Miles for Jamie

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted on my 4K blog, but after everything that’s happened in the past week, it goes without saying that the 4K for Cancer is an organization that will forever connect us with family – your own teammates you cycled/ran across the country with; your fellow 4K alumni that will forever display their enthusiasm for the organization; the current and future 4K cyclists and runners; those battling and those affected by cancer; and of course the family, friends, and loved ones of all 4K family.

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On June 13th, the 4K family mourned the loss of a beloved individual who was on this year’s team Portland. It’s such a tragedy hearing about the passing of an individual, but this one hits home hard. Jamie Roberts, a graduate of St. Mary’s College in Maryland, signed up to join the fight against cancer. After hearing about the 4K and seeing two of her friends finish the inaugural run last summer, she was inspired to sign up and take on the challenge of traversing the country by pure manpower – through cycling. It takes a special individual to willingly sacrifice their time and spend all their efforts in this fight against cancer, which says a lot about her character. Though I did not personally know Jamie, it takes a selfless and devoted individual to carry out the 4K mission. From all the outpouring of love I’ve seen from her 4K and college teammates, her family, and her friends, it goes without saying that she truly was an extraordinary person.

The 4K has made a such a significant impact in my life, and a big part of that has to do with all the connections I’ve made since I signed up for the 2013 ride. One of my team’s mantra was “Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten” – and that’s exactly what the 4K is, a family. When I found out about Jamie’s passing, I couldn’t help but feel emotionally numb – my heart sank. To hear about the passing of a family member is heart wrenching, and I immediately felt lonely. I wanted to be around my teammates, surrounded by my 4K family in this time of grief. It wasn’t long before I heard back from teammates, past riders, current riders, and even my pedal pal checking up on anyone and everyone that had been affected by this tragedy. It’s hard to put into words what the 4K means to me, but know that it has changed my perspective for the better and it continues to make an impact on my life. The riders and supporters of the 4K continually inspire me in all that they do. Jamie’s passing has united a community of supporters not only across the nation, but also throughout the world. She continues to be an inspiration to many. Her tragic passing has changed lives for the positive, and this is something she strived for when she signed up to do the 4K. To see her mission continue to be carried out by so many people is awe-inspiring. A movement on Facebook was started a couple days ago that symbolically represents the remaining number of miles Jamie had left to bike until she reached Portland. People post the number of miles they rode that day (or even ran, hiked, or biked) and use the hashtag #milesforjamie to help her reach the finish line. Just in the past 3 days, over 3000 miles (and counting) have been logged in by people everywhere: miles all across the US, support from all the current teams and even Texas 4000 riders, bike rides in Copenhagen and Chengdu, runs in Paris and Bangkok – the support is tremendous. With every mile that we ride, we will continue to carry your spirit with us.

10450079_10204316983911391_7127569118618100513_oMy heart goes out to Jamie’s family, friends, and teammates. Jamie’s memory will continue to live on through the lives of those she touched. Know that you have a community of supporters with the 4K for Cancer and remember that we will always stand by you – we are family.

DCIM101GOPROThe Roberts family wishes for any donations to be made to The Ulman Cancer Fund in honor of Jamie Roberts and the 4K for Cancer Portland Team. Donations can be made at http://4kforcancer.org/profiles/jamie-roberts

Miles for Jamie Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/744851622245768/

Statement by the Ulman Cancer Fund on Jamie’s passing: http://ulmanfund.org/statement-by-ulman-cancer-fund-ceo-brock-yetso-on-the-loss-of-4k-for-cancer-rider-jamie-roberts/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=statement-by-ulman-cancer-fund-ceo-brock-yetso-on-the-loss-of-4k-for-cancer-rider-jamie-roberts

My Video Made it to Buzzfeed, share away!


Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 1.54.10 PM4K for Cancer Team San Fran Highlights (Click for Buzzfeed Article!)

About a month ago, I uploaded a video I made highlighting the experiences of my 4K journey onto Vimeo with the intent to hopefully inspire others in an effort to recruit more college-aged students to sign up for this amazing program. Thanks to Vince, a member of the awe-inspiring 4K and Ulman Cancer Fund staff, my video made it to Buzzfeed! I initially just wanted the video to go viral on Facebook when I posted it last month, but now that it’s on Buzzfeed, it provides more of a platform to broadcast what the 4K is all about.

