Friday, January 5, 2018

Every End is A New Beginning

We have had a week to rest, rejuvenate 
and rejoice in this great accomplishment!  
We have a few details to share before we
 ride off into the sunset!

Greg and Melissa Eckel
Our niece and her husband
Pedaled from Phoenix, AZ
to Alpine, CA - December 20-23

Before we talk about the end of this ride, here
is an incredible video created by Greg and Melissa
as we began this last leg of the journey in Phoenix.  
They joined us on the road from December 20 - 23
and it was our pleasure to have them with us!
We thank them for taking time out of their busy 
lives to help us complete this adventure!

Accompanying music is by Greg's brother's band!

Hollywood Photos by Shahak Nagiel

After completing the ride, we had some family time 
to explore Southern California

Hermosa Beach

Aquarium of the Pacific
Long Beach, CA

Carlsbad, CA

Home of Cars Land!

Even Daisy is taller than me!

Our son, Seth, Glenn and our son-in-law, Jerry Tillery
Pedaling from Laguna Beach to Marina Del Rey
December 28, 2017

Jerry's Thoughts on the Journey

I have never known Glenn when this ride was not a part of the conversation...either updates on the last leg or planning for the next one, so it’s hard for me to believe that the ride has come to an end.  Last week in California was really one I will never forget.  I was so honored to have been asked by Glenn to ride with he and Seth for the last leg.  It only further illustrated how he has always welcomed me into the family with open arms, which means more to me than words can express.  

From the start of our trip last week when the family all met up in Laguna Beach, to the actual ride and the final celebration at the Santa Monica Pier, there were several things that continued to be reinforced for me.

1.  Glenn is an extremely strong person - both mentally and physically!!  I seriously do not understand how Glenn’s body and mind can handle riding day after day such great distances.  It takes someone who is truly dedicated and determined (and really fit). 

2.  Family is everything!  Before meeting Neil and being introduced to the family, I can honestly say, I have never known a family quite like them.  They love one another more than words can express, support each other in all their endeavors and truly enjoy each other’s many family’s can say that???  Last week this was proven once again.  I know that having his family be a part of the final leg of the journey made the end even sweeter for Glenn and the pride that his wife, children, and grandchildren have for his huge accomplishment was something pictures and words do no justice.

3.  Helping others is a passion.  Whether it’s his work as a physician or this ride to help raise money for various charities, especially I Care I Cure, Glenn is dedicated to making a difference in others’ lives.  When we were waiting to get our bikes for the final leg, I listened as Benji, Evan, Miles and Fletcher told a complete stranger (who let them use his board to slide down a sand hill) all about the ride and why he was doing it. It illustrated that his passion was not only something his grandchildren were proud of, but also something I know they will pass along. 

It’s hard to fathom that this journey is over, but I know Glenn will soon come up with another challenge.  I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Glenn and the rest of the Hirsch family.  

This AM I sent Phlash a final email to tell 
him about the last exciting day of the ride.
Instead of reading it on air he called!

Here's my final 3 minutes of radio air time...
unless we come up with another adventure
to share with Phlash at some future time!

Click below to listen

Phlash Phelps on Sirius/XM radio 60's on 6

Thanks, Phlash, for your support and airtime for I Care I Cure!

Here is the map of our final ride.  Although the Google
Map total is 539 miles, our stats clock it at 515.21 miles!
There was wind (some days much more than others),
some days were cloudy and chilly but there was no
rain and the sun shone brightly most days
as we hear happens in California!

by the Beach Boys

On my way to sunny California
On my way to spend another sunny day

On this leg, Glenn decided that it would be appropriate to
wear each of his cycling jerseys that he has worn on the 
many rides that took him around the perimeter of the USA. 
Some will be retired now!
The collage above highlights each of them:

Top left:  The Big Ride Across America
Seattle to Washington DC
June 19 - August 5, 2000

Top Right:  California Coast Classic
San Francisco to the Santa Monica Pier
October 2 - 9, 2004

Middle Left:  East Coast Greenway
Key West, FL to Maine at the Canadian Border
November 7, 2009 - August 12, 2013

Middle Right:  Pacific Northwest
Seattle, WA to San Francisco, CA
August 17 -31, 2014

Bottom Left: Sun Belt
St. Augustine, FL to Phoenix, AZ 
November 2015
November 2016

Bottom Right: The Last Leg
Phoenix, AZ to Santa Monica, CA
December 20-29, 2017

Thanks so much to my sister, Laurie Beaty,
for creating the last four logos for our
I Care I Cure I Cycle journey!

