. It makes me happier because I’m able to help people when they need it. There are a lot of situations where people don’t know what to do and I can be there for them. I am given opportunities to make real decisions that have real outcomes, in a lot of ways being a ride leader is like a real job.

What is the hardest part about it (being a ride leader)? I really want the team to be happy all the time. If it’s a hard day I don’t want to inflict people with more stress even if it needs to get done like packing the van, etc. I care about each team member’s well being and I want make sure they’re having a good experience.

What is the next big thing you see yourself doing after this? SLEEPING (just a joke). I would like to hike the Pacific Crest Trail one day.

Describe i4k in one word: Bliss

Tomorrow’s forecast: corn sightings on the way to Frankfurt.

Chicago countdown: 1 day!



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