Since recruitment for the 4K for Cancer 2014 is underway, it’s a great video to showcase what the 4K is all about and all the possible adventures future 4K riders could venture on. As a 2013 San Fran alumnus, I highly recommend signing up if you have the time. Our goal is to bring this to the top of Buzzfeed, so if you could share share SHARE the article to family members, friends, lovers of outdoor activities, haters to cancer, and to everyone you know, that would be wonderful. Click on the hyperlink I posted right below the picture to read the article and watch the video. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.”
–Mark Twain

Sincerely, Team San Francisco

**I almost forgot to post my final thoughts about my 4K experience on my blog. I started writing my reflection on the plane ride back from Cali a couple weeks ago and finally finished a couple days ago. A big thank you to all my readers, you were one of the main reasons why I continued to write and to blog day after day. Hope you enjoy!

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I guess now that I’m on a connecting flight to Minneapolis and on my way back home to Baltimore, it’s the perfect time to reflect on my experiences this summer and formally write them down. Squashed in the middle of two other passengers listening to Icona Pop, I turn my head and peer out the window saying farewell to the Golden Coast. I look for the vast stretches of desert we passed on highway 50 in Nevada. I search East to find the Rockies we climbed forever ago in Colorado. It’s a totally different view from above and I still am in shock at how our willpower gave us the drive to continue pedaling and traversing the United States on our bikes. From an airplane view, we were just small dots moving slowly, but surely across the United States each with the same mission: Cycle. Inspire. Unite.

Cycling became our lifestyle, and we became a cycling wayfarer of some sort. We lived 90% of our summer in spandex, we bathed with garden hoses and sprinklers along golf courses, we camped in a gravel lot behind a gas station, we cycled through a tropical storm up the never ending hills to Lynchburg, we danced right in the middle of highway 50, we hiked through national parks, we got Chuck-e-Cheese to open a couple minutes early so we could cheer up a teammate, we watched the sunrise (e-yeahhh), we made Laurenning and Coraling verbs, and most importantly, we biked coast to coast as a family. Your senses are heightened riding your bicycle across the country and you experience the US in a special way that not many people have. You smell things you normally don’t smell, some pleasant, some not so much; you appreciate and soak in the panoramic views from a rider’s perspective that only we as cyclists know; you experience the wind, rain, heat, cold, and pressure changes from different altitudes riding day in and day out of different cities; you experience America. Just by pure manpower (or Luna power for all you strong, independent Luna bar women), we surprised ourselves and got to each city on two wheels.

But it’s more than just cycling from one city to the next, it’s the fact that we overcame a feat that many of us thought was nearly unthinkable. We broke down our walls, passed our limit as we opened our emotional and physical boundaries, and outdid ourselves when our legs told us to shut up. For me, I found strength from the support of family and friends that encouraged me to keep pedaling, solace in the mere fact that optimism can have such a strong and positive effect on mentality, and faith when complete strangers believed in our cause by supporting us through donations and providing us with a roof over our heads.

During the memorial service for Anne, Rob read a letter the ride director from his year wrote to our team, to those in attendance, and in commemoration to Anne. There were words from his speech that just spoke volumes to me at what we had just accomplished:

“The most important thing you have done is expand our definition of what is possible in this world by the simple act of biking and the fact that you just kept going. Because of your hope and your determination, you have forever changed our imaginations. At this moment, you have become larger than life itself.”

It’s a truly humbling experience. To have faith in humanity when there is so much corruption in the world is a hard concept to come to terms with, which can destroy your perspective on many things. Before the 4K, I was under the impression that not many selfless people exist out there, but day to day we were showered with altruism, many of which came from strangers sacrificing their time to support our efforts in the fight against cancer. Biking was no longer just a physical activity to get from one place to another, but a vehicle that served as inspiration and a symbol of hope to those affected by cancer. Humility is freedom from thinking about one’s self, without regard for one’s own inclinations. You learn quickly that it’s not all about you, but about you supporting others, beginning with your teammates. There have been days on the trip where I just did not want to get up from my sleeping bag, days where I make the turn for a sharp switchback only to be discouraged from a tough climb looming ahead, and days where I just wanted to throw my bike on the ground from frustration; but you look around and see 25 other riders resisting the urge to give up. They keep keeping. They encourage you, give you confidence, and most importantly, they believe in you.

