By Rob Casalou
Team Joe’s Captain and President/CEO of St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor & Livingston
Although each day of the WAM is unique and special, Day 2 is both the longest riding day and the longest day in total from start to finish. We start the day with riding and we end it with the annual WAM awards event called the WAMMIES that we hold in the Dewitt High School auditorium.
By the end of the day, we were all physically and emotionally drained but left each of us with a feeling of being part of something bigger than any one person or team. It was a day that grounds us in why we are out here riding – for the kids. And although the last thing we want to think about is getting back on the bike for another 93 miles tomorrow, today’s experience will make that riding that much easier.
For most of the team, riding started at 6:30am. Rosalie, Alex and Ralph left at 6am because they needed to finish as early as possible because they have to leave WAM to go to a family wedding on Saturday night. Personally, I can’t imagine doing that but that just tells you how dedicated Rosalie and her family are because many would have just canceled out on WAM. We will miss them tomorrow for sure but know they will be in our thoughts.
As we cut through the Michigan countryside taking in the beauty of our state (along with several whiffs of road kill), we rolled through towns we had not heard of before but realized how lucky we are to live in Michigan. We learned more about wheat and corn from Bill Holmes than we needed to know but it did help the time pass by…. 🙂
Given today was 109 miles, we needed to pick up our pace and we lucked out in joining a group of riders and formed a large group (like a peleton if you are into the Tour de France) and we moved at a quick pace for the first three hours.
In fact, we arrived at our lunch stop at 9:30am. I’m not sure how you call that lunch but we were hungry so we ignored the time. I joked with my teammates that our WAM experience is good preparation for when we are in our 90s. When you think about it, on WAM we get up at 4:30am, we eat lunch at 10am and go to bed by 9pm. Sound familiar? 🙂
As we started our ride today, we were staring at a beautiful double rainbow with a large storm cell sending lightning bolts in the background. After admiring the rainbows, the cell moved in and we rode in a downpour for at least 2-3 miles. But, after the rain stopped, the wind helped dry us off and we had nothing but perfect weather the entire day. In fact, it got humid and hot and fluids were going fast. When we finished around 2:30pm, we realized that we did 109 miles in the same time it took us to do the 99 miles the day before – that would be because today was long but fewer hills (thank you God).
After we finished, it was time to get changed and back to the high school for dinner and the WAMMIES. This is a sprited awards show that always spotlights our wish kids. Tonight was no exception and we were treated with two wish kids acting as hosts of the show, 30 wish kids on stage with the stories of their Disney wishes. Then, at the end of the show, the Make-A-Wish staff arranged for a young man, Quinton, to received his Disney wish at the awards show. How cool.
Here is a cute shot of Quinton peeking out the window.
Team Joe’s was one of the top fundraising teams on the WAM. This year we beat our $50,000 team goal and now stand over $53,000 . Many of these dollars are from our St. Joe’s family and, for this, please accept a heartfelt thanks.
So, tomorrow is our last day. Our route is 93 miles and we intend to get out early so we can finish at the MIS Speedway by 2pm. We hear weather is coming into MIS so we wanted to beat the rain if possible. We will be on the road at 6:30am. Now to sleep….zzzzzzzz
Jodi snapped this one as our day ended reciting “Red sky at night, sailors delight.” Let’s hope that holds true for our last day.