Thursday, August 11, 2016

Bike4Chai Ride

Last Thursday I arrived back in Newark Airport around 8:30am and waited for my aunt to pick me up. My morning and night ended around the same time( 1:30am) so by 9:45 when she arrived I was exhausted; however I knew there wasn't a chance of me falling asleep in the car for the 4 hour ride we head ahead of us.

My aunt, great aunt and uncle were headed to Upstate New York to watch my father finish his two day ride for Bike4Chai. Before we would arrive at the finish we would search for a cemetery and a place to pick up our tickets. GPS in the car gave a different route then the GPS on the phone and my uncle also tried to be a GPS. With twist and turns and tight roads came my first ever experience with getting car sick. Here is where I wish I could have fallen asleep. With all the right and wrongs turns we found both places  and with that drove off to find Camp Simcha, where the finish line of the bike race would be.

With a little over an hour until the riders would arrive we found spots in the shade as well as along the fence so we could hope to get a clear view of my dad who would be in a sea of 500 rides, all wearing the same uniform. Sure if I knew which helmet he was wearing and what bike he was riding it would have made things easier but why ask those questions.

Upon our arrival we saw hundreds of family members and friends singing and dancing on the camp grounds, watched the campers in their parade, and listened to wonderful stories about how these campers all who had cancer were living life to the fullest and enjoying their summer. Every few minutes I stopped to reflect. Some of the stories are heartbreaking while others are inspiring.

Aunt & Uncle at the Finish Line

Finish Line
Around 3pm we heard the first announcement that riders would arriving momentarily. Everyone broke out into song "We Are The Champions" and let me tell you that was all I needed to hear to start cheering on! Talk about an emotional moment it was the moment I saw my dad ride through the finish line. He raise $5,245 dollars, rode 180 miles over two days, and played a part in sending 430 children to camp. One of his motto's is "It's not about the numbers" but on Thursday at the finish line it was all about the numbers. 500 riders raised $6,853,817.59. What an incredible celebration to be part of!


Steven Schwartz- Cyclist
Some may say he is crazy, others may say nothing at all, I for one will always say my father is amazing man and true inspiration.

Fuel Anyone? 
Any exhaustion I was feeling from no sleep and lots of travel disappeared the moment I stepped onto the grounds of Camp Simcha. Watching the counselors with campers and seeing the smiles on so many faces is a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. What a wonderful organization Chai Lifeline is. Check out Bike4Chai Facebook Page for more photos and videos of the event!

XoXo,
Tracy

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