Comparing my experiences on the 4K to patients who have fought the monster is in no ways comparable to all they have been through, but understanding the struggle they face and knowing how much physical and emotional investment is spent on this fight humbles you. It gives you something more to think about and makes you realize how precious time is. We’ve heard stories from loved ones that had family pass from the disease, we’ve met cancer survivors that are currently in remission, and we’ve met young adults that were going through radiation therapy during our 4K journey. What gives them the most strength and hope are the people that relentlessly cheer them on. When you’re struggling up the Rockies, switchback after switchback, thinking you can’t carry on, put yourself in a cancer patient’s shoes and think about what they go through day after day. We fight for them. I never imagined I’d think about such substantial issues while riding on my saddle for hours on end. The times where I struggled were the days I learned and contemplated the most. It’s during those tough times when you question your ability to accomplish or overcome an obstacle. Can I? Am I strong enough? What if? You start to doubt yourself and begin to lose the drive that initially fired the spirit in you. But just one thought, one action, and one sentence can turn your morale around. The thought, the action, the words remind you there was a reason you biked in the first place. You find comfort in knowing there are people by your side, cheering you on. That is what the 4K is about, nobody gets left behind- ohana.

We started off as strangers and ended as a family. I can’t help but commend the resilience our team showed throughout the 4K. We’ve somehow mastered the IAO MJ so often emphasized: improvise, adapt, and overcome. Had it not been for the collaboration and cooperation of our team, we wouldn’t have made as strong an effect on each other and the community at large. But we did. And knowing we had a community of supporters across the United States cheering us on instilled so much hope and strength as we rode each day. This is what the 4K is about. Though we ran into some emotional and physical issues during the trip, we knew we always had someone on our team to count on during our lowest of lows and someone to celebrate with during our highest of highs. The conviction to get involved in the fight against cancer propelled us to reach past our limits and carry on. Just the thought of knowing someone out there believes in you makes worlds of a difference. Translate that support into a cause that supports young adults affected by cancer who feel vulnerable from the metastasizing disease and you have the 4K. I’ve learned that a positive outlook in life and just simply living can go a long way. Deny to yourself and give to those who need. Realize that small, yet momentous shifts in perspective give life a whole new meaning. This is what the 4K has taught me and it’s a life lesson that I will value.

Here are some stats from Kevin, our amazing bike mechanic.

Total mileage: 4650 Miles
Average ride distance: 77.5 miles
Longest ride: 135 miles (Hopkinsville, KY to Marion, IL)
Shortest ride: 12 miles (Mill Valley, CA to San Francisco, CA)
Centuries completed: 7
States: 12
Max altitude: 12,225 ft (Colorado)
Tropical storms ridden through: 1 (Virginia)
Number of energy bars consumed: too many to count
Best rumble strips: Colorado
Worst rumble strips: Utah
Most aggressive dogs: Kentucky
Bears seen: 1 (Tennessee)
People met cycling unsupported cross country: 4
Teams we met cycling cross country: 2 ( Push America/Tour of Hope and Bike & Build)
Beds slept in: 3

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to ride across the country with and I mean that with all my heart. We made this experience ours and came up with priceless memories that will long be remembered: 4K prom in Tahoe; 4K Christmas in July and Secret Santa in Zion; a 4K song sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas; a 4K song about burning, itching, and lots and lots of pain; a 4K ohana. We learned so much during this trip about ourselves and about the lives of those around us. We’ve learned to appreciate the small things in life that we often take for granted. What made this trip so hard was saying goodbye to each other once we went our separate ways. The days immediately following the 4K were one of the loneliest days for me, but still, we kept in contact and we made sure we’d see each other as much as possible. I longed for closure, but the bond we made and the friendship we shared during the 4K was strong enough to remind me that everything would be fine. I now have 25 brothers and sisters that I can sincerely count on. San Francisco is no longer just a city to us, but a symbol of all that we did, all that we worked for, and all that we fought for this summer. East is east, West is San Francisco, and 4KSF13 is family. Until our next adventure team San Fran, I love you all.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

West is San Francisco.

