We left Corpus Christi around 8 a.m. on our way to Raymondville Texas. We faced a combination of things including 94 degrees, 43% humidity, 20 mile per hour winds, and a gravel riding surface about half of the time. The combination of these conditions requires a lot of water, calories, and hard riding. The riders viewed this day similar to a football game. We are currently in the last half of the fourth quarter and we are up by two touchdowns. We have played hard as a team and complemented each other’s ability to deal with our opponents which included wind, rain, gravel, heat, and a lot of miles to cover. We recognize the fact that we must play the game all the way to the last second, to be sure that we get a win. All of us have had experiences with teams that have been ahead with only 5 minutes left in the game, and have lost the game because they let up on their opponent. That is not the case with us. We are determined to ride all the way to the border and into Mexico by noon tomorrow. Dick Comar is preparing our bikes for the final ride and had to replace 2 flats that I got today because I rode through some small thorns. I ended up getting the flats about 20 yards from my final destination. If you are going to get a flat, that’s the way to do it. Dick Comar has been a blessing on this trip by keeping our bikes tuned up along with maintaining the vehicles, food, etc.
Eljay Bowron rode well today considering the conditions. He has been a consistent rider and has done a remarkable job in spite of the fact that he has had 16 operations. I have to give him a lot of credit because he has guided us through our entire ride, mapping out our travel and making adjustments where needed based on detours, construction, etc. I really believe our United States Presidents were well protected when Eljay was serving as the Director of the Secret Service, because if he can handle the riders for 18 days straight, he could handle any situation.
I consider Joe DeLamielleure our most amazing bike rider. Joe has only ridden a bike about 10 times before practicing for this ride. He did not own a bike as a child because he lived in the city and didn’t feel there was a practical need for it. Joe has become a great bike rider, that I believe could go on like the Eveready battery if needed. He is strong and rides with determination. The only problem Joe will need to address is the fact that he will always need to buy extra gloves, pants, etc. I am convinced that if Joe ever went on a major ride by himself, he might be considered a streaker on a bike, because he would lose everything that is not permanently attached to his body. I have a special picture to show you below that shows Joe riding his bike against traffic. I am sure you are probably wondering why he was riding the bike in the wrong direction. see a picture of Joe, You guessed it, he had to pick up the gloves that he set on the truck and blew off as we drove away. I think the reason why Joe has improved at bike riding so much is because he has ridden many more miles than all the rest of us, because he is always going backwards to pick up things that he has left behind.
A ride like this takes a lot of support from many different people in various ways. I cannot tell you how deeply appreciative I am for all of the people who have given to this cause in one way or another. I would like to share some key areas of support that provide you with insight as to the many facets of this bike ride, and the intricacies that have made it work. Many of these areas are often times in the background and never recognized. I appreciate your understanding in knowing that this is a sample list and does not include everyone.
|Individual or Group||Specific Support|
|The Riders||Joe, Eljay, and Dick have given up 18 days of their life to support this effort.|
|Our Families||Our wives, children, grandchildren, etc. have been without us for 18 days.|
|Kellie Dean||Donated a Dean Transportation bus that has been a great vehicle for the trip. Kellie has also coordinated local media support.|
|Damon Nolan||The building superintendent at the orphanage who leads building efforts and organizational planning in Brownsville & Matamoros at 82 years old|
|Dr. Craig Fedore||Donated the Suburban that ran exceptionally well and will be used at the orphanage.|
|Dean Transportation Scott Pellerito and the Mechanics||The mechanics at Dean Transportation prepared both of our vehicles for this trip. The vehicles ran extremely well for over 2000 miles. You are the Best!|
|Lansing Orphanage Fundraising Committee||This group has been involved and supportive with all orphanage fundraising activities.|
|Lansing Media||Ongoing TV, Radio & Newspaper coverage of the bike ride like I have never seen before. Lansing media really have a great heart.|
|Cheeney Media Concepts2, Inc. Ed & Jan Cheeney, Marcia Evans, and staff||Extensive high quality video production and media material preparation with a personal touch. That makes everything so much more special.|
|Matt Jackson and MSU student volunteers||The development of a comprehensive Public Relations plan with ongoing follow-up with media and support throughout the ride.|
|Capital Region Community Foundation (CRCF)||Accepting all donations and follow-up with tax deductible receipts.|
|Dean Collins and Grand Valley State University (GVSU) Faculty and Staff||Support for my participation in this ride by covering responsibilities and offering ongoing support. I am truly blessed to work at GVSU.|
|Chuck Abraham and The Irish Pub Restaurant ||Coordinated a pre-spring football game tailgate and donated all of the food for over 1500 people. This was a very special event that set the tone for the ride.|
|Joe Ciffa and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Association||Sponsors of the 2 sets of 2010 Superbowl Tickets and the Joe DeLamielleure Gourmet cookout for donors of $100. or more to the orphanage.|
|VSP Marketing Graphic Group from Seneca New York||Donating the graphic customizing and wrapping of the suburban. (See picture below)|
|Coach Mark Dantonio, Brad Lunsford, Coaches and Football Team||An exceptional send off from MSU Football players, coaches, former players and fans. This was truly a family send off that made each of us feel so proud to be Spartans.|
These are just a few of the many supporters who have made this ride possible. We are deeply grateful to these individuals and so many others who have been behind us 100%. We look so forward to reaching our final destination tomorrow. We are more than ready for Day # 18. It’s been a long time coming!
I am providing you with a few pictures that highlight Joe DeLamielleure riding to get his gloves, the Suburban, and our bus with Dick Comar.