Thank you! As a community, you came together with others to have a very positive impact on the larger community around us through your contribution to the 2014 Best Buddies ride. I’m very happy to say that together, we were able to raise more than $3,600 to help people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) – that’s a tremendous support for a cause that, through its programs, benefits us all – either in understanding the challenges of IDD, supporting those who have IDD develop valuable life skills, or in the further development of job opportunities for this community.
This was my first century ride and I have to say it was challenging, satisfying and extremely fun! Right out of the chute, I ended up chatting with someone who, I eventually found out, was Anthony Shriver – the gentleman who runs Best Buddies. As we were chatting, George Hincapie a former pro-cyclist came up from behind and started a pace line – which I dropped into for the first 15 miles or so (until we hit the first reasonable hill – my personal nemesis). In the picture on the right, George is in the front and Anthony is right behind. I have to say it was great fun to be drafting behind a professional cyclist for as long as I did (though I recognize that he had to step it down a few notches for us).
I apparently represented Ireland well, because the Guinness jersey I was wearing attracted a lot of positive attention along the whole route (from riders, announcers and even the photographer at the starting line who whispered to me, “best Jersey out here”). In fact, Donna Gunn, one of the Best Buddy Ambassadors could not say enough about the Jersey, Guinness and Ireland as her mouse tried to eat one of my snacks at the first rest stop.
The scenery along Highway 1, as you can imagine, was absolutely stunning and the weather was just about as perfect as you can get for a bike ride staying cool well into mid-morning and never getting too hot. So many beautiful vistas and so much more you can see when you’re on a bike and you can look over the guard rail and down to the ocean. If you ever want to ride the coast and are up for a 100, 62, 30, or 15 mile ride – check out this ride.
Best Buddies has a larger group of individuals and companies that contribute to help the program and their fundraising efforts, be successful. At the end of this ride, we were treated to a gourmet barbeque on the Hearst Ranch with marvelous food and drink, the auction of a couple of fully decked out Cannondale bicycles (unfortunately, well out of my price range) and a concert by Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. All up, an awesome day and evening for a great cause. Maribel and I actually took the weekend to escape to the coast – she met with a friend and shopped while I rode – we both had a blast, so I’m already signed up for next year’s century ride! If any of you are cyclists, this is an awesome ride with five star rider support that raises money for a great cause – sign up if you can.
I’m adding a few more pictures from the event below my signature. I very much appreciate your charitable support for this community and my ride! I’ve decided that I’m going to push myself and will be doing either this, or another major charity ride once a year, and though I appreciate the fact that there are many charities asking for support, I will ask in advance if you can consider my yearly ride as part of your regular charitable contributions. I promise you that I will validate the whatever charity the ride supports, I will ensure that the organization uses its funds effectively before I even sign up for a ride – this is almost always the first question I ask when I contribute and I personally do not want to support an organization that’s not making the effort for the right reasons.