Day 70: Mill Valley, CA to San Francisco, CA
Total Mileage: 12 miles

Day 70, the day we’ve been waiting for all summer and the day we’ve been dreading. Today marks the last day of our 4K journey. It’s hard to believe that after 10 weeks, we made it to San Francisco… on our bikes. We have to constantly remind ourselves that we got this far on a bicycle cause we’re still in disbelief that we cycled over 4000 miles and that the end is already here. We’ve worked so hard this summer to get this far in the trip and along the way, we’ve formed lasting relationships that only people who have gone through the 4K know how strong our ties are. Parting is such sweet sorrow and makes the day an emotional wreck since we literally spent the last 70 days with each other. Knowing that the team won’t be there deflating their sleeping pads, rolling their sleeping bags up, and bringing their duffles to the car the following morning is a sad feeling. It’s a bittersweet ending, but I’m thankful for my 4K ohana. Today, I dedicated my ride to all the members of team San Fran 2013. You all made it one helluva summer!

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The plan was to make it across the Golden Gate Bridge by noon, since the arrival ceremony at Crissy Field began then. After only about 2 hours of sleep, we got up at 6AM and did our daily routine: packed duffles into the van, ate breakfast, pumped tires, and lollygagged for hours on end. We waited till about 9AM for Terence and Andrew (both 4K alumni) to arrive since they would be joining the ride and chalking the route through the Golden Gate Bridge into Crissy Field. Oh, and also Darcy as well (team San Fran ’12)! She drove the van on day one and is driving the van with our duffles and book bags into San Fran today. We circled up for our last dedication and ran into a bit of an issue. Lamie wanted to video record the dedication circle/4K cheer, so she walked over to mount her GoPro on top of a pole. She was too short to reach the top, so Hilary volunteered to help mount the camera to the top, but the GoPro took a tumble into the pole. Little did we know that the beam holding the ceiling up had a hollow interior, wide enough for the GoPro to fall all the way to the bottom. It wouldn’t be a 4K morning without a minor mishap. We all tried our best fishing out the GoPro with kitchen utensils, flexible camping poles, and packing tape. An hour into the GoPro rescue, we decided it was time to give up and continue on with our last dedication circle. (Update: Rachael’s dad drove over to Scout Hall and miraculously saved Lamie’s GoPro!)IMG_5734

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We ended the trip the same way we started, with our original riding group from day 1. Today’s team was Team Road Kill Part II with Nick, Danny, and Caroline. Riding out of Mill Valley, through Sausalito, and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge up close and personal on our bikes the first time was a pretty emotional sight. I got multiplying chills and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that turned to a couple tears the moment I saw the red arches of the bridge. We stopped at a view point below the bridge on the north side and I just stood there, staring at the bridge alone for a good 5 minutes, taking in the scenery, smelling the salt from the San Francisco Bay, and started reflecting on all the adventures we had the last 70 days. I couldn’t help but stare. The Golden Gate Bridge was the physical marker that stated the end was near.

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After spending over half an hour taking pictures at the first view point, we spent another half hour at a second view point taking even more pictures. By the time we left to finally bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, it was already past noon. When you’re on the 4K, expect nothing but delays from our group. We’re not the most punctual team if you couldn’t already tell.

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After taking a million shots in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, it was time to cross over. We formed a line at the foot of the entrance and biked our way across. Not the smoothest ride into San Fran, but an iconic one at that. At this time of the day, you’re going to run into a lot of cyclists and big traffic jams at the pole pull-off sections. I had to unclip a couple times so I wouldn’t fall (finished the 4K in the ‘no fall’ club with Zac and Sara).

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Terence chalked the way from the foot of the bridge to the entrance of Crissy Field where all our family members and supporters were waiting for our arrival. You hear shouting, clanking of cow bells, and car beeps going off as soon as they spotted the first 4Ker entering the arrival ceremony. We made it. A big thanks to my family and friends that came to the arrival ceremony to support me, especially my parents who flew all the way from the east coast.

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After all the congratulatory hugs and kisses, it was time for the ceremony to begin. We started off by awarding our final scholarship to Helen Carefoot, whose father passed away from melanoma. I had the pleasure of talking to Helen and her mother before the ceremony started and congratulated her on the award. Cancer is a tough issue to deal with and I’m glad we’re there to support her. Afterwards, Lamie and MJ (MA AND PA!) surprised each and every team member with a personal superlative. They spent all last night writing up small blurbs and explanations behind the superlatives of each team member. The paper plate awards were catered to each person on how they personally made an impact on our team and the 4K. I was awarded the “Happy Camper” superlative for my optimism and ability to make a person smile. We all received 4K flags and certificates by Ulman for completing the 4K.

