Gotta prove it every day.
It was going to be easy. After all, having done a 4200-mile trek and another Ride to Remember with four riders crossing the Sierra Nevada range, 180 miles of flat, urban East Coast terrain would be, in the words of Jackie Gleason, ‘a mere bag of shells’ (meaning, negligible). However, things are seldom what they seem, and we would not be denied the ‘gift’ after all. We call it a gift because that’s what willing sacrifice can be. The bottom line is the Gold Star families we sought to honor have faced much tougher times than any hardship which could ever show up on a bicycle ride shared by great friends.
Great friends, indeed. Great people. Six riders. Matt Corry, co-founder of The Team Jesse Foundation is a stalwart emotional leader. Kevin ‘Kid’ Collins was CRMIC (Chief Route Master in Charge) and has the distinction of having mapped the route for every Team Jesse-related ride. Mark Larson’s day job as Chief Deputy Prosecutor gave us a sense of being grounded yet somehow managed to be the one to keep things light and in perspective about what we were doing. Chris Taylor was essentially Superman, a personal inspiration to me with the way he conducted himself and went the extra mile for his teammates. It’s just who he is. Kevin ‘Sarge’ Mincio, our fearless leader, lived up to his reputation of being one of the most driven people one has ever met. The team was rounded out by yours truly, and it was humbling to be amongst them once again. Six riders….six lives…six bikes…twelve tires.
Looking back, I find a crisp silver lining where our team was concerned: we would once again have Karen and Ron Mincio, Kevin’s parents, running our support vehicle. I can’t remember calling them ‘Karen and Ron’ for ages, if ever. “Mama Bear and Papa Bear” are the names I’d given them back in 2011, and it has stuck. They’ve treated me as one of their own for as long as I’ve known them, and there’s a strength about both of them that one can’t help but feel. They’re as committed as the day is long (and there were some loooooong days, let me tell you) and something about their compassion and understanding always makes me grateful to be alive and even more so to know them.
However, even with their formidable presence…it’s been said, in sports and in life, that momentum is the great equalizer. With it, nearly anything can be accomplished. Without it, even the simplest of tasks can be elusive. I can think of six people who would wholeheartedly agree with this train of thought.
Matt Sauri is one of six riders from the Ride to Remember 2018 and has chronicled their experience in this special blog post. Continue reading his special day by day look inside the Ride to Remember and the "gifts" the riders received as they endured challenges small in comparison to those of the fallen soldiers they rode to honor.Continue Reading