August 15, 2012
I remember last spring sitting down to write a blog article about helping my 17-year-old son plan his cross-country bike trip. The guys named their ride A Bike Story for Cory and rode in honor of Cory Stalling (pictured far left), a local Missoula boy who suffers from a genetic disorder called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
The blog I wrote that day, entitled Family Circles, explained the process of planning a 67-day journey that would turn out to be way more than just a bike tour. At the time, we were deep into fundraising, training rides, and logistics -- and try as I might, I couldn't get past what the summer would look like without Mac by my side.
But now it's over. After more than 4,000 miles, ten states, and a whole lot of Clif Bars, he's done it! From the Pacific to the Atlantic, with his friends Drew (pictured middle) and Ty (pictured right) by his side. Cory's presence for the finale made the ending even sweeter, and they all participated in a parade down the main street of Point Pleasant, NJ, to the beach for their tire-dipping ceremony.
The summer flew by and for two months I lived vicariously through Mac's experiences (or at least those he shared with me). To say I'm proud is an understatement. Our family is also humbled by the generosity of the people Mac encountered along the way. A quick shout out to the wonderful staff and families of the Jett Foundation and the leaders and cyclists on the Jett Ride. A heartfelt thanks to Neal Fisher, who provided comic relief and adult guidance when things didn't always go as planned. And, of course, a big smile and hug to Mac's mentor and Adventure Cycling's tours director Arlen Hall for all the wonderful support he provided throughout the last six months.
For now, it's back to school for Mac, but I have to wonder what he's got in store for next summer.
Photo by Ed Stalling
CONNECTIONS is posted by Ginny Sullivan, Adventure Cycling's special projects director and features the cultural, historical, geographical, and human connections created through bike travel. Find out about our award-winning Underground Railroad Bicycle Route.