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After the superlatives, Ryan Hanley, one of the founders of the 4K for Cancer, congratulated us and welcomed us to the alumni club. As 4K tradition has it, it was time to dip our tires into the bay. We started off dipping our back tires into the Atlantic (Chesapeake Bay) in Baltimore 70 days ago and ended the trip dipping our front tires into the Pacific in San Francisco. We ended the trip just like we started, full circle. About 5 minutes after we did the symbolical tire dip, the entire team ran into the bay soaking wet and cold. Every second spent in the cold bay was another memory we would cherish for the rest of our lives. We didn’t bike this far to just stand on the beach, we wanted to make a huge splash. We jumped for joy, we screamed in shock, and we hugged anyone we could put our arms around in the water. We are 4K.

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And as any 4Ker would have, the official 4K pose in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

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After the ceremony, the team made their way to a memorial service dedicated to Anne Smedinghoff, a 2009 4K alumnus and U.S. diplomat that lost her life in Afghanistan. A couple team members from her ride (including Rob) and her parents were in attendance for the service and presentation of the tree. Rob and another team member had to go through San Francisco legislation to have this tree planted and dedicated in memory for Anne. It just shows how willing 4K family are to commemorate another rider’s memory so that it can live on forever. It’s a testament of love, honor, and admiration for all that Anne’s done for the cancer community and for the country. The plaque below the tree read:

“May this small plot of earth and the tree that is planted here renew our memories of the brief time we spent together, where we found each other and ourselves, and discovered America out on the open road. And as this tree grows, may the commitment for a better world that Anne embodied in her life grow within each of us.”IMG_5920

A Day of Reflection… and Olympics

Day 69: Napa, CA to Mill Valley, CA
Total Mileage: 64 miles

Two days left of riding, less than 100 miles till San Francisco, last long ride of the trip, second to last dedication circle; it’s all coming to an end and we gotta make these last two days count. Live in the moment, seize the day, carpe diem. Knowing the end is near can bring up a lot of emotions, so there were a couple puddles cried during our dedication circle. Can’t imagine how tomorrow is going to be, so we just gotta brace ourselves for the water works and be prepared for the making of new ponds. What better way to break the tears than to listen to Donna Lewis?

IMG_5556Today’s team name, team numbers with Nick, Casey, and Amy. The way it worked is that you pick a number out of the hat, find the other team member that drew the same number, and pair with another group. Nick and I chose number 1 and we paired up with Amy and Casey. I’ve been wanting to ride with Casey since she got back on her bike, and when I found out we were riding to Mill Valley together, I got real excited. She’s one of my favorite team members to ride with and a great climbing partner. Plus, she’s a secret badass that drives jeeps off road (in stick shift) and flings people off jet skis.

IMG_5563You could tell we were biking out of wine country, especially through Sonoma where the vineyards were plenty. Sonoma in a nutshell: lines and lines of grapevines scattered across the landscape with an occasional mansion that served as a vineyard. 24 miles out of the host, we made it to our first water stop and about 42 miles in, we made it to lunch… rather, we set up lunch cause the first group biked passed a great lunch stop. Great lunch thanks to Danny Cicada and Caroline! On top of the subway and side dishes from Applebee’s, they even got Jamba Juice donated to the team.IMG_5685

We had to wait over an hour at the lunch stop for the water van cause they had to pickup some Camelbak gear that was donated to the team in Petaluma. While the last group was biking toward the first water stop, the head of design from the Camelbak headquarters was taking a lunch break and ran into some 4Kers during his lunchtime bicycle ride. I’d instantly work for Camelbak if their lunch break consisted of taking a bike ride and grabbing grub for the day. Anyway, the head of design invited the team to the Camelbak headquarters, gave them a brief tour, and donated hydration packs and water bottles to the team. Spreading awareness is one the 4K components, and it’s great to know that Camelbak now knows about the 4K for Cancer. Maybe one day, we’ll even be sponsored by them!

