My 270 Mile Trek

A Quick Recap

This past weekend, I was able to accomplish something I never thought I would be able to do…until I actually put my mind to it.

Eating breakfast while trying to get ready to take off.
Eating breakfast while trying to get ready to take off.

I was able to ride as a member of Team Good Folks, and completed all 270 Miles as part of the Tri State Trek, which helped to raise funds and awareness for those with ALS.  My goal was simple: ride all 270 Miles, no matter what. Just find a way to get it done. What made it even better was the fact there were numerous people who had the same goal as myself, and who also were able to succeed. It all came back to the simple fact that it was more than just a bike ride. The purpose was bigger than our own individual self. It was a way for people to show support or to honor a loved one.

Throughout our weekend at the Trek, my teammates and I were able to meet people whose stories would leave you speechless, while making your heart skip a beat at the same time. From the story of Steve Saling, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2006 and is still fighting today, living by his motto, “Remember, Life is Good.” To the story of Roger, who is a former Greenwich police officer that was also diagnosed with ALS, and is still fighting his battle on a daily basis. To the story of Ms. Debra, who lost her father to ALS only after a year of being diagnosed. To the story of Pete Frates, who was a Boston College baseball player diagnosed with ALS in his mid twenties. To the story of Steve Gleason, a former New Orleans Saint diagnosed in 2011, which Team Good Folks was proud to represent.

The more I heard of these inspiring stories, the more it made me realize the importance of what every person there was doing, and the more it helps me to value life on a daily basis. From the riders, to the photographers, to the volunteers, to the endless amounts of people there for moral support, we were all able to come together as one team, wishing to support one main cause, to end ALS.

A Thank You to All

With that said, I want to call myself out on an opportunity I missed out on. There was an open mic night in which various people got up to share their story or to just simply say thank you. I, unfortunately, did not take advantage of this opportunity that was in front me, so I would like to use this as my mic for a second in hopes that as many people from the Trek will be able to read this.

One of my Favorite Pics from the weekend.
One of my Favorite Pics from the weekend.

I want to say thank you, not just for myself, but for Team Good Folks as well. We came from a long way, but each person there made us feel right at home.  Thank you to all of the volunteers for being so kind and supportive of our efforts. Without you guys busting ass all weekend, we could not have had such a great time. I speak for everyone when I say that your smiles and energy was a one-of-a-kind experience and it 100% motivated us to keep rolling. Thank you to the Trek Photographers, Martha and Amanda, who literally worked around the clock to document this event. Also, a special thanks to Team Good Folks photographer, Jake Morris, who also worked hard to capture some great shots of the weekend.  Thank you to Dave, Rob, Mari, the bike mechanics, and to everyone else for all of your work throughout the whole weekend. You guys were nothing but kind to us, and left us with a positive experience.

Thank you, mostly, to Steve and Roger, who never stopped smiling and who serve as an example of how to live life. ALS may affect these men physically, but they are living proof that it does not affect the mind, which is our most important aspect as a person. A positive mind has the ability to far exceed anything that the negative mind can not touch. Guys like them are warriors, and to be able to keep a positive attitude despite their circumstances is truly a blessing to witness first hand.

Team Good Folks with Steve. "Remember, Life is Good."
Team Good Folks with Steve. “Remember, Life is Good.”

I also would personally like to thank our team captain, Grif Fos, and each member of our team; Magan, Peter, Eric, and Jake. I came into this not knowing any of you, but walked away  feeling fortunate to spend the weekend with great people like yourselves.

One more huge thanks goes out to St. John the Baptist Parish for your support of our efforts. We truly appreciate all of the comments and recognition as we rode to support those with ALS. Each and every one of you were on my mind throughout the ride.

Me, Magan, and Peter after our long ride. What a great weekend!
Me, Magan, and Peter after our long ride. What a great weekend!

What did I learn?

1) Together, we all helped to make a positive difference, and that’s what life is about. It’s about coming together as a team to show even just a little bit of support in any way we can.

A little here and a little there can add up to make a BIG difference.

2) We all may face difficult circumstances throughout our life, but we must not allow these circumstances to affect us in a negative way. Seeing how everyone came together as one to fight for a cause is one simple way to turn a seemingly negative situation into a positive.

3) A positive mindset is contagious. It leads to positive action, which leads to positive impact, which is something we all should strive for.

4) Your mind is powerful beyond measure, and it becomes even stronger when you have a purpose behind your action. I was able to ride 270 Miles not because of my physical condition, but because I had a purpose for why I was riding. I cancelled out the words “quit” and “can’t”, and made finishing my only option.

5) If you ever feel you are alone, you simply need to reverse your thoughts. Surround yourself with positive people (or Good Folks) and your actions will soon follow that of a positive person.

6) Be open to the opportunity to show support. I could have easily turned down this opportunity because of the distance of the ride. Instead, I chose to step out of my comfort zone and think of all the positive that can come from this, and here I am now, reflecting on the positives.

You may never know how much your actions can inspire someone, but it’s better to try than do nothing at all.

Of course I had to enjoy a post-race beer.
Of course I had to enjoy a post-race beer.

So to finish up…

Next time you are approached with an opportunity that may seem out of your comfort zone, take the leap and enjoy the ride. Keep rolling when others no longer can. Make what you are doing about someone or something else, and push yourself for the sake of others and you will exceed your boundaries. Keep a positive mindset and screw the negative. It’s only an obstacle that can be overcome.

Thank you for reading and thanks again for all of the support, not only for myself, but for those battling ALS on a daily basis. As Steve Gleason said, “We all face adversity and tragedy and need inspiration and motivation to keep rolling.”

Think Positive. Keep Rolling.

Think Positive. Live Positive.

Team Mind.Set.Go.

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My 270 Mile Trek

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