Neither rain Nor Flats Can Dim Team Joe’s Smiles

By Rob Casalou

There is something about an alarm clock going off at 4:30am, looking outside into the dark and seeing rain coming down… but it can’t be repeated here! 🙂 

That is what Team Joe’s woke up to this morning but you would not have known anything was wrong by the many smiles that arrived at the school this morning as Team Joe’s and all the WAM riders showed up to start Day One. Team Joe’s gathered at 6am for a team picture and then everyone got on the road.

Despite early rain, the weather today was ideal. It was overcast and temps in the mid-70s most of the day. The headwinds kicked up later in the day so the last 20 miles were tough but, overall, no complaint on the weather. Day One is the full of hills and all the riders will tell you that the toughest hill is at mile 90 when, as you approach it, your mind says “Really”?  

Our riders had a clean ride – almost. Kelly Poppaw had four flat tires!
Fortunately, members of Team Joe’s and the Make-a-Wish volunteer bike mechanics got her going again. And Sarah Bahnke had a major failure of her gear hardware that scrapped her bike for the tour. But not to be held back, Sarah’s Dad, Dave McNeil drove all the way down to Novi to pick her up a new bike and brought it all the way back up to Big Rapids tonight!

Dave McNeil continues to be an amazing man and a great Dad.

In this blog you can see many pictures from the road that show our team enjoying each other and making our team proud on the road. 

We were able to meet wish kids and wish families at the lunch stop, break stops and dinner tonight. Just as my legs were starting to feel a little tired, I then met Wish Kid Chad and his entire family. After that conversation, my legs felts just fine!

Tomorrow is our long day with 109.4 miles from Big Rapids to Dewitt. We will thankfully have fewer hills but rain is in the forecast and 109 miles is LONG! 🙂

Tomorrow night is our WAMmmy Awards in Dewitt, which are truly a highlight of the weekend. We will be celebrating our riders, our wish kids and families and handing out recognition awards. 

 Team Joe’s will be standing tall at the awards with an all-time high in fundraising with our team collecting $111,235 that will go to our wish kids. This amount will pay for over 11 wishes for Michigan kids. How awesome. I am so thankful to our team members and all of friends, family and colleagues who supported them.

Okay, signing off because I have to go to bed! But before signing off, I just have to say, on a personal note, how wonderful it is to be riding with my daughter, Julie, on this WAM. She has been a volunteer on WAM the past three years but this year she is on a bike. The farthest she ever road before this weekend was 40 miles! She and I never separated all day and

It was simply a good day.

Talk to you tomorrow.

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