IMG_4890The rest of the ride, we biked through a lot of cities and passed quite a few bike shops. We stopped in for a potty break and got to talking to one of the bike shop employees about our 4K experience. “Favorite city? Hardest day? Best memory? Were you all cyclists before the trip started? What route did you take? How many people on your team? Was it for a cause?” were all questions he asked us. You have so many memories to choose from to answer those questions and it got us reminiscing about all the wonderful adventures we’ve gone through the past 69 days. The trip really is almost about to end and it feels just like yesterday we were in Kansas. Stopping into the bike shop was a good segue way into our final team pow-wow/meeting, cause it got us reflecting about our experiences. The last summit we climbed, I caught glimpse of Alcatraz and San Fran. It really is almost the end and it’s a bittersweet feeling that we all are experiencing.

We got to Scout Hall in Mill Valley around 4, which has been a traditional host for team San Fran the last couple of years. We started throwing our jerseys on the ground to have the entire team sign the front. And when I say entire team, I mean all 26 of us including Gloria cause she flies in tonight from med school!

IMG_5571Right before the final team meeting, Rachael and Zac hosted the first annual “4K” Olympics. Events included the wheelbarrow race, pass the “baton,” pop the balloon, strike a pose, and “pie” eating contest. Let’s just say, Dany and Will swept the entire Olympics and won first hands down. Dany went bananas!

IMG_5581IMG_5670After all the fun and games, it was time for team pow-wow. Lamie and MJ reminded us a couple days ago to think back before the 4K started and remember what our expectations were and how it’s changed since. Think back to when we were all strangers and how difficult we thought it would be to form relationships with the rest of the team. Think back to how inexperienced we were as touring cyclists at the beginning of the 4K. Think back and reflect how all the experiences we’ve made taught us more about others and ourselves. Think back and remember who we ride for, who we fight for, and who we support. Every team member had their own story to tell and the team reflection only made our bond to each other that much stronger. The power of words and the stillness of silence can fill the room with so much energy, especially when we all have such a close connection to each other and the cancer community. IMG_5682

IMG_5684IMG_5688IMG_5691We came on this trip not knowing how the summer would shape up, living life spontaneously and taking life as it is. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend the summer with and I am so blessed to have them in my life. We made the summer our own, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
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Happy Birthday Rachael!

Day 68: Davis, CA to Napa, CA
Total Mileage: 63 miles

Last day driving the van today and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner. Abigale and I were responsible for driving the host van and finding lunch and dinner for the team. Every time I’m responsible for finding food donations, I always luck out and end up in a big city with a ton of options. The teams left by 8AM and all the restaurants opened at either 10 or 11, so we just had to wait it out and try to find other food donations while we were there. We tried Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Nugget for snack donations and didn’t have any luck. Either their manager wasn’t in yet or Bike and Build asked them the day before. The employees we talked to told us they would give us a call once they got in contact with their manager, and only one supermarket got back to us which was unfortunately a no. We even tried Subway early on, but the manager wasn’t there. The only place that gave us food before 10AM was a donut shop where we got 2 dozen donated for the team. So we tried our luck at restaurants. At first, we tried asking the non-traditional restaurants that weren’t fast food to surprise the team with a gourmet lunch, but had absolutely no luck getting food. We called restaurants ahead of time to see if they would be willing to donate and still had no luck. So we went for Taco Bell and the manager was more than willing to donate 50 tacos on the spot.

IMG_4886Drove two miles to the Chipotle, who I called earlier, to try and get burritos donated. The person I spoke with earlier told me to come in person and talk to the manager, so they were expecting us when we arrived. We lucked out cause there were two managers there, one in charge of the Davis branch and the other in charge of Napa. The Davis manager was more than willing to donate 26 burritos and the Napa manager got us in contact with the workers at the Napa chain to donate 27 burritos for dinner. 53 Chipotle burritos donated in one day, that’s got to be a 4K record! Pictures from both Chipotle branches.

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And of course, since we were right down the street from UC Davis, Abigale and I had to take a picture in front of their sign.

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We arrived at our host, dropped off the duffles and book bags, set up lunch, and tried our luck at finding more food on Main Street in downtown Napa. We got a call from the water van telling us that we needed to back track 15 miles to shuttle some team members to the host. Two groups were following the wrong arrows that turned out to be the Bike and Build route, which led them astray and away from the host. It was also Rachael’s birthday, so some riders were having a good time at the water stops and drinking fermented beverages. So we shuttled riders back to the host and were back on our donation game.