Since we are somewhat technologically challenged, 
we have tracked the ride on four maps instead of one to get 
the most precise locations for the ride around the perimeter!  
It may be a few towns off and a few miles less than our 
estimate but it still seems daunting to me!

This was an organized and supported ride to support The American Lung Association
My SAG duties were not necessary for this ride! I was home in GA!

This was the East Coast Greenway.  Glenn was one of just a few End-to-Enders!

Glenn was joined by our brother-in-law, Jim Beaty for
the ride from Seaside, FL to Perry, FL

Glenn was joined by our brother-in-law, Jim Beaty for
the ride from Seattle to San Francisco

Fun Facts about the Journey

In the 135 days that Glenn pedaled his bicycle around the 
country, he only experienced rain 3 DAYS while riding!
(2 days in Maine and 1 Day in Texas) 

He got stuck in just one electrical storm (in Maine)

Glenn used three different bicycles over the 17 years

Glenn had only 2 falls, 
one near Malibu in 2004
(resulting in cuts and abrasions)
and one in Connecticut in 2012
(resulting in a broken hand that Glenn
would not get treated because he wouldn't
be able to finish the ride with a cast on his hand!)

There were multiple cases of sunburn and saddle sores

He changed approximately 10 flat tires

We used our bed bug sleep sacks in just two
hotels on the 2016 trip (ugh) but we left the
hotel with a frog in the toilet and a roach in the shower.
We also rode right by the Bates Motel which surely
would have necessitated use of the sleep sacks!

I was stopped by the border patrol once in West Texas
but did not get one traffic ticket during any of the trips!

Glenn consumed an infinite number of peanut
butter sandwiches on these trips 

We managed to have only one emotional breakdown
(2016 after 7 flat tires in West Texas)

We lost and found keys, underwear, telephones, and 
the bike computer.  We lost and didn't find the 
battery for the gear shifting device on the bike!   
(Pedaling with one gear was not fun that day!)

We have had 86,330 views of this blog
over the course of 9 years!

Thank you for taking the time to follow the rides, for 
leaving encouraging comments, for being in touch via emails,
 texts and phone and for making this such an incredible experience!

Besides having fun, seeing new sights and 
not having to cook for weeks, these trips have 
had an important purpose.  Raising funds and 
awareness for targeted therapies for childhood 
cancer has been our focus for nine years.   We could 
not have accomplished our goals without the support 
and generosity of all of you.

It is with amazement and awe that I can announce
that, as of this morning, the total amount raised for this
last ride is $28,839.50!  

We, once again, will be a Platinum Sponsor
of I Care I Cure I Run in Davie, FL on February 11
and would love to have anyone in the area join us
to complete the celebration of our journey!

It's never too late to donate

From our family to yours....
Happy New Year!
May 2018 be filled with new adventures!

This may be the end of this journey but I am 
confident that Glenn will find another challenge to
take on, another list to complete, new places to
explore and another adventure to pursue!

I'll be back with any updates and with
occasional important I Care I Cure news!

To You Until We Meet Again

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Journey Ends!

Make your end-of-year donation today by clicking here.

 December 29, 2017 dawns on the Santa Monica Pier!
Just a few hours later, a very special journey would
end at this iconic location.

 Glenn rode his bike to the Venice Boardwalk
where he met the rest of the group as we, all 18 of us,
gathered to pick up our bicycles for the adventure!

Thanks to Ride!Venice Bike Shop for 
providing us with our bikes for this
ride from Venice to the Santa Monica Pier!

Our bikes were all decked out with
flags and jingle bells.  We all wore our
logo t-shirts and we made quite an 
impressive showing on the bike trail!

We hit the bike trail at 10:40 AM for the 2.7 mile ride to
the Santa Monica Pier.  The weather was perfect and the
trail was a great way to travel with the kids along! 

The blue line was our route!

Just in case you only have 1:10 minutes to spare,
here is Shahak's time lapse video of the entire ride :)

If you have more time, here are many photos and more videos.
It was hard to control ourselves!  Thanks to all for these
contributions to tonight's blog!  We hope that this helps
to make you feel like you were riding along with us!

We reached the Santa Monica Pier at 11:04 AM

It was a bittersweet day for us.  Glenn was very
emotional as the ride came to an end and, especially, as he
stepped into the Pacific Ocean as he did in the Atlantic.
Glenn is used to always knowing what adventure is next
and, for the moment, we don't have a plan.  I am sure
that won't last long.  One thing is for sure...he will
continue to ride his bike on some road, somewhere!

Seth Shares Some Thoughts

When the idea of finishing these last 60+ miles with my dad on his ride around the country came up, I knew I had to find a way to make it happen. Today, other than wishing I had trained a little more and had a more comfortable bike seat, I couldn’t be happier to be here riding (way) behind my dad on this journey.  Being a part of someone accomplishing a goal like this is inspiring and infectious.  I can now relate to those people who joined behind Forrest Gump on his cross country run. 

There is not a more perfect activity for my dad than long distance cycling and this goal of riding around the country. As I sat on the bike for 6 hours I had a lot of time to think about some of the characteristics that explain why and thought I would share a few of them with everyone:

  1. Determination - bike riding is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this trait for my dad. Whether it is his veracious reading, traveling to every state, or visiting every major league ballpark, when others would quit he continues on and accomplishes his goal. 
  2. Focus - although bike riding seems like a physical activity , I realized yesterday how taxing it is mentally. A moment of lost concentration and a pot hole or parked car can become a dangerous hazard (both almost got the best of me yesterday). My dad is so well equipped for this kind of physical and mental toughness 
  3. Relational - he has logged the majority of his miles by himself, but the most memorable miles for him have come with company. Whether it was his Big Ride companions, his long rides with Uncle Jim, or short rides with anyone else who would join him along the way, riding with others makes the tough roads a little easier. Also, when you are on a bike for 6 hours there is no chitchat, just real one on one conversations. These are the kind my dad excels at
  4. Cause-focused - every mile my dad has pedaled has been to raise money for a medical cause. As a doctor he has felt passion to not just treat his patients but also work towards a future without these terrible diseases he helps treat. 11 years ago that focus became even more personal for my dad and our whole family when my cousin Ian died of cancer. The $70k plus my dad has raised is making a difference in the fight against childhood cancer.

I couldn’t be more proud of what my dad has accomplished and why he has done it. I know this is a bittersweet ending for him because he has worked towards it for so long. I also know my dad and the next goal that no one else thought was possible is right around the corner. 

We were so thrilled to have all of our kids and grandsons
with us today.  From helping with logistics to planning a
celebratory meal, from writing for the blog and running 
errands to encouraging us and fundraising, Jill, Shahak,
Neil, Jerry, Seth and Sara have helped us reach this 
momentous day.  Benji, Evan, Miles, Fletcher and Oliver
have made this fun and exciting and we hope that we have 
created important memories for them this week!

Glenn is surrounded by our wonderful friends!

Garmen Shiu, Michelle Sterling, Barbara Green 
and Maggie Bright joined us for this celebration

Jerry and Neil enjoying the sun and sand!

Miles, Fletcher, Benji and Evan relax after the ride!

Garmen rewards Glenn with a handcrafted candy lei!

I got one too!

Pon Charuratna returned again today
for this shorter but epic ride!

Glenn and Maggie Bright, my childhood friend from NJ!

Glenn's ride began at our rental house in Marina del Rey this AM

Such a tough day for him!!   He definitely ate more calories
than he burned today!  

A surprise lunch including cake and champagne
awaited us at the rental house after our big morning!

Benji toasted and Glenn spoke too!

Pon, Garmen and Michelle joined the celebration!

It's a small world!   Our good friend from Atlanta, Linda Bernknopf, 
who is in the area to visit an Uncle and a friend, stopped by the house
this afternoon to offer her congratulations!

One reason that the blog is so late tonight is because we took
the evening off to have some fun.  We visited Zoo Lights at
the LA Zoo.  It was a perfect evening to end a perfect day!

Trivia winners!

Last night's question was:

What gives the Santa Monica Pier its
relatively green status?

Congrats to:
 Carol Salmons
"solar powered ferris wheel and wind-powered amusement park"

and Frima  Miller
"It is one of the most progressive cities and is committed
 to being a leader in green initiatives. It even has a solar powered Ferris wheel".

for the correct answer!

I have shirts with your names on them!

Thank you for following our journey on the blog and 
for your generous donations and encouragement. Your
continued support has meant so much to us!

I will write one more blog when we get home to Atlanta
to wrap things up and report on our fund raising total, total miles 
and other details that might interest you.

Of course, you are still welcome to make a
donation.  Our journey may be over but so many
kids with cancer still have a long, hard road ahead of them!