Walking down Main Street, we saw a restaurant that specialized in making paella and the team knows that Coral loves paella. So Abigale and I tried our luck to get some paella donated to the team. As soon as we walked in, we thought our chances of getting food from Zuzu was close to zero because the restaurant was very fancy, the menu was priced high, and the attire was very formal. We already asked for the manager, so there was no turning back. The worst he could say is no, and by that time, we were used to rejections. Plus, we thought it would be a win to somehow get paella donated, even if a dish of it was pricey. So we explained the 4K to the manager and told him a team member was head over heels about paella. The manager was all for the 4K cause and paid out of his own pocket for a 2 serving size of paella. Win!

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Another win of the trip, getting California cycling hats in Napa!

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And to celebrate Rachael’s birthday, it was necessary for us to visit a winery especially since we’re in wine country. The team went to Vermeil Wines off Main Street and had the entire place to ourselves. The man tending the bar even let us bring in our donated Chipotle so we could have dinner there. We surprised RT with a cake and sang our hearts out to her. Most of the team went back to the host while a couple of us went onto another sushi bar place. Happy Birthday Rachael! Hope it was everything you expected it to be🙂

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And special shout out to Rob for riding the last two days with the team. He rode the team San Fran route two times.
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Sacramento and Davis

Day 67: Angels Camp, CA to Davis, CA
Total Mileage: 96 miles

Today’s ride was in dedication to Armando Divinagracia, who passed away from lung cancer in 2002.

IMG_5503Waking up to having breakfast made for the team is one of the best things that could happen on a typical 4K morning. We had members of the church wake up bright and early (rather, dark and early) to serve us a delicious meal. A great, hearty breakfast means happy, energized riders. We are always so thankful for volunteers sacrificing their time to serve us as we continue to cycle towards San Fran. It means so much to us when we have one less thing to worry about in the morning, and to share it with a community that supports the 4K makes it that more incredible.

Thanks to the one and only person on the team that can fashionably wear her long sleeve shirt tied across her chest (Coral) for the beard today. Even though Rachael thought I looked like a creep, I thought you did a wonderful job. “This one time, Coral drew a beard on my face and it was all history from there.”

IMG_5504Today’s team name: Team Cannoliziano with Will, Rachael, Kevin, and Caiti. Great group, great day, great breakfast, great weather, not so great reroute. The route that took us off the main road turned out to be a very bumpy one. Apparently the original route we were supposed to take did not have a shoulder and it was only a two-lane highway, so a local routed us through some back roads that wound through a couple vineyards and the countryside. Maybe he thought we all had mountain bikes or thicker tires, but the route was not meant for road bikes. Going down a hill over 40 MPH with an uneven road filled with potholes is not the safest option, especially if you’re traveling in a larger group. The road was so bumpy, it was slightly damaging small nerves on our hands that made them numb. One of the spokes on Kevin’s wheel actually broke off during our bumpy 10 miler, so we had to stop and call the water van so he could replace his tire. Didn’t have much service on our reroute, so we had to make a team effort and call the van drivers for help. While he waited for the water van to bring a new tire, the rest of the team went on ahead to the first water stop.  Knowing how fast and pro Kevin is, we knew he’d eventually catch up to us, and he did after getting lost for a bit and right before our lunch stop.IMG_5506Rachael and I got to telling our life stories to each other during the long stretches between water breaks, which made the ride go that much faster. It helps to talk to teammates during long days, especially since today almost ended up being a surprise century. One group actually cycled over a century cause they had to back track and meet up with an alumnus that wanted to ride into Davis with us.

IMG_5512We passed through Sacramento, rode along a bike trail, and biked through Davis. Along the way, we ran into Lamie’s family after lunch, in Sacramento, at the last water stop, and at our host. They were our biggest cheerleaders today and provided us with an amazing Vietnamese dinner.

Picture 1We actually had some sunlight left to explore Davis after our 96-mile day. Picked the perfect day to spend the night in Davis cause the city has an awesome farmers market on Wednesdays. Plus, there were a ton of bike shops, restaurants, and stores to visit. I needed to buy a new back wheel if I wanted to bike into San Francisco. There’s no way I could borrow a team members wheel on day 70 because we all need one, so I figured today would be the best day to get one. Spent over $100 on a new wheel, but it was necessary. Plus, I’ll be using Roxanne in the future when I get back to Maryland. Got some froyo with the team, listened to some live jazz on the streets, and went to a pub to pre-celebrate Rachael’s birthday. Napa, here we come! DCIM